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Innovation & Job News

Local custom wall decal biz scores Nat Geo images

WallMonkeys, a custom wall decal operation in Kensington, Md., recently acquired the rights to print photos and images from the National Geographic Image Collection. According to Jason Weisenthal, CEO for WallMonkeys, the acquisition is "a big deal" and will require a complete relaunch of the company website.
"I was happy to be a small company and get that content," Weisenthal says. "It's all who you know. My [contact] at Getty [Images] recommended me."
WallMonkeys prints custom wall decals on demand for business and retail clients. The decals are made from fabric, which Weisenthal reports adheres better than vinyl, require no glue or tape and can be reused. Customers can upload their own photo, logo or design, or choose from one of WallMonkeys' 20 million stock images. The decals are printed in and shipped from Kensington.
"We have every famous place, every famous piece of art," Weisenthal explains. "We have such a long tail that people find us." Though a different company, called Fathead, retains the right to print licensed decals (think Disney princesses or NFL players), Weisenthal says his company isn't a direct competitor. "Fathead creates awareness in the space. But they don't have 20 million images."
The deals that Weisenthal has struck with the larger stock image companies, such as Fotolia, Getty Images, Corbis Images and now National Geographic, have allowed WallMonkeys to experience enviable growth for any small business owner. In 2011, the company grossed $400,000; in 2012, it brought in $1.2 million, and in 2013 Weisenthal expects that number to be over $2 million. He attributes the growth to the acquisition of new customers through the acquisition of new images, along with leveraging different marketing channels.
"The Internet is amazing," Weisenthal says. "We're getting a lot more repeat customers." The repeat business has also allowed the company to make an investment in the D.C. tech community. WallMonkeys is a series sponsor of Startupland, Justin Gutwein's crowdfunded documentary series about D.C. entrepreneurs.
Weisenthal hopes the sponsorship will put the WallMonkeys name and brand in front of lots of eyes. "B2B is the fastest growing sector of our business," he explains. "[Startupland viewers] are ideal targets for us."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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