Peter Shalson left Hendon County School at just 16, well not so much left but in his own words was ‘sort of asked to leave’. From Hendon County School Shalson went on to gain a couple of O levels and A levels at college before He took on a job as a door to door encyclopaedia salesman in order to buy his first car, and the rest they say is history. And what great history indeed!
On from his days of selling encyclopaedias, Shalson went to work for a tiny braids and trimmings firm known as Braitrim. He started off selling coat hangers to other small businesses.
In 1978 Shalson put down a small down payment of £10,000 which ensured him a stake in the company. He then over the following 20 years took this small company and expanded on it, eventually landing a huge client base which included such stores as Marks and Spencer’s, Tesco, Woolworths, Littlewoods and C&A. Making Braitrim an international supplier of not only coat hangers but of packaging and accessories as well.
In the year of 1998 Braitrim was sold to Mercury Asset Management (a private equity arm of Merrill Lynch), for a staggering £85million, with Shalson retaining a 20% stake of the company. He disposed of this holding in 2001 when Mercury sold Braitrim to ‘Spotless Group’, an Australian business service for £120million.
The ‘spotless group’ still continues in to be an internationally known manufacturing brand. However, they have now renamed the Braitrim brand to that of Braiform which according to the Braiform people themselves ‘signals the global integration of our Braitrim, Plasti-form and Spotless Plastics businesses’ (Braitrim, 2010).
So there you have it, through sheer determination, inspiration and a lucky market niche, Peter Shalson made this tiny firm into an international manufacturing brand.