Film Stars January/February 2023

January 27th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

Kaval Vilkhu’s Fall into Film

Many entrepreneurs launch businesses after years of deliberation and planning. Though Kaval Vilkhu was always passionate about cars, he entered the automotive industry on a whim. He founded Make it Shine Detailing in Ontario, Canada, in December 2007 after an energizing encounter with the detailing world.

A Deep Dive

“My parents owned a cottage up North, and it had wood siding,” Vilkhu says. “It backed onto the water. One weekend, we went to repaint the house’s wooden siding to give it a facelift. We used an electric spray gun to spray the paint. I parked the cars far away because I knew the paint would travel.”

Vilkhu had an appreciation for perfection, and an unexpected detailing opportunity scratched that itch.

“At the end of the weekend, we hopped back in the cars and drove home,” he says. “As soon as I rolled the window down, I heard this noise that shouldn’t be there. When I felt the windows in the car, they were covered in little droplets of the paint.”

At the time, a young Vilkhu was unaware of removal methods and remedies. He tried polishes and rubbing compounds, but no luck.

“A while after, we were playing basketball with friends in the driveway, and the basketball [hoop] fell on the cars,” Vilkhu says. “So the car goes to the body shop and gets fixed. The guy who cleaned up the car and got it ready said, ‘I noticed you have all of this overspray on the car. Why don’t you take this and try rubbing it on the paint?’ He handed me a clay bar.”

Vilkhu returned home with the clay bar and successfully removed the overspray from both family vehicles.

“It blew my mind,” he says. “I just got so hungry for more information and knowledge on this thing we call detailing.”

Career Choices

“My mom had a friend at a local Home Depot who was looking for someone in the tool rental department, but I was also thinking of starting a side hustle with detailing,” Vilkhu says. “I had done a lot of cars for friends, and they were super happy. I felt a lot of pride … I turned down the job at Home Depot in favor of starting my business. My parents were furious with me.”

But his parents pushed back with firm guidance, taking away his Sony Walkman and portable stereos, but he persevered. Four years after founding his business, his mother passed away.

“Weeks before my mom passed away, I would see her in the hospital, and nurses were there,” Vilkhu says. “My mom was like, ‘That’s my son—he has his own business.’ They became really proud. That was a cool shift in mentality.”

Vilkhu then went to and graduated college with degrees in management and e-commerce, eventually landing a job at a pharmaceutical production company.

“I kept getting calls from clients,” says Vilkhu, a member of the Window Film Pros Facebook group. “In 2012, I took a week off to decompress and take inventory. I decided to get back into detailing full-time. The next day, I had a line-up of clients with cars to do. It picked up then.”

Vilkhu is a decade and a half removed from founding Make it Shine Detailing, and his service mix has shifted dramatically since opening day. Paint protection film now generates 95% of all company sales, with ceramic coatings comprising 5%. Vilkhu runs the shop solo as an owner/operator, but plans to hire additional team members in the future.

Chris Collier is the editor of Window Film magazine.
ccollier@glass.com

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