Aberdeen painting and decorating business Trade Secrets has opened the doors to its new £20,000 training academy.
Owner Scott Annison believes is the first of its kind in the north-east.
Both trade professionals and DIY enthusiasts can attend one-day workshops held at the Mugiemoss Road-based academy.
The 38-year-old described interest in the courses, which include airless spray painting and plastering, as “great” with a waiting list already in place for upcoming events.
Mr Annison opened Trade Secrets UK, which provides a wide range of painting and decorating products, in October 2018.
Since then he has grown the business and currently employs a team of five, including manager Jason Wallace.
He said: “I have always had a keen interest in renovations, and from a young age I wanted to learn how to do certain tasks the correct way, so I ended up training as a painter and decorator.
“From there I began to understand the difference between the quality of products and why they can make a huge difference to the outcome of a job.
“So having had my own painting business for a number of years I decided to take the leap into opening a paint store that would stock a selection of products I believe in and would use myself.
“There is so much to painting and decorating and if our team here at Trade Secrets can help people choose the best products and give useful tips along the way, then I have achieved what I had hoped for.
“We now welcome a wide range of customers from house builders and interior designers, to renovators and trade professionals.”
DIY training in the pipeline
Mr Annison is looking towards growing the training academy and offering more workshops for both the public and professionals.
He said: “I wanted to open the training academy because having learned how to use the airless spray equipment I understood the benefits it can offer to the decorating industry and the quality of the finish the customer receives.
“This technique isn’t commonly used in the area and because there was no training facility locally, it was a natural addition to the decorating store given we already stock the paint and machinery in store.
“There is nowhere else in the Aberdeenshire area that offer these courses.
“We hope to expand our portfolio of courses offered to include DIY training for the public.”
Trade Secrets has continued trading throughout Covid-19 and benefitted from paint becoming a must-have item for many people.
Mr Annison said: “As with all small businesses, the pandemic was a huge concern and we were worried about the impact it was have on the store.
“However, the fact everyone was cooped up at home turned into a huge advantage and we were inundated with requests for paint.
“Fence paint became the new must have item over toilet roll.
“So although we shut our physical store to customers, we changed our processes, reduced our staffing and managed to carry out door-step deliveries.”
Target customers across the UK
Looking to the future, Mr Annison intends to keep on growing the overall business.
He said: “We have a number of exciting things in the pipeline this year.
“We hope to expand our store and stock a larger range of products including wallpaper and additional paint brands.
“Our website is nearing completion so this should be live very soon.
“As well as providing a local delivery service we have started delivering nationally and hope to expand our customer base across the UK.”
The North East Now campaign has made it easy for people to support local firms in a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
For further information on Trade Secrets UK, visit facebook.com/tradesecretsukltd
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot