Cold winter months in a motorsports shop opens up gaps between jobs and delivery of rare, expensive vehicles to work on when one must consider weather and road conditions. I’ve had the idea for some time to build a one-off custom welding helmet for myself. This idea primarily went along with my obsession for modifying everything and putting my touch on my immediate surroundings and belongings. Being a huge Star Wars nerd, I didn’t need to look too hard for inspiration, so when I found the time in January, I built an “out-of-this-world” face shield. Little did I know what the fallout would be. I’ve always been known for creativity, but it was focused in the racing and motorsports industry. Once this creation saw prime time on the Internet, I left the motorsports bubble and was rapidly propelled into an entirely different universe.
I laughed off this recent phenomenon and the Internet viral fame of the helmet. I figured this would die out within days, and the calls and emails would stop. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The demand grew to the point that I could not say no to the requests. PlebaniBuilt was formed overnight. The website domain I had retained for my metal artwork, custom car builds, and history in the motorsports world became the central hub for my custom welding helmets.
While I was struggling through spring and summer to keep up with demand, I knew that all this buzz had to carry over into a broader range of industries. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show held in Las Vegas would be the perfect stage to solidify the buzz. There was no question that I wanted to share this stage with no other than the automotive juggernaut, Mishimoto. Why, you might ask? The answer is rather simple but maybe unknown to many. I have had a long history and great relationship working with Mishimoto over the years in the motorsports and racing industries. Being a veteran attendee of the SEMA show since 1998, I convinced Mishimoto to allow me to build two display helmets for its booth space. I promised a huge buzz surrounding the build because there has been nothing like it, at this show or ever! It was an overwhelming success to say the least, and the demand and buzz got even bigger.
The success and impact from the SEMA show was noticed firsthand by Mishimoto, a company that knows how to bring “cool” to market. The collaboration between PlebaniBuilt and Mishimoto continued in the form of the new corporation named Arkane. We know who is behind Arkane, but what exactly is Arkane?
Arkane is the company that will bring style to the personal protective equipment (PPE) market.