Coatings World Q & A With ColorBond

December 31, 2015

[Interview originally appeared on, Nov 13, 2015]

In the world of coatings and paints, there are many nooks and crannies where really neat things are going on, but we don’t routinely hear much about them. Here’s one company serving niche needs and doing quite well: ColorBond.

“ColorBond is a revolutionary molecular bonding paint that penetrates deep into plastic, vinyl and leather. It provides easy restoration and can change the color of leather, carpet, plastics or metal in automobiles, trucks, cars, boats, or motorcycles with fantastic results.”  -Malcom Johnson, President & Founder

CW: When did you form ColorBond & why did you feel you could have a viable product in these markets?

ColorBond: ColorBond was established in 1996 because I felt that the available coatings for refinishing automotive leather and plastics were inferior and could be dramatically improved. At that time, the idea of a premium coating for leather and plastic was not being addressed, and we felt that there was a great market opportunity for our company. We were fortunate to be approached by Visteon, at that time owned by the Ford Motor Company, to partner with them in developing the technology. We worked with Ford Research Labs and Visteon for seven years and  this collaboration culminated in ColorBond earning two Ford World Wide OEM  performance specifications.

CW: According to Michael Porter (Harvard Professor of), a NICHE position in a specific well-defined market segment has the highest profits in that segment as well as a UNIQUE offering. UNIQUE is defined as having something no one else possesses. Would you say your offerings are unique by this definition? Why?

ColorBond: ColorBond is unique because it is a one stage coating that can be used on any substrate that is manufactured for the automotive industry including, leather, vinyl, ABS, PC, TPU and TPO and metal. It doesn’t crack flake or peel, is colorfast , dries within one minute and is bonded in ten minutes. Colorbond’s versatility allows the user to stop in the middle of a job and  resume the project at a later date.  There will be no evidence of a tape line, only a seamless OEM finish. It creates an OEM appearance. ColorBond can be used on carpet, soft interior trim, rigid interior trim, exterior trim and  convertible tops. We currently manufacture and inventory 172 contemporary OEM specific aerosol colors.

CW: Can you provide some insight into why or how your Colorbond technology works with so many different type substrates?

Colorbond: The key is our unique resin. It is ideally suited for use on all of these substrates.

CW: Your literature shows ColorBond spray-on products applied over rigid, supple, and even very soft pliable surfaces.  Tell me – what is the longevity of your coating system over a leather automobile seat where flexibility, abrasion and overall toughness prevail?

Colorbond: ColorBond’s longevity dependent upon the preparation of the surface and the skill of the individual applying it. When the easy to use directions are followed accurately, ColorBond will maintain its flexibility and abrasion resistance  for a minimum of four years. Both Ford  performance specifications require that ColorBond  perform for the duration of a typical four year warranty. This includes UV stability, flex, and abrasion.

CW: Are the coating formulas you market exclusive to your use or do you also allow other coating companies to market your unique products?

ColorBond: The formulas are proprietary however we do manufacture private label colors for many customers

CW:  How do you go-to-market currently? Direct, Stocking Distributors, etc.?

Colorbond: We are nimble and have the capabilities to distribute to a wide spectrum of customers. The list includes stocking distributors, mobile technicians, retailers, catalogue houses, aftermarket parts distributors, private labels and more. We are very pleased with the performance of our web site, Two years ago we invested heavily in the redesign of our web site. The platform fully engages in social media and SEO. We speak directly to the consumer on a daily basis. This allows us to never lose the connection with the most important person, The Customer.

CW:  Are your target end-use markets growing and equally important, is Colorbond keeping pace? ColorBond: Our target end use markets expand every year and we continue to grow every year.  New markets continue to develop that we had never imagined such as painting 3-D substrates.

CW:  As an private individual, how can I order these coatings from Colorbond? Direct? Distributor?

ColorBond:  An individual  can order on line at or contact us at 877-882-6567.

CW: Can you tell us about the Cleo Award that you established in 2014?

ColorBond: The Cleo Award was established to honor a legend in the automotive world, Mr Leo Kagan. Leo is 99 years old and was responsible for moving the SEMA show from Anaheim to its present location in Las Vegas. He has been a member of SEMA for 50 years. A $500 cash prize, and crystal vase are awarded to an individual who restores the interior of any make of  vehicle using ColorBond products. Last year’s winner restored a 1967 Cadillac Deville and this year’s winner restored a 1954 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. The Rolls will be on display in our booth at SEMA this year. 

CW:  How do you go-to-market currently? Direct, Stocking Distributors, etc.?

Colorbond: “We directly market our bio-based functional coatings applied to adhesive sheet materials, such as are designed for anti-fingerprinting touch screen protectors (e-RACE™), through mass-marketing channels (internet, TV, printed catalogs, etc.).  We use fulfillment services for some of this.  We also spend a considerable amount of manpower publishing articles in industry publications.  Using these approaches, we have been able to garner the attention of larger corporate partners who are interested in incorporating our additives or bio-based coatings containing these into their own product lines, and we are presently moving toward commercialization with several of them.”