Fibrenew saves furniture from the landfill

When people (or pets) damage leather furniture, the owners often live with it or start looking for something new. Jim Steen of East Isles offers another option. He repairs and rehabs leather furniture as part of Fibrenew, a Calgary-based business.

“It’s a far better alternative to fix it than throw it in a dump,” he said. “That was a huge thing for me when I got into this franchise.”

Steen previously worked in logistics for 15 years and decided to get out of the office and try something different. For the past two years, he has used a curing agent to fill in cracks or tears in leather. He color-matches the existing furniture, a skill that requires weeks of training.

“There is no computer matching,” he said. “The eye is better than a computer. … We get it really close. If we didn’t, we’d be in trouble because that’s the first thing people notice.”

Steen also repairs plastic, auto interiors, and vinyl siding on homes. He’s re-dyed the vinyl interior of a Hummer, and repaired a chair that was “just one big cat claw mark.”

“That one was really bad,” he said. “They were pretty happy with that.”