I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing so many amazing business owners but none of them are quite like Colette Stroffolino. Not only is she a unique opportunity for me to learn about someone new, she is a unique woman. Which is a good thing in her line of business, as a children’s entertainer and a painter.
While her talents definitely vary, they are all based around one idea: the arts. Although Colette is based in Los Angeles, California, her latest venture, Wall About Fun, gives her the ability to bring her unique art to those much farther away. She currently offers a series of wall adhesives, borders, wallpaper and movable wall murals.
What was your inspiration for starting Wall About Fun?
Painting wall murals in private homes inspired Wall About Fun into existence. Clients were happy with how I used their space by taking furniture placement and the functionality of the room into final design layouts. Some clients wanted a total BABY room, to last maybe 2 years. Other clients wanted a mural that would work for 7 or 8 years. After seeing how happy my clients were with painted personal touches in their homes, I thought people who live-in other states, may like similar designs. Why not create a store of artwork with similar high quality designs, but make them movable. If it was moveable and not damaging to walls, even more people could have painted personal touches that express personality and add fun, whether they would be moving soon, are currently renting or just like variety. The enjoyment of my clients upon completion of their murals, really inspired me. I receive many phone calls from appreciative clients saying, “It is so beautiful. We just love to sit in the baby’s room at night, relax and wait for the baby to come.”
How many styles of wallpaper, movable, adhesive, and other smaller wall art pieces do you offer?
Currently Wall About Fun has 5 different themed designs but a full store.
Our wallpaper murals look great with creative touches. Once pasted, frame your wallpaper mural with molding or paint the wall surface surrounding your mural a different color wall paint, then add double molding (molding around the wallpaper design, and molding around the edge of the painted border) to create a magnificent classy space.
Our moveable murals have a unique hanging system that is easy to install and easy to remove. Large 4’ x 8’ or 3’ x 6’ murals will hang snug against the wall. (We carry smaller moveable murals as well in the Smaller Wall Art section of our store.) The mural is not stuck to the wall, glued to the wall, or sticky.
Prints fit directly into a 2’ x 3’ standard size frame without matting and look classy.
The Unique Wall Adhesives are pre-cut, self-sticking and easy to install and remove. The artwork is printed to the edges. We recommend our adhesives for smooth wall surfaces with a slight shine to the wall paint.
5 different Mural Theme Descriptions
Magical Kingdom theme
There are unicorns with rainbow manes, a purple and pink castle, a frog with a crown (hmmm I am thinking he needs a magical kiss), beautiful delicate detailed flowers, a gigantic rainbow, a mermaid and a swan.
Everything little girls love in one painting.
– Animals dressed up in funny little outfits doing really silly and fun things like flying kites, riding bikes, an elephant fishing in a boat squirting water on ducks with umbrellas, a birthday picnic with a dancing hippo, animals waving from tree house windows. Whimsical characters are doing really fun stuff that will feed your child’s imagination.
2 Garden themes (come in two different styles)
-One is a chunky, simple, bold, flatter shaped style. (Goes great with pottery barn kid bedding.)
-The other is a detailed, delicate, sophisticated style.
Jungle Animals and Barnyard Animals
-Animals are friendly, happy, and fun.
Wall about Fun designs are not overwhelming, busy or repetitive but have a lot going on. Use your imagination to create fun naptime/bedtime rituals. Make up stories about the animals in your mural. Imagine pretending the turtle on the bike just got back from all the activities you and your child participated in during the day or the mouse is soooo sleepy — it could help make that transition to sleeping a really fun time. Don’t be surprised if your little one wakes up happy, talking to their animal “friends”.
What do you enjoy the most about painting wall murals?
I enjoy going into a room that has totally blank walls, speaking with my client about all their ideas, brainstorming with them, picking their brain, understanding what it is they want, and what style they like, looking at their accessories, and pulling it all together for them. A client gets exactly what they want painted, whether they knew how to express it for not. I love the feeling of completing something. In one day, blank empty walls become a magical space. I love that!
That is what I enjoy the most – bringing other peoples ideas to life and creating fun spaces. Creating is relaxing to me.
You mentioned that you also work as a children’s entertainer. What does it involve? What do you love about it?
I entertain children at birthday parties. I dress up with pretty makeup (am never scary — never slapstick) and just get silly with the kids. What I do at a party is sing songs, imagine silly things with puppets, face paint, make balloon animals, lead party games and keep the children involved, participating and having a good time. It is an amazing feeling getting twenty preschoolers participating in imagining something so good that they are cracking up laughing. I love hearing kids laugh. When a parent calls after a party saying their child is still talking about “Sparkles” (that’s me), or the dragon that snored or trixie the unicorn, it is very precious to me. During the interactive group activities, children spill family secrets. Once while doing a silly skit with a snoring dragon, one little girl volunteers “ my mom snores!” Puppets were giving out hugs, and I was saying “o boy” as the puppet snuggled the children up and one girl with a short haircut says” I ‘m not a boy I am a girl”. Another time I had a circus picture that magically gets colored in and one child blurts out, “My mom said we can go to the circus when my dad gets a job” (awww —so sad) they are so honest!
What I love about entertaining kids, it’s obvious when you have done a fantastic job. Kids don’t lie, if they are disinterested they start wandering off in different directions. Seeing happy faces, knowing a child felt special and important, or has a happy memory partially due to me, gives me much job satisfaction.
With all of this experience you have, do you feel Wall About Fun was only a natural step to take?
Yes, I always knew I wanted to create art. But I did not have a burning passion to paint anything specific. After years of bringing other peoples ideas to life, and painting for them, what they desire in their home. Listening to clients imagine something, me understand and pull it together, and deliver a satisfactory result, led me to where I am today. I attempted creating store artwork several times in the past, and drew a blank. I didn’t know what to paint. A few years ago, I had an “aha” moment where I knew exactly what I wanted to paint. I knew exactly what designs, themes, styles and products. I had vision. I realized the past 12 years of painting for other people, picking their brains and understanding their desires, really made it crystal clear to me what to create — the popular themes clients enjoyed. So, yes, it was a natural progression.
What goals would you like to reach with your business over the next year or so?
As people learn that Wall About Fun Online Store and products exist, we want to build a great reputation. Wall About Fun aims to be known for high quality and customer satisfaction. We strive for the site to also be known as simple to navigate and the visual online and actual products received to be trusted.
In 2009 we will complete our children’s line by adding dinosaur themes, sports and transportation themes and more. Within 2 years I would like to have a teens and tweens line, as well as artwork for other areas of the home. We plan to develop a custom/personalized line of product as well as kids crafts.
Being in such an artsy and inspiring business, I’m sure you’ve gathered up tons of knowledge over the years. What are some of the most important lessons your business has taught you?
*I learned that people value things more if they are not free.
If they pay something for them they tend to value them a little bit more.
*Integrity is very important. Sometimes people choose to hire you not because you are the cheapest or the best, they will choose you because they feel comfortable and safe and you are familiar. I strive to have integrity and communicate clearly so clients know what to expect.
*I like to paint on satin or eggshell paint, rather than flat because the mural paint glides on the wall easier. Also, wall surfaces stay fresh looking and are easy to clean.
Did you always imagine you would create a business out of children’s entertainment and painting? How did you know this was something you’d like to do?
No, in fact all during my 20’s I tortured myself because I did not know what I wanted to do. I had started out a telecommunications major, switched over to art, and since it would have taken me another 2 years to graduate if I went for something practical, like graphic design, I graduated with a fine arts degree. I figured I could go for more schooling if needed. So, although I had an art degree, I had no clue what I wanted to do. Not knowing, tortured me all through my 20’s. I graduated from college and became a waitress! I felt horrible because I thought I should know what job/career I wanted.
How I became a children’s entertainer is actually an interesting thing.
Since I desperately wanted a fun career I sat down and brainstormed. Without judgment or thinking, I listed all my favorite things. I put all thoughts and ideas onto paper. The list was funny. I listed anything and everything that sounded like fun, room the practical to the ridiculous. Things I never tried before, like belly dancing, and rock climbing, as well as parties, dressing up, creating, playing, running, dance, painting – seriously – anything and everything that sounded like fun. Then I brainstormed about what kind of people I like working with.
Next, I looked at the list and circled the things that were practical.
Then I opened the yellow pages of the phone book. I saw catering…hmmm…creative, artistic, working with people, but similar to watering.
Then I saw entertainer, children’s entertainer and thought, “I wonder what one would have to do to become a children’s entertainer.”
So I made a phone call and talked to a real nice gal at an entertainment company. I told her I was not looking to hire, but the line of work sounds fun how does one become a children’s entertainer?
She connected me with my pal, Twinkles, who I worked with for 5 years before starting my mural business.…And things just flowed.
The biggest thing I learned in life is that if you keep taking little steps forward, you do end up where you are supposed to be. I try not to judge where I am at and what is happening and the pace at which it is occurring. The right time to open my store wouldn’t have been 10 years ago the first time I had the idea. Painting murals for 12 years was like doing a paid internship. It prepared me. I know what people like having in their homes and why. I knew this was the right career for me when it started flowing. Children’s entertainment and painting wall murals, would actually create a win/win. I earn a paycheck doing something fun, and my clients get quality services and products they truly want.
Using just one sentence, why should a potential customer hire your services or buy from your online store?
Wall About Fun makes it easy to create a magical space in any home and is committed to customer satisfaction, high quality and fun.