Work hard, climb hard
Metex works with British manufacturers to produce innovative, high quality, genuinely useful products, designed to save the construction trades time and money. Here, Metex’s Daniel Hopkins explains how the company’s ethos stems from his own personal determination and creative mind, and describes how to run a successful business using hard work and thinking outside the box.
I’m Daniel Hopkins, 49 years young, and a very driven individual that tries to squeeze the most out of each and every day. I have been running my own businesses for 25 years and have built three successful companies prior to Metex. I’m registered severely sight impaired although you wouldn’t necessarily know this when just chatting to me, I have only central vision or “tunnel vision” remaining, making mobility very challenging and I haven’t driven for over 20 years – this being particularly frustrating, hurry up driverless cars!
Taking the climb
Myself and some close friends decided to climb Kilimanjaro for the eye disease charity RP Fighting Blindness. I wanted to see how far I could push myself, both physically and mentally, and see how far I could get with my sight loss and whether this would be a barrier. I climbed with one on my best friends who guided me virtually every step of the way, be at airports, at night in the dark when I’m nearly totally blind, and of course up the mountain.
At around 3:15am on summit night I had virtually given up, the mental strain of walking three hours in total darkness had almost overpowered me – but with encouragement (and chocolate) I rallied and reached the summit some 5 hours later. It was a gruelling day of 16 hours walking and the hardest physical and mental task I have ever undertaken. In total, we raised £20,000 for the charity.
I push myself every day at work to the same degree and am not easily beaten or prepared to give up on challenges that are put before me. It’s this dogged determination in business that you need, to never settle with the status quo, to look for the next opportunity. This is how Metex was born.
I’ve always enjoyed building strong brands that I can be proud of, some of which are still highly regarded in the industry today. Metex was formed in 2014 as I wanted to start something totally fresh and brand new. I partnered with a very capable product design engineer, fellow Metex director, Daniel Bamford (B from the JCB family). Together we evolve product concepts into actual hardware that can be commercialised. Our ethos is simply to create, design and manufacture innovative products for the construction industry, and any sub sectors where we feel a real opportunity exists. We want to make products that make a real difference with time spent using them, simplicity and ultimately create cost saving solutions for the tradesperson on site when using our products.
We manufacture a wide range of products but work specifically within three sub sectors, fixings and hardware, plumbing & drainage and screeding & concrete. Our Corefix fixing is a great product for the AV installer, both in the domestic and commercial market, whereas our award-winning pest control product Ratwall is just as clever and sits within our drainage sector. Metal is always our preferred building material hence the name Metex. Where possible will use high grade coated steel or aluminium to produce products that last and are desirable – even if they are sometimes not the cheapest.
We have built the Metex brand and reputation on the quality of our products, both in terms of materials and performance. We prefer to use first class British suppliers, including a number that also supply the medical and aerospace industries. Our own in-house R&D are able to maintain control of the entire design process from initial idea right through to product approval, market launch and production quality control.
Using independent test laboratories to verify our in-house R&D work allows us to stand behind the data we publish; this has been particularly useful in obtaining the impressive test figures for Corefix.
We have seen rapid adoption of Corefix within the CI market. The patented wall fixing eliminates the issues previously associated with fixing dot and dab walls. The Corefix range is expanding to include a dedicated fixing for thermalite blocks, with further exciting developments on the horizon. Corefix is available at trade counters across the country as well as direct from Metex.
Advice for starting out
As to anyone starting out in the construction industry or any sub sector – it’s fun, you have to work hard but your days are generally very varied and due to the number of different tasks that you can get pulled into, there is never a quiet moment. It may not be deemed to be as glamorous as IT or funky as graphic design, but you get to meet an awful lot of good people who are good to deal with and straight talking, and they genuinely want to see businesses like ours step up to the next level. My advice is to look at the installer / construction sector with fresh eyes it has a lot to offer!
(Article first published on Essential Install, May 2018)