Mark Golden on Paint

Entries Comments

Employee Ownership

6 March, 2007 (21:54) | From Home

Golden Artist Colors became an employee owned company in 2002, but in fact it had been truly owned by the employees almost from the onset of the company. Yes, there were a few years back in the early 80’s that no one wanted to own Golden. We were running as fast as we could yet overrunning our funds. It was from the encouragement of my parents, my wife and the growing number of artists that allowed us to survive these first few years. By 1987 we were finally profitable. This was also the year we started our profit sharing plan with all the employees, of which there were about 17. Of those 17, 6 remain with us 20 years later. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated these folks with a special event and hopefully a gift that will in some small measure show our appreciation of all the talent they’ve shared with us over these years.

In a staff meeting in May of 2002, discussing succession planning I shared that Golden Artist Colors was going to have new owners. There was complete silence amongst the over 125 staff members, when we then displayed all their names on a large screen. There were a lot of cheers and tears, but the most important was the comment of one of my colleagues. He said “I’ve always felt like an acted like an owner, this won’t make any difference.” It was at that point I knew we had made the right decision. That we had developed a team of individuals all engaged in making a very special company even better.

I look forward to the next chapters of Golden Artist Colors as we continue to learn how walk this journey together. I believe in employee ownership as a way to change how business can truly be a socially responsible agent of positive change.




Comment from John Frank
Time: March 7, 2007, 11:16 am

I just read your article and I have a few comments that I would like to share with you. I have ordered approximately $2,000 worth of products from your Custom Lab in the past 2 months. I ordered these products through Golden’s Customer Service Department. Unfortunately, I was treated extremely rudely by one of your employees. I was asking about other products that I wish to purchase. I subsequently spoke with the supervisor of your Customer Service Department about the incident. I don’t think he even cared about my interaction with this department. Furthermore, I have still not received the information that I requested. If this is the result of employee ownership then I feel sorry that you are not being better represented.

Comment from John Frank
Time: March 7, 2007, 9:27 pm

Oops! Spoke too soon. 4 more qt. jars have loose lids. When you are done with your self-congradulatory bragging, maybe you could check out your so called Custom Lab.

Comment from Matt Ramada
Time: March 7, 2007, 4:42 pm

As much as it pains me to say this I have a story similar to the one related above. A friend of mine tried, over several weeks, to organize a trip to the factory, since my school is only about a half hour away, and about a dozen of us art students were going to come. He was trying to schedule it for a Friday afternoon and it kept getting pushed back and back, and then he was finally told that he would have to come in the morning, which was entirely incompatible with our school schedule.

I personally have had good luck with customer service questions and imagine that these difficulties don’t relate to the overall quality of the people who work at the company, but I’m tempted to wonder if things have been hectic at GOLDEN over the past couple months.

Comment from John Frank
Time: March 7, 2007, 8:33 pm

Your Employee-Owners in your Custom Lab don’t care either. I just received 23 quarts of colors from your Custom Lab. 3 quarts of Heavy Body colors were filled in 32 oz. Medium Bottles. 2 jars had lids that were just placed on top and were never even screwed on. Needless to say, my wife and I are cleaning all the other jars, as they are all covered in paint. 10 more jars had loosely attached lids. How can you even begin to think that this is fair. We paid exorbitant prices for these products. Besides all of the above complaints, 1qt. jar was labeled as 8 oz. and the chemical composition of the pigments are not listed either. Great company pride!

Comment from John Frank
Time: March 8, 2007, 12:18 pm

Hi Mark,
Thanks a lot for your concern. I agree that your customer service is generally very professional and capable. Maybe I just had a bad Golden day. I stand corrected, as to the 3 yellows that I ordered. They are indeed fluid colors (very confusing in Just Paint). In addition to the foregoing, my problems with the Custom Lab were resolved this morning. I can certainly attest to the beauty and class of your new Natural Earth Colors. I wear them well (just kidding about the cleanup). I felt like a walking draw down. I also realize that problems occur from time to time and I am not writing to disparage your company, I guess I just expected more than what I received. I have purchased your entire Heavy Body line in quarts and I have yet to have any problems with quality control. Thanks for your prompt response to this mess.

Comment from Michael Rassilyer
Time: March 8, 2007, 7:33 am

Holy Cow! What’s going on? I admit I’ve never had occasion to deal with the custom shop, but I first started using Golden products more than 10 yrs ago, and I can honestly say that I’ve only had one issue, and that was relatively minor. I can’t comment on Golden’s employee ownership thing because I’m not involved, but United Airlines was employee owned and didn’t they file chapter 11 a few years back? I really don’t mean to be smart-a**, I’m just wondering about these negative comments. If it were my company, I’d be trying to figure out what the heck is happening and why?

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 8, 2007, 9:52 am

Dear John, Thanks for sharing your experience with Golden over the custom products you ordered and the treatment you received from colleagues here. We are always disappointed when our efforts go sour or mistakes happen. Most typically our Customer Service staff have been quite capable in being able to assist in a courteous and professional manner. It appears we have missed the mark in your instance and I thank you for bringing it to our attention. I hope we are still able to make an appropriate resolve for your issues. Regards, Mark

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 8, 2007, 10:12 am

Thanks Matt, I am disappointed that we couldn’t have provided you with clearer dates and times to schedule your tour. We are quite proud to show off the facility and we are working on developing a regular schedule for tours of the Company. In the past we had difficulties providing tours because of the size of our production area actually meant that folks were potentially coming into active product areas. I love visiting other factories and seeing how work is done. For us we had to actually stop tours in 2003 until we were able to finish the new facility. It has been only recently that we’ve again started to develop an active tour path and schedule for visitors. This will probably be ready in earnest sometime in July or August. Currently, the responsibility of providing tours is given to just a few staff members, and they currently have other job assignments at this point. We do hope that when we can commit to a regular schedule that we can assign folks to this that would have fewer other responsibilities and accommodate more regular requests.

I am grateful that your typical experience with Golden Artist Colors has been a very positive one. The shop is a very active place, with many events, projects and activities going on all the time. We’ve had several training and education events for staff over the last few weeks that closed down the shop for tours. But none of that is an excuse for not keeping you informed. The folks here do have tremendous pride in what we do. It is a disappointment to all of us when we don’t exceed the expectations of all our customers and stakeholders.

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 8, 2007, 10:31 am

Dear John, I can only share that I am so sorry that this has been your experience with the Custom Lab. I have seen the sort of mess that can happen when jars of colors spill or split open in shipping. It is not a pretty sight. Thankfully it is not a common occurrence but when it happens it is really not helpful to know that we do work diligently to try to find solutions and ways to assure that product arrives in good order and with all the information required by our customers.

The Technical support group and Custom Lab staff are reviewing the process this morning and hopefully we can understand why we made these errors. I do know that the 3 quarts of product in the 32 oz. Medium Bottles were Fluid colors and not Heavy Body, so they were in the correct container, but in reviewing the information in the Just Paint describing these colors, it was not at all clear that these colors were only available as Fluids. We will correct that omission as soon as possible. I do know our Technical Director, Jim Hayes will be in contact with you to find out some more details of why things went so awry.

Making Custom Paint is a costly process. The products there are made one at a time, filled by hand, labeled by hand. We shouldn’t have had the errors you had experienced. It is an area of the facility where we invite some of the most talented, creative and conscientious folks in the facility to participate. I know they are extremely disappointed in not being able to serve you in a manner that you should expect from us.
Thanks for bringing this to my and our attention. Regards, Mark

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 8, 2007, 10:40 am

Dear Michael, The most wonderful part of it being an employee owned company is that it is all of our responsibility. Folks here take that very seriously. So you bet, all of our owners want to find the same answers.

I’d like to invite any of you folks who would like to see and experience employee ownership come on up and visit the shop… that is as soon as we understand why Matt had such a difficult time setting up a tour! It truly is an inspiring place to work for me. No it is not easy… as nothing done well is ever easy or always goes smoothly… but it is a great place with very talented and dedicated staff. I know they will find ways to make these errors, mistakes and discourtesies right. I hope as a company we have at least earned the benefit of doubt of being able to do the right thing. I hope that is always the legacy of this company.

Comment from Rachel
Time: March 8, 2007, 12:40 pm

I’m glad to read your post about your employee-owned company. Only companies that truly care about people do that, and it almost always results in great products. I use Golden paints exclusively for years now. And so far only had one glitch, which in all my years of painting, is a good thing as I’ve suffered many set backs with other manufacturers. I’m ashamed of the people who used this site as a complaint sounding board, you should call, email, or write. Trolling the boards is insulting not only to the company, but also to the people who swear by the product, and basically just gives a negative vibe all around. Do you feel any better for doing so, really? I guarantee you many people are happy with your product, Mark, and in fact I recently turned my friend into a Golden painter as well. Cheers!

Comment from Matt Ramada
Time: March 8, 2007, 12:59 pm

Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to have a better understanding of how yor tour system is opperated, and I can understand where you would be still getting a tour schedule running. I’m also happy to know that you have plans to have it set up more thoroughly in the future, I’ll definitely plan on visiting next semester.
-Matt Ramada

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 8, 2007, 1:04 pm

Dear Rachel, Thanks for your comments. Folks truly do work here very hard to make a quality product and service and when we don’t do that the first time, when we fail… to at least make things right again. We owe that to every one who participates with this company. John’s and Matt’s experience with Golden are very real and we own that. I’d love everything we do to be successful but we all know that a greater level of success is recognizing and doing something about it when things are not meeting ours or others expectations.

These emails have been shared with most of our staff members as gifts from these customers; as recommendations for improvement and reasons for not sitting on our laurels as we continue to grow this company. No one here is happy with their experience of Golden, we can do better!

When I began the blog, part of the realization of creating a public forum was allowing folks to share their thoughts and experiences… to respond… to comment. This was not expected to be just folks that agreed with me or had a great experience with the Company. Criticism doesn’t feel good, but it is definitely a good thing. I also know what it’s like to get a box or boxes with spilled paint. It is not a time when someone wants to send a happy letter. I thank you John for working with us! Warmest regards, Mark

Comment from Brian Firth
Time: March 19, 2007, 11:05 am

I have just received my first Golden custom product order and everything was in perfect condition. I was a little anxious waiting about a month for my order to be prepared. However, now that I realize that people are placing $2,000 custom orders, it puts the priority of my little, less than $50 order, in perspective. Everything was perfectly packaged and exactly what I had ordered. As a side note, the new color travel interference colors are amazing!! You must add these to your regular line! In my opinion, they are far superior to the current interference colors in the Golden line.

In general, my dealings with Golden employees have always been a very pleasant experience with very knowledgeable and friendly staff. They have always gone above and beyond to answer my questions and address any problems I have had.

I applaud your commitment to your employees and “spreading the wealth”. In our culture of “Golden Parachutes” for corporate America, it is refreshing to see companies that truly recognize that all employees are an essential piece of the puzzle.

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: March 19, 2007, 12:48 pm

Hey Brian, sorry about the delay in the product delivery. We are in the process of resetting the entire custom lab so that we can be more responsive to our customers needs. I hope we will have all the equipment and staff in place by the beginning of summer. Hopefully, during this transition period we won’t be experiencing much more delay. The Custom and Experimental products are probably out about 3 weeks for shipment. This is certainly less than a stellar response time, but we look forward to being able to engage the new space and processes to speed up our ability to produce these products. The same people making the experimentals also are formulating the custom products, which are truly one of a kind materials. This currently delays our ability to quickly respond to orders. As we gain more activity for the experimentals we will be able to put on more staffing to get these incredibly unique materials out sooner.

Brian, thanks again for the comments on my colleagues here. They truly are a dedicated and passionate group of folks I am very proud to work along side with. Regards, Mark

Comment from Joanne Seward
Time: April 2, 2007, 6:46 am

Dear Mr Golden,

I run a small tradiional Quality art/craft shop in Camblerley, Surrey in the Uk about 40 miles outside of London. I have always admired the colour charts of Golden Acrylics at various trade fairs we have been to. I now feel we may have a market for your acrylics ,which we will probably start introducing via texture gels to start. I will be sourcing them from Global Art Supplies one of our uk wholesalers and was interested to find your web site and see that you appear as passionate as we are about the art materials market.

Life in the Uk art market is currently very tough and we are all having to be very careful about where we put our money stock wise. I am about to start up trial days where customers can try various stock for free and hopefully we will be able to educate them on the difference between quality art materials and the cheap cr.p!!! What you pay is what you get why do so many people not realise that. Very interested you have a weblog as I am interested in trying this idea when time allows!!

Good luck with producing such beautiful products I hope we will be able to increase our range of your products in the future.

Unfortunately a small Uk art shop is small ,I have friends in Miami with a bathroom the size of my shop floor and they aren’t millionaires by any means.

Thanks Jo

Comment from Mark Golden
Time: April 2, 2007, 11:07 am

Dear Jo, I am hopeful we are able to meet your expectations. Best of luck with the products. Please know we are there to back you up in any way we can. You have a very passionate team with Global. They will be a tremendous resource for you. Warmest regards, Mark

Comment from Panagiotis
Time: April 5, 2007, 1:30 pm

Very interesting and beautiful site. It is a lot of ful information. Thanks.

Comment from VIRGIL GOLDEN
Time: February 25, 2008, 2:52 pm


Comment from Mark
Time: February 25, 2008, 5:06 pm

Virgil, thanks for the thought. You have a great last name… best, Mark

Comment from painting preparation steps
Time: September 23, 2014, 8:42 pm

Hello There. I found your weblog the use of msn. That is a really smartly written article.

I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your useful info.
Thank you for the post. I will definitely return.

Write a comment