O’Brien Products was the brainchild of Don O’Brien, a former painting contractor, and Warren Percell, a graphic artist and a commercial sign maker. Don had a lifetime of connections in the painting industry and Warren a lifetime of design and packaging. They were two old guys who believed they had a product that could change the drudgery and danger of brush cleaning and protect the planet at the same time. Their belief took action when they began funneling Dizzolve from a five gallon bucket into quart bottles with labels made on Warren’s computer. Don took Dizzolve to stores he had dealt with through the years. He set up a small table and sold twelve quarts the first day. The painters loved it! Three years later, Dizzolve is in twenty-five states and will soon be in Canada.
Along the way, they formed a corporation, applied for a patent, hired a bottling plant and enlisted the professionalism of four others: Theresa Kelly with thirty years in advertising, Anthy O’Brien with forty years management in telecom; Keith Percell with 30 years in IT, and Jennifer Spengler with 15 years in customer relations. Don’s trip to local stores evolved to air flights to the East Coast from Miami to Boston and long road trips from San Diego to Seattle and all the way to Tulsa and Houston. The result: Dizzolve is now in over four hundred stores. Warren designed labels, brochures, POS boxes and packaging and combined with Keith to streamline warehousing and shipping. Theresa took over shipping while Anthy managed all purchasing, payments, contracts and business management. Keith managed all IT including web site development and technical issues involving production. Jennifer is the office manager and customer liaison. All have become the best of friends.
Dizzolve began in part because profit became at odds with health and the environment. Inexpensive petroleum-based solvents had been the only effective way to clean painting tools. However, the green-house gasses and toxicity in solvents posed a threat to health and the environment. A substitute was needed. Of all the contenders, only Dizzolve Brush Cleaner & Conditioner protects personal and environmental health, outperforms solvents, and is less expensive. Don O’Brien, Dizzolve’s founder, and long-time painting contractor, tells why he brought Dizzovle to market.
“As a contractor of thirty-five years specializing in Victorian restoration, I had always been careful to protect the health of my workers and had handled toxic waste in accordance with sound environmental practice. As a PDCA apprenticeship instructor, I passed this knowledge on to a new generation of painters. The handling of toxic solvents was often the focus of health and safety and hazmat training. I always emphasized one warning on Safety Data Sheets for solvents: “repeated and prolonged exposure can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage.” Tragically, most home owners and even painters are unaware of this danger. Proper respirator protection and chemical resistant gloves are rarely employed.”
“However, it wasn’t health and safety that finally spurred me to bring Dizzolve to market. It was the EPA. In California, the EPA began limiting the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint products including solvents. These “California compliant” solvents were quite ineffective. Painters began throwing away their brushes at day’s end because cleaning became time consuming and their brushes weren’t coming clean. Enter Dizzolve which has almost zero VOCs and cleans brushes faster and better than solvents and less expensively. The brain-safe factor was an added bonus.”