Join PRO to Strategize for Our Industry’s Future

Published by Nadeem Muaddi on June 24th, 2014

The Hog Ring - Auto Upholstery Community - SEMA Professional Restylers Organization

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO), a SEMA Council that promotes the interests of the restyling industry — including auto upholstery shops, is hosting its annual “Long Range Planning Meeting and Industry Discussion” on July 16 at SEMA headquarters in Southern California.

At the meeting, shop owners, suppliers, manufacturers, and individual trimmers and restylers will discuss the future of the industry and develop strategies for SEMA to use to help us overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

SEMA PRO explains:

Your insight and perspective is critical. Whether your business has been impacted by new trends in auto sales and discretionary spending, vehicle technology, installation concerns, or if there is a need to identify markets for expansion — your business will benefit by being in the room when these and other topics are discussed.

The meeting is open to all employees of PRO-member companies, as well as those interested in joining PRO — so if you’re based in Southern California, or will be nearby mid-July, there’s really no excuse for not attending.

It’s been mentioned many times in our Auto Upholstery Forum that our industry could benefit from a craft association. This is exactly that — with structure, funding and influence to boot. Why not take advantage of raising our craft’s profile by joining and becoming active members of PRO?

To register for the “Long Range Planning Meeting and Industry Discussion” and see a schedule of events, click here.




3 Responses

  1. Looks like another chance for me to express my vision of how the automobile upholsterer fits into the automotive after-market. 😉

    First and foremost, I am very glad that we have any kind of organization that will help us promote the industry and provide a place for professionals to work with each other. The Hog Ring is such a place, and I have great admiration for SEMA and the recognition they have given us. The Nat Danas Scholarship is a truly moving expression of this recognition. With all due respect to my old mentor Nat, the one thing that has always bothered me is the idea of being seen as a ‘restyling’ business.

    I do not think of myself as a restyler. Rather, I think of myself and my shop as a restoration shop. Yes, we also do restyling (or custom upholstery if you prefer), but the thing that distinguishes the automotive interior service shop from a restyler is the ability to restore the interior to its original condition and the detailed knowledge of how interiors are put together. I want our industry to be seen on equal terms with automotive mechanics and automotive collision/repair shops – the kind of businesses an insurance company turns to in order to restore a vehicle to pre-accident condition. Again, there is a great variety of services that we offer (there’s a great article about this somewhere on The Hog Ring), and each of us specialize, but the core skill set from which all these services branch off, should be the automotive interior restoration shop.

    Think about it: most restyling shops consist of installers. They install products that are already made. The good ones will be able to make modifications to allow those products to fit, but they do not fabricate interiors from the fundamental materials like we do. They did not evolve from the old craftsman guilds like our industry has. Some restyling shops have realized that adding auto upholstery services can be beneficial and have done so, but those shops are the exception.

    There is a lot to talk about on this subject, but my basic point is that automotive interior service shops should be given the same respect and appreciation as mechanics and body shops, but we never will unless we emphasize the fundamental nature of our business as one of qualified, professional restorers with a comprehensive knowledge of auto interiors.

    –Jim

  2. Hang on a minute . . . I’ve been thinking. Mechanics are really just installers too, as are most collision repair shops. Because of the computerized nature of cars these days, mechanics simply plug in their diagnostic modules and replace what it tells them too. Likewise with body shops – they just look at what’s damaged and order the replacement parts.

  3. I agree with your sentiment that most auto upholstery shops are more than just “restylers.” However, I don’t think we should get hung up on the name. This is a well-established (and funded) association that wants to organize and lobby on our behalf. All it needs is for us to join and participate. Once we do, we can steer it any way we like.


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