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Leeds-based Brouns & Co, a business that manufactures traditional paints based on linseed oil made from West Yorkshire-grown flax, expects to top £100,000 in US exports in 2022 after a year of growth in the market.
Founder and CEO Michiel Brouns, who has been working with International trade advisers from the Department of International Trade (DIT) in Yorkshire, has seen huge interest in the Yorkshire flax-based products.
"Linseed paint has been used for hundreds of years to protect and coat wood both inside and outside, and the US architectural heritage means there are enormous numbers of timber-build buildings, hence we have been working to raise awareness of the products Stateside,” said Michiel.
One of only a handful of linseed paint manufacturers in Europe, Brouns & Co will see US orders, fulfilled from the firm’s Leeds warehouse, top over £100,000 for the first time in 2022.
"There is a focus on regions such New England, as well as most of the east coast including South Carolina where the maintenance and preservation of historic wooden buildings is a major conservation issue,” said Michiel.
"The DIT has helped us fund projects to identify the best potential markets for us and we are even hosting events with the British Consulate in Boston, when we return to the US in April, to meet face-to-face with conservation bodies and heritage professionals.”
Brouns & Co’s client list in the UK includes a number of historic stately homes such as Chatsworth House and Grosvenor Estates, and linseed-based paint is gaining in popularity globally due to its environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic properties, as well as its durability.
Michiel said: "The US is our biggest potential market, particularly among owners and custodians of the historic wooden properties typical of the East Coast and other historic areas of America that were settled in the 18th and 19th centuries.
"People are now specifying products that are environmentally sustainable and long lasting, as well as performing very well, and linseed paint is ideal. We had a series of really good meetings when we travelled out to New Orleans, North and South Carolina and we’re returning to New England in April, with the expectation that we will open a US base in 2022.”
Conservation expert Michiel, originally from the Netherlands, relocated to Yorkshire in 2006, launching his Garforth-based business with Histoglass, a specialised thin double-glazing product ideal for historic properties, before recognising the demand for high quality natural paints.
Brouns & Co manufactures its exterior and interior linseed paint in a range of 40 historically accurate colours.