Grafton International was established in 1985 by Pat and Gareth Hardwick – here’s Pat’s story.
"Grafton was born in 1985, just after my husband and I, and our son Jon returned from living in the USA. Whilst there, I discovered a wonderful product -- a nail strengthener called Develop 10. Upon my return to England, I discovered that there was nothing quite like it on the market, so my husband, Gareth and I decided to import the brand and began UK distribution. Initially I worked alone from home but the business was growing so fast that within 18 months Gareth joined me, and the business continued to flourish. In 1993, my son Jon, a graduate in Accounting joined the company.
This was also the year we moved into our first premises in Shenstone, however within six months, we had already out-grown this building and had to move to a larger site. Grafton (which then became Grafton International) was growing immensely so Gareth's god daughter, Sue Davies and her husband Nathan (who had been working with a brand called European Touch from their home town of Newport) decided to re-locate to the Midlands to join the business.”
Following the sad news of our founder passing away earlier this month, the family has put together a tribute below of her life, feel free to share.
In Loving Memory of Pat Hardwick
Pat was born in Ebbw Vale, Wales in 1938. She married Gareth Hardwick in 1959 and had 3 children, Sally, Martyn and Jonathon and 8 grandchildren.
During her life, Pat supported Gareth with his career, spending many years living overseas in South Africa, Indonesia and America and was widely travelled beyond there, at a time when travel was only for the brave and not fainthearted. It was whilst living in California that Pat discovered a nail strengthening product that completely transformed her nails. Returning from California in 1985, Pat discovered there was no product like Develop Ten on the market, and her admiration for the product drove her to want to represent the product in the UK. Alongside her husband, Pat set up Grafton International in 1985, and became a key figure in the promotion of the nail industry from its very early years, pioneering innovation and products that really worked.
Pat was a straight-talking character who believed in doing business in a straight-forward way with honesty and care. The discovery of Develop Ten reinforced her desire to find products and brands that would make a real and significant difference to salons and their clients, and these are values which underpin Graftons to this very day.
From the solid foundations and values Pat and Gareth created, Grafton International has gone from strength to strength. With a strong family ethos, over 80 members of staff are proud to serve many customers, including household names, and positively touch the lives of millions of consumers every day with products that were carefully selected to fit the Grafton portfolio.
In her personal life, Pat was a very keen golfer and played regularly at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club with her friends and her husband, Gareth. Their love for golf was so great that they bought a second home on a golf course in Spain where they spent many, many years. She was at her very happiest, with Gareth, there.
Pat was well known for being an extremely practical lady who could turn her hand to anything from not only the expected sewing and knitting but also to the unusual painting and carpentry, indeed she is well remembered for single-handedly refitting the whole family kitchen including undertaking the plumbing.
She will be remembered for making a wonderful family home both emotionally and physically.
The family would like to thank everyone for the many messages of support and sympathy they have received. Pat’s life was celebrated in a service in Sutton Coldfield on 28th November 2017.