You’ll remember from the first instalment that John Wellard had sold the original windscreen repair kits all over the UK, but sadly had been made redundant in 1981, at just about the time that customers were beginning to ask for windscreen repair resin.
John contacted his old employer, Ziebart and asked if he could buy all the resin refill packs that they had, which included the all important injectors. They agreed, so John’s wife, Pam, went down, paid £10 and filled up her Mini to the roof with boxes of resin and injectors. The epoxy resin was all well out of date and after numerous telephone calls, they tracked down a resin supplier, who sold them a 5 gallon drum of resin and hardener.
In the kitchen of their house in Worthing, John and Pam manufactured a jig to hold glass phials and, heating the resin over the stove and trying to ignore the noxious, toxic fumes, they managed to make 100 resin packs, and the Esprit brand was born.
To make the rest of the repair kit, John’s father, Thomas, created a jig pattern (the prototype Classic bridge) and they found a company that would manufacture them in aluminium. John and his father would finish off each jig by hand, including spray painting them in his shed. Other parts were sourced all over London and the South East and finally they had a saleable kit and the beginnings of a business. It truly was a family business with John’s father plus Pam, and their small daughter Victoria all pitching in and building kits at the weekend for John to go out and sell the following week.
They filmed a training video with their Betamax video camera and designed and printed colour brochures. They designed and created their own injectors and found a local company who would manufacture these.
And then it was time to hit the road, find some customers and get these new Esprit kits sold!
Next month..selling the kit and a sad setback.