Encore Entrepreneurs: Jim Staicoff’s story

Name of business:  Staicoff Design Company and Paper Paint Press, two businesses uniquely intertwined.

What the businesses does:  Staicoff Design Company is an interior design firm focused on the guest experience in hotels and restaurants.  Paper Paint Press is an outlet for Jim’s creative bent and offers “distinctive, high-quality,  art-inspired wall products.” All made in Oregon, the wall coverings are printed on the finest paper and use environmentally friendly ink.  Bonus: Staicoff Design Company is often able to use Paper Paint Press products in the interiors they design, and clients have loved them.

Success features: Jim has been an interior designer for 34 years.  When the recession hit, he ended up out of work and on unemployment, like many creatives.  “It was demeaning,” he admits.  “I was ‘unhireable’ … with 30 years of experience!  Firms in the business just weren’t willing to hire someone with that much experience.”  But he was able to rebuild, and offers unique products.  Interior designers are his main markets and, he already has a network he can call upon.

Re-invention, re-creation, and re-imagination: Jim has had this business under a variety of names since 2000.  His work was very highly regarded and had won awards, but then the recession hit.  “It was horrifying,” Jim says.  But the recession gave him the chance to approach his work from a whole new angle.  Then he started Paper Paint Press.

“I’m a modernist in terms of design aesthetic, but I also love patterns and textures,” he explains.  He had a lot of ideas that weren’t available on the market, and thought, “If I have all these ideas, why shouldn’t I see if I can makes some money?”

He began by selling 35 custom digital wallpaper design and has since started using a wood patterns that is painted over to crate a gorgeous undulating effect.  “There’s nothing else like it on the market! he says proudly.  He’s also made use of his network by “licensing” designs created by his artist friends; “I hire them up front, but they still get a percentage of every sale,” Jim explains.  “I’m the ‘creative director,’ and then they respond to my ideas with something creative and clever that I think will sell.”

Jim was able to keep the design firm throughout the recession, and today his is the proud owner of two successful businesses.  Staicoff Design Company focuses on creating unique, interesting environments  in hotels and restaurants; Jim has found is “deep and narrow niche” in the hospitality industry.  And he loves being able to use Paper Paint Press products in some of his spaces.  “I always tell the client that this is my product, and they don’t have to use it.”  But the response so far has been overwhelmingly  positive, and the ability to specify to specify his personal design products has the benefit of creating build-in sales.

BSR Take Away: Jim’s story is the exception of the “mission creep” warning.  He was able to create two lucrative businesses that revolve around his deep and narrow niche.