We have experienced a lot of product changes at Rainbow in the last two years. We have completely changed our product mix model to better accommodate our customers. For many years, Rainbow only stocked one product line and that did not allow us to carry the top of the line products in each category. Our current inventory mix is based on a “best in class” approach. This has been a big change, but fun.
Best in class products are products that are recognized industry wide as the best product for a particular application, regardless the manufacturer. Best in class products are usually not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. Some manufacturers will try to sell you what they have that will work for a project instead of what is best for your project. This has expanded a vendor relationships and our overall understanding of our industry. We have made a lot of new friends and we have lost one.
I would like to share some examples of a few best in class products we now carry. Muralo is the first best in class product that comes to mind. Muralo is a product that is made in New Jersey by some chemist that left Benjamin Moore back in the 1980’s. They developed a ceramic waterborne product that will bond to oil without priming. I carry this line just for trim and cabinets. There is no other product that can be compared to this. There are a few products that claim that they can bond over oil, but they are just trying to be like Muralo. This technology is patented and can not be reproduced.
The exterior Shelby Line satin finish latex paint is the next product that is on the list. This product is the only exterior paint that has a lifetime warranty on the product as well as a ten year labor warranty. When looking at paint warranties, it is important to read the fine print. A lot of premium products claim to have a lifetime warranty. This simply means that if there is a paint issue, the manufacturer will replace the paint. That helps but stops short of fixing your house. The labor warranty means if there is a problem, we will repaint your house if it is related to product failure. This can not be found any where except Rainbow!
Another best in class product we carry is Hunter Douglas Window Treatments. Rainbow is the largest distributor in the State and one of the largest in the southeast. Hunter Douglas has the newest trends in window fashion. Most other window treatment companies will watch what Hunter Douglas is coming out with, and then follow suite. Hunter Douglas also has the strongest warranty in the industry. All of their products carry a lifetime warranty. I have seen them replace stuff the they probably should not but protecting the brand is number one for these guys.
Farrow & Ball finds themselves best in class in two categories: paint and wallpaper. Farrow & Ball makes the best paint as far as depth and purity of color and coverage. Their paints come in non-reproducible colors that are very washable. Tins are what their gallons are referred to as and they cover almost 600 square feet per gallon. Other premium paints cover 350 to 400 square feet per gallon. When Benjamin Moore first introduced their Aura line, it covered 450 sqft per gallon but then they changed their formulation and it covers less than 400 sqft now. One appropriate way to compare one premium paint to another is by looking at the cost per square foot to paint. The Aura product comes in at $5.88 a square foot while the Farrow and Ball product comes in at $5.08 per square foot. F&B is not only less expensive, it is a far superior product.
Farrow and Ball’s wallpaper is best in class because it is not mass produced, but made at the time of the order. These are hand crafted papers that are made with paint, not ink. The paint gives all their papers texture and depth that ink can not achieve. This is the way wallpaper has been made for hundreds of years in Europe before cheaper printed paper hit the market. Their paper can also be repaired with their F&B paints because they use their own colors. This also makes matching your wallpaper project up with your paint a breeze. F&B’s wallpaper at first glance is very expensive but a F&B roll of wallpaper covers over 40 sqft per roll, which is double the 20 sqft which is the industry standard.
We have made a lot of changes in the last two years that have taught us a lot and put us a lot closer to bringing the people the best products for what they are working on, regardless of manufacturer.