|Parents of school-age children readily admit that the most wonderful time of the year is not late December -- as some songwriters have you believe. It’s actually late August when the kids go back to school! It’s also the time when daughters go shopping with Mom for just-the-right clothes, school supplies and accessories. Girls entering middle school anticipate many firsts including decorating their lockers!
The traditional metal school locker has long been in need of a makeover. Two savvy entrepreneurs from Dallas have created a burgeoning business for the underserved market of mix-and-match locker décor including wallpaper, rugs, lights and mirrors called LockerLookz™. Now the drab school locker can make a fashion statement with every opening.
Like all good ideas, the company began out of necessity in 2008 when co-founders Christi Sterling and JoAnn Brewer went shopping with their own sixth grade daughters to prep for their first “locker day.” They hunted for fabric and cute products that would signal a “wow” factor. Hours spent shopping, cutting, aligning and fastening resulted in two nifty lockers but the moms agreed there had to be a better way! The proverbial lightbulb went off – this time in the form of a stylish mini-chandelier!
Targeted for girls ages 8-14, LockerLookz is based on solid research. The new business’ fashionable products allow young girls to express themselves and pass the price test (affordable) and the peer test (adorable). School rules were analyzed. Focus groups were held. The final product included beautiful wallpaper that fit snugly inside any locker, secured by magnets, not adhesives. A visit to the Dallas Gift market in 2009 clinched the relationships of sourcing, sales and marketing. Everyone agreed their competitive advantage was upscale décor that would create a buzz along the junior high school corridors.
By Spring 2010 LockerLookz received its first order from Hastings Books and Music for 50 stores. Soon Locker Rug Pink Chenille, Locker Wallpaper Pink Flower and Locker Wallpaper Scroll were quickly selling. As word spread and with a small inventory available, 80 independent stores placed orders for back-to-school 2010. According to Sterling and Brewer, the reaction by stores and customers was love at first sight! Stores were selling out in 2-3 days. Demand exceeded supply as the cofounders ramped up to 2011 with a wider range of colors and styles and items.
In the first weeks of 2011 LockerLookz was an instant hit with buyers in Atlanta, Dallas, New York’s Toy Fair, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Chicago and Minneapolis. The company has ordered a much bigger inventory to service the constant flow of orders.
Their website, www.LockerLookz.com, allows not only high fashion shopping but a virtual locker where girls can instantly mix and match products to get a perfect look. The Fall 2011 Collection includes glamorous wallpapers to complement matching or contrasting whiteboards, mirrors, lights/chandeliers and jeweled flower magnets.
In the pipeline for next year and beyond will be product lines for tween boys and the high school student market.