The secret of my success

Brendan Lindsay – Sistema Plastics

For a man who started out making plastic coat hangers in a half-built garage, Brendan Lindsay hasn’t done half bad for himself.

The company he founded, Sistema Plastics, earlier this month sold for $660m to US Fortune 500 company Newell Brands.

Lindsay grew up in Pukerua Bay, near Wellington, and told the Herald he was regarded as “the dunce of the family”.

“My father used to say to me, ‘You will end up on a park bench with a newspaper over you’, so I don’t think they held a lot of hope.”

He started making coat hangers 34 years ago with the ambition of supporting his family. “We worked nights and weekends and then we finally bought our first machine with a loan from the Development Finance Corp at 29 per cent interest.

“I struggled for many years and I nearly lost the business a few times through sharemarket crashes and global financial crises, et cetera.”

Things began changing when export markets, starting with Australia, opened up.

Lindsay said a key to his success was his desire and ability to surround himself with good people.

“My first employee still works for me. I attract good people and I keep good people.”

I’ve been part of building this company.  As I suspect have many of you.  Sistema has been my go-to container for storage for well over a decade and I must have purchased hundreds of them.

I’m a little sad that the ownership has changed to people who won’t appreciate the brand and will only see the dollars, but Brendan’s earned it and I can’t begrudge him his pay day.


– NZ Herald


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