Over the past six years we have seen a number of changes in the brush industry that have positively and negatively affected the way we do things in our little corner of the business. First of all, natural bristle, both hog bristle (paint brushes) and tampico bristle (buffing brushes) is becoming more scarce, and the prices are going up. Also, the furniture paint market is finally trending away from natural bristle to synthetic bristle, which is something we have been working at for years. Natural bristle brushes certainly have their place in our market, especially for waxes, but they were just never the ideal brush for the water-based paints that furniture painters use. I think we all know where that trend started, but the furniture painting community was slow to adapt to the benefits of synthetic bristle.
Waxes have seen a significant decline in the last couple of years as well, with customers wanting a more durable finish on their pieces. And in the year and a half since we launched our new line of Plush synthetic brushes, we have seen a steady decline in the sales of natural bristle brushes. We have had to make some decisions regarding the re-ordering of these brushes, since our typical minimum purchases would leave us with a 2 - 3 year supply of inventory versus the 3-6 month supply that we are used to working with. Those numbers just do not make sense from a business standpoint, as I can imagine no one would see the advantage of holding inventory for years at a time.
So, due to those factors we have decided to phase out all remaining natural bristle brushes effective immediately. We have been working towards this end for the last several months as our supply of certain models have sold out and we did some calculations on their run-rates over the last year. Our conclusions were obvious, and we allowed some of the products to lapse and received very few inquiries on those as to when they would re-appear.
I have also decided to trim down our sundry lines significantly. We have offered many different products to complement our brushes and paint sales in general and a few of them have been stellar sellers, but most of them do not move as quickly as we would like. We will keep those that are the top movers as a complement to our core synthetic brush line, thereby concentrating our focus on what our customers purchase the most. We can free up some inventory capital and keep better stock of our core items, hopefully leading to smaller leads times when one brush sells out faster than the rest (which happens often) and throws our ordering cycle out of whack.
The affected lines are:
- All sizes of EasyPaint Classic and Round Brushes - retired
- All 3 sizes of EasyWax Brushes - retired
- All 3 sizes of Paint&Wax Brushes - retired
- Wax Buffing Brush - Drill - retired
- Modern Masters (we will keep only the Metallics in 6oz and 32oz sizes)
- Various sundries - too many to list but we will update our site and likely discount the items we want to move out
The remaining quantities of these models will continue to be sold until their inventory is depleted. Our newer Limited Edition Round Wax Brushes are still in good supply, and we will continue to offer those, as well, until they are gone. And in case you were wondering, for a "Limited Edition" we actually brought in a large number of them, so they have lasted for quite a while, but they have been subjected to the same slow-down as the rest of the natural bristle line.
Now, having said all of that, we do have one little surprise on the horizon. We are introducing a Special Edition of our new-style Semi-Oval brushes with a natural bristle head, to complement our Plush synthetic version. We were able to secure a small number of these brushes from our factory and we will offer them in limited numbers. Depending on the response, we may consider adding at least one of the two sizes to our lineup as a permanent addition to keep at least one natural bristle brush available to our customers. Stay tuned for that one.
A decision like this is never easy to make, especially when you know you have customers that rely on these products, but the numbers tell the story. The industry is changing and we have to change with it. We have taken great pride in being at the forefront of the furniture painting brush industry since we introduced our very first Paint&Wax Brush back in the spring of 2013. It has been copied many times over and we are happy that our products have made a difference for small businesses across the continent.
Thank you for six great years of business and networking. We look forward to working with you well into the future, and continuing to offer the best products that we can.