Meet Huzaifa Matawala: Industrialist, Environmentalist, Philanthropist

Can you tell us about your journey to entering the paint industry and the history of your business, Regent Paints USA?

My family has been in the paint manufacturing business for over 55 years, I am the third generation and have enjoyed exploring how I will expand the business alongside recent technological advances. It all started from Mumbai. My father migrated from Rampura at a very young age with the responsibility of a family and a grandfather who was not very well. He had to serve as the breadwinner of the family, with four brothers to take care of. My grandfather gave him 2500 rupees to start a business. From his kitchen, my father started the process of filling thinner and went door to door to get sales – soon he grew to own his own factory and became an industrialist.

I was pursuing my education in Mumbai at the time. I am an only child and had to leave my post-graduate studies halfway to save my father’s business and expanded the business into oil paints and primers across multiple states of India. When I was in school I was going to the factory consistently and helping my father from the bottom up. I was always very interested in exports – by the time I was 18 I would export colorants and paints to the Middle East. At that time, I was sensitive to trends of globalization. India came face to face with international territories. I used to walk down and go to a telephone booth with a limited budget and conduct cold calls for sales. I was using alibaba to sell to an international market in 1998. From there, expanding into the US Market was always a dream.

What brought you to the United States? Do you manufacture in the US – if yes, why?

In 2015, there was a strong drop in oil prices causing the paint market to crash. The sign of a good entrepreneur is to adapt and accept a new challenge, a mission I take to heart. I have always been attracted to challenges. I came to the United States in 2016, We currently recycle paints in the USA. We reduce and divert a huge amount of paint waste. Our work, experience, and strategy of business have a great place to heal the bleeding and damage the industry is capable of bringing.We also deliver products from our plants in the middle-east to the US market. The US also serves as a central hub as we further ship our products to areas such asMexico, South/Central America, and the Caribbeans. The US enterprise is the soul of our group as it not only enables vision and strategy but sets quality and environmental parameters. We have our Patents in process with USPTO on formulations and processes in paints recycling.

Your business places a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, can you tell us more about that – what does sustainability mean to you and how is that reflected in your business?

Sustainability is the core of everything our work revolves around. The secret of a successful business comes from its capability to solve a problem. The more difficult the problem, the more it calls for a solution. Now, with much social/Environmental/Financial inequality around the world, these are not easy problems to solve. There are thousands of industries manufacturing around the globe, but how many are focusing on the issues created by industrialization. Sometimes, pathbreaking solutions can only come from an Industrialists’’ knowledge of the problem they are capable of creating.Paints are our strength, we have survived in scarcities and calamities, hence sustained into normalcy and excelled where there was the opportunity. I founded a non-profit, ‘The Paint Foundation.’ We are a US-based local Charity Foundation that works on bringing Maximum Sustainability with the Paint and Paint Raw Materials manufacturing Industry. We work as a solution provider for generators of impracticable and unsalable products. We create our products using final usable items from unusable discarded paint products. Based on the idea of reduction of waste creation by reutilization of the excess inventories, expired/reject batches, by-products, change of markets, change of brands, extra inventories created during Mergers/acquisitions, items that could be transformed from waste back into the production line. We export recycled paint products to over 50 countries.

Can you tell us more about your nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors?

We have influenced over 30 million gallons of paints and related items over the period. This problem is so big, that kind of spillage could turn the land of New York state infertile for 50 years. My philanthropic philosophy is inspired by the concept of Islamic giving, and how small contributions over time can add up to large amounts that make a real impact. In my non-profit, we are consistently turning off specs, un-usable items of paints, into value. We enable companies to get the total benefit of the fair market value of the paints while upcycling and reducing waste, incentivizing more green business practices. This financial benefit pushes them to move paints away from land burials or fuel blending and creating more value in the circular economy.

What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs who care about corporate responsibility?

When you fall, If you can accept your mistakes, smile over them, dust yourself and be ready again you are made for business. If you can believe in your dream, ignore the critics, and remember, you can do good.

Business is an opportunity, a place where I’m responsible for my mistakes, and that is the best part. Unlike other places of investments, where you would put your money in other businesses or banks and wait for them to help you earn. If they did good you make a small part if they don’t, you lose all. At least with business, when I lose, I gain experience and knowledge, which is more of value. That knowledge takes you higher.

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