It’s incredible to think that we initially launched a boot lining kit way back in 2004, after I (Andy) had made one for my own Classic Mini and a fellow theminiforum.co.uk member said "that looks great, can you make me one?”. The boot liner was the beginning of Optimise Automotive, it was the first item I developed, the first item I released for sale and the first inkling and inspiration behind the process of turning my pass time into a career.
From day 1 our boot liners have lead the market and we have continually developed the range, to keep on top of the game.
Back in the olden days (circa 2008 to 2012) we would regularly be commissioned to create bespoke leatherette boot lining kits, this trend then near enough disappeared until late 2019, when out of the blue we have been receiving a high number of requests for leatherette boot liners.
As a result, last October (October 2021) we made the decision to add a leatherette option to our boot lining kit range.
This was music to my ears, as I’ll always have a special affiliation to the boot lining kit (as mentioned above, it’s where this journey started) and they will forever be my favourite item.
As I start to write this development blog on the 4th July 2022 we are several months into the research & development stages, having initially spent a considerable amount of time researching “what you want” and then progressing with the mechanical design development (ensuring that everything works correctly).
Developing a leatherette trimmed kit isn’t simply a case of trimming our carpet kit boards in a leatherette, the kit needs many modifications & alterations to allow for different material thicknesses and trimming features. Testing the kits to iron out fitment problems with piping rubbing and imprinting on panels has been a longer process than we hoped, but an essential process to ensure the quality of our kits.
We don’t need to bore you with further details and the process of mechanical design, as you can tell from the photos below, it’s not very interesting.
Anyway, I’m pleased to announce that we are now happy with the mechanical design aspects of the kits and we are finally ready to progress with the design development process.
For the past week we’ve been busy with the initial concept design work, with one simple objective:
“Design a leatherette trimmed boot lining kit that perfectly compliments our Classic Mini product range.”
As a boot lining kit is made up of panels, it is logical to use our door card range as inspiration for the leatherette boot liners. Our starting points are the Monte-Carlo Plus (our best selling single colour option) and the Wide-Stripe Fluted (our best selling dual colour option).
Monte-Carlo Plus Door Cards
Wide-Stripe Fluted Door Cards
As mentioned above, our product range kits need to perfectly compliment our standard product range, which poses numerous design questions:
For reference, we finalised panel design concepts (this included the idea of treating each board individually, like a door card set, or combining the kit together, with interlocking design from one board to another) as part of our research and mechanical design process.
The joys of digital design have allowed us to generate numerous design concepts, playing around with the stitch patters, colour layouts and material mixtures. So without any further waffling, lets get straight into it with stitch patterns:
Single colour concept with vertical stitching.
Dual colour concept with vertical stitching.
Single colour concept with horizontal stitching.
Dual colour concept with horizontal stitching.
I’m sure you will agree, that’s a very easy decision (we weren’t expecting it to be so easy), running the stitching parallel with the piping looks miles better (I can’t get it out my head that the the horizontal lines of stitching make the panels look like ladders, especially on the smaller panels). Plus the parallel stitching definitely matches our objective of perfectly matching the kits to our product range interiors.
To be honest, I think we’ve accidentally stumbled across the final design, with the first concept.
Despite that, lets double check everything else to make sure.
Next up, colour layouts:
Single colour concept with contracting coloured base board.
Dual colour concept with contracting coloured base board.
As mentioned already, introducing a complimentary contrasting colour to the base board undoubtedly looks great and as a bespoke option (if you have large areas of a second colour in your interior) works brilliantly. However, this doesn’t perfectly compliment our product range interiors and as suspected, will not be something that we will be adding to the standard kits.
Finally, lets have a play with the idea of introducing a mixture of carpet and leatherette panels:
Single colour featured leatherette rear panel with predominately carpet kit.
Dual colour featured leatherette rear panel with predominately carpet kit.
Single colour featured leatherette wall panels with carpeted front, floor and boot panels.
Dual colour featured leatherette wall panels with carpeted front, floor and boot panels.
Single colour featured leatherette “boot” panels with carpeted front and boot panels.
Dual colour featured leatherette “boot” panels with carpeted front and boot panels.
Single colour featured leatherette kit with carpeted floor panel.
Dual colour featured leatherette kit with carpeted floor panel.
Single colour featured leatherette kit with carpeted floor panel & carpeted boot lid centre panel.
Dual colour featured leatherette kit with carpeted floor panel & carpeted boot lid centre panel.
I’m personally a massive fan of combining the two trimmings, essentially creating a boot lining kit which has the perfect mix of stunning appearance and practicality. In my opinion, the option of featured leatherette wall panels with with a carpeted floor panel & a carpeted boot lid centre panel creates the perfect “practical” leatherette kit and I’m really glad that we had a play with the combinations.
However, from our research and also from our experience in the market (no one has ever asked for anything like this), it's not something that you lovely lot want. We’d love to know your opinion though and we’d love to know if you think we should launch a half and half style kit as part of the product range. Obviously we will be offering this kind of thing on a bespoke basis, but I have a sneaky feeling that it is also will be something we could be reconsidering in the near future (especially when we make up an example in the next few weeks) and adding to the product range.
Anyway, enough jibber jabbering, it's time to make a few decisions.
As suspected we accidentally stumbled across the final design (for the full leatherette kits), with the first concept.
Chosen design concept, single colour.
Chosen design concept, dual colour.
It’s time to get these stunners made.
Absolutely no point in messing around here, we’ve made up several examples of the kits and as I'm sure you will agree, they look absolutely stunning - a picture paints 1000 words and all of that.
Quite frankly, job done:
Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Single Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Dual Colour
As demonstrated by the images above both single colour and dual colour options completely compliment our standard product range interiors. Plus, as demonstrated by the images below, the layout is easily customisable, suiting different requirements depending upon your interior.
Bespoke Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Horizontal Stitching
Bespoke Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Diamond Stitched
And as already mentioned, we think we could be readdressing the half & half option (photos below) and potentially launching them to the product range, but we will await your feedback first.
Bespoke Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Carpeted Floor & Boot Lid Cover
In terms of research & development we are now done and it’s time to finalise everything for the launch, we can’t wait to get these beauties launched ASAP.
No messing, thats us done and our Platinum kits are launched with the usual options, to ensure that they perfectly compliment your Optimise interior.
Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Single Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit - Dual Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit + Battery Access Panel - Single Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit + Battery Access Panel - Dual Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit With Runners - Single Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit With Runners - Dual Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit With Runners + Battery Access Panel - Single Colour
Platinum Boot Lining Kit With Runners + Battery Access Panel - Dual Colour
I hope you have enjoyed following our development journey over the past month or so, plus may I also take this opportunity to thank you for all the feedback.
Have a great day.
Andy & the Optimise Automotive team