Even as a kid, Josh Young had an entrepreneurial streak. During the summer, he would convert his backyard into a water park, complete with a trampoline and snack bar.
“I had these little businesses all the time,” said Young, who charged admission for a day of watery fun in his Michigan yard.
Young may be in his 30s now (and sporting a beard), but one thing hasn’t changed: He’s still turning ideas into action. Nearly 10 years ago, Young met another business-minded Michiganite and artist, Andi Kubacki. Since then, the two have banded together on a myriad of projects.
“We were both really highly creative, but probably more importantly, very entrepreneurial minded,” Young said. “We’ve always had an eye and a passion for doing things for ourselves.”
Inspired after a home remodeling project, the pair started Great Wall Custom Coverings, a company that creates one-of-a-kind wall murals and wallpaper. Recently the duo followed up on their initial success with a signature wallpaper line, Detroit Wallpaper Co.
“If you talk about the level of creativity and the creative people that live [in Detroit], we’re definitely, as a city, quite a force to be reckoned with.”Andi Kubacki
As opposed to the completely customizable wall murals their parent company offers, Young and Kubacki wanted more design control with Detroit Wallpaper Co.
“There were times when we thought we could inject a lot more into the conversation,” Young said.
To show off their eye for design, the pair created more than 60 custom wallpaper patterns that can be personalized with any combination from their 60-color palette.
“We’re trying to take a lot of patterns and aesthetics that were classic, such as Art Deco, ’70s mod and Bauhaus, and reinterpret them [to] make them more updated and approachable for people,” said Kubacki, who is 38.
Young and Kubacki are part of a growing group of artists ready to prove Detroit is more than just an automotive and music hub, but a center for good design, too.
“Over the past few years, there’s been this emergence of people that aren’t intimidated by that environment and really just thrive in it,” said Young. “There’s this shared responsibility of trying to re-imagine the city and bring in different businesses and people.”
As artists and creative types migrate back to the city (taking advantage of the low residential and commercial rent), a new design aesthetic is budding, Kubacki said.
“If you talk about the level of creativity and the creative people that live [in Detroit], we’re definitely quite a force to be reckoned with.”