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Chasing Dreams
Reusable wallpaper has designer flare

Photos by Julia Robbs

July 2013

Elizabeth Rees launched Chasing Paper (, a peel and stick type of wallpaper, in 2011 after finding inspiration during her European travels.

Elizabeth Rees is not your typical 20-something. The Whitefish Bay native has traveled across the globe, and, after coming back to the United States, started her own business.

Rees moved to Washington, D.C. when she was 25. There she worked for National Geographic, where she met many world travelers. That gave her the itch, so she saved her money and traveled in Asia for six months followed by getting her masterís degree at American University in Paris. "It was an experience meeting people from all over the world in my program," Rees says. "It was a springboard into the rest of Europe" ó weekend trips to Morocco, London and other exotic locales.

As a member of a family with a three-generation printing business, she took notice of the extensive use of wallpaper in European countries. "Iíd seen a lot of wallpaper. Wallpaper is huge in Europe." When she returned to the United States in 2011, she started seeing a resurgence of wallpaper in the United States. "I thought if there was wallpaper that wasnít real wallpaper, I would use it."

She started doing the research and talking to people, including her family who owns Kubin-Nicolson, a Milwaukee printing firm that specializes in large formats such as billboards or bus wraps.

Rees joined the family business, spending her time between Milwaukee and New York and pursuing her next goal of selling removable wallpaper. "I thought there is some kind of opportunity here," Rees says.

Chasing Paper opened for business in March. The online company sells stylish removable wallpaper that can be reused over and over again. "It really happened organically. People were really excited about it," she says.

The paper, manufactured in Milwaukee, is sold in 2-foot-by-4-foot panels that come in 35 different patterns, each in a multitude of colors. A new designer is featured every month to keep the selections fresh. Previous designer styles also remain available for purchase.

The goal was to create a removable wallpaper that looks and feels like real wallpaper. "Itís actually peel and stick fabric, so it has a texture and grain to it. Having that texture adds to the level of quality that sets us apart from others (companies) in the category."

A low-tack adhesive ("like a super sticky Post-it Note") is used to adhere the wallpaper to the surface. "It wonít leave any residue and it will come off clean," Rees says.

The company carries two lines ó the standard line is suitable for use on cabinets or the headboard of your bed, for example. The luxe line can be used in areas where there is severe temperature change or moisture, such as a mudroom or bathroom. The luxe line also comes with a "stickability guarantee" that the wallpaper will not curl or peel away.

Either line can be reused again and again, which Rees points out takes the "scary factor" out of hanging wallpaper. "Literally anyone can do it. A kid could do it," she says. The wallpaper can be cleaned with a wet rag and it is PVC free. "Itís really durable," she adds.



This story ran in the July 2013 issue of: