[0:00] Don't give up.
Ever if it's something you love don't give up because you'll always get through it and then you'll learn something from it.
And then you can use that to become even better and then the next time you're stuck you'll gain something new,
you're listening to Femcanic Garage the podcast that features women in the automotive and Motorsports Industries a community that elevates empowers
and evolves by Smashing stereotypes and breaking down barriers for women I'm your host Jayme Blasiman buckle up for the ride Femcanics.
[0:50] Amanda Beyer is in the driver's seat today she is the owner of Manda Marie upholstery she has over 14 years experience doing upholstery for Gulfstream Aerospace a Ferrari restoration shop,
in Concourse level restoration.
Amanda leads us through her journey of Entrepreneurship as a custom automotive upholstery shop.
Back and enjoy the ride.
Hello Femcanics this is Jayme B coming to you and I have Amanda Beyer in the driver's seat today how are you doing today Amanda.
[1:29] I'm doing fantastic thank you so much for having me here today I'm so excited it is my absolute pleasure and I found you as with many other women,
on Instagram and it was your work that Drew me to you in but first,
I didn't find your page directly what I ended up finding was the T-bird page,
in it started there and then I just kept digging and digging and I'm like oh my God because finding amazing people that do amazing work in upholstery is one thing,
finding a female that does Next Level upholstery,
is like a unicorn so you're like a diamond in the rough because this is one of those things where I'm like oh wow
this is really cool and we did we did had some back and forth trying to connect to get this podcast done and we finally nailed it we're here right now and I am super excited to have you on here and I'm glad I found you.
[2:32] Thank you I am so excited about all of this and thank you for all your family it's well-deserved my friend well-deserved in
from the pre-recorded bio the listeners have an idea of who you are and what you're about but what I'd like to do is kind of back it up a little bit and.
Learn a little bit about your journey and how you got to hear because your resume is.
Freaking impressive like like I'm like I read your pre-interview for my like good Lord like it so humble about it I'm like wow so
what got you into this have you always wanted to play with cars and Tinker around with cars and upholstery.
[3:21] Um not so much upholstery but definitely cars I grew up my dad has always been a big car guy and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps,
but he didn't want me to become a mechanic and,
I kind of agreed that it just wasn't going to allow me to get my creativeness out of me so I ended up going to school for interior design but only because they had an upholstery class and I thought,
this is my chance to work with cars and.
Be able to get my creative site out so I started the interior design program at the pause you for a second.
When I think of interior design I automatically think house.
[4:13] Yeah and that's what it was it was it was about houses and that's why I dropped out because I didn't,
really see myself doing that
but the upholstery part is what I really wanted to get into and I did actually learn a lot from interior design just in how textiles and different colors go together and it really did teach me a lot about how I can,
um kind of design and customize Interiors on cars to so it wasn't a complete loss I still gained a lot from from that experience but it just it wasn't,
you know the interior design portion the house stuff that didn't really interest me.
Which makes sense since you started off there how many years were you in school doing that.
[5:09] I was only in school got out of here before I and then how you always knew that you wanted to Tinker around with cars.
What was your next stepping stone then
while I was trying to figure everything out I was a bartender,
and one of my regulars came in she worked at Gulfstream Aerospace and she got me my foot in the door working for them as a contractor.
And I had very little sewing experience when I first started there so they had me doing.
Things that the customer would never ever see like maintenance Runners and like maintenance covers that you put over the seats will mechanics are working so they don't get dirty things where it doesn't matter if your
seems are straight or not and I eventually
got hired on as an employee and I worked my way up to being able to work on the seats in.
[6:12] I kind of went through all of the different shops because they were separated by the carpet shop and then there was the panel shop and I kind of got to have
experience in all of the different shops and that really helped out in automotive because,
I already got to experience all of that I got to see what it's like to pattern carpet and to bind it and,
how to cover panels properly so that all of your double Corners are your double cuts on your Corners are nice and straight and it was a lot of
Grill detailed work and I don't know if you've ever seen the inside of a new Gulfstream I was actually going to ask you Amanda I don't want to assume all the listeners know exactly what that is that when what I mean by that that company,
can you kind of backup and maybe explain what that company is just in case folks aren't a hundred percent sure sure.
[7:09] They're of an aircraft company that not only builds but also restores their aircraft they're the most luxurious and elegant.
Airplanes in the sky they're built for big Fortune 500 companies and people like Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise and Lance Armstrong and I got to meet a couple of phone really,
it was yeah live off Lance Armstrong,
I saw him from afar it wasn't like I got to have a conversation with them or anything but it was settling wake up these are aircraft that are for elite,
very rich yes.
[7:57] Yep a lot of royalty from different countries that got their airplanes done and they're just,
unbelievable every gold-plated stuff and the
most amazing would you've ever seen not anything you would ever see in a house not my house and this seems like an amazing experience because you got to see so many different
now yeah how long were you with Gulfstream.
[8:28] I was there for about 7 years okay so you literally it sounded like you move to each different shop as it relates to all things all interior.
[8:40] So what made you leave there then.
[8:45] There was a job opening at a local Ferrari restoration shop I'm chucking here for instant before,
but I'm like talk about impressive resume I mean from Gulfstream so let's go try out Ferrari.
But go ahead
it was such a different world and I don't think I truly,
understood the difference between aircraft interiors and Automotive Interiors until I got to Automotive interiors and I realized I had no idea what I was can you share the main differences.
[9:24] Well Justin how they're constructed like when you're working on a Gulfstream aircraft the everything is velcroed together and,
in automotive it's hog rings and tie downs and it's just.
A lot of process differences and the way that you do aircraft seeds,
and the layers of the foam and the sculpting of it is just so different than the odds one easier than the other I mean when I hear velcro I'm like boy that's a nice seems like a hell of a lot easier to work with than Hong ties,
I wouldn't say one is easier than the other they're both,
you just need experience to do both of them and then once you have the experience that is it is what it is it isn't,
I mean always a challenge you're always learning and growing it never it never stops but to say that one is easier than the other I don't know as though I would,
be able to say which how did you land the job at for are you just applied
one of my friends.
[10:35] Boyfriends sister's husband oh wow okay networking we'll just leave it as networking yeah yeah,
yep he had a pretty good position working there and he kind of got me my foot in the door and
they didn't really have,
anybody else so they were they were very happy to have found me the alcohol story is such a dying trade it's such a dying art and,
there isn't it's man it's sad and it is such an art form when you see good upholstery it is I have such respect for what you do.
Did you have to do an interview what is an upholstery interview like.
[11:28] Well they don't know because they're not upholsters themselves so I don't really think that they really knew what questions to ask either besides
what have you done and what kind of experience do you have and the owner of the shop that I worked at also came from Gulfstream before
before it was Gulfstream it was Casey Aviation and,
he left there to start his own business and he is one of my biggest Inspirations and,
all of this and just seeing what he was able to build and his passion is what let him you share his name.
[12:11] Wayne Aubrey was his name he passed away.
Which was really unfortunate he was a really really sounds like it played a major role in inspiring you.
Absolutely a hundred percent he was a huge part of,
I mean he he believed in me and hired me without really knowing what I was capable of and,
I wish that I would have been able to get more training so I didn't have to fight to figure it all out on my own but I was very lucky to have met my curly who is a,
Concours coach trimmer out in New Hampshire and he came to visit the shop to check on one of the cars we were working on
and he took me under his wing and man I talked to him still probably almost,
at least once a week if not more than that just asking them questions and learning and about Upholstery and business and.
He's been a huge huge part of where I am today as well love hearing that,
me a little more context to this Femcanic Garage is about inspiring and empowering women in the automotive Motorsports and just skilled trades.
[13:37] In what some people have this misconception around is that women empowerment equals mailed this empowerment and that's not the case at all,
it's no it's not do this together in so many women that I've talked to.
[13:54] I have mentors that are men that that you know it's about keeping the art form alive,
and it's not about gender.
That's really where we all just want to arrive at because unfortunately there are women who experience,
men that are chauvinistic towards them because they're a female but.
I just love hearing that it's just a a true mutual respect is what it sounds like in mint true mentorship.
[14:31] Absolutely and I would say.
Ninety-nine percent of the men that I've worked for eight gave me a hard time in the beginning,
but be ended up being some of my biggest mentors I mean I don't have a single negative thing to say about any of the guys that I've worked with I'm married to one of them is that how you met your husband.
[14:56] Yeah we worked at the Ferrari restoration shop together he worked there for 11 years before I got there.
And he is man one of the most talented men and what's his new life
he's a metal fabricator form in itself right there.
And do things with metal that I can't do with leather it's unreal it is such an art form I interviewed Madison Irving in,
she's being mentored around metal fabrication as well,
and it just hearing her talk about the use of the English wheel and having to understand the,
different types of metals and how they stretch and shrink and I'm like what like my mind was blown like I've no science behind it yes it's wow
that is that's amazing so you went to the Ferrari restoration shop in the end if I'm following you correctly the owner of the Ferrari restoration shop.
Was the individual that was a huge inspiration to you.
[16:03] You got a two-for-one deal not only did you get a job but you got a husband there too it was really a great experience got a twofer right there what was your experience like so you went in for the interview you got the job,
talk to us a little bit about that because I'm sure there's a lot of listeners that are sitting there thinking my God working at a restoration shop in general school but.
A Ferrari restoration shop what was that like.
It was unbelievable it was the biggest learning experience in my life I think.
And just watching a car come in that was in a barn fire where there is absolutely nothing left to it,
but black and white photographs that you have to try to recreate this thing too and to be able to watch,
each of the different departments in the shop.
[17:04] Just nail it they are unbelievably talented and,
all off of black and white photos they have a historian that does all of the digging to find all of the information about these cars
and he has these like photo album books and that's what we have to go up to build these cars,
it's unreal it was a challenge it was a huge huge challenge because like I said before my background was Gulfstream aircrafts,
I didn't know what I was doing you know but I figured it out and,
it was really rewarding and especially once I met Mike and things just started kind of coming together and then I was starting to realize you know just how much of a passion I had for this stuff to keep the listeners on his mic is.
[17:56] Mike is my mentor the years from vintage Ferraris clear to current or is it just all vintage.
[18:05] There were a few current ones not many there are mostly the vintage ones,
like the loose owes and the 250 short wheelbase has and the PF Coupes and PDFs and
all of the real old ones that you would see at Pebble Beach re restored them for Concourse shows around the world like Pebble Beach Mille miglia
Amelia Island cavallino shows like the other pause and just like pinch yourself.
All the time I feel really blessed I really do about this Earth there's people who go and do Restorations.
But what really blew me away in your pre-interview form is how.
The attention to detail that you do you don't just restore it the way in which you restore it,
so the process in which in the techniques that you use to redo the upholstery you tried to to the best of your knowledge and your research to do it the exact same way they would have done in the factory.
[19:17] Yes absolutely you have to and I want the listeners to pause and think about that for a moment like it's not doing it the way that you know how to do it you Amana may have to do it six different ways.
Depending on the particular vehicle or maybe year and I understand you focused on Ferrari but today you do other cars other than Ferraris.
To to restore for Concourse is a whole nother level in not all the listeners May understand what that is it could you give like the.
You know 80 thousand foot level of understanding of there's restoration and then there's Concours restoration.
[20:02] Everything is judged a hundred point scale and it's all based off of how original the car is even though it was restored,
it has to be how historically original it is and the more original obviously the better the score and it's.
It's quite an accomplishment if you get a hundred Point car,
and there's been very few that we've done that haven't been hundred Point cars they look at everything coming from the interior,
perspective they look at the stitching they look at how,
many stitches per inch they look at the materials used the differences between say pininfarina coachbuilder and a scale Yeti
coachbuilder pininfarina is top of the line,
everything was leather everything was high-end beautiful plush and gorgeous and Scalia tea.
Was a mixture of leather and vinyl where they could get away with it and they still use the Wilton wool carpets and stuff but it just wasn't that high.
[21:24] High end of a car I guess I mean it was still a Ferrari obviously it's still high end but pininfarina was like the it's funny to think of the cheaper version of a Ferrari,
so they look at the materials that you use and,
like the shapes of everything just to make sure that everything and then they go off of historical photos that they have just in all right now you've brought up the mentor multiple times.
In when I think about this in you learning about all that and how to get to that point where you're doing upholstery for Concourse Restorations right.
That's a journey in itself right there are Learning Journey.
But it's it just blows me away and where I'm just trying to process that,
I'm sure the listeners are too when they're thinking about it.
But there's something that you said in your pre-interview when I'm thinking about like that mentorship in you going through that Journey.
Is you said it's so nice having the support of such talented men who treat me as an equal.
[22:40] Hey that sounds so basic but there's so many women that I've interviewed were that's all they crave just treat me as equal,
respect me and treat me as equal and your journey has been blessed to have given you that and it's not just blessed you you clearly have earned it as well.
And I'm sure if I sat down your husband or co-workers at the Ferrari shop or Gulfstream they would have.
Positive things to say about you because you've earned that right as well
I hope so I mean anyone that I've worked with and I've observed,
is being treated equal and it's not about being one of the guys you don't have to give up your femininity to be one of my guys that's that's not what this is about this is just about mutual respect.
[23:33] I definitely wouldn't say that I've given up any of my femininity for any of the,
the men that I've worked with I try to stay pretty true to who I am and I think that they respect that I think that they see that I'm not trying to.
Trying to be somebody that I'm not I'm just trying to be the best at what I love to do and,
they helped me to get there they work with me as a team
and sharing my shop with purush Automotive craftsmanship Austin is the owner and we
Austin Nick and myself Nick is my husband sorry we all came from the Ferrari restoration shop and that's where we all got our experience from,
some of our experience from Austin did some stuff before then but.
[24:30] We all just kind of work together and we share some of the same customers and we always are sharing each other's posts on Facebook to try to help each other out and,
it's just a really great environment to be a part of any time I have,
problem that I need help thinking through there the most amazing brain stormers that you've ever met and I just love the fact that I can come too
Nick and be able to say I don't understand why this is happening and you will sit there with me and talk it out and try to figure it out with me,
and it just you don't see that all the everywhere true now just out of curiosity because you've been in this space.
What advice would you give other women that maybe ah run in unhealthy environments what would you say to them experiencing what you've experienced.
[25:28] Stay true to who you are and.
David Kirkham gave me some really great advice don't let the bastards get you down and I think that that's really great advice don't let
them get you down you are there for a reason you're there because you love what you do and just focus on that focus on being better focus on learning and,
ask questions even if they're being
jerks or whatever just.
Try to try to work with them try to make them see that you're not there.
To mess up their life you know like some people are some men get kind of possessive over their trade like.
You don't belong here but once they see that you do belong there because you are good at what you do or because you do have a passion in it,
they might just let up a little and the reality is it's not their trade,
it's all of our trade it's all of it right how long were you at the Ferrari shop then.
[26:45] I was there for about five years we fast forward I think I read in there you were pregnant with your first child while you were there.
Range and you met your husband there as well.
What was that like now I've interviewed women that are painters and they got pregnant from an upholstery standpoint and being in the automotive industry what was that like,
being pregnant how how did you work that and being out on maternity leave do you do mine chatting a little bit about that.
Sure it was miserable okay it was so hard once my belly got big to be able to get underneath of a dash and do carpet it was.
It was hard to use my chemicals.
You know obviously I had restrictions I had to be on so I couldn't do everything that I normally could and I had to ask for help a lot more which isn't always a fun how did your co-workers respond.
[27:55] They were all really great.
I can think of maybe one comment that really made me mad but other than that everybody was super supportive everybody was super helpful they never let me lift anything heavy.
Even if I wanted to they wouldn't let me they were just there just are you are you willing to share what that comment was not by whom but.
Um it was I will blast his name out it was Cliff Evan and he said that I was getting a lot of junk in my trunk,
and it was true it was so emotional that that's not too bad I thought you were I've heard some
unbelievably inappropriate vulgar things but yeah that's very mild compared to.
[28:51] Yeah and we laugh about it now and it was totally innocent right I mean.
Over the fence of Yes But was it the worst no it wasn't if you want to hear a fence like truly disgusting offensive stuff and I don't even know how these men are even allowed to work in shops,
listen to Brandy goff's interview.
I my heart goes out to her and shame on those men like that sounds like it was you guys had some back and forth,
playful banter about it,
yeah yeah yeah how did you did you end up having to work something out with your employer or the owner too,
figure out obviously there's limitations you had to be careful around chemicals lifting different things but then also being out and see these are these are Big differences between men and women.
Specifically around pregnancy a man can go in for their child's birth,
and if maybe take a Friday off if the baby's born on Friday and be back on Monday technically if they needed to be,
it's different for women so how what was that process like in preparing for that and what were those conversations like with your employer.
[30:10] It was really scary the company that I worked for they were not prepared for that at all I mean I'm the only female that had worked on the floor.
Ever that they've ever had and.
[30:26] They just weren't ready for that they didn't know what to do and they ended up telling me that they wouldn't fire me.
In that I would have a job when I got back but that they wouldn't give me any sort of maternity leave pay or anything so I had to try to save as much money as I could before.
Birth or giving first.
Going into labor sorry and then I was only able to get four weeks before I had to go back to work.
And I had a C-section so I should have been off a lot longer but I just yeah I couldn't get in that's a common thing that I hear as well in men that listen to this if you own a shop.
It's just about preparing.
Like just thinking about it you know what would you want for your wife and a lot of times men will comment like well yeah we've just never had one so we didn't have to think about it it's like,
create space for that and think about it in a simple.
[31:40] Question that I always ask men when they start asking me about okay if I want to create something you know of work environment that is safe and open for everyone,
in women included what would that look like I said well if you're asking about women
what would you want for your mother what would you want for your wife what would you want for your daughter.
[32:06] There's your answer
what kind of environment would you want them to work in.
And for me I have a twelve-year-old daughter it becomes Crystal Clear what I would want for them.
And then that's what you try to do your best to create how did that work did you just go in and say hey can we sit down and talk about this like if I'm if I'm a female in the industry,
and I'm like man I don't know quite how to tackle this what advice would you tell women like what process would you recommend they give it a give a whirl.
[32:49] They can't do anything against you because of it they can't fire you because you're pregnant.
The worst they can do is what they did to me and you make it through because you have to.
And because your kids were them so well said.
So well said and it's interesting because you just mention about fear and you brought that up a couple of times you had a lot of great one-liners in your pre-interview form you're a great writer I don't know if anyone's ever told you that but you articulate very well.
And I'm going to share this one of the pre-interview questions that I ask is around what message do you hope to convey to The Listener.
In this way it's your response the message I hope to convey to listeners is that it's never too late you're not too old.
And you have to move past the fear of the unknown Feel the fear acknowledge it but don't let it stop you.
And I'm like God that's good that that's like a.
#moment that's good stuff and it's it's simple but yet it can be hard.
[34:03] Absolutely fear is one of the hardest things to get past and it holds,
so many people back from living their dreams because they just can't they can't move past it they like get paralyzed by it and then they just stay in their comfort zone,
and I always wonder well what would have happened if I stepped past that fear what would have happened if I would have just said okay I'm scared.
[34:30] So let's do this because the reward in the end is going to be so much greater.
Then if you just stay where you're at and even the piggyback off that one of the other questions I asked in the pre-interview as I ask,
oh my guess what does it mean your your biggest career failure in your response to this was I'm going to share it as well because it's just awesome.
You said my biggest failure was not realizing that failures are my most valuable teachers letting myself get down about making mistakes or doing things wrong,
I love failures I learned so much from them and I always level up after realizing where I went wrong.
Amazing in so well said and I love how you refer to it as leveling up because you do you do when it's like you you have to break yourself open in order to get to that next level.
[35:34] Absolutely love that now you were at the shop for five years at what point were you like you know I think it's time to move on.
There were a couple of things when my daughter was born I wanted to show her that she can do anything.
I had to do that by example.
And also when Wayne passed away weighing over the owner of the shop.
The passion kind of died with him and.
[36:12] I needed to work for a company that that held that same passion that I held for the cars that I was working on,
and if I wasn't going to find it where I was I was going to create it myself with my husband and that's what we did we walked into the office together one day holding hands and said that it was,
we are putting our two weeks in and that we were going to be starting our own wee.
Because that's literally both incomes putting all your eggs in one basket.
Yeah it was it was a scary it was amazing probably that smart but we live past I got your goose bumps when you said it I'm like that is awesome absolutely terrifying and.
[37:04] So liberating to
we figure we have each other.
That will never go away and we can always get back to the point where we can start working on those cars again it'll take time but.
We're going out was your first born that we were just talking about your daughter you have four children now.
Yep three of them are Nick's from his previous marriage and then you have one together.
Got it so you're a bonus mom and you have three bonus children
absolutely they're amazing graduations and what are their ages.
[37:48] Oh goodness we got an eight-year-old I'm sorry an 11 year old and eight year old the six-year-old and one turning for wow it's so the 11 year old is a boy or a girl.
Girl in how many boys and girls.
I got two girls two boys of each the old and the youngest are the girls and the boys are the two middle one that is awesome Will shout out to them.
I can hear you smile through the microphone we need to talk about.
They're great they're such good kids and they got such not taking anything away from your husband at all it's just.
I'd say more accepted men being in the automotive industry then women what do they think about Mom and what you do.
[38:40] I think it's just normal for them I don't think that they see it as.
[38:47] Really anything I think it's just that's what my mom does that's just who she is and I don't think that they see it as different or or anything I just I think they didn't takes her husband's name right.
His children from the previous marriage do they call you mom.
[39:06] Every once in awhile really when you and your husband were married.
[39:13] Jax was 3 so it would be 3 5 wow those are great ages.
Yeah they were so much fun there still so much but we used to do a lot of Park time.
Always going to Parks together it was I just love it and I love talking about family on here.
[39:36] Youngest son he such a helper he wants to organize my screw bins and.
Organize my toolbox drawers and ever since this whole covid pandemic they've been coming up to the shop all the time now and they're always learning something.
Learning how my youngest ones learning hand-eye coordination with screws and a block of wood and nails and awesome.
It's just great it's great to have my family there with me and I wouldn't.
Ever consider applying for,
a job anywhere else it just wouldn't feel right and I knew that from the beginning that there's just nothing else that I wanted absolutely the daughter that you birthed is she the youngest.
Yep and she's how old right now.
She's three turning 324 when's her birthday
September 20 oh it's so is she a Virgo technically heard she right past the COS.
[40:45] I'm not even sure I couldn't even tell you my birthday September 13 I'm a Virgo so that's why when you said September like who,
oh wow I when you're sitting there talking about I just got goosebumps because I my Fondest Memories of my childhood are by far going over to my stepdads Barn
his goat coat from it was a goat farm but it's not it wasn't anymore it was literally storage for all those cars and he would work on all those cars and stuff.
And they were my Fondest Memories going to his shop.
And I'm just imagining your for children over there in how amazing that will be in those are memories that.
They were probably never forget and may even shape what they end up doing for a career.