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This month we talk to Ian Delaney about his business producing high-quality specialist paints, and the logistical challenges that come with it.

Hi Ian! Tell us about your business

INSTAR produce high quality paints specifically for miniature models and scale models. We utilise the latest in acrylic polymer and colourant technology to provide customers with a high quality product, at a surprisingly low price. Especially compared to our competitors who still use tried and tested methods!

We also source and produce technical products to help painters reach their potential by adjusting the paints to suit their needs, rather than providing a product that we think they “need”.

What motivates you, day-to-day?

One of our passions is encouraging people to explore painting techniques, colour theory, and mixing, to help them achieve the results they want to get.

We help our customers break down the imaginary barriers about subjects being too difficult to handle. By providing them with various PDFs and a fully developed system, we can help them take their next steps without fear.

Reducing our environmental impact

We also actively reduce our impact on the environment by encouraging customers to refill their paint bottles rather than throw them away. It helps to reduce the amount of paint waste, too.

On the manufacturing side we recycle all the water we use, reduce packaging inserts with clever product planning where we can, and utilise fully recyclable and environmentally friendly products in everything we do.

What drove you to start the business?

It was actually an accident! I initially started it because I wanted to make a paint range for myself but once word got out, more and more people started asking if they could have a set of paints.

It all went from there, and we haven’t looked back since, only forwards… Sometimes we look back, just to remind ourselves where we came from.

What particular challenges did you have to overcome in setting up your business, and since then?

Sourcing products and finding someone to actually believe in the project. One of our biggest hurdles was finding the right colourants for the product.

Out of the 10 companies we contacted, only one was willing to work with us. They allowed us to purchase a tiny amount of product as long as our next purchase was for all the remaining material. We honoured this promise only 4 months later when our revamped paint formula took off.


Client of the month quote - Instar

This was compared to the other nine companies who only wanted us to buy the minimum order quantity at a ridiculous level, and not even provide a sample for us to test. Now our main challenge is getting the products into the retailers.

Why did you choose The Accountancy Partnership?

We needed a product or company that would allow us to concentrate on the things we needed to do, rather then get bogged down in tons of paperwork.

Initially we used Quickbooks when we were smaller but as we grew, it became apparent very quickly that Quickbooks didn’t really suit the way our business was working. We found ourselves spending more time doing the accounts rather than moving the business forward.

The Accountancy Partnership made it very easy to transition and work with them, especially with Brexit. It really helped us understand what we needed to do from an accounts point of view.

Have we helped you overcome any challenges, and if so, how?

As mentioned before, Brexit was the main one. While our competitors seemed to be panicking, we calmly talked with our accountant about what we had to do for our customers when it came to VAT, tax, and import charges.

When the 1st January 2021 arrived, it was just like any other day for us, and business continued without a hitch.

What do you have planned for your business in the future?

We hope to continue expanding into more retailers and further spread the brand. USA, Australia, and some European countries are currently our biggest targets for 2022 and beyond.


Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses just like Ian’s. Call 020 3355 4047 or get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Ronan Ferguson

Marketing Executive and Part-Time Copywriter. When I'm not working, you'll likely find me in a boxing gym, or knocking balls around with a wooden stick on a green baize.

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