Murray Gardner, Kiwi founder of Dalsouple Australasia, and Ann Glasson independent rep. for ACN, a large direct seller of our ‘daily telecommunications’, met through skype on the internet – Ann’s business partner happened to be in Taupo where Murray lives.
A relationship blossomed over the ‘airwaves’, there were some trans-Tasman flights, and Murray is now tackling the Australian market with his domestic, commercial and industrial ‘eco-friendly, high impact rubber flooring and dam liners’.
Murray is a specialist consultant for large scale high traffic applications, Gym sports floors, locker rooms etc. He handles agencies for:
AND, a man who keeps his eyes and ears open, he is always chasing up interesting products and applications in this general area.
FYI Natural rubber is a wholly renewable raw material and mature rubber trees are exceptionally efficient in absorbing harmful CO2 from the atmosphere. Rubber is also easy to recycle, not just once but several times, with many potential applications. It has inherently low toxicity, particularly compared to PVC based flooring. All these factors, combined with a long service life, contribute to a favourable environmental life cycle performance.
When I first met Murray with Ann – both definitely dewy-eyed – they had just come from the Melbourne Cricket Ground where they’d put up the idea of a polyethelene ground cover that is light enough to be moved in a few minutes instead of 30-40 minutes and is pretty much tear proof, though still repairable if nicked by spikes etc. Murray has already installed such a cover on the Auckland equivalent of the MCG Eden Park as well as at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.
Murray is an importer, agent, organiser and consultant, selling products the equivalent of which are not produced here in Australia. Having employed staff and been ‘disappointed’ be now runs his business pretty much on his own. Clearly ‘word of mouth’ promotion’ and the confidence in his product to go out and sell it, is a vital part of Dalsouple Australasia. For more info visit www.ecorubber.com.au.
How Murray got where he is
Murray tells me he has ‘kept his eyes and ears open’ and basically ‘gone for it’ when he has seen an opening or had an idea. He started out with a higher degree in Physical Geography, studying hydrology, geomorphology, sea surface temperatures and climatology, with Spanish and German thrown in for good measure!
After all that study Murray didn’t want to be a teacher or stay on as an academic so he asked himself “What is my passion?” The answer? Ford cars!! He wrote to Ford in Wellington, was offered an interview with the Marketing Manager for Ford NZ, and ended up as Product Analyst – comparing good/bad points with the competition – for 3 years. After writing the Ford EA Falcon market brief for NZ, Murray decided he didn’t want to be in corporate life till age 64 and he wasn’t being paid enough, so he left in 1989.
The previous year, after watching groundsmen struggle with the cover at the cricket at Eden Park, he thought there must be an easier, quicker way. He happened to see a TV report on the shuttle – yes, the one that blew up – and noticed a comment about a plastic covering designed to be light enough to be removed really quickly before takeoff. Murray got in touch with the manufacturer, Reef Industries and went and sold Eden Park a new cover that could be removed in minutes.
Reef Industries also produces innovative dam/pond lining materials of different qualities for various uses. Murray found a use for these in chemical containment in the Fire Service. In NZ Fire Service trucks now, tucked under the seat, there is a cover, resistant to a massive range of chemicals, for emergency chemical containment. Previously firefighters had to wait for 44 gallon drums to arrive at the emergency site.
Murray definitely had a new direction. In 1992 a contact put him in touch with Tuflex Rubber Flooring, recognising the potential to generate some sales, and then Murray’s sister in the UK suggested he contact Dalsouple for another rubber product to sell ‘down under’.
The French company Dalsouple began manufacturing natural rubber products in the 1940s. By 1960 the company had moved over to synthetic rubber alternatives. They were cheaper, easier to process and offered more uniformity of colour. But with sustainability now high on the design agenda, Dalsouple has decided it’s time to heighten the environmental profile of its products by going back to nature. The result is DalNatural – a new generation rubber floor covering with over 90% natural ingredients.
DalNatural properties are:
Last year Dalsouple UK ran a ‘Transform the Future’ flooring design competition competition ‘Sustainable design doesn’t have to be boring”.
In 2007, here in Melbourne, through the PWF network, Murray has met Jan Stephenson of Agflow Water Systems, written up back in 2005, A ‘gap in the market’ identified – saving businesses 80-90% water usage. They are jointly ‘doing one of many big dam and liner’ jobs and are just about to import the first of their lightweight, portable water tanks from Reef Industries, which are not available here in Oz.
These tanks are made from the same polyolefin material as in the chemical containment covers. They are like a drum liner but are supported by a lightweight reinforced plastic mesh system. The fabric is a reversible white/black, the tank height is 3’6″ and the sizes:
6 ft diameter holds 2700 litres
10 ft – 7700 litres
15 ft – 175000 litres
20 ft – 31000 litres
30 ft – 70074 litres
These tanks are really lightweight and come packaged and rolled up like a tent. The 6ft diameter tank weighs 35 kg and the liner itself, 4kg. They are used mostly for stock water tanks in the US but Jan and Murray can see them being used as rainwater tanks in either domestic or agriculture applications here. They will be available almost immediately, are competitively priced AND there will be NO wait!
With the drought Jan has been flatout for months, so Murray’s arrival was very well timed. A firm friendship has formed, both are self-confessed dreamers and love gadgets and plan working together on several projects.
Two entrepreneurs doing a good job – good luck to them!