Iris Hao of BC Magic Wallpaper works with her husband Tony and colleague Alexandra to produce innovative removable and reusable wallpaper and wall decals in a range of gorgeous patterns. Iris says they love to do custom orders, as they can tailor an order to exactly the colour and amount each customer wants.
What do you make?
We design and custom make self-adhesive and repositionable wallpaper! We also make feature walls, wall boarders and wall stickers with the same repositionable material.
How did you get into your craft?
We were living in a rental when we first moved to Christchurch in 2012 and we had to be super careful that our young son Leon wouldn’t draw on the ugly wallpaper. We dreamed of wallpapering the house with a cool pattern and thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to take the wallpaper with us when we moved houses!
We realised that a lot of people would have the same problem. They might want to temporarily decorate a space and change it back later. Traditional wallpaper or feature walls are so permanent! When we discovered a special type of material that was newly introduced to the New Zealand market we realised this could be the wallpaper we’d been looking for.
My husband Tony and I used to run an advertising company together. Our background in printing and graphic design gave us the knowledge of how to turn a creative idea into a product. We started off by testing the product with small wall stickers and removable photo posters. Then people began to show more interest in feature walls printed with their own photos.
Tony loves to take beautiful landscape photos so he became our first customer. We put up a feature wall with one of his photos in the office, and moved it to our rental house six months later. It is still on the wall in my son Leon’s bedroom today. Most of the landscape photos you find on our website were taken by Tony.
Alexandra came on board in 2015 taking care of customer service and social media. She is a huge fan of interior design and has a degree in Art History.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
The process of doing a custom order is our favourite part of the job. We begin by finding out about the interior style of our customer’s room, the curtains they have chosen, which wall needs a little love, and the colour scheme of their space. We then introduce the patterns which we feel should work best in the environment and send them home with a few pattern samples to test out on the wall. It gives us enormous pleasure to help a customer achieve their dream design.
What inspires you?
Our designs are inspired by interior trends from around the globe. We pick up what’s popular at the moment and help our customers create a vision. We get our inspiration from magazines, social media, fashion shows and art exhibitions. Starry skies, old buildings and street arts also give us ideas.
I love watching “The Block NZ” and love seeing how passionate people are about designing a space. We share the same passion at BC Magic Wallpaper.
Describe your creative process:
First we find out what pattern our customer would like, and what colour scheme they use in the rest of their space. We can then customise the pattern to suit their colour scheme. Before making a final order, we always recommend our customers get a few colour samples so they can see the products in person. It helps them to visualise the finished room when they can see the real sample on the wall. When they have decided on a colour or a pattern, we then print the wallpaper at their wall size and cut the panels at a width that is easy for them to hang. Every order is unique. All our wallpapers are hand cut and packaged by ourselves, here in Christchurch.
Describe your workspace:
It is very colourful! We have a wall of different wallpaper panels on display. We also have a beautiful photo wallpaper mural, an autumnal scene from Christchurch’s Hagley Park. My husband captured the photo recently. We also have our ‘Stag in the Woods’ mural on display.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
My two favourite feedbacks so far have been: “So so good! Custom sizing and when it got here I was able to apply it super fast! So happy with the results!”
“Love it so much!! So easy to put it up!! We want to buy more for other rooms!! Awesome product!!”
I also love when a customer sends us photos of their finished space, it’s such a great feeling to see the wallpaper on the wall.
What are you reading now?
Cross Stitch from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
The interior designer and textile maker, Iris Apfel. She is in her nineties and still exudes confidence and style, while ageing gracefully – and she loves to play with colour!
A favourite quote:
“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s all about self-expression and, above all, attitude.” – Iris Apfel.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I just purchased a lovely ceramic vase from Vanessa Bean, I can’t wait for it to arrive! She makes beautiful vases with faces. When flowers are placed inside it looks like a cute hairstyle for the vase.
What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
We recently created some new patterns and new colour ways of some old favourites. I’m always looking for inspiration for new pattern ideas and fun colour combinations.
If you’d like to meet Iris and the team from BC Magic Wallpaper, they will be exhibiting at the Christchurch Home Show in October. Iris says they love showing their product to people in person!