Gary and Mike Oliver

Trimline is 55 today! Over the years they have seen many competitors come and go, so we asked them what it takes to succeed in the marine interior outfitting industry.

From small beginnings

When founder Reg Oliver was made redundant in 1965, he was gifted a sewing machine by his ex-employer. While some may have been down-heartened, Reg saw this as an opportunity to build a better future for his young family at the time.

Reg had a background in ‘trimming’, an upholstery practice he’d used during his time working for the railway. So, armed with this knowledge he set up Trimline and offered upholstering services to the local marine market.

Second Generation

Young Mike and Gary Oliver

By the 1980s the company had expanded to offering full interior refits for cruise ships, ferries and defence vessels.

It was at this time that Reg’s sons Mike and Gary Oliver joined the business, carrying out their apprenticeships on the shop floor and learning the business from the ground up. By the time Reg retired in the early 1990s, Gary had become Managing Director and Mike was heading up the Sales department.

Factors of Success

Chairman, Gary told us, “I have often been asked how have we done it? The answer is not a simple one, but the top three would be:

  1. Listen very carefully to what your customers tell you and really get to know them. From building a specification to finding out what they are planning next, find out what they are thinking, remember it is they that control your world.
  2. Do not remove all the profits from the business, save enough for a rainy day or even a recession.
  3. Employ and try your best to retain really good people who are smarter than you are. The ego has no place in business.”

Double Celebration

When it comes to retaining excellent employees, Trimline has a top track record. Only last week Barry Hurst celebrated his 40-year work anniversary. Reflecting on his time at Trimline, Barry said “I joined Trimline in 1980 so I have seen a lot of changes during my 40 years working here. The industry has changed, and we have changed with it, but the one consistent is the people here.

Trimline’s 55th birthday cake

We wish Trimline a very happy birthday!