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Wallcoverings Association Annual Meeting 2017

Sustainability, technology, trends, and business insight for the wallcoverings industry.




This year’s Wallcoverings Association Annual Meeting, held in Clearwater Beach, Florida, focused on the future of the economy and its influence on the hospitality and wallcoverings industries.

Speakers included Tad Radzinski, co-founder and president of Sustainable Solutions; Paul Markillie, innovation editor at The Economist; Mark Strauss, president of Interior Design Media; and Gene Marks, business executive and columnist.

Wallcovering’s Sustainability Story
Radzinski spoke on how to set up wallcoverings providers for long-term sustainability. “ becomes part of your culture and DNA; it's integrated into your business strategy,” said Radzinski. And who is most interested in sustainable businesses in 2017? Millennials. “They’re your new customers, and they’re your new employees. And they want to buy sustainable products, and work for a sustainable company,” he said.

Technological Trends that Will Shape Our Future
Markillie shared five technology trends that will shape the wallcoverings industry’s future: smart computers and software; novel materials; an increase in automation; a new production process; and the maker movement – “a trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon, or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device,” according to

Markillie believes online manufacturing and the maker movement lower the cost of entry to the wallcoverings industry. He also raised the question of and companies who are working strictly from those platforms. Are these your new competitors?

Interior Design Magazine 2017 Trends
Strauss held his annual wallcoverings trends session with some interesting takeaways:


• “Beauty and aesthetics don't go away. You sell it and they buy it.”
• “63 percent of clients are willing to design a space promoting health and wellness.” How does this impact your print shop’s offerings?
• “Texture: when color fades, tactility reigns.”
• “Muted hues, spotted prints, and are trending in the wallcoverings industry.”
• “Millennials want to text or email sales reps instead of face-to-face meetings. How are you adjusting to this?”
• “Top pet peeves in a sales rep: lack of product knowledge, not knowing, providing pricing, and only caring about making a sale.”
• “The ‘new’ old language in terms of wallcoverings trends: heart, comfort, home-fullness, warmth, beauty, and nature.”

Your Business, Your Future
Marks, a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, Forbes,, and The Huffington Post, and a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox, and Fox Business, spoke on how economics and politics in 2017 and even 2018 and beyond will affect your print shop. His first and most important suggestion? Get together with your accountant. And the three hot technologies he thinks your business should consider for furthered success: video capabilities (Facebook live); a CRM system (Insightly); and online backup (Carbonite).



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