"There is Pardal [Sparrow] here." Historic brushwork renews factory in Porto
12 January 2020
"There is Pardal [Sparrow] here." Historic brushwork renews factory in Porto
Jornal de Negócios

"Hello… Here is Pardal! But painting, who paints? Only those who paint with brushes from the Pardal brand can paint well. The brushwork with full guarantee". It was with this radio announcement from Parodiantes de Lisboa - who also made famous the advertising campaigns of J. Pimenta, Chaves do Areeiro, Polilon or Dr. Bayard sweets - that this Porto company gained national fame and profit in the late 1960s.

Half a century later, the historic company continues to manufacture brushes and paint rollers in the 2,000 square meter factory on the side of Estrada da Circunvalação, where 80 people worked in the 1980s and today employs 24. The trend is towards reducing this number to two dozen within three years, continuing industrial automation "as people retire".

With "less labor force incorporation" and the objective of "increasing productivity and reducing waste of materials", the manager, José António Monteiro, reports a new investment of almost half a million euros for this year. This third round of equipment replacement will expand the monthly manufacturing capacity from 150 to 200 thousand pieces in 2021.

"Conservative in many ways", proud of "never [having] been in debt and the principle of having a financial cushion to withstand any crisis that may come", the brushwork founded in 1954 is also refreshing the corporate image, including the logo and making a "more attractive and explanatory" packaging that is already reaching the market.

The list of competitors includes the Portuguese companies Universal and Rigo, as well as European and Asian suppliers. As in other sectors, such as textiles, Monteiro says that it was the "great Chinese invasions with super cheap products of dubious quality" that almost took the toll on Pardal in the late 1990s. How did you endure the struggle? "The answer was to maintain quality", says the manager.

The brand lost a slice of end consumers to these items sold in department stores, but "the main customers did not go there". Or they went and came back.

Paint manufacturers continue to be the main sales channel, with a 60% share, followed by distributors of construction materials. The most recent buyer won in 2019, is thrilling to the producer that introduced the use of the paint roller in the country: Maxmat, participated by Sonae, a specialized retailer with 31 stores and now more dedicated to the professional segment.

In 2019, Pardal earned almost two million euros. The export to various destinations, from Spain to Paraguay accounted for 12% of the total.

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