Entrepreneurship is firmly entrenched in the DNA of Phil Scardigno, as Founder of Gripset Industries, MonstaShop and Axis Manufacture he is one of the inspiring achievements in Australian manufacturing and construction.
In the early 90’s he joined his father’s business Gripcore Australia, a pioneer in developing non hazardous bitumen coatings, that helped inspire Phil’s passion to create safe sustainable solutions for existing and future challenges in the built environment. Innovation delivered from Phil’s vision led to his recognition as a thought leader in the construction industry.
As innovator of products, adaptator to modern day business challenges and disruptive entrepreneur, Phil has become a sought after speaker on industry panels, exhibitions, keynotes and podcasts to share his thought provoking experiences and candid future predictions.
His ongoing journey led to the Climbing With Scars podcast sharing past, present and future ventures, and expanding further with a Climbing With Scars daily vlog documenting behind the scenes of how Phil continues to propel new opportunities with challenges of the entrepreneur’s climb. This evolved to a Climbing With Scars event that Phil hosts in an intimate audience setting, providing a raw exposé with guests sharing their story to inspire start ups, entrepreneurs and individuals following their passion.
Always one to think outside the square, Phil continues to bring to life ideas through opportunities created from his “can do” attitude and a tonne of positivity. According to Phil, this story is only getting started…
With dreams of professional football, Phil’s formative years were dedicated to a soccer ball that consumed his life until his early 20s. While juggling his dream along with a University diploma in Physical Education, Phil took a keen interest in his father’s start up business in the late 80s that developed innovative technology, preventing dampness damage in residential homes. When the dream of becoming a full time professional footballer came to a halt at 23, Phil diverted his path from being an educator towards the inner entrepreneurial flame burning, seeing the pioneering opportunity of his father’s idea to create an industry player that would leave a legacy of solutions and change. Since 1990, Phil’s passions have guided his entrepreneurial spirit to shine and propel him forward to what he continues creating today.
Gripset Industries was born from a small manufacturer and contracting firm Gripcore Australia, who pioneered waterproofing solutions for the housing market before building standards recognised the need for waterproofing in homes. Inheriting his father’s “innovator” mindset, Phil identified the future trends of user and environmentally safe technologies and in 1992 the company developed Gripset 51, the first of its kind solvent free bitumen polymer membrane.
Directing the company through one of Australia’s worst economic recessions in the early 90s, the business continued to evolve where key opportunities presented themselves as the company expanded its safe green friendly range. In 1997 the company ventured into South East Asia with export opportunities for the range that led to ongoing projects over the next decade in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Philippines and China.
During this time there was a thirst for Gripset’s technology in the local trade and DIY markets, where the user friendly nature of its products generated interest from a new retail player on the scenes in 1997, Bunnings. As the DIY/trade retail sector grew, it expanded the footprint of Gripset’s product range to service the ongoing demand for user friendly products. The Gripset Betta brand was created in 2009 for major retail outlets in Australia and New Zealand servicing the growing appetite of DIYers and tradies. This brand was later acquired by Bondall in 2016.
Gripset Industries remains a significant brand of waterproofing systems for the total building envelope. Phil continues to channel the company’s R&D program towards solutions that enable buildings and homes to be constructed with generational value, propelling solutions for the future challenges in the built environment.
Axis Manufacture was developed in 2009, as Phil had recognised that besides the growth of Gripset’s product portfolio, the technology developed had generated interest from many companies requesting private label or OEM services under their own branded products.
The capacity of the existing plant was limiting to produce and expand its development program and realising the manufacturing industry was shrinking in Australia, Phil utilised his relational capital to provide unique solutions to companies throughout Asia Pacific to provide high quality packaged products that would complement their core product ranges. The client portfolio of Axis Manufacture continues to grow and includes specialist niche businesses through to some of the largest corporate construction names that dominate the world stage.
The AXIS name stemmed from being behind-the-scenes of manufacturing products for companies and being the pivotal “axis of the wheel” behind other company’s brands. The Axis Manufacture plant has evolved to service companies in a variety industries, investing in its product development and material testing laboratories for client’s current and future needs. These laboratories will continue to evolve as part of the Axis Technical Centre that has been developed to enhance and educate the industry with both testing and training facilities.
With the growth of online opportunities, Phil identified that the renovator and serious DIYer market was one of the few frontiers that hadn’t had a viable online model to effectively service the consumer with an alternative.
The frustration of knowing how consumers over pay for retail products in Australia and that consumers were not always able to access best product technology because of the corporate retail structure mindset, Phil had used the pain points of many customers in the renovation market to create the MONSTA brand.
In 2017 MonstaShop was born to fill the gap in the online market for DIYers, to provide a modern cost effective alternative to the traditional hardware retailers, providing products at fair price and direct delivery service. Furthermore it became more apparent of the frustrations of renovators and consumers going through the building journey that many projects would finish over budget, seldom on time and creating stress in the process. This led to the evolution of the Monsta GoTo model where independent professional advice could be accessed by renovators or anyone at any stage of the building journey could refer to for guidance to overcome these issues of overspending and stressed out.
Monsta is the newest of businesses and brands in Phil’s portfolio and continues to evolve with disruptive alternatives to a market that grows throughout Australia, with a primary aim of helping the building and renovation journey save people time, money and stress. Watch this space…
I covered in Part I the piece on manufacturers taking the reins to train and educate contractors which for the current time is the accepted norm. Agree or disagree, it is the reality of what is happening out in the everyday world, and while there are Certificate III courses from RTOs the truth is trades rely on […]