Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikael Hinojosa.
Mikael, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been into cars since I can remember. As a teen I collected car magazines that ranged from low riders, to imports and super cars. From the magazines, I fell in love with the sport of drifting. Watching cars slide in full control fascinated me and I wanted to learn how to drive like that. In 2007 I picked up a Nissan 240sx and began modifying it to learn. Online forum research taught me everything I needed to learn how to do it myself and which mods were essential to get better at the sport. After spending about 10k on the car, I knew I was addicted to the lifestyle of modding cars. I bought a Nissan 370Z in 2011 and one of the challenges I decided to take on was modding the headlights. There weren’t many at the time who were doing this so many were interested in the outcome. As soon as I posted my work online I began receiving request for me to do their headlights. There were many things to learn about this process since it required baking in the oven in order to open and seal them. After much experience I learned about LED technology and started to experiment with many lighting brands that were available at the time. It was a new market and even the manufactures had a lot to learn. I have gone through my share of good and bad products which in a way earned my trust in people when it came to knowing which product was best to install. Due to the demand for people interested in my services, I created the business name Houston Halos. Creating a business accounts on social media platforms is what has allowed me to showcase my work across the world. I have shipped lights to china, Puerto Rico, New York, California, Arizona and many more. In 2016 I decided to leave my full time job and continue with my new passion. I take pride in my work and making my customers happy as my reputation depends on it. This is what leads to me being successful in this new colorful industry.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not! The industry is new and is going through the learning process just like I am. New products are constantly being released every 3 to 6 months because people always want the latest and greatest. This is scary because the product has not been tested for very long before it has been released to the public. Older items are no longer available due to the companies stocking up on the new so you have no choice but to offer what is available. This creates a trust relationship with certain manufactures but even then some of the ones you trust can release a product that is defective. Offering a 1 year warranty on my work and products has hurt me in the past. Last year I spent two months replacing halos because a bad product was released which hurt me. However maintaining a good relationship with each customer was more important to me so I ate the cost. I am very picky about which brands I install now because of this.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Houston Halos – what should we know?
When it comes to LED’s, I started with installing Halos which is why I created the name. From there I have found ways to incorporate LED’s many different places inside of a car, truck, motorcycle and even houses. I have been a very good artist my entire life so also learning how to apply automotive paint was inevitable. Making pretty and colorful lights has not been my only priority, safety is as well. I have a Nissan Pathfinder as a daily vehicle and I often noticed while driving at night that my headlights didn’t look like they were even on. I usually had to get out to see if they were working. I then learned about the art of projector retrofitting. This was taking an aftermarket projector and fitting into the chrome halogen bowl that some less privileged cars come with from the factory. After successful installation and a conversion from halogen to HID, my Pathfinder was able to project bright light hundreds of feet in front of me without blinding others! I now recommend all cars that have halogen bowls receive this service.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I love people and have always been able to make friends with all types from all places. I love that everyone is different which is one reason I love the car world so much. It brings together everyone over one common interest. I don’t like to make enemies which is a great characteristic to have in my opinion because it leads to people always having something good to say about you which is very important in this field. When people want something custom done to their car, their first action is to ask people they know, online or shops for recommendations. If you have a bad reputation, that could be the end of your business.
Article taken from Voyage Houston