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How Would You Sell Temporary Wallpaper?

Four seasoned entrepreneurs offer marketing strategies for Tempaper.

Tara Strand/Courtesy Company

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Tempaper aims to make hanging wallpaper a cinch. The temporary vinyl wallpaper from LolliProps, a New York City-based start-up, works like a sticker -- you peel off the back and place it on the wall. Because it uses an adhesive similar to that on Post-it notes, Tempaper is removable and restickable. Twin sisters Jennifer and Julia Biancella designed the product with their aunt Kate Szilagyi, who works as a set decorator in the film industry. Their creation sells for $75 to $85 per 33-foot roll on LolliProps's website and through a handful of retailers. Without hiring a publicist, LolliProps has already garnered many press mentions, but Tempaper has yet to become a household name. How can this family business increase sales? We asked four entrepreneurs to weigh in.

NO. 1: Target college kids
John Tusher, founder of Velocity Art and Design, a Seattle-based retailer of modern décor
Tempaper is well suited for college students and recent graduates who can't permanently change their environments because of renting restrictions. LolliProps should approach universities about showcasing Tempaper during orientation and selling it in campus stores. The company should also target apartment complexes in large cities that are popular among college students. Approach the rental companies about offering new tenants a coupon for wallpaper.

NO. 2: Team up with a designer
Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, interior designer and founder of Apartment Therapy, a design blog
After being a decorating no-no for a while, wallpaper is coming back in style. LolliProps should team up with a well-known designer to create patterns and lend his or her name to the products. I've found that people are insecure about their own style, but they trust the aesthetic sense of somebody famous in the field. Aligning with a recognized designer will also make Tempaper attractive to retailers. People will love that Tempaper is selling both fashion and convenience.

NO. 3: Hit trade shows
Stefane Barbeau, president and founder of Vessel, a Boston-based company that designs home products
Tempaper needs wider distribution. LolliProps should sign up for home trade shows such as the International Home + Housewares Show and the High Point Market. Buyers from big stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot attend the shows. Trade shows can be expensive, but orders will certainly come in. LolliProps can reduce costs by pairing up with another business, such as a boutique furniture company.

NO. 4: Lower the price
Maurice Blanks, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blu Dot, a Minneapolis-based furniture maker
Tempaper is a good product, but it could be too pricey for college students and even some renters, the group most likely to buy it. At this price, Tempaper will have trouble moving beyond mid- to high-priced specialty stores. Lowering the price would give LolliProps a much better chance of getting its product into big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart or Home Depot, which typically sell more affordable products. That's key to bringing Tempaper to the masses.

Feedback on the Feedback:

The founders say they have already tried calling colleges. "They wanted us to sell wallpaper with their logos," says Jennifer. She likes the idea of targeting recent grads, however. The founders say they don't yet have enough clout to attract a big designer, but they recently exhibited at their first trade show, the New York International Gift Fair. "We got really positive feedback, and it showed us we should do shows like High Point," says Jennifer. She is not keen on lowering the price. "We think it's reasonable," she says, "since you don't have to buy glue or hire help to apply the wallpaper."

Last updated: Nov 1, 2010




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