Vinyl wraps are a thing. The technology has gotten so good and the artisans who do them so skilled, that almost every element of our lives is touched by it – for nearly 70 years, believe it or not.
Thanks to one of the best wrapping shops in the Southwest, called WrapSesh, I now have personal experience with the benefits of wrap vs. paint in getting my newest racing helmet done.
Vinyl wraps are not just for exotics and tuner-car culture, though some of the designs are pretty wild. Have a collectible car you want to keep the original paint, but hate the color? Wrap it. When you go to sell it, the original paint not only remains, but it has been protected from additional patina as you enjoyed it – in the color of your choice!
The journey to vinyl began when my newest safety equipment arrived from my friends at RaceQuip, which has been a personal sponsor, providing helmets, harnesses, arm restraints, suits, boots and gloves for the last several years, during my racing and testing activities. Having started the editor job here at ClassicCars.com Journal, it was time to have new duds with updated corporate identity. This included a fresh, plain white, full face, RaceQuip helmet.
I see a racing helmet the same way a knight might see his shield. It identifies him and tells his story. I have an established design, and on the last incarnation, I spent about a week (mostly waiting for paint to dry) applying layers of paint and clearcoat to my helmet. It came out pretty nice for a “rattle-can” and paint-pen job. I have worn it in battle for the past 5 years.
In the early 1990s, die-cut Vinyl Wrap overtook paint as the primary method for the advertising businesses on cars, trucks and vans. Paint, however, remained the choice of automotive enthusiasts and car customizers. But that too has changed in the 21st Century with the abilities for large-scale vinyl printing. It has reduced costs and the print on vinyl is reproduced in stunning detail and color. Thanks to graphic design software and piezoelectric inject printers, the full vehicle Vinyl Wrap has become much more commonplace.
Looking for a cleaner, more professional look without the expense of paint, an internet search for vinyl wrapping helmets turned up very little as most places find it too difficult. Then I found a YouTube channel for an outfit called WrapSesh, which apparently loves a challenge. Lo and behold, they turned out to be local (Mesa, Arizona)!
They had a variety of videos, featuring this cute green and blue-haired, tattooed, artsy-type millennial girl and her strong, gregarious ASE mechanic millennial boyfriend – Vinyl Vixen and Slim Sheddy. Firstly, I was entertained. They had chutzpah. Secondly, I watched a video of the two of them wrapping racing helmets and realized that they were one of the few who even want to attempt this type of application – and they were darn good at it!
So, I contacted them through their website and told them about the things I do in the automotive world, including the gig here. Turns out they are already involved with ClassicCars.com as a sponsor of our Future Collector Car Show (FCCS) held the Sunday before Arizona Auction week in January each year.
The next step was a meeting to go over my existing helmet, look at design, textures and a chance to get to know each other. Jessica Bonifacio (Vinyl Vixen) and Michael Shedd (Slim Sheddy) were very kind, smart, engaging and professional people. I warmed up to them immediately. As both life and business partners, Mike and Jess are a force to be reckoned. Mike met Jess in 2015 where they worked for another local wrap shop together. He worked closely with Jess as his apprentice.
They created Wrapsesh LLC in 2016. It’s a very busy place. Certainly, their reputation precedes them. Jess explains, “We have learned to leverage each other’s strengths and expand their skillsets to tackle any type of project.”
They have wrapped just about everything: racing and tuner cars; boats and watercraft; motorcycles and ATVs; guitars and microphones; and more. Last but not least, helmets.
WrapSesh have, free of charge, wrapped numerous medical doc bands. A doc band is the “helmet” used to treat Plagiocephaly, sometimes known as “flat head syndrome,” in infants. Interestingly the condition effects 47 percent of infants with 1 in 10 requiring treatment with a doc band. The fun wraps they put on the specialized medical helmets add cheer to an otherwise melancholy medical device.
Well, pickup day arrived and the WrapSesh team wanted to include the reveal in one of their YouTube productions. Which means eight weeks after being so intrigued by their YouTube channel, I was going to actually appear on a video. Cool, eh?
As the pictures and video show, the wrapped RaceQuip helmet is a marked improvement over the original. It maintains the same design elements with much cleaner, brighter features. Mike and Jess have impressed me to no end. Glad we got to make friends and work on this project together.
Looking forward to tearing up the track soon with my cool new gear.