Flying colours: Local business adds style to DIY projects

Brightly painted aeroplane in a field

Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies can match paint shades for everything from cars to aeroplanes to bicycles - Credit: Graham Haynes / Bentwaters Cold War Museum 

Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies can add a burst of colour to restoration and DIY projects. 

A colour fan of bold metallic “fantasy” paints 

A colour fan of bold metallic “fantasy” paints - Credit: Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies

With more free time to devote to DIY and restoration projects during lockdown, some of us may have painted ourselves into a corner. But a local business is on hand to help customers realise their boldest and most vibrant design ideas. 

Established in 2018, Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies is a paint mixing specialist based in Ipswich. From its trade counter on Sproughton Business Park, the company offers hand-mixed sprayable, brush-on and aerosol paints, in addition to consumer goods such as masking tape, sanding discs, and products for priming and lacquering. 

Directors Nick Lett and Nicki Blanch have amassed 20 years of experience in the motor trade, equipping them with an extraordinary ability that ensures customers never leave unsatisfied. 

“We can match colours and patterns by eye, which means we can pair our paint to the exact shade of the vehicle rather than using standardised colour supplied by national chains,” Nicki explains. “And it doesn't necessarily have to be a car. If somebody turns up with a motorbike or even a fridge they want painted, we can match the product. We have mixed paint for everything from a World War II bomber to a pair of shoes, as well as just about every car colour you can imagine.” 

Due to coronavirus precautions, customers are not currently allowed in the store but can collect supplies and discuss their requirements at the counter. With the help of colleague Elaine Flatt, Nick and Nicki offer a daily delivery service to bodyshops throughout Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk. This service was briefly interrupted by the pandemic, but is now back in full flow. 

“The first lockdown affected us initially as 80pc of our regular trade customers closed overnight, which was a scary moment for a new company,” Nicki says. 

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Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies soon reopened with reduced hours and created a contactless collection service, which serviced a growing customer base looking to exploit the free time afforded by the pandemic to pursue DIY tasks. 

“It's amazing how many people have been doing projects at home,” Nicki says. “As the pandemic progressed, we began to see more members of the public – many of whom were furloughed and had spare time to work on personal projects. That old MG or Volkswagen Beetle that had been in the garage for years could finally get some attention.” 

Nick and Nicki grew the company’s reputation with expertise and guidance offered to customers, alongside their bespoke merchandise. 

“We became a one-stop shop, talking people through their jobs and advising on the best products to suit them,” Nick says. “It was fun meeting new people and hearing about their DIY projects – from classic cars to bikes to phone boxes to garage doors.” 

Electric pink painted car

This custom electric pink was recently created after a customer said he wanted his car to match the colour of an energy drink can - Credit: Nick’s Automotive Paint Supplies 

But where does the vision for this rainbow of colours – including Nick’s classic Cadbury’s purple – come from? 

“Inspiration tends to come from customers themselves,” Nick explains. “We endeavour to match anything. If you tell us what you have in mind, we will either work to get that spot on or take it to another level!” 

An electric pink was recently created after a customer said he wanted his car the colour of an energy drink can. 

“My favourite colours to mix are those with a major wow factor,” Nick says. “Seeing the expression on a customer's face when you open the tin to show them the finished product is priceless. 

“Moving out of lockdown, it has been nice to see our DIYers and the end results of all their hard work,” Nick adds. “The people of Suffolk certainly like a project and we are happy to help.” 

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