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Meet Darren Gittins, UK Sales Manager


Darren Gittins is the Hempel UK Sales Manager and has been with the company 14 years. Based on the South Coast Darren has spent many years on the water and is also a keen fisherman.

1. How are things looking for Hempel since after this years’ London Boat Show Darren?
We have had some encouraging signs in areas within the yacht sector. These include confirmation of a new East Coast distributor and we have also been busy with day to day orders which could be down to the unseasonable mild temperatures which are leading to people getting a few jobs underway early.

2. Do you think that, in general, there is an air of optimism around the UK Marine Industry?
In certain areas there are some positive people out there and we include ourselves in that category. Those that have looked at diversification are the ones enjoying the most success.

3. Are there any market development or innovation products presented on the Boat Show for the new season?
The larger retailers always go into the season positive, it’s the smaller businesses that are dependent on the day - to - day sales. From a sales perspective all our larger accounts have all ordered as normal and seem to be busy as the year kicks off.

4. With regard to the Hempel brand – where do think its positioned in the coatings sector at the start of 2014? And: what are the objectives for the season 2014?
We maintain a strong and competitive position within the market with products that cover both retail and trade.
We have a reputation for listening to our clients and for being focused on delivering the best coatings solutions possible to deal with the varied fouling conditions that our customers face.

5. How did the market react on this brand new Silic One product, what are the first reactions on it?
The market reacted very well to the launch of SilicOne and the take up and sales have been very strong and continue to grow. We have feedback that clearly demonstrates that the product lives up to its claims. Our R&D department in Barcelona is one of the best in the world and we strive to maintain our levels of product innovation.

6. Do you have any new initiatives to work closely with your retailers?
In 2014 we are looking at individual cases as and when things arise. There is nothing definite but we like to keep things personal and will explore all opportunities presented to use. We can’t work with everyone on everything, but we really do take the time to assess each case from local Tide Tables to offering prizes at regional events.

     7. What do you think is the secret to the Hempel longevity?
There is no doubt that the Hempel brand is synonymous with quality, sound advice, consistency and a good price point. We are known for retaining clients and looking after them sometimes for generations.

8. Do you have any major objectives for 2014 as a company or are you going to continue to build on your on going successes while the industry recovers its strength?
As far as 2014 goes we are keen to work harder with our distributors and retain our presence within the retail environment. We keep our customers at the forefront of everything we do. We have a new website coming into the UK that will be informative and easy to navigate and will answer lots of coating queries and will keep everyone, trade and retail, up to date with our news, regional sponsorships and new product innovation.

9. So to sum up Darren, where do you see Hempel in 12 months time? In 12 months time Hempel will still be at the forefront of the yacht coatings market. Our brand is visible, strong and our client base is loyal. We are in a solid position that we can maintain at the same time as pushing on with R&D and new product innovation.