Leo Pohlmann, owner and designer of Uncharted Marine Canvas, Gulf Breeze, Fla., has been serving the Gulf Coast’s boat canvas and marine upholstery needs for more than 25 years. Recognized by the Marine Fabricators Association for his achievement in design, Pohlmann’s business objective of providing customers with cutting-edge material and design products has been a grounding anchor to his success. Here, Pohlmann shares challenges, advice and how he set sail in the marine canvas industry.
How did you get involved in the company/industry?
Back in the 1980s I had a sailboat rental business and started repairing my sails and trampolines on the catamarans. A friend mentioned to take a look at the local marinas to see all the canvas applications. I noticed there was a lot of blue canvas—Pacific Blue SunbrellaTM—on all the boats. I am a former student of the Marine Canvas Training Institute in Sarasota—Don Wedge. Don Wedge put it into perspective as far as what it would take to be successful in the marine canvas business.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Finding quality employees. The art of sewing has become a less mainstream career field for many entering the workforce.
What are the biggest rewards?
Presenting an idea and design to the customer and then turning the idea into a reality. The goal is to have a long-term relationship with that customer. Word of mouth and repeat business is essential in this industry.
Why did you join IFAI? Which services/benefits do you use the most?
I joined IFAI for the support that is offered through new products and innovations that are shared. I enjoy Marine Fabricator and Specialty Fabrics Review magazines most for their interesting articles that highlight other fabricators who share their knowledge and expertise related to different projects.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I spent my 25th wedding anniversary sailing the British Virgin Islands this past year with my wife and two kids.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A quote from Don Wedge … The best canvas person is the one that can work with his/her mistakes.
What is number one on your bucket list?
Sailing the British Virgin Islands for 3 years or more.
Uncharted Marine Canvas offers full marine upholstery services, including cabin interiors and custom-designed seating and cushions. Photos: Uncharted Marine Canvas.