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Doust plumbs US market

TWO years ago Phillip Doust was ‘on the shovel’.

He was disillusioned with his trade after 30 years as a plumbing contractor. He wanted and needed a change.

Now, Mr Doust is overseeing the construction of a factory-headquarters for his company Doust Plumbing Products.

The facility will provide the launching pad for the company to increase its share of the Australian market and break into the US and, possibly, Asia.

“We hope to capture 20 per cent of the Australian market in all categories within four years,” Mr Doust said.

His optimism is understandable given that sales increased 25 per cent last financial year and Mr Doust expects them to treble this financial year.

The catalyst for the berth of the company was Mr Doust’s development of the Doustvalve, a drip-proof tap washer which uses a combination of a bladder system and water pressure to ensure it cannot be damaged by overtightening.

“I was always frustrated by tap washers and thought there had to be a better way,” he said.

The product was launched on the market in late 1998 and the company’s growth has resulted in the move from the garage at Mr Doust’s Marmion home to the 700 square metre complex at Malaga.

“The Doustvalve established the market and, because it did so well, we investigated and developed new products to complement the range,” Mr Doust said.

“Our motto is, if you have a problem with your plumbing, we have a product to fix it.”

His challenge is to sell that motto into the US, where the company was recently granted a patent.

“Our biggest problem is putting a team into the US and getting the product onto the shelves,” Mr Doust said.

He did not want to rely on agents who “didn’t know or believe in the product”.

Apart from exposure on the Burke’s Backyard television programme, Mr Doust said the company had received little recognition.

“At first I was annoyed that no one took us seriously – but it probably worked in our favour.

“I have been told that developing a product and successfully marketing it is six times less likely than winning lotto.

“I knew we had a good product so I was confident our numbers would come up.”

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