ReturnJordi Rubio in Conversation with World Aerosols
Montana Colors was launched in Barcelona in 1994 by Jordi Rubio. In an interview with World Aerosols, he speaks about growth, innovation and inspiration.
In Barcelona, spray paint brand Montana Colors has long been a favourite among street and graffiti artists. The company was founded in 1994 by Jordi Rubio Rocabert, a Barcelona native who started his career working in a paint factory. Now 55 years old, Rubio has transformed the company into a globally recognised source of quality spray paints, with a close connection to the art community.
“When I started this adventure called Montana Colors, I was 27,” Rubio told World Aerosols. “I had started studying law at the University of Barcelona but dropped out due to lack of motivation. I started working in a paint factory as a motorcycle messenger to pay for trips and mountain climbing equipment – my true passion.
“I rose up the ranks at that company until I got to work in the laboratory and took a few different courses in inorganic chemistry until I was fired for taking an extra week of vacations to climb a mountain.”
Rubio, who responds to our questions in a refreshingly honest way, highlighted several factors that played a part in starting his own company.
“The incompetence of my previous superiors made me believe more in myself and have faith in a personal project,” he said. “I met two graffiti writers in 1993 who transmitted the values of this movement to me which coincided with mine: rebellion, commitment, and style.
“With almost no investment, Montana Colors was created in 1994. ‘Montana’ refers to my love of mountains, and ‘Colors’ because they appear when light wins out over darkness. When yes beats no.”
Montana’s link with street and graffiti artists is strong; as Rubio puts it, “Montana is just one part of graffiti, but graffiti is the engine. We would not exist without it”.
Rubio describes his company as “iconic” in the movement but explains that rather than supporting different artists individually, the team at Montana focuses on listening to them and supporting specific projects involving certain artists.
The business’ growth is inspiring. From Rubio’s initial idea back in 1994, the company grew from just two employees to 300 today, and sees annual revenue of €45 million. World Aerosols asked Rubio about the company’s most important milestones:
“Surviving as a company for so many years is the true milestone, especially bearing in mind that, like graffiti, we are a disruptive presence. Now we are a different and benchmark company that has contributed to generating a new industry based on creativity with aerosol paint.”
Close links to big names in the aerosol industry have seen Montana work with the likes of LINDAL Group, to collaborate on “mutually beneficial projects” for the development of different paint diffusion systems.
“Our good relationship with the current CEO of LINDAL is thanks to my friendship with Carlos Alcazar, the commercial director in Spain who retired two years ago,” commented Rubio.
Now an established company in the spray paint industry, Montana Colors shows no signs of slowing down. The firm concentrates its research and development on two areas of technology: the chemistry of the paint and the physics of the aerosol.
“The company is computer-based but we continue to understand the aerosol as an artisanal tool and we expect it to always be the case, obviously without ruling out improvements regarding our impact on the environment.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on countries and businesses across the globe, it’s important to note that some positives also came from the experience. Seemingly, the spray paint market benefitted from lockdowns and changes in routine.
“Strangely, the market has increased,” said Rubio. “Our paint is used to create and that idea has attracted new users because of lockdowns that produced a need to entertain ourselves, work on our homes and decorate ornaments.
“However, as we are growing, we are having problems due to a lack of raw materials and steep inflation. What a crazy world.”
Indeed, aerosol companies worldwide have shared concerns over raw material pricing and cost inflation, and this trend looks set to continue into next year.
Despite challenges in the market, Rubio remains optimistic about Montana Colors’ future.
“Our brand goes beyond aerosols and we are immersed in a considerable number of products that we could never have envisioned when this adventure began.”
Going into 2022, Rubio said the company will continue to be a benchmark and a different company.
“Our goal is not to disappoint any of our customers and make them feel satisfied so that they buy our products again. We survive thanks to repeat sales from our customers and quality is essential. We sell a technical product that has a very fair price and our task is to maintain that balance.”
Thanks a lot to World Aerosols for sharing the interview. You can subscribe to the specialist bi-monthly publication right here.
ShareDecember 16, 2021