Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

Vinyl car wraps let drivers create a signature style

We've all seen them: The minivans advertising Aunt Flo's day care, the hatchbacks trumpeting maid services, notaries and plumbers. But there's a growing niche in the vehicle wrap business: Drivers who are customizing their cars with personalized graphics.

"Only 20 percent of the public has started to understand this is not paint. These are stickers," said James Naccarato, general manager of Iconography Studios in Los Alamitos, Calif. The vehicle wrap company has, in recent months, outfitted a Nissan Cube in wood-print vinyl to emulate a vintage woody wagon and a Mazda Miata with a Japanese anime design.

A decade ago, vinyl graphics were single-color cutouts mounted on a car door or window.

"Now the guy who owns a Maserati and a couple small businesses can dress up his personal car. He doesn't have to own 100 fleet vehicles to make it affordable," said Iconography president Sarah Naccarato.

Personal full-vehicle wraps cost between $3,000 and $4,000 and require two to five days to complete. Partial wraps, such as a custom graphic on a hood or side panel, typically cost less than $1,000.

"It's a relatively inexpensive, noninvasive process for an automobile mod. (Vinyl) allows people to really play around with what they have without devaluing their cars," Naccarato said.

While vinyl wraps have been around for almost a decade, what's new is an explosion of colors and textures. Vinyl comes preprinted in hundreds of colors and finishes that can be customized into personalized designs printed on enormous digital printers that are laminated in finishes ranging from matte to metallic and applied to the car's exterior. They stick with microscopic glue bubbles built into the vinyl's backing that, when removed, in most cases leave the car's paint intact and without damage.

Personal vehicle wraps are "a very quickly expanding area," said Dan Marx, vice president of markets and technologies for the 225 companies that make up the Professional Decal Application Alliance in Fairfax, Va. "I think we're on the edge of seeing a lot more of this in the consumer area," he said, especially as prices come down due to increased competition.

The growth in vinyl wraps is due in large part to the technological advances that have dramatically reduced the amount of space needed to make and apply a wrap. Still, the process can be complicated.

Matt Richart teaches semiannual Born to Wrap workshops in Irvine, Calif., to show aspiring wrappers how to use the large-format Roland printers that have become the industry standard. Richart is a former sign maker who switched his Louisville, Ky., business to vehicle wraps when he "noticed customers who put lettering on a work van were getting more business off their vehicles than the banners and signs."

While 85 percent of Richart's Digital EFX Wraps customers are commercial, 15 percent of his business is personal.

"The wrap industry is moving toward the retail side more and more each year" as the world becomes more custom, said Richart, who recently applied a racing stripe to a Maserati emblazoned with the owner's initials.

At Iconography, 97 percent of the business is commercial, according to the Naccaratos. Just 3 percent is personal, but it's the personal side of the business that's seeing the most interest and growth.

The Naccaratos have recently fielded calls from a woman requesting her Smart ForTwo be wrapped in argyle print, a man who thinks his Ford Mustang would look better dressed in anime, and another customer who had asked about mimicking Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine.

Comments
Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Chris Sullivan, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, resigned from the board of the restaurant chain’s parent company last Wednesday, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document, filed by Tampa-based Bloomin’ B...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Updated: 11 hours ago
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

CLEARWATER BEACH — While Tampa is excited about its first JW Marriott hotel, plans are moving ahead for a $130 million JW Marriott property on Clearwater Beach, despite some hiccups. "We’ve done really well in our opinion," Uday Lele, developer of t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC said Monday that U.S. authorities were preparing to dismiss criminal charges against the bank, five years after it reached an agreement to avoid prosecution related to lapses in its money-laundering controls.In 2012, the bank, one of the world’s...
Published: 12/11/17
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Published: 12/11/17
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Published: 12/11/17
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Published: 12/11/17
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 so she ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17