Film Stars November/December 2021

December 6th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Tinting and Trusting: Through the Good and the Bad

By Chris Collier

All companies start somewhere. For Walk by Faith (WBF) Tinting … under the Son, the starting line was at Walmart parking lots, and in homes and places of work. Owners Mike and Cynthia Mitchell founded their San Angelo, Texas, company on June 11, 2018, trusting in God’s path for themselves and their business.

Walking by Faith

“The Sunday before we opened, we asked our Pastor if he would pray over our business,” Cynthia says. “He prayed for us, and shortly after, a young girl in the congregation came up to us and said, ‘The Ford dealership here lost their tinter. Would you want me to tell them that you can tint for them?’”

The dealership offered Cynthia and her husband roles as in-house tinters, but they opted for contract work under their business to ensure they lived by their name. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we live by faith, not by sight) continues to guide the couple in a period packed with uncertainty.

“Your flesh tries to get the best of you, especially when COVID first hit,” Mike says. “‘What am I going to do? What are we going to do now? We don’t have any work—we don’t have this—[But] we’re like, No, we have to remain calm. We’ve got to walk by faith.’”

WBF’s product offerings include solar film, security film, vinyl and paint protection film (PPF) for automotive, commercial and residential applications. The company’s tinting mix is 60% automotive, 20% commercial and 20% residential. The business had $150,000 in sales in 2018 and is on track for a projected $230,000 in 2021. The shop, which transitioned from mobile to brick-and-mortar in November 2019, consists of owners Mike and Cynthia and their son, the lead tinter. The family is thrilled with their economic gains, but revenue isn’t their primary source of joy. “We’re thankful for the monetary growth, the physical growth, customers in our business and the things we’re doing,” Cynthia says. “But the most rewarding part is seeing how we have grown in the Lord.”

Varied Projects

The team’s tinting projects are diverse. From farms, highways and lakes, the family provides services for vehicles in multiple areas. WBF has tinted nearly 20 buses for the Concho Valley Transit (CVT) with more work coming soon.

“In three and a half years, I’d say we’ve tinted over 10-12 tractors,” Cynthia says. “We’ve heard from mechanics that it saves the air conditioner because they don’t have to work so hard to keep the cab cool. It feels good that, not only are we keeping them cool, but it’s got 99% Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) protection so they’re also protected against the sun.”

The husband-wife combo carry diversified resumes to each tinting job they tackle. Cynthia accrued sales and team management experience as a consultant and director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mike began building his current gig with a desire for more than the paper route at 13.

“I saw one of our local tint shops in Maryland was hiring [a] shop helper,” Mike says. “I would clean up the shop, sweep the floors, pick up the razor blades and throw [away] the trash. By the time I was almost 14, I told the owner I want to learn how to start tinting. There were six tinters at that time, and they were turning out anywhere between 30 to 60 cars a day. I helped with production. I would run the plotter and have their film ready [and] weeded out.”

‘Til Tint Do Us Part

Mike’s 20-year industry career peaked with a partnership that extends beyond the peeling board. The lifelong tinter tied the knot with Cynthia in 2017, right before they opened their company.

“We love it; she’s my best friend and it’s been awesome,” Mike says. “It’s owning a business and it’s marriage—it’s not 100% all glorious. I would say 98.9% is wonderful working beside her. We already get each other [and] know each other, so it’s easier running a business when both of us are on the same page.”

For families considering starting a business together, Cynthia says grace and humility are crucial.

“It’s different when you’re working with somebody in close proximity and living with them all the time,” Cynthia says. “You’ve got to remember before a co-worker and business partner; you are my spouse and I love you. Even though we have fun together, there are times when it’s not fun. We have to remember at the end of the day— we love each other.”

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

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