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Old 26-09-2007, 08:26 AM   #1
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An Interview with Polished Bliss

Leading on from the other interviews,this time we have interviewd Rich, Ange and CLark from Polished Bliss. Polished Bliss is one of the founder traders from when DW started and have grown with the site into a fantastic detailing shop and store.

So here we go

Can you start by telling us a little about yourselves?

Rich: I’m 31, happily married to Ange, with two lovely daughters. Amusingly, I have a PhD in glacial hydrochemistry, and always wanted to be a glaciologist, but my entrepreneurial side ended up getting the better of me!

Angela: I’m shackled to Rich, with two princesses to care for. I would like to shop and do lunch more often!

Clark:I'm 22 years old and live in Stonehaven (near Aberdeen). My hobbies are detailing (obviously!), and anything to do with cars and football.

How did you ‘get into’ selling detailing products?

Angela: It’s all Rich’s fault!

Rich: As my own interests in modifying and car care grew over time, I became acutely aware of a gap in the UK market for a business along the lines of the Autopian model, i.e. providing both high quality products and in-depth advice. An idea was born and the hard work started!

How long have you been selling detailing products?

Angela: Our store started trading online on the 9th January 2006, but we had already sold a fair amount of products offline over the preceding months to a number of friends and local forum members.

Tell me about your first product that you sold?

Rich: If I recall correctly, it was a Meguiar's Lambswool Wash Mitt, as part of a kit bought by a local customer in November 2006.

What do you do when you’re not selling detailing products?

Rich: The beauty of the web is that we are selling products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I go to bed Sunday night and sleep, and in the morning there are orders waiting. Now that’s progress! When I’m not at work I like to play dwarf tossing with the kids or tickle with Ange. I also like watching movies and reading.

Angela: I keep my lot fed, watered and happy!

What do you drive and how often is it detailed?

Rich: A heavily modified 2001 arctic silver Seat Leon 16v, and not nearly as often as I’d like! It’s shortly going to be sold...

Angela: A 2004 solid black Citroen C2, which is not detailed often enough either. Rich says he has other things to do!

Clark: A 2003 flash red Seat Leon Cupra R, which is currently sporting 5 coats of Zymöl Vintage, so all it really needs is a quick foam every couple of days to get rid of any dirt, with a mitt and 2 bucket wash every week. As the Vintage offers such good durability I try to get another coat on every couple of months if time allows.

What is your favourite car and why?

Rich: Any that doesn’t drop two gearboxes in any twelve month period, and eat it’s own engine for breakfast. Right now, I hate cars full stop.

Angela: It depends how I feel at the time! M3, Audi TT, Mini and my car!

Clark: Porsche 993 GT2.

How did you ‘get into’ detailing?

Rich: As I spent more and more money on the Leon, I wanted to care for it better, and make it stand out from the crowd. The more I read on US forums the more I was drawn into it, and the more I began importing products to try out. After a short while I realised the results I was getting were unreal, and then the idea for Polished Bliss was born. As that idea was gradually brought to life, I found myself detailing more and more, initially for fun and to test out new products, and then for money, as my skills increased. The game plan for Polished Bliss was always to be a company that offered products and advice based on experience rather than just sales patter, so detailing professionally was a natural progression.

Clark: I'd always been into cleaning cars from a very young age (like 99% of all the detailing community!) and used to help my dad clean his cars, then finally when I was old enough to have my own car, I cleaned it religiously as well as friends and family members cars on the side. This progressed from a hobby to almost an obsession and whilst I was at University I was often detailing friends cars in the evening for some extra beer tokens. When I finally decided that University wasn’t for me, I left and became manager of a valeting company that held the contract at the local VW dealership in Aberdeen. This was okay for the first few months but I soon got fed up of the "quantity rather than quality" side of things and left to run a public valeting business down the road. Again, after getting fed up of the politics there, I left and joined Rich and Ange at Polished Bliss (who I may never have met if it wasn’t for Detailing World!) and the rest, as they say, is history!

How long have you been detailing at ‘this’ level?

Rich: I have been detailing professionally for around 18 months now, with my skills growing consistently throughout this period. I detail a lot less than Clark these days due to other work pressures, but watching him and talking things through with him on a daily basis means I still learn new things, and I have no trouble getting back into it, even after days on end stuck in the office. Having Clark as part of the team is a constant source of inspiration, and I have learnt a lot from him, for which I am very grateful.

Clark: I have been machine polishing for 3 or 4 years now, but I would say I've only been detailing professionally in the proper sense for around 2 years, with my standards taking quite a big leap in the last year in my opinion.

How did you learn to machine polish?

Rich: I learnt to use my Porter Cable by myself, by trial and error, on our own cars. I have always been comfortable with power tools, and found it quite easy to master. Learning the rotary was a whole different kettle of fish mind, and I am aware that I still have a little way to go before I completely master it in the way that I have dual action machines. Again, Clark has helped me a lot in this respect; even just watching him on a daily basis has taught me a lot.

Clark: I pretty much learned by myself - spending hours on end in the garage practicing, and some would say I started the wrong way round by starting off with the rotary before finally purchasing a Porter Cable. Even though it was only 3 or 4 years ago, the only major detailing site/forum I ever browsed was Autopia, and that didn’t have anything like the information that Detailing World can provide newbies with today.

How many cars have you detailed over the years?

Rich: I have no idea! Looking back at the images folder on my laptop, at least 50, but including those for which no pictures were taken, I would say closer to 70. Including details on our own cars would take the tally to over 80!

Clark: It’s hard to even begin to get an approximate number but I would guess that I have maybe done full details on around 150-200 cars, and a couple of hundred cars previous to that would fall into the valeting category.

Tell me about your first detail:
Rich: The first proper detail I did (that counts as a proper detail knowing what I know now) was on my Leon in the summer of 2005. The process included an initial wash, then clay, then light machine polish, the sealant, then wax, plus all of the finishing touches inside and out. It took me two days and I was made up with the results... which now look very average compared to more recent work I’ve done lol!

Clark: The first car I did that would be classed as a proper detail was on a friends Peugeot 106 GTi. I started it at around 5pm when I came home from work at VW and worked all the way into early morning in my garage (approximately 3am!), I think I took about £50 for that particular job and I still can’t believe I was crazy enough to do it, but it was all about getting as much time and practice in as possible and now I think I'm benefiting from those kind of long nights. It also highlights the standards you set for yourself as time goes on, as there is no way I could now do a detail in that time frame and conditions and be happy with the results.

What is your favourite car to detail and why?

Rich: Anything different... like the 1973 E-type we did a little while back, or the GT3 RS we did in the spring. Anything that makes you stop and think.

Clark: I don’t have any real preference but for some reason I always enjoy doing Porsches, probably due to the curves that show off a properly prepared surface so well.

Do you prefer to detail a supercar or everyday car?

Rich: In this part of the world, supercars alone don’t pay the bills as there are too few of them about, so I like a mix of both. Supercars are fun to drool over, but daily drivers are more testing in many ways.

Clark: A bit of both really, I wouldn’t like to do supercars every day as I like the challenge of a proper swirled to death daily driver, etc, you get better before and after results on those kind of details anyway.

What piece of detailing kit do you think every detailer should have in their arsenal? (excluding the obvious stuff like wash mitts, etc.)

Angela: Something bought from us lol!

Clark: There are a lot of things every detailer should have but aside from the obvious, I couldn’t be without several things now - 1) my little LED torch (from a VW Touareg) is great for checking my work as I go along as it fits in my pocket and it easily highlights swirls and holograms, etc. 2) the Zymöl Duster has also been another great addition to our detailing kit, I don’t know what we did without them now that we use them on a daily basis, they easily remove any dust from paintwork without inflicting marring on even the softest of paints 3) Autosmart Tardis (tar and glue remover) - this is such a time saver when it comes to cars with really bad tar spots, just spray and wipe and the jobs basically done, no need for spending ages with a clay bar! 4) one of the most important things to have in your kit is a set of decent paint thickness gauges (for metals and plastics), for obvious reasons really!

Rich: Everything Clark said, plus Zymöl Schpritzer Bottles; these are great for everything from Meguiar’s Last Touch to Jeffs Acrylic Glos to 303 Aerospace Protectant, as compared to other sprayers they lay products down in an ultra thin, very even fashion, which makes buffing a breeze.

What are your current favourite brands and why?

Rich: The ones we currently stock, because we know they work brilliantly, we know how to use them to maximum effect to get the results customers want on different colours, and they offer a price point for everyone. We plan to add to these ranges rather than actively seek out anything new, because “if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it!”.

Clark: My favourite brands are the ones that have been my favourite for a while, we stick to what we know best and what will give us great results every time, such as Menzerna, Zymöl, Meguiar’s Detailer Range, Blackfire, etc...I haven’t really tried any new products for a while as I'm happy with what I use on a daily basis (well, other than 3M polishes, but they didn’t cut it, lol).

What do you do when you’re not detailing?

Clark: Out of work, I spend time with my girlfriend, clean my own car, drink with my mates, go to the football, etc!

A few quick fire questions...

Ferrari or Lambo?
Rich: Lambo

Angela: Neither, damn ugly things!

Clark: Lambo

Wax or Sealant?

Rich: Last year, I would never have said this, but wax. Preferably with more than 60% white carnauba!

Angela: Whatever Rich can be bothered to put on for me, although that said, I love the look of FMJ on my car!

Clark: Wax!

Fish and chips or bangers and mash?

Rich: Bangers and mash

Angela: Depends on my mood and the weather!

Clark: Fish and chips

McDonald's or Burger King?

Rich: McDonalds

Angela: McDonalds

Clark: McDonalds

Coffee or Tea?

Rich: Coffee

Angela: Tea

Clark: Coffee
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Old 26-09-2007, 09:10 AM   #2
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Great Read
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Old 26-09-2007, 09:12 AM   #3
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Nice one chaps & chapess
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Old 26-09-2007, 09:22 AM   #4
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Interesting read Gents... that Angela sounds a bit of a character...
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Old 26-09-2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Another excellent insight into Pro detailers, well done DW and thanks to Polished Bliss. Good work.

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Old 26-09-2007, 09:39 AM   #6
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Enjoyed that. You've come a long way in a relatively short space of time through your commitment, determination and hard work!

Well done guys!

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Old 26-09-2007, 09:40 AM   #7
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great read that,love looking at how people got into detailing.

but come on!! all three of you went for McDonalds,ewwww
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Old 26-09-2007, 10:22 AM   #8
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Good read that, i think Rich, Angela and Clark have done a stunning job in such a short space of time, very good at what they do and the hand written notes in your orders are a touch thats missing all too often in this day and age.
Well done guys and gal
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Old 26-09-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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great read. these really are a great idea.
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Old 26-09-2007, 10:59 AM   #10
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Nice one all, very glad to see the fish and chips vs bangers and mash debate finally resolved
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