In March 2003, I set up a business from my downstairs bedroom in Barry near Cardiff South Wales…..
March 2012 celebrates the 9th anniversary of ‘Dreamwall Wall Coverings with a Difference’, this blog post is a celebration account of my 9 year incredible journey.
Creating the Dream
2003: I never set out to start up a business, it was originally a project idea for the home. I had not long given birth to my daughter and wanted to create a loft style apartment in my then new build property. Due to building regulations it was impossible to have a real rustic brick wall built. After having no luck searching for a cladding system that would mimic the charm of old ‘Rustic Brick’ wall, I decided with the help of my daughters father to set about creating our own prototype wall that was originally all hand casted in the garage. It was only when the prototype wall was installed did that light bulb moment come… and in a nut shell that is how ‘Dreamwall’ was born.
Making the Dream
Having no business background I was totally clueless on how to make this’Lightbulb’ moment into a reality. I seeked helped from business in focus and was awarded a grant to help product research and develop ‘Rustic Brick’ into a marketable product.
The material option chosen for ‘Dreamwall ‘Rustic Brick’ was a VAC formation of the original design, a corner and a lintel section were added into the range. The product has to be painted on decoration but a perfect easy solution for anyone wanting create a brick wall effect. Its nice to say that ‘Rustic Brick is still the flagship product that started the business and continues to be used in many successful projects.
In 2003 I somehow managed to juggle being a new mother with a new business, I was lucky my daughter slept through the night so I could spend my evenings hand writing or emailing potential clients, magazines, TV shows with my new interior product idea. This was a time before social media so it was a lot harder to get the product out there and all on a very limited budget.
I was over the moon to receive a call from the producers of BBC Big Strong Boys, who were very keen to use my product on the DIY day time TV show. (See Video above) The BBC aired the episode in June 2003, and it was huge marketing success.
I hadn’t quite anticipated how successful the product would be and in such a short space of time, all those late nights hand writing letters had started to pay off with orders.
UK Young Designers 2004
2004: With the success of ‘Rustic Brick’ along with a year’s experience in the industry, I had a big passion to help other like minded ‘Designers’. I set up a new project through Dreamwall and called it the ‘UK Young Designers’. The purpose of ‘The UK Young Designers’ was to give up and coming designers a chance of more exposure. Dreamwall’s first product range in the UK Young Designers was ‘The Retro’ range, designed by ‘Pop Art Plastic’
Dreamwall was contacted by Endemol the producers of channel 4 Big Brother. They wanted to use ‘The Retro Range’ in the Big Brother Diary room. By May 2004 the programme was live and ‘The Retro Range’ pyramid tiles were showcased live through out the summer of 2004. The success of Channel 4 helped launch ‘Pop Art Plastic’ followed by more success in September 2004 seeing the Pyramid tiles used on the Celebrity Big Brother Dairy room. Come October 2004 the ‘Retro Range’ love tile was used by Channel 5 TV show Colin and Justin.
Following on with the ‘The Retro Range’ I added a handmade glass tile range to the UK young designers. The Hand made glass tiles were all hand made by Kate Dodson of ID Glass design.
2005: Dreamwall still remained a mail order company, so many adverts were taken out in the early days with Living Etc, Ideal Home Christmas supplement here are some of the old Dreamwall adverts.
Come the end of 2005 I continued to expanded the ‘UK young designers’ with more exciting new ranges from up and coming designers these included the just out of university Johanna Basford, Anne Reynolds, Emma Gray, ATA Designs, DF bean who was working in partnership with Digetex.
2006: Early 2006 Dreamwall started a new collaboration with a Spanish company, introducing new ranges from Slates, Stones, and varied brick work designs. The UK Young Designers had expanded well that it felt the right time to open a Dreamwall Showroom.
It was great fun setting up the first Dreamwall showroom, I found an empty shop unit in Barry near Cardiff. The building needed completely gutting, it was great to design, specify, and project manage the whole project. Building work started in Feb 2006 and was completed for the showroom open in the April 2006.
The showroom, showcased all the Dreamwall products under one roof, from Rustic Brick, UK Young designer collections, glass tiles, and the Spanish companies panels. The good thing about having a showroom was I could now keep wallpaper collection books, from Harlequin to Cole & sons.
The showroom was a great place to invite interior designers, architects, specifiers to view all the Dreamwall product ranges.
The showroom unfortunately had to close down by the end of 2006 due to a private personal family matter that I had to take six months away from Dreamwall.
Fresh New beginnings
2007: After taking six months away from the business, I decided it was time to get back up and running, luckily I kept the Dreamwall website live, It was a pleasant surprise to see all the enquiries that were still being made.
Dreamwall was soon back on track with an order from River Island who rolled out Dreamwall’s ‘Rustic Brick‘ in many of their flagship stores.
In September 2007 I said goodbye to South Wales and relocated back to Northern England.
I decided to take Dreamwall back to basics as a mail order company with just the original flagship product.
Once settled back up north I formed a partnership with Decorative Stone Panels LTD selling Brick, Slate, Stone and Contemporary panels through Dreamwall.
Turning to Social Media and Blogging
2008: Because I no longer had the showroom to showcase the wall panels, I had to look at other ways to market the panels. Advertising was expensive so I turned to the internet as a source of marketing tool. I successfully started posting blogs on the Mydeco website and was surprised at all the valid work connections I started to make.
I soon started to connect with Interior designers and specifiers on Mydeco who showed an interest in the wall panels, even securing a few successful clients with orders.
2009: I joined twitter as Dreamwalls and now have over 12,000+ followers and have enjoyed connecting and collaborating on Twitter, it certainly has been a successful social media tool for the business if used correctly.
I set up an official Dreamwall Blog I found this an invaluable marketing tool, a great way to showcase the Dreamwall Panels instantly live on the internet.
In 2011 the ‘Dreamwall’ panels were showcased at the surface design show in partnership with Decorative Stone panels, it was overwhelming the amount of interest that was generated. We launched the Capitone Panel at the Surface Design Show, which produced a lot of social media exposure from top interior bloggers including Design Milk and Freshome
Through the power of Twitter and Blogging, my passion for all things design has been ignited, I set up another Twitter feed called Dreamwallstyle along with the Dreamwallstyle Blog a collective blog – Jam packed ‘mish mash’ of all things stylish.
2012: Dreamwall continues to successfully work in partnership with Decorative Stone Panels LTD and we still hold the reputation as the UK’s leading wall covering specialists in imitation brick, stone and slate wall panels.
Over the next few months some exciting new developments are happening within the Dreamwall Brand and as soon as I get the go ahead all the Dreamwallstyle loyal readers will be the first to know….So watch this Space!