Welcome to The Quality Makers, an interview series highlighting pioneers in the direct-to-consumer space. Join us as we get an inside look at the world of digital shopping through the eyes of the individuals shaping it…
After noticing a gap in the interior design industry, founders Shelley Weinreb, Carla Morano, and Jill Steinberg dreamed up Fine & Dandy Co. to bring artistic innovation to the wallpaper world. The trio combines experience in luxury interiors, consumer goods, and creative direction to emphasize individuality and female-focused design.
Their brand has become an Instagram phenomenon, highlighted on double-tap-worthy posts from inspo accounts featuring elaborate, intentional spaces.
In this Quality Makers Feature, uncover the story behind the Find & Dandy Co., what differentiates it from others, and what its founders anticipate in the future of their well-designed world.
Let’s start with your story. What inspired you to create Fine & Dandy Co.?
Carla: “We all actually went to the same high school in Toronto – I met Shelley in art class, and Shelley met Jill while working part-time jobs at stores next door to each other. Since our first meeting, we’ve been bound by this shared passion for the same variety of strange beauty in all of its forms.
Fast forward 20+ years, we reconnected on social media and, serendipitously, were all looking to make a career change.
The wallcovering game was kind of a dying industry at the time, and I had my mind set on changing that. I convinced Shelley and Jill to take a leap of faith, and in the process we discovered not only an outlet for creative expression, but also a viable business opportunity that combined our shared desire to mingle the past and present (Victorian, Mid-Century Modern, and everything in between), creating something altogether new.”
What are your professional backgrounds? How does each influence Fine & Dandy Co.?
Jill: “As a residential and commercial interior designer for over 20 years, I noticed a lack of inspiring, high-quality wallcoverings in the marketplace. I’ve dabbled in everything from decorative painting, art directing, wardrobe and prop styling in the film and television industry, to refinishing and selling furniture and antiques. My experience has taught me the importance of multi-tasking, great customer service, forecasting trends and how transformative the right wallcovering can be. There’s nothing quite like seeing a client’s reaction after an installation. It makes my day every time!”
Carla: “I had an established design firm in Toronto, but had to start from scratch when I moved to California in 2000. I took my knowledge of and passion for design and funneled it into a career as a Creative Director in the consumer-packaged goods and lifestyle industries. After several years in the business, I wanted to find a creative outlet that didn’t require stakeholder approval; to be my own boss and create something that was fully formed. My background in creative directing was very helpful as I developed the conceptual designs for Fine & Dandy Co. 5+ years ago, and it still is today!”
Shelley: “I spent 22 years in graphic design and advertising, creating marketing campaigns and shaping identities for other brands. When my son was born, I was inspired to make something new that was more meaningful to me creatively, artistically, and personally. I’ve always been an avid painter and getting reacquainted with my craft has been extremely fulfilling and satisfying. Fine & Dandy Co. has allowed me to marry my artistic inclinations with my branding skills. I’ve painted several of our wallpaper and mural designs; adding beauty to people’s homes is truly living out my dream.”
What makes Fine & Dandy Co. different or disruptive?
Fine & Dandy Co. is unique in that we tip our hats to timeless, classic design and re-imagine it in a modern and unexpected way. Favoring boldness, character, and grandeur, our products dramatically reshape a typical room into something extraordinary.
Not only do we create beautiful products, but we pride ourselves on great service. We treat every wall as though it was our own. We strive to always make the customer experience a good one and to treat our clients well, so they keep coming back.
What are the most significant challenges your brand’s faced?
Being self-funded, female founders who had to learn an entirely new industry was challenging, but we were determined to not only do it, but do it well. We often discuss the things we had to overcome early on that felt almost insurmountable at the time and yet we just kept going. Owning a small business during a pandemic has also presented hurdles, but luckily we have each other as moral support as well as our combined determination!
Who are your favorite artists and inspirations?
We’re inspired by everything from nature, architecture, and a variety of postmodern art genres, to pop culture, our hometown, and even our pets and children. Our children actually designed two of our wallcoverings and modeled for a few of our product photoshoots as featured on our website.
What’s your favorite spot in which you’ve seen or styled Fine & Dandy Co. wallpaper?
Honestly, this sounds cliche but we really love the way in which each install embodies a transformation. It’s offering anyone the tools to create a space that inspires them and that they love to spend time in. How each person approaches and interprets this, is our favorite thing to see and ultimately why we do what we do.
What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs?
It’s never too late to start over, reinvent yourself, or try something new. Trust your gut and follow your dreams.
Do you have any dream collaborations?
We absolutely adore fashion and approach our product design as apparel for your home. A brand like Libertine, who has such a fearless and exciting approach to pattern and color, would be a dream collaboration!
Now for a question we ask all our Quality Makers. What does quality mean to you?
Quality is everything! It’s something we take into consideration at every step of our creative process, from inception to completion. Quality is always striving for excellence; in our designs, materials, manufacturers, shipping & delivery processes, customer service, etc. It’s what separates mediocre companies from the extraordinary ones.
What’s next for Fine & Dandy Co.?
We released our first-ever accessories collection, The Scarf Ensemble, in late-April – as lovers of all things related to self-expression and fashion, whether for the home or for one’s person, designing scarves came as a natural creative progression for our brand. We’ve received such a positive response from our customers on this first launch that we now plan to introduce four new colorways to the collection come fall.
We have two hand-painted murals in the works – one is a tropical landscape and the other is an aerial view of a formal dream garden; as well as a celestial ceiling mural that’s in-progress.
We also have other exciting home products in the works, for residents of every variety!
Feeling inspired? Shop Fine & Dandy Co.’s magical designs here.
Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity. Have a founder you’d like us to interview next? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.