North Beach Marine Canvas Inc.
How did you get started?
In my dining room in North Beach.
What is your product focus?
I started out working in canvas and boat upholstery,
and now I focus on fine yacht upholstery and other
What unique design elements go into your products?
I enjoy implementing CAD, our Autometrix cutter, and many high-end fabrics that fit my vision of West Coast yachting.
Who are your main customers?
Sail and power boaters with boats between 35 and 65 feet.
Describe your shop layout.
One enters the showroom from the water side of the shop, then goes either right to the cutter or forward through the showroom into my office. Further back to the right is design and development, and around the corner is the sewing area, layout and shipping.
What is your work-flow process?
I start by confirming that all of the proposed fabrics are available before we take a deposit. Since there is such a wide variety, this is a very important step. Then the customers makes a 50 percent deposit (no matter what size the job is), entering it into the system, and ordering the fabrics. In the time it takes to get the fabric, we schedule a trip to the boat to take templates, which are brought back to the shop and cleaned up; foams are ordered since I don’t like to keep inventory in house (space issues), and we use a variety of suppliers depending on the need. When the foam and fabric arrive, it is checked against the purchase orders and the templates and/or the boat. I decide who will be the fabricator or sewers and make drawings of the final look. If I don’t outsource the sewing, we will Proline the patterns and develop the set to be cut on the Autometrix cutter.
When the job is cut, it is sorted into large Ziploc bags with all the parts except the foam and prepared to go through the assembly line. I am fascinated with the science of production flow and am constantly trying to improve this. The accuracy of the cutter is fun to see how well items come out and go back into the boat. Then cushion foam is either layered with softer foam or Dacron for loft and the cases are put on and any steaming is done. Finally, the parts are wrapped in sheets and delivered to the boat.
How do you deal
with scheduling and
We tell customers—very politely!—that most jobs will take six to
What other products do
Leather bags are our current fancy. We have made the race markers
for the America’s Cup, as well as
Do you create a product that you consider your specialty?
All of them!
What are unique things you
do to market your business?
Are booths at the boat shows considered unique?