What inspired you to start PaperBoy?
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
I wanted to re-decorate my twinboys’ bedroom when they were about 4. I’d decorated their nursery using a (now deleted) ‘Wind in the Willows’ wallpaper from Osborne & Little. Having moved house I wanted to create a slightly more grown up room for them. At the time they were crazy for ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy the licensed wallpapers and fabrics that were on offer then. So I took myself off to our local interiors shop in West Dulwich (Revamp Interiors - one of our first stockists). I spoke to Alice who owns the business and explained what I was after. Something for the in between stage. She told me that there really wasn’t anything for the ‘boyish’ types that wasn’t cheap and nasty.
Naively I thought: ‘That can’t be right! How hard can it be to make nice wallpaper and fabric for boys…?’
Well. After about a year of research to find UK manufacturers I launched PaperBoy. It was a steep learning curve but ultimately (7 years later) it has been great fun and I think I have achieved my aim of producing something lovely for the boys.
Why do you choose natural dyes and FSC papers?
The simple and honest answer is that it’s hard - with current regulations - to not use natural dyes and FSC papers. You really do have to try to not be environmentally friendly in UK manufacture. Which I think is a positive thing.
There is also no benefit in not using them in terms of colours and finish.
Sadly recycled paper is not an option for wallpaper as currently it’s not strong enough to go through the production process but perhaps that will change in the near future.
Are there any other measures you take to be sustainable, ethical or socially responsible?
We are always mindful as to packaging. Wallpaper particularly is a fragile product and as we deliver to our customers all over the world using couriers, the packaging has to be robust enough to withstand the journey. Again, as we operate solely out of the UK, our box manufacturers are regulated and all our commercial waste is collected, sorted and recycled.
As a UK manufacturer we are always 100% sure that everyone involved in the process is an adult earning an appropriate wage. We could reduce our costs significantly by moving our manufacture to other countries. But I wouldn’t feel confident that I could hand-on-heart know that my children’s products weren’t being made by children or in less than satisfactory conditions.
I also feel that during the research process I discovered how damaged UK manufacturing was by the recession of the 80’s so I feel a responsibility to, in some small way, help keep the UK manufacturing industry alive. This means that our products are not the cheapest but I think our customers value ‘Made in the UK’.
We also use 100% Irish spun linen for all our fabrics. Flax is grown in the Benelux countries so there is a low carbon footprint to get it from there to Northern Ireland where it is spun. It also requires very little water when growing and to harvest. Even compared to organic cotton - which is a very thirsty crop - linen is a truly environmentally friendly product. It’s practically a weed.
It also has such a lovely natural feel and I love the way it creases and ages.
And PaperBoy really works. It’s both contemporary and cool. Take a look and why not stimulate your little ones’ imagination with some exciting new wallpaper.
#Castles for Rascals.
Earth Friendly Interiors for Stylish Little People. Carefully Sourced, Lovingly Made.