Benjamin Moore has been around for 140 years. It's a given that paint brands can't last that long unless professional painters love them. So the brand is returning some of that love with a capsule clothing collection, capping off its Contractor Appreciation Month.
The company has long sold a basic white painters T-shirt, says Meredith Kinsman, Benjamin Moore's brand and digital marketing vice president. "We wanted to elevate and modernize the look for the next generation, with painting contractors as the point of inspiration," she tells Marketing Daily.
With other workwear brands surging, including Carhartt and Dickie's and an increase in paint-spatters on designer runways, "we realized the fashion world is having a moment that's right for us. Men are becoming more fashion-conscious and seeking high-end creative alternatives to the standard basics."
The company decided those trends made the perfect moment to show some gratitude.
It teamed up with Market, a streetwear brand, to create the new line, with 20 custom jackets and 20 custom pants.
The collection's core includes a beanie, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a regular T-shirt, and then a jacket and pants. All five pieces cost around $300.
Kinsman says that while the company will be giving it out generously to its most valued contractors as swag, she expects it will also appeal to non-painters.
It's hard to pigeonhole today's painting contractors, especially the younger ones, she notes. "They're all entrepreneurs, and they're prolific creators. They're collaborators with their clients, designers and architects, and they have a passion for what we call the art of the everyday. They work hard every day to transform and refresh ordinary spaces with a high level of precision."
Economically, she says they're doing well. "Through the pandemic, it's been a great business because demand has been so high."
And at the same time, there's a tremendous generational shift. "Older contractors are retiring, and as younger contractors come up, they operate the businesses quite differently. They're more digitally savvy, and they approach their business looking for ways to scale it. And they're looking to operationalize their trade in ways we haven't seen before."
The hope is that the new line of workwear will appeal to these younger painters "with a higher level of fashion. Workwear is chic right now, and what our contractors do is very cool. We're drawing that parallel here with this activation."
Teegan Conti, senior manager of partnerships and strategic alliances, who helped interview contractors to inform the collection, says the clothes are comfortable and functional. “They can wear it to a job site and then out to a social occasion," she says.
And don’t expect to see paint splatters. One of the marks of a quality contractor is that they’re happiest when the don’t make messes.
Kinsman hopes the collection will bring new audiences to the brand and honor the contractors. Launch plans include a closed-door event for contractors, a shoppable NTWRK episode, and a pop-up on Los Angeles' trendy Fairfax Avenue.
The launch follows a month of celebrations, including giveaways and breakfasts. "This part of the effort is meant to amplify that message across consumers and contractors," not sell out the collection, Kinsman says.
"We want to build awareness and introduce Benjamin Moore to new audiences."