How Shanan Campanaro went from breaking wallpaper to celebrity clients

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After Shanan Campanaro purged her New York apartment of furniture after a breakup, she found herself with a television, a rug, a cushion and a blank wall that inspired her to create her own wallpaper. About a year after installing this – and eventually more furniture – in her home, in 2008 she founded her textile design studio Eskayel, where she creates cult, eco-friendly wallpaper designs.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins in London in 2003, Campanaro first immersed himself in the world of design creating fashion graphics and t-shirts. “I think I’m really a designer at heart,” Campanaro told the host Denis Scully on the last episode of The Home Business Podcast.

Campanaro grew up surrounded by an entrepreneurial spirit in San Diego, like her father, Tom Campanaro, founded Total Gym, a home exercise equipment company popularized by his infomercials. With work experience in the family business and a fascination for design, Campanaro brought Eskayel to life.

In the brand’s early days, Campanaro balanced her fledgling business with work as a graphic designer at womenswear retailer Express. She tells a story, or rather a cautionary tale, of standing in a snowstorm on her lunch break while on the phone with a celebrity client’s wallpaper installer, who informed her that ‘she hadn’t sent enough wallpaper for the whole room. (She had done just enough to cover the dimensions of the two walls they had sent.) As a stressed-out small-business owner, Campanaro ended up paying for the rest of the celebrity wallpaper herself. His advice: “Ask if it’s the whole room.”

She was able to leave her job at Express in 2010, and this move resulted in growth for Eskayel. In addition to custom wallpaper, by 2014 Campanaro had expanded the brand’s offering to include rugs. Wallpaper is easy to develop, she says, but rugs are more technical and tactile, involving a series of new production hurdles: the dyeing process, making the sample, creating the complete rug and photographing it. to capture the luxurious material. With a new rug collection coming this fall, Campanaro hopes Eskayel will soon be seen as a rug destination.

“It’s been a very long process, and it will continue, but I love the rugs we make,” she says. “We’ve done some amazing projects and we have some amazing rug customers,” says Campanaro. “And I’m always impressed with how they look when they see the end result.”

The challenges don’t end when the production process is complete. Partnering with the right showroom can help your design brand thrive, but courting showrooms can be expensive and time-consuming, says Campanaro. For this reason, she has stopped proactively seeking representation and instead waits for interested showrooms to request and pay for samples. Eskayel’s longest relationship is with Studio Four NYC, a wallpaper and fabric showroom that started around the same time as Eskayel.

“They taught us a lot of what we learned about the interior design industry,” says Campanaro. “They are still our best-selling showroom. But other than Studio Four, we haven’t had many showrooms that work very well with our line.

Elsewhere in the episode, Campanaro talks about Eskayel’s annual sale, the brand’s exclusive wallpaper collaboration with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and staying optimistic about your business amid recession rumours. “I think if you’re always worrying about what you might lose, you kind of manifest the loss,” Campanaro says. “So don’t overthink it as long as you have a plan.”

Listen to the show below. If you like what you hear, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. This episode was sponsored by Modern Matter and High Point Market.

Homepage photo: Tom Rauner

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