Sunday, May 27, 2018
Consumer

Unlock a school locker's potential with new decor

Kids, especially girls, have always hung photos, mirrors or handmade decorations in their school lockers. Now, retailers are giving them the option of buying coordinated locker trimmings that would make interior designers jealous.

Options include carpeting, chandeliers, wallpaper and a variety of accessories in bold, bright colors. Everything adheres magnetically so the products don't damage the lockers.

The trend gives kids a chance to express themselves in a venue that's more public than their bedrooms.

"The locker becomes an extension of them and their personal space," said Christy Clapper, a school counselor at Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley, Pa. "It gives them an opportunity to say who they are and gives them an outlet for expression."

Plus, it makes the space more attractive, added Kira Harvey, a soon-to-be eighth-grader in Albuquerque, N.M. "The lockers are a disgusting color," she said. The wallpaper "makes it really pretty."

She and her friends at Albuquerque Academy enjoy choosing decorations that suit their personalities. Choices range from lime-green polka dots to aqua zebra stripes to pink cheetah prints. "It's really fun," said Kira, 13. "We all have our own wallpaper."

She also uses some of the organizational accessories to hold her cellphone and pencils.

Product creators Christi Sterling and JoAnn Brewer started their company, LockerLookz, in 2010 after creating some handmade pieces to decorate their daughters' lockers. Once other students saw the decorations, their parents started calling the women asking where they could buy them.

The friends decided to test-market a few products and were overwhelmed by the response. "We found that locker decorating is a rite of passage. It's a really big deal to them," said Sterling, of Plano, Texas. "They need to show others who they are."

Retailers also loved it, added Brewer, also of Plano. "It's a time-sensitive product that helped to drive sales," she said.

Paul Buckel got the idea to create magnetic wallpaper when his daughter's friend got in trouble for covering her locker with contact paper. Buckel, who runs a company, Magna Card, in DuBois, Pa., that makes magnetic business cards and other promotional products, saw locker decorations as an exciting new merchandise line.

Dee Tipps, owner of a boutique called a.k.a. Girl Stuff in Birmingham, Ala., says she "started jumping up and down" when locker decorations caught her eye. The LockerLookz decorations flew off shelves last summer, she said, thanks mostly to middle school girls.

"It's like somebody has opened a safe full of diamonds," she said.

Caroline McCormick, 12, remembers walking into Tipps' boutique. "The first thing I thought was, 'How can I get this for my locker?' " she said. "I wanted to make my locker be a symbol of me. I didn't want my locker to look like everyone else's."

She also was happy that she could cover the locker's dreary gray metal interior.

After decorating the space with a white chandelier, blue carpet and black-and-white wallpaper, Caroline considered her locker "a room that's away from my house."

Buckel said schools have gotten behind the products, especially because they don't damage the lockers. Some schools in his area have hosted decorating contests, he said.

The organizational products are great for kids, said Clapper, the school counselor, who tries to teach students that an organized locker can contribute to academic success.

"We actually spend a lot of time teaching them appropriate ways to organize their lives and their space," she said. "Some kids coordinate everything. Others you can only imagine what their bedrooms look like."

Comments
Memorial Day on fleek and indie market news

Memorial Day on fleek and indie market news

SUMMER'S COMING:  LOOKS FOR MEMORIAL DAYIt's Memorial Day Weekend, which usually means barbecues, the beach and maybe boats. Or a combination of any or all of those if you're lucky. Memorial Day also unofficially marks the beginning of summer, w...
Published: 05/24/18
5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

1 Tibetan Monksí Mandala: As part of a Sacred Art Tour, eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India will be at the Florida CraftArt Galleries for a week to create a sand mandala of the Green Tara, a female representation of the Buddha of Compassion....
Published: 05/23/18
Meet beauty influencer Nicol Concilio and drop anchor at Ship Chicís block party

Meet beauty influencer Nicol Concilio and drop anchor at Ship Chicís block party

BEAUTY INFLUENCER: MEET NICOL CONCILIOThanks to the magic of the internet, self-taught beauty vloggers have become so influential that major cosmetics brands are teaming up with them to create special products. One such vlogger is Nicol Concilio, who...
Published: 05/17/18
Plan your weekend May 18-20: Royal wedding watch parties, David Koechner, Fiesta Maxima, half off Dali admission

Plan your weekend May 18-20: Royal wedding watch parties, David Koechner, Fiesta Maxima, half off Dali admission

What's happening this weekend in Tampa Bay.
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Ticket window: Christina Aguilera, Shawn Mendes, Dierks Bentley and Paul Anka on sale this week

Ticket window: Christina Aguilera, Shawn Mendes, Dierks Bentley and Paul Anka on sale this week

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:ē Wiz Khalifa, 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, $29-$125.95, on sale at noon Friday at the box office, 4802 U.S. 301 N, and via Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com, ...
Published: 05/16/18
5 things to do under $5: Bike to Work Day, Woofstock, Leonard Bernstein celebration

5 things to do under $5: Bike to Work Day, Woofstock, Leonard Bernstein celebration

1Bike to Work Day: If youíre too nervous to face Tampa streets on your own, seven neighborhood meetup locations have been set up in South Tampa, Ybor and Tampa Heights for a Friday morning ride with experienced cyclists. Leaving at about 7:10 a.m., t...
Published: 05/16/18
Romaine lettuce illnesses are now in Florida. What does it mean for Tampa Bay?

Romaine lettuce illnesses are now in Florida. What does it mean for Tampa Bay?

Caesar salad fans, youíre not going to like this.Eating romaine lettuce has been a no-no for about two months, when a string of related food poisonings emerged around the country. Until now, Florida has been mostly unaffected.But an update Wednesday ...
Updated one month ago
Get your vintage fix at Wood Paper Stone, the Wedding Flea returns and a Motherís Day market

Get your vintage fix at Wood Paper Stone, the Wedding Flea returns and a Motherís Day market

VINTAGE FIX: WOOD PAPER STONEA big shout-out to Facebook for introducing me to Wood Paper Stone. The new boutique in the Skyway Marina Mall is home to the vintage collection of Fabulous Artifacts, a.k.a. Lisa Lippincott. Just scrolling through the Fa...
Updated one month ago
Plan your weekend May 11-13: Mother’s Day fun, AirFest, Third Eye Blind, Darci Lynne Farmer, Florida Orchestra salutes Michael Jackson

Plan your weekend May 11-13: Mother’s Day fun, AirFest, Third Eye Blind, Darci Lynne Farmer, Florida Orchestra salutes Michael Jackson

Plan your weekend † Holiday Mother’s Day: While breakfast in bed and a bunch of flowers are nice, consider treating your mother to a day of fun together this Sunday. Mom can get in free with a paid loved one for a range of experiences, from...
Updated one month ago
5 things to do under $5: Free tours of Bok Tower Gardens, Florida Orchestra for kids, Family Tennis Festival

5 things to do under $5: Free tours of Bok Tower Gardens, Florida Orchestra for kids, Family Tennis Festival

1 National Public Gardens Day: The American Public Gardens Association provides up to four free passes to Bok Tower Gardens per person. Located about 25 miles southeast of Lakeland, the lush tropical garden and bird sanctuary was opened nearly 90 yea...
Updated one month ago