Like any good trimmer, Shawn Brando of The Twisted Artisan knows that it is ALL in the details. Which is why after 25 years of upholstery (from amusement park seats, to airplanes, to high-end auto interiors), Shawn hit the road to see what makes each shop tick.
In 2021, with a passion for videography, and decades of upholstery experience, Shawn mapped out his first “tour.” Stopping at shop after shop to offer his services, his advice, and to get down to the daily grind of each unique team. Sharing trade secrets both old and new on his YouTube channel along the way!
Shawn’s passion for industry-insider knowledge extends into manufacturing and supply, which is how he found himself on a very warm August day at Apex Leather in Hudson, North Carolina.
The ‘Apex’ of Quality Control
When sourcing a new leather vendor, many trimmers have the same first question: “Am I going to get clean hides?” Which, Apex Leather’s customer service team can assure you, you will. This often leads to another question, a friendlier version of… “Well, how do you know?”
Every hide ships directly from the Apex warehouse, where it has been laser measured, checked for blemishes, put through a finni process (getting to that!), and through a drum process if needed. By the time your Apex hide arrives, it has been personally inspected multiple times, by true leather professionals. They do mean every, single hide. Their warehouse staff can attest to this — and now, so can Shawn!
So, what in the world is a finni? Hides that do have blemishes, fold lines for instance, are put through the finni. With the right heat and pressure, the finni pulls the wrinkles or folds out, leaving a pristine hide. Magical, right? Right. Except as you can see from the video this process takes 4 sets of hands, not to mention training, precision and patience.
When a stiff hide makes its way into the warehouse, it meets the drum. This industrial sized drum rotates, and using the weight of the hide itself, loosens the fibers giving way to the workability Apex Leather is known for. And, if a hide for some reason is not up to the Apex standard, it simply does not ship. Which is how they know that, yes, you will be receiving a premium hide every time!
What Sets Apex Leather Apart?
Why did Shawn choose to visit Apex, with so many leather suppliers out there? A few reasons. One of the “coolest” being that beyond the unique quality control measures, Apex is backed by generations of hands-on leather expertise. They are not just QC-ing leather, they are making leather including exotic prints! After hides are embossed (maybe a croc print, for example), they are hand-finished by a leather expert. GIving a whole new meaning to one-of-a-kind hides!
Shawn also noted the great customer care from the Apex team, high quality and consistency of the leather among his top reasons for wanting to “go behind the scenes.” Shawn first ordered hides to use in a video series, and was impressed with the quality. He was more impressed when he ventured into other shops, and saw that their Apex hides had the same “video” quality he had enjoyed.
Enter to Win: Apex Leather giving away 4 FREE HIDES & 5 T-shirts!
In partnership with The Hog Ring and Twisted Artisan, Apex Leather is giving away 4 FREE HIDES to one lucky winner. The next 5 winners will receive a newly released Apex Leather T-Shirt. To enter to win, simply comment #apexleather on Twisted Artisan’s Behind the Scenes YouTube video, or @apexautoleather Instagram “Behind The Scenes” post.
Hurry! Enter Today! Winner will be announced Friday, September 2nd.