StickyTiki on why Kiwis are loving all things wall decal - especially native birds!

Decals have become a serious interior design trend but finding a high-quality option can be tricky. We spoke to decal expert, Rose Wells, to get her top tips.

You might have a little one on the way and want to create the world's cutest nursery. Or perhaps you're looking for a way to refresh your own bedroom with some stylish Kiwi touches. Whatever your aspirations, art decals are proving to be an increasingly popular option for adding some stunning colour and design to any room. However, the quality can vary massively and can sometimes be disappointing. Nobody wants a decal that won't stick or just doesn't look as amazing as you know it should. Fortunately, there is a New Zealand made option that is meeting and exceeding the expectations of its discerning customers.

StickyTiki is a renowned producer of high quality reusable art decals that celebrate New Zealand. We spoke to company owner, Rose Wells, to find out why the brand stands head and shoulders above the rest. We also managed to get her top tips for decorating a child's room and some other ideas for using decals that you might not have even thought of!

What drew you to StickyTiki? What do you think sets the brand apart from other wall art companies?

I’m a graphic designer, and have always had an interest in art. I’d also used a similar digital printer in my first job at a screen printing factory. It seemed like the perfect fit for my skillset, and was a good opportunity to incorporate creating art into my day-to-day life.

All the artwork is created by myself or the other New Zealand artists I work with. I don’t use any stock images for the decals. I also use real photographs for the product shots on my website. All of the decal photos are real decals on a real wall, and I try and use locally made props where I can too.

What were you doing before StickyTiki?

I was self-employed, which came after being made redundant 10 years ago, at the end of the last recession. I had been working as a graphic designer for an advertising agency which had lost a major client and needed to downsize. So I feel for the people who are being made redundant now, it’s not a fun experience to go through. I was doing some freelance graphic design and running my candle business, Rose in Thorns, but I was ready to move on to something else. So when the opportunity came up to purchase StickyTiki, I jumped at the chance.

What’s been the most enjoyable surprise while you’ve been in business?

Learning about New Zealand’s native birds. I’ve taken much more of an interest in them since I took over StickyTiki. I’ve enjoyed learning more about them, and diving for my camera if one comes close enough. It turns out I still have some work to do on my wildlife photography skills, but it’s fun learning!

And the biggest challenge?

Finding the time to do everything I want to do. Before I bought the business six years ago I wrote a list of ideas I had, and several of them are still waiting patiently.

Another challenge is explaining to people who aren’t familiar with them how they are used. Lots of people are sceptical, either because they have used cheap decals that didn’t come off well, or they know how difficult regular stickers are to remove from things. I’m always happy to give people a free sample decal to test out themselves at home, or to use to convince other family members.

Do you have a favourite story or piece of customer feedback?

I don’t have any standout stories, but what I love is people coming to my stall at markets, and telling me about the decal they bought 10 years ago which is still going strong, and how much they love it. That makes my day, and reminds me that I made a good decision in purchasing such a well thought-out business!

Do you have any top tips be for a parent wanting to use the decals to decorate a child’s room? Where’s a good place to start?

If your child is old enough, get them involved, and ask them to help you choose the decals. If you’re decorating a nursery, find some designs that tie in with your theme, whether it be subject or colour. The great thing about the decals is that they are reusable, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Put them up, and if they don’t look right, you can rearrange them till you’re happy with how they look. If you feel like redecorating later on, you can easily move them somewhere else or rearrange them on the wall.

It’s also fun for kids to rearrange them too - just make sure to supervise younger children, as the decals don’t like ending up on the ground. If they do, you just know they are going to fall sticky side down!

Are there any creative uses for the decals that people might not have thought of?

The decals can be used on any clean, smooth non-porous surface, so there are a lot of options. The fridge, your laptop, even your car - they are fine to go outdoors, just make sure the surface is very clean first and you firmly stick the edges down. They are also popular to put on large windows to stop birds flying into them. I quite like how my birds can help their real friends this way!

Do you think that wall decals have become more popular in recent years? Why do you think people love them so much?

They are easy to use, and you can stamp your own personality on them. If you purchase one with multiple pieces, you can arrange them however you like, and make them fit the space. Then once you’re ready to update the room again, they’re super easy to remove.

Have you noticed any wall art trends recently – any particular themes or decals that are proving especially popular?

I find the birds to be very popular. I'm not sure if that’s because they are such an iconic part of New Zealand, or because people just like birds. I find trends can be hard to pick - some you think will be short-lived, stick around for ages, and others pass by quite quickly. So I try to focus on more classic themes, and keep up with trends in illustration style instead. Watercolour is very on trend and the moment, and it lends itself to different painting styles.

What’s next for StickyTiki – any exciting plans?

There are always plans! Currently we’re rebuilding the garage and creating a studio space for StickyTiki which is very exciting, as I’m currently spread all over the house. We’re in the last stages of that right now, with the painting and carpet left to do before moving in.

The other exciting plan is to add wallpapers and large wall-sized murals to the range. I’ve been working on this for a while and am looking forward to the time when they are ready to launch!

Learn more about StickyTiki here.