Legendary interior fabricator Ron Mangus is back at it – this time offering a how-to seminar on seat building and design. Believe us, if there’s one person you want pick up a few tricks from, it’s this guy. His award-winning designs have been featured in magazines from Street Rodder to Super Chevy, and he’s also written a couple books himself.
Archive for August, 2011
Convertibles are available in two kinds, those with folding soft tops and those with retractable hard tops – right?
Not any more. The guys over at German Car Forum got their hands on a patent drawing of Porsche’s next generation 911. It shows that Porsche is developing a hybrid top that combines elements of both.
So you set up a Facebook page for your auto upholstery shop – now what?
The good news is that you’re on the right track. While word-of-mouth is still the preferred method of marketing for small businesses, many are becoming increasingly more reliant on social media. According to a recent study by AT&T, 41% of small businesses have a Facebook page. In 2010, only 27% of businesses reported using Facebook – that’s a 52% increase in just one year.
What’s more, 41% of all small businesses using social media said they’ve seen measurable success – in terms of better communication with new and/or existing customers.
The trick is how to translate that better communication into more business for your shop. The following 10 tips will show you how.
Long gone are the days when people bought cars just because they looked good. The Associated Press has published an interesting article about how the quality of car interiors is playing a bigger role in customers’ buying decisions – leading many automakers to improve their comfort, design and technological sophistication. (more…)
I’m waiting for Kia to start trimming its cars in squirrel tails, because the list of things that automakers are using to manufacture their cabins are getting weirder by the day.
We’ve already told you about Toyota’s use of sugarcane, Nissan’s use of water bottles, Ford’s use of recycled jeans pants and Hyundai’s use of volcanic rock. Now, the University of Alberta is developing new ways to use cow byproducts in cars – and I’m not talking about leather. They’re making interior plastics and headliners out of ground up cow carcasses.
Placing an ad in a local newspaper is a great way to advertise your business – if, for instance, you’re a restaurant owner whose target market is virtually anyone who eats. But if you work in the highly specialized field of auto upholstery, you can’t afford to waste valuable time and money on broad marketing strategies that provide little in return. To be successful, your marketing techniques must be as specialized as the industry in which you operate.
After all, folks who choose custom upholstery over retail slipcovers are a select few. It’s this niche market – comprised of auto enthusiasts and collectors – whose radar you want to stay on. One of the best ways of doing so is by getting involved with community car clubs and auto shows.
Wisdom often comes from experience, and a lot of the times those experiences are bad. That’s why when a person, who I consider wise, says “take it from me,” I pay attention.
You see, learning the hard way is sometimes the best lesson. Call it a blessing in disguise, but screwing up leaves us with a valuable lesson learned that we won’t soon forget or repeat.
In fact, the only thing better than learning from your own mistakes, is learning from someone else’s. That’s why I’m urging all trimmers to share stories of things they’ve learned the hard way.
Suppose your auto trim shop catches fire or a tree falls over and crashes through the roof – are you covered?
Hotrod & Restoration recently published a great article about how to protect your shop (and livelihood) from falling victim to a natural disaster. Among the steps they recommend: (1) find alternate storage for your projects and equipment, (2) back up your files and (3) talk to your insurance company before it’s too late.
Developing and executing a well-planned marketing strategy for your auto upholstery shop can help increase profits and propel it to new levels of success. With so many proven methods available – including fliers, commercials, sponsorships and special promotions – the possibilities are endless. However, none of these marketing tools will make a difference if your business doesn’t adhere to the concept of total quality management first.