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The Detroit Wallpaper Co

530 Livernois
Ferndale, MI 48220

Josh Young

When one thinks of Detroit, automotive immediately comes to mind. Music is not far behind. Josh Young wants the world to start thinking decor, more specifically wallpaper.

Young and Andi Kubacki co-founded two Ferndale-based businesses focused on wallpaper. Great Wall Custom Coverings specializes in custom wallpaper murals while the The Detroit Wallpaper Co offers a broad range of customizable specialty wallpaper options. If there is such a thing as avant-garde wallpaper, Young and Kubacki's companies make it. And they do it with subtle flair with Motor City undertones.

"We're really trying to spin some of the notions of Detroit, such as being a hub of automotive and music," Young says. "We're trying to shift that perspective so when people think decor, they think Detroit."

That's a tall order. But Young and Kubacki are also the guys who found a way to turn wallpaper into something cool, again. It started almost by accident when the pair were creating a vinyl mural for the ceiling of an office. They launched Great Wall Custom Coverings not long after that, making custom pieces wallpaper that are only available in their client’s imaginations.

"At the time we launched 10 years ago, wallpaper was really out," Young says. "People were purchasing our products not as wallpaper but as a wall mural. We wanted to give our customers 100-percent control over the creative process."

That turned into a solid business. The problem is scalability. You can't achieve any economies of scale if everyone is buying their own individual vision of wallpaper. The Detroit Wallpaper Co launched as the bridge between finding economies of scale and letting customers purchase a unique product they help craft.

The Detroit Wallpaper Co offers six collections of wallpaper patterns. They range from the "Metrix" collection that emphasizes geometric designs to "Wander Walls" that create a sense of place with repeated images from a distant locale. All of the wallpapers can be done from a broad palette of colors. The customer can make all these decisions and order the finished product through the company’s website.

"It's a huge advantage for us because it’s a creative tool for both designers and retail clients," Young says. "One of the nightmares with regular wallpaper is you will find a pattern you love but it's not the right color. Then you have to go back to square one and start over. This is not only innovative but it’s a real time-saving tool, too."

Young adds that, "no other wallpaper company is doing it like this. We are the first and only people offering wallpaper in realtime and online."

Young and Kubacki believe a big part of their success lies behind empowering the customer to create something unique without overloading them with choices.

"We didn't want to have too many options," Young says. "We often struggle with how many colors we can have on the palette. With 60 colors in a two-color design, that gives a client just over 3,500 color combinations."

That's enough options to allow Young and Kubacki to engage their customer in the creative process.

"Our custom work allows them to find the type of decor they would never be able to find in a store or online," Young says. "It's producing a design or patterns or murals out of thin air for people."

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