The accident. PAZ as it is now started quite by accident. We originally bought a plant almost 20 years ago to do hydro coating of curtain rods and accessories, coffin accessories, ladies shoe heels, boat dashes, cell phone covers (remember those huge Nokias) and the like. We bought a lemon with lots of false promises and within 6 months we were broke and had just learned the technique of 'Dipping'.
We figured that the best way to stay alive was to try the automotive industry with our woodgrain designs.
No one wanted woodgrain – it was old fashioned and terribly out of date. But one gentleman wanted his Honda Prelude walnut dashboard repaired – Trevor Dalgliesh. Whilst chatting to us in the shop he happened to see a sample lying on the desk of a different finish. "Can you do this?" He asked. Sure we probably can.
"What is it?" I asked. "Carbon Fibre" he replied with excitement in his eyes. Well I had no idea what carbon fibre was but by that afternoon he brought in a pair of mirrors and dash panels from his Suzuki GSXR. And so we started calling on the bike shops offering this great technology to make ordinary plastic or metal bike parts looking like carbon fibre.
Volumes were low and production was difficult and non-profitable but we soldiered on until one day a bike shop asked us why we don't paint a bike. We had all the equipment, just no skills. By this time we'd lost everything except the equipment, which was later relied.
We did have one great advantage though, I was a computer geek so I could teach myself to draw digitally. That meant that we could paint race replicas ,especially, more cost effectively than our competition using vinyl cutters.
We could do our own artwork and with a second hand Roland STX8 cutter we made our first attempt. An NSR250. It was ghastly. The colours were from the interiors industry we were used to and not the motorcycle industry. But the graphics were awesome. Application and finish left a lot to be desired but we were on our way. Penniless and evicted from our first premises but I had an idea of what we needed to do going forward.