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Who is Excelsior Paints

Tradition and family key to business success in the 21st century

The approach of 21st century consumers to what they buy, and why they buy it, has shifted substantially. Consumers around the world, and Africa is no exception, now wish to identify with their products. Hence, the growth of interest in all things artisanal and a focus on materials and products that are produced in family enterprises.

The belief is that when families work together, everyone embraces the same values and is dedicated to manufacturing goods that mirror the pride of the producers. Quality is vital to family businesses who build businesses on traditional values and inputs. Survival in competitive markets depends on consistent performance and outputs and standards that are sustained, year-in, year-out. The emphasis is on serving niche markets excellently and simultaneously building a family legacy that transcends generations.

Excelsior Paints; Building on family traditions that embrace change and the future

Excelsior Paints has been a family business for more than 80 years. Based in Johannesburg, the company has grown with the city of gold and Gauteng - the commercial and manufacturing powerhouse of South Africa. Its success is mirrored in its status as the oldest, premier, independently-owned paint company in South Africa. The company is proud to be 100% South African.


Independence means that Excelsior Paints led by CEO, Ron Lawson, is able to move quickly and efficiently to meet market trends in the coatings sector. Son, Guy Lawson, as General Manager keeps an uncompromising eye on his production and quality team, and interacts with the sales team and the customer base. Behind the scenes, daughter Kim steers the finances and administration. It is a team that, besides sharing family ties, has been totally dedicated to building a legacy that all can be proud of.


Building a legacy, however, does not mean favouring tradition over that of business growth. Tradition, rightly at Excelsior, is regarded as a foundation that takes the base values of commitment, quality and continuity into the future of Excelsior Paints.

Excelsior paints is therefore a business that has not allowed tradition to stifle growth, but has used tradition to help grow capacity, outputs and entry into new markets.

The Excelsior Paints of today is a company:

That proudly produces more than 1 500 000 litres a month of decorative and industrial paint  in its two manufacturing facilities and which distributes this quality paint every working day through a nationwide distribution operation that is supported by warehousing facilities in Cape Town, Pinetown  in KwaZulu Natal and East London in the Eastern Cape;

That has surpassed the SABS rating for its Premium Range of water and solvent-based products.  The Premium Range and many of its other paints also exceed international quality requirements;


A standard Excelsior guarantee on all its paint products;

A further six-year declaration of minimum life expectancy on its Trade Decorators Range of water and solvent-based coatings;


A eight-year declaration of minimum life expectancy on the All Purpose Range of water and solvent-based products that meet SABS and international quality standards.


A ten and twelve-year declaration of minimum life expectancy on the Premium Range of water and solvent-based products that meet SABS and international quality standards.


That boasts its own world class Quality control and Research and Development laboratories where product consistency is monitored and maintained. Retained samples of each batch are also stored in the laboratory for 12 months for reference purpose and accurate standards are retained to ensure that previous paint performance characteristics are matched.


The Excelsior Paint brand remains steadfast on:

Retaining its long-held emphasis on dealing specifically with independent hardware retailers and paint speciality stores with whom personal relationships can be built.


Developing its facilities to meet dealer demand. The company has grown their warehousing and distribution facilities to meet the needs of dealer’s so they get what they want, exactly where and when they need it.

Increasing marketing and advertising presence to help dealer’s have a brand of paint that is well know and easily identified.

Committing to its independent hardware retailers. Excelsior Paints’ unique “Dealer Network Protection Plan” guarantees the company will not compete with its own network of dealers by selling Excelsior products direct to the public.


The Dealer Network Protection Plan also reflects Excelsior’s belief that strong partnerships depend on the acceptance of our products by dealers and the support and merchandising they undertake to promote and sell our paints.


Building Excelsior’s future 

Growing facilities….

As demand for quality Excelsior Paint coatings grew, so careful planning and considered expansion kept pace.


The first commitment was to the acquisition of additional warehousing space for storage and distribution and the relocation – taking space available from 7 000m2 to 12 000m2.  This was followed by the relocation, expansion and modernisation of facilities.


​Phase two was the rebuilding of the water-based product manufacturing facility at Excelsior’s head office complex in Albertina Sisulu Road, Industria West, Johannesburg.


The third phase, recently completed, a solvent-based factory facility that duplicate the size of the Excelsior water-based product factory. Manufacturing capability will increase by 50% placing the business in an advantageous position to benefit from market growth.


Lastly, massive investment in health and safety in the workplace with a complete new fire prevention system including two 500 000ltr water storage tanks to service a sophisticated  new sprinkler system converting water spray to foam for solvent products, fire and flame detection units and gas detection systems linked to a state of the art “smart” monitoring system that can identify and deal with any fire threats immediately. Furthermore, construction of an “explosion proof” flammable store and vast extraction systems to prevent the build up of any solvent vapour or dust.

Looking beyond SA’s borders…

In a rare move for a family-owned coatings business, Excelsior products are now found in Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. Growth has been carefully undertaken so that production standards and quality are not compromised.


Focusing on the environment...

Excelsior has kept abreast of advances in environment-friendly paint technology. One of the first changes involved the removal of lead from the entire Excelsior range. Lead-based pigments were also replaced with lead-free options.


Since these steps were undertaken, Excelsior has gone further. Its “Aqua” range consists of seven environmentally-friendly paint options. This as a result of Excelsior Paint’s commitment to controlling levels of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC).


The Excelsior Enviro-Matt acrylic and Excelsior Enviro-Sheen acrylic now comply with the Green Building Council of South Africa’s classification of low to zero VOC.










Identifying and adopting global trends…..

Ensuring that products stay relevant and that Excelsior dealers continually offer buyers paint products that are ‘on trend’ is a major challenge.


​Excelsior Paints is one of more than 55 independent paint manufacturers, drawn from 14 countries, who are members of the American ‘Color Guild’.


This international body is dedicated to the promotion, marketing and selling of paint products. To its members it is a valuable source of information and expertise on colours and coatings.


Color Guild colourists separate ‘coating fads’ from ‘coating facts’. They have an impressive record of being able to predict and present members with information regarding colour trends 12 to 18 months before they occur.  Members, their dealers and consumers stay ahead of the ever-changing colour curve.  The search is always on for ‘The Next Big Colour’.


Most of the Guild’s offerings are based on the "Color Is" colour tint system that helps people to visually identify a colour palette of more than 1 300 colours.


Identifying trends correctly is one thing; conveying rich new colours to paint buyers is another. To ensure paint colours are reflected correctly on sales materials, Excelsior has partnered with Duha (Canada). These leaders in the industry supply point-of-sale marketing material, fan-decks, take-home colour chips and colour cards on an attractive retail display stand as part of the internationally recognised Color Is…  system.


Living family values within Excelsior Paints

Living family values within the company means creating opportunities within the company. External recruitment drives are undertaken only when suitable skills - or people who have the ability to assimilate required skills - cannot be found within Excelsior. Excelsior Paints can proudly boast of one of the lowest staff turn-over of any paint company in South Africa. Staff are part of the Excelsior family.


The company is proud of its corporate social investment scheme. The most significant achievement under the scheme has been the ‘owner driver’ initiative. Putting the scheme in place has enabled more than 50 drivers, previously employed by Excelsior, to become small business owners in their own right.


The Excelsior scheme assists with the acquisition of suitable vehicles for drivers. They then become contractors to the company. Besides delivering services to their former employer, they can also enter the market offering services to other companies in their areas.


An internal “Excelsior Academy of paint excellence” has also been established to encourage employees to develop their skills on the technical aspects of coating manufacturing. This significantly broadens their career horizons, whether they choose to remain with Excelsior or not. Training is also offered to retailers and their staff on both product knowledge and sales skills to ensure the Excelsior products are sold correctly and professionally. This training is offered as a no charge extra offering to all Excelsior customers.


​To find out more about our products, our dealer support system, production processes and quality, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


We welcome enquiries from prospective Excelsior dealers and would be delighted to tell you about the way we nurture and support partnerships with dealers.

2141 Albertina Sisulu Road, Industria West, Johannesburg.

TEL: 011 474 1900   FAX: 011 474 8135 (sales)   011 474 9913 (admin)

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