Backdrop, a company that seeks to transform home painting, has launched with its first retail partner: Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters.
Urban Outfitters is selling six of Backdrop’s 51 colors online and four in select stores, including the King of Prussia Mall, said Backdrop cofounders Natalie and Caleb Ebel. The items launched online June 17 and will be in eight stores starting the first week of July, according to Backdrop.
Urban Outfitters did not respond to requests for comment.
The Ebels described the typical painting process as overwhelming for people with an excessive amount of color swatches on small cards and inconvenient samples.
They said Backdrop, a New York City-based private company founded in November, tries to make the process simple with a curated color palette of 51 colors, paint supplies, and 12-by-12-inch adhesive samples.
Backdrop said paint should be considered a “home-design purchase, not a hardware-store purchase,” Natalie Ebel said in an interview.
The Backdrop paint colors on Urban Outfitters’ website are sold in containers carrying one gallon of paint that can cover 400 to 450 square feet. They have names like a pink “Not So Delicate," a green “Natural Habitat,” and an orange "Tanlines.” They cost $49. A gallon of Benjamin Moore’s interior paint costs $42.99 and a gallon of Magnolia’s “On Bosque” orange paint costs $45.
Urban Outfitters will also sell Backdrop’s $45 Painting Essentials Kit, which includes a brush, small and large roller covers, small and large roller handles, two tray inserts, a tray, and roll tape.
Backdrop, which has fewer than 10 employees, declined to share its revenue numbers, but Caleb Ebel said about 40 percent of the company’s revenue in the last three months came from repeat customers. He called this a “huge vote of confidence in the product.”
One percent of revenue from each Backdrop purchase goes to the International Rescue Committee, Caleb Ebel added.
Natalie Ebel said she worked as a sales associate at Urban Outfitters when she was a college student and seeing her products sold there now is “pretty surreal.”
“Paint is like an art project on your wall and it can change as often as you do,” Ebel said. Urban Outfitters and her company, she said, have “a shared perspective of what paint can mean.”
Urban Outfitters Inc., the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN, and Terrain, had about 250 Urban Outfitters stores as of April 30, the company said in its most recent quarterly filing. The company employed about 24,000 people as of Jan. 31, according to its annual report.
Urban Outfitters’ first quarter this year included a 1 percent rise in sales to $864 million, for the three months ending April 30. Comparable retail sales at Free People rose 2 percent, and 1 percent at Anthropologie.
Urban Outfitters Inc.,'s home category represented 14 percent of the company’s net sales in the first quarter of this year, compared with 13 percent for the same time last year, according to the filing. Apparel represented 68 percent.
Shares were down 0.87 percent to $22.91 at close Wednesday and are down about 50 percent over the last year.
The Backdrop products are offered online and at the following store locations, according to the news release: