PaperBoy: What about the girls?
I called my company Paper Boy, because it was inspired by my twin sons, Rory and Archie. But looking back, it was always mostly for a girl, and that girl was me!
The boys had got to an age when the fluffy bunny theme in their bedroom just wasn’t cutting it and I wanted to update it with something that was fun and engaging for them but also lovely for me. I saw a lot of pretty pink stuff around for that princess stage some girls go through, but I was after something stylish enough for me and ‘boyish’ enough for my boys.
Wallpaper: What about the boys?
I wanted wallpaper and fabric that appealed to my thoroughly masculine offspring. And I also wanted it to be crafted and good quality and thoughtful and full of personality. To even have a sense of humour. I wanted children’s wallpaper and fabric where my sons’ enthusiasms met my grown-up style.
What would that look like?
The search for Something Nice for Boys (and for me)
I thought about what made me happy. A beautiful house for me is elegant and spacious with a few lovely, classic things. A place with designs and materials that sing. That’s filled with colours and shapes that have a sense of harmony and intrigue. That makes you feel somehow calmer and more comfortable. As if the world is really rather fine. Somewhere that brings a smile to your face.
I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could find designs that made me and my boys feel like that?’
I wanted it to look hand-made but wasn’t keen on folksy or whimsical or twee. The standard licensed wares felt a bit shouty or tacky or brash. It needed to be affordable as well as classic, even iconic. But with an edge. Bang-up-to-date modern, but with room for nostalgia. Enough fun for little kids yet cool enough for the bigger ones. And lovely enough to fit in with a beautiful, grown-up decoration scheme.
Was I asking too much?!
The Do-it-myself solution
Apparently I was asking way too much. I couldn’t find a thing I liked!
So I gave up looking and got on with making.
Hand-made look? I drew the images myself, free hand.
Boy appeal? I asked the boys what they liked. They pointed to ‘edgy’ images, like graffiti and (slightly) scary skeletons as well as more traditional themes like robots and dragons and dinosaurs.
Loveliness for me? I showed the children the colours, simplicity and texture I loved and they responded in a surprisingly sophisticated way.
I was in business. And I’ve never looked back.
The designs rolled out first on wallpaper, then fabric and now into home furnishings. They’ve worked for my boys from Archie’s six year old delight at seeing himself running across the bedroom wall pursued by a T Rex, til Rory’s recent suggestion that we paint his bedroom black. (Ah well, nothing lasts forever.)
And although I created PaperBoy with boys in mind, it turns out that lots of girls love it too. Whether that’s little princesses who’d rather chase dragons than be rescued from them, or stylish mums who can’t take any more pink.
So that’s how the PaperBoy story began. It’s wonderful to think of how the story continues on walls and furniture across the land. Whether you’re a wide-eyed little child, an imaginative older one or a totally sophisticated grown-up, I hope you get as much pleasure from decorating with my designs as I do from making them.