Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Colourlock Leather Repair and Restoration Training event with Lars & Ram, from Lederzentrum, a.k.a. Colourlock, at the Obsessed Garage location in Central FL. This was a long-time coming for me in regards to upping my leather care knowledge with Colourlock. For myself, I’ve been fully aware of the Colourlock system due to my working with Swissvax all these years and the long-time relationship these two companies share together overseas. Needless to say, I was excited to formally get a full rundown and training from Colourlock US themselves, right here in the states. I’ve always considered my leather care and maintenance to be accurate as an auto detailing service provider of many years. However, caring for leather and repairing leather are 2 different stories. There was a couple missing components to my own personal repair process that was greatly defined within the training. Once I saw what those missing pieces were within my own practice, It clearly came together for me. All of my own personal leather riddles have been solved with a few, simple adjustments and product steps. It was a great day for me and I’m beyond excited to get going (practicing) with some legit leather repairs within my services.
What Did We Learn From This Training:
- We learned some history about Lederzentrum.
- We learned the broad(er) spectrum of the repair & restoration market (Furniture, Shoes, Auto, Handbags, Belts etc.)
- We learned to be a better service provider with what’s achievable and what’s not. Or whats worth our time to repair and what’s not worth the time to repair.
- We learned about leather/skins and how they’re produced (tanning) to our specific humanly needs and liking.
- We learned how to humble ourselves and the good rules of engagement when dealing with customers. (To be fair and to be honest)
- Cleaning and Care.
- Different types of leather damage or most common leather & textile damages. And How To Repair.
- We learned how to mix/blend colors/combos to get an exact color/texture match.
- We learned what products and tools are required to obtain this service.
- We learned how to price out jobs as professionals and to instantly spot difficulties and/or increased efforts.
- We learned how to match grain patterns.
- We learned that the Colourlock professional system can cater to plastics and vinyl as well.
- And so much more
Those willing can sign up to a Colourlock Training course! It’s simple. Visit: Colourlock.com to sign up or get on their list. Depending on the course location and dates you can expect to be in a class with 5 to 10 other students as well. Ram and Lars, do an excellent job at explaining things, giving personal attention, no matter what your skill level. After my training, I had several people reach out to me and ask, “How was it?, Was it worth it?” After some longwinded replies and a more simplified thought, hours later… My answer is, You’d be crazy not too. Period.
The entire 2-day experience overall, was a highlight! However, a few things that really stood out to me
1) I got to cut a dime-size hole out of a demo seat from the junkyard with a razor-blade. Okay, yes, I’ve never had that opportunity or desire before:) But to make it better, I fixed it. How epic to take the opportunity to do something completely opposite for a change. This might sound terrible but it was incredible fun for me. Kinda like payback for all these years.
2) On day one I was 10 minutes late due to traffic and respectfully so considering I was the only local in the group. The other guys only came from Mexico, Dubai and the Lovers state, Virginia. And somehow they all managed to make it on time. So when I walked in on the first day, I was surprised to see a fellow detailer, Mr. Daniel Wendell, with Automotive Aesthetics out of VA there! I’ve known of and have spoken to Daniel, for many years now, us meeting face to face for the first time was something that was also long overdue. It was really great to share 2 days with Daniel, and meet the other students who came very long distances for this training event also. So, you never know who you’ll run into! Wish I could spend more time with all these guys! (Was 5 of us. Plus 2 teachers)
3) My time spent with Ram, and Lars, obviously. These 2 guys just finished up a few days exhibiting at the Mobile Tech Expo in Orlando and bounced right into this 2-day training that followed and it didn’t stop there. Lars took flight and made it back just in time to visit RetroMobile in Paris, joining the Lederzentrum family on display. And Ram, immediately headed to the Gtechniq Summit in GA. Lars, and I had already meet once before at the Swissvax Headquarters in Switzerland, back in 2017, was a very heartfelt & thankful year in my life so I was even “more” (than I already am) grateful for our time shared and meeting that year. It was really great seeing him again, already looking forward to the next time. Ram and I were long overdue as well and was happy to officially meet at the Mobile Tech. I couldn’t be more grateful for the time and knowledge gained with these guys. Because of the 2020 Mobile Tech Expo, I cheated a little bit and got more time with them than ordinary. For those who know me, know I cherish my time with colleagues and those personal touches of friendship that means the world to me. So I’m excited that Colourlock is and has been for the last few years, (Here in the U.S.) achieving a great movement in regards to professional detailers gaining the understanding for leather repair, beyond cleaning and conditioning.
Forgive me to those who already do this, but respectfully, the majority of detailing companies to my understanding in the US market, will push a leather repair away to a specialist. Ultimately, we as a majority have been declining the opportunity to add the repair side of leather maintenance/services. Cleaning and conditioning is one thing, but to fix a scratch, rip, aged, weathered, warped, cracked, peeling, sticky, hardened, faded, oxidized, or otherwise damaged section of leather a.k.a. dead skin, and its various forms, to actually be fixed/repaired properly,,, nope, not that common in auto detail shops to have that kind of full awareness. The average consumer would absolutely think the person they hired to clean their car will know how to do this, right? Actually, wrong in a lot of cases. And the ongoing trend with Magic Erasers over the last few years for example… The leather specialist will thank you for the business later down the road. So, we have to give thanks for all those that have been destroying leather & textiles while not knowing it. And we also have to get them into the training class, pronto. I know when I first started detailing, nothing like this was available and I’m sure some vehicles suffered because of it. Yes, pretty sure of that… Unknowingly, as with anyone else.
The fact that this education is being more prominently offered, I’m to be optimistic that true and proper leather repairs for our beloved vehicles will soon become the new trend of services to add. Much like how we perceive coatings and PPF training to be valuable with our sales.. I’m sure our clients would appreciate us having a good education and appreciation for their interiors too, right? It’s crazy, and again, forgive me. We as detailers ultimately dictate the value for our own industry standards and often times those high standards are replaced by high dollar value. We tell the industry what we want, they give it to us. And the constant thing I continuously hear from the masses is, “How much can I make for doing or offering this” (Product or Service as example) I’m just going to say it, I dislike hearing that statement because it tells me, you’re not sure of your own worth yet. And if we were to break that down, it basically means, one just doesn’t have enough experience yet to recognize that value. When you’re confident, heavily practiced, knowing you’re good or great at something, that question is rarely asked and everything becomes second nature. Some may view this leather training offering as a great opportunity and others will find no value in it. Our industry choices are value and value is also a choice. Which leads me too…
Your real-life expectation of or from this Training Course?
What Colourlock is offering, at an extremely affordable price at the moment, mind you. Is “A LOT” of great information in a 2 day time period. It’s a basic understanding, education for leather repair, restoration, color matching, care, business etc. There is absolutely no way you’ll walk out of this class a master of this craft/art, if never done before. It’s going to require a good amount of practice on your own end but once the class is over, you’ll be far more confident to approach it. (for Small jobs or Big jobs) You’ll also have to make the investment in gathering up all or some of the correct tools and products needed for what suits you best. The good thing about that investment in regards to us professional auto detailers and the many ways to monetize a leather specialty business or service, Is, you’ll be able to see the tools and products that might, again, “suit YOU best” learned after the training. Whether or not your future investment is minimal or excessive in leather repair, your knowledge and professionalism with leather & textile inquires & clients will, and I guarantee you, Will be far greater, to say the least.
If automotive is not your style and you’d rather apply these skills to shoes, belts, handbags, furniture etc., Or just want to know!!! It’s a perfect opportunity for that also. Myself, I’ve been completely inspired to take-on insane repairs and I look forward to getting my own skills up to a high standard for such goods and services. We don’t have to wait or take this training class to get started with great leather care and maybe some DIY repairs either. Here at Detailed Image, some really fantastic Colourlock products can be found. I’d be happy to help if anyone has questions regarding any of them. And if you can’t find what you need here, the guys at Colourlock US are just a click away and happy to help.
Effectively, all of the above can lead to a fun hobby, a professional cleaning, repair and maintenance business, a jumpstart to expand your local market reach (meeting new people) and the ability to excel ones own knowledge in the grand scheme of what we like to call “Auto Detailing.” I mean how much cooler could it be, to be a better auto detailer! Forever learning and I’m really excited about applying myself further in this department. Excited enough for me to say, (It’s been awhile) Thank you guys for taking the time to read this!