Film Stars March/April 2020

August 10th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

A Tinter from the Cradle

By Erin E. Miller

Some people search for years to find a career they love. A few lucky ones grow into their professions without even realizing it. As a young girl, Marisa Parnell just wanted to spend time with her dad, Tony, in his shop. “Marisa started watching what I was doing and then doing it herself,” says Tony. By the age of 14, she was answering the company phone and tinting quarter glass panels. “I love the variety. It’s never the same. With tint there is always something different,” says the 29-year-old owner of Pro Tint in Minden, La.

Teenage Tinter

Marisa attended high school for two years before leaving to be homeschooled and tint with her father. She wanted an official diploma so, between tint jobs, she worked toward her General Education Diploma (GED), graduating from Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College in 2009.

Once it was clear that Marisa wanted a career as a tinter, her father trained her for more than a year on the process and proper techniques involved with tinting. “It was almost two years before my dad let me loose on a vehicle,” says Marisa. “I’m glad he trained me the way he did. He let me take my time to really learn the process. He always told me, ‘Learn from the best and you’ll be the best.’ Now he says I’m better than he was.”

Marisa’s first tint job was on a blue, 1998 Chevy Blazer. She remembers being really worried about making a mistake, getting too deep into her head, and overthinking the process. In the end her training paid off, and her first solo tint job lived up to her father’s exacting standards. “She did an impressive job,” says Tony, “I was really proud of her.” From that time on, she was given the green light to complete tint jobs on her own. “She’s an artist just like my mom,” says Tony.

Changing of the Guard

Tony started Pro Tint in 1988. When his health required him to step back and tint part-time in 2012, Marisa and her mother, Deenie, stepped in to help with the business with Marisa tinting full-time and her mother doing the books. “We’re a team, and we’re best of friends,” says Tony.

In 2015 Marisa became the official owner of Pro Tint and infused the business with her unique style. She met Kari Yochum of Iron Duck Designs through the Facebook group, Women in Window Film. Together they collaborated on an eye-catching logo that helped Marisa rebrand her company. “There are so many helpful people out there with great tips and helpful comments. I’m friends with people all over the Unites States and even Australia,” says Marisa.

Keeping Up with Technology

Tony is an old-school tinter and has specific film he is comfortable using. Marisa grew up using her father’s choice of tint, but she also wanted to keep up with the latest products on the market. She took the initiative and joined the Facebook group, The Film Benders Guild. Marisa is now a moderator for the group which has influenced her use of the latest tools and additional types of film including ceramic.

Before Marisa added the tinting of headlights and taillights to her business, she trained with John Schurman of Luxe Auto Concepts in Shreveport, La. She wanted to ensure she could provide quality workmanship for this specialized area.

Cars and Contracts

Marisa also tints more than cars. She has been able to expand her business by promoting her ability to tint other items–commercial farm tractors, RVs, boats and 18-wheelers. She has a great reputation for producing quality work. Now people located outside Louisiana bring their vehicles to her from Texas to Tennessee.

Another way Marisa has grown her business is by creating a relationship with each of the automotive dealers in her hometown of Minden, La. She has contracts with them to fill any tint requests they receive.

Commercial Clients

Residential and commercial tinting has also been added to her stock and trade. This has been especially beneficial in the winter months when there aren’t as many vehicles to tint. When the public school system in Webster Parish needed to fulfill the mandate that students in school not be visible from the exterior of the building, they called Marisa. She tinted the exterior school windows for more than eight schools in Webster Parish. She also tinted the interior doors so that classrooms of students are also not visible from the hallways or attached rooms.

Marisa’s skill set has been applied to many of the commercial buildings in Minden, La. From the pharmacy to a local vet clinic, businesses call Marisa when they want UV protective film installed to reduce their air conditioning bills.

Life Outside of Tinting

Marisa has been very busy since she became a full-time tinter. She has also gotten married, had two children and divorced her husband. When asked how she managed tinting while pregnant, Marisa replied, “You have to get assistance. You cannot do everything the way you used to. Thankfully my dad still tints parttime because I couldn’t do the back glasses.” Marisa also worked hard at losing the weight she gained with her pregnancies. She has lost 115 lbs. so far and feels better than ever.

Growing the Business

Marisa is proud that her work to cultivate her business has translated into increased sales. While she is constantly working to grow Pro Tint, she knows that she’s not ready for a second location – yet. She is ready for the planned addition to her building that will become her much larger office. Her current office is bursting at the seams and will become the new customer waiting room.

As she looks around her shop she sees a familiar sight—her two children, now 4 and 7, playing with film scraps. “They watch me work, and they are picking up little things about the business. They already know the names of many of my tools and always want to help. It’s going to be almost natural for them to tint.” It may be that Marisa won’t be the only cradle-tinter in the family.

Erin E. Miller is a contributing writer for WINDOW FILM magazine.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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