How did you get started?
My mother put me in every art class imaginable. In high school I learned correspondence pattern design on my own, which led to a degree in fashion design. I worked for a costume designer and also did custom clothing sewing jobs from home. After six months on a 30-foot live-aboard ketch and years crewing on a variety of boats in Florida and the Caribbean, I landed on Kauai, Hawaii. I started freelance boat detailing and one of the jobs I was doing I was helping a man with a bottom paint job on his Trimaran; he mentored me in starting a marine canvas business. Shyn Fabrication was established in 2007, and my first shop was opened on Kauai in 2011.
What is your product focus?
Enclosures, shade tops, biminis, cushions, Zodiac pontoon covers, catamaran trampolines, helm covers, chair covers, fishing bolsters, as well as a variety of other custom designs. We also do interior and exterior upholstery, as well as covers for waterslides, Jacuzzis, exterior lanai furniture and bar covers and other unique custom covers. We also fabricate the material side of exterior roller awnings, and awning frames on occasion.
Who are your main customers?
Sport and commercial fishing vessels, SCUBA and tour vessels, estate owners.
Describe your shop layout.
We welcome clients with a small show room/office at the entrance. We have portfolio photos scrolling on a screen, as well as in albums. All of our material swatches and hardware options are displayed as well as a few products available to purchase. We have drafting/cutting 4-by-8-foot tables throughout the shop, as well as a 2-by-8-foot table that can be moved around depending on the fabrication we are working on. We have our fabric roll storage system along the whole length of the workshop attached to the ceiling. On the opposite wall we have 6½-foot-high shelves for storage. We have all of our short-end materials stored and labeled in bins under tables, as well as hardware, zippers, tools etc. all organized and labeled in storage drawers. We also have a shed on site in which our foam is stored. We also have a small kitchen at the end of the building.
What is your work-flow process?
I meet clients at their vessels where I take measurements, show them different material selections, and discuss design details. Upon approval of an estimate, I put clients in a priority sequence of deposits received. Materials are ordered, and the client is contacted when the material arrives and final design details are discussed and patterning is scheduled.
How do you deal with scheduling?
Shyn Fabrication is booked two to three months in advance. Contracts firmly inform clients that there is no guaranteed completion date or timeline. We tell them we create fabrications on a priority sequence of deposits received. We inform them that generally it will take 3 to 6 weeks to complete the fabrication.
How do you stay busy in the off-season?
There is no off-season in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We are in very high demand and are always booked 1-3 months in advance.
Do you create a product that you consider your specialty?
I just launched a new company in addition to Shyn Fabrication, and am excited to share a top-of-the-line product with unique design features in 2016.
Do you use any new or unusual technology?
Old-fashioned designing and my own creativity.
What are unique things you do to market your business?
“Coconut wireless.” That’s word of mouth.