In 2011 after the divorce, kept the business with 6 stores and added franchisees, expanded to 24 stores in 4 States with 12 franchises. Taking over aged 52 grew from 20 to 65 FTE, sales $7M to $27M. Funded growth from profits (Daph Crowhurst)

australia franchise fte 51-100 painting podcast sales $20m-$30m aud Dec 01, 2020

In this episode, I interview Daph Crowhurst, the Managing Director at Crowies Paints, a fast-expanding retailer of paints. In 2019, Daph was named Telstra’s SA Business Woman of the Year. She got into the industry by buying three paint stores in 1996 with her husband and they grew that to six stores until their divorce in 2011. Aged 52, she decided to keep the business and grow it. 

She started off by changing the business model and they now have 24 stores in four Australian states, with half of those being franchises. Crowies buys paint from manufacturers and sells it in both trade and retail. In 2011, most of their sales were coming from trade, but she focused their marketing and customer service on the retail channel, and now that forms the majority of sales.

The business has grown from eight full-time employees in 1996 to the current sixty-five, including the twelve franchise stores. Sales have also swelled from $7 Million in 2011 to the current $27 Million a year. Daph has consistently funded the business entirely from profits and says the hardest thing about growing a small business is the hours required. The one thing she says she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Be brave” Stay tuned as Daph shares her awesome and successful small business ownership journey. 

This Cast Covers:

  • Buying paint from manufacturers and retailing it to trade customers, painters, and retail customers.
  • Why they have had an increase in business in most of their stores during the pandemic.
  • How they started out with 5 stores and later on changed the business model to grow the business.
  • Differentiating themselves from competitors by doing all the admin work, marketing/advertising, product research, and training for their franchisees.
  • Implementing the no-asshole policy in their franchisee vetting process.
  • Growing from 20 full-time employees to 65, and from $7 Million in sales to $27 Million.
  • Thriving in the capital intensive paint business by bootstrapping purely from profits.
  • Their success in marketing themselves as painting specialists.
  • Growing their retail sales while also sustaining a stable growth in trade accounts.
  • The importance of learning to be brave as a small business owner.
  • Getting a great return on investment from traditional marketing.
  • Appreciating her staff by always giving them the opportunity to step up to the next level and improve.
  • Hiring for the personality without necessarily focusing on the skill too much.
  • The value of building a culture founded on openness and honesty.
  • Finding mentorship from some of her senior staff and suppliers.

Additional Resources:



“There are different steps to feeling like you’ve succeeded” – Daph Crowhurst

“Success is a profitable business where the staff are happy, focused, and willing to work” – Daph Crowhurst

“If you know the industry and you know the game and you think you can do it, just be brave” – Daph Crowhurst

“Know your customers and know your staff” – Daph Crowhurst

“Openness and honesty are the two things that are most valuable” – Daph Crowhurst


Music from “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod License: CC BY


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