| Isabelle Allen
We are beyond thrilled to announce the release of our first wallpaper collection in partnership with the extraordinary Milton & King. This remarkable collaboration, born out of a mutual adoration for the art of paper and print, is truly a dream come true.
In our exclusive interview with the talented team at Milton & King, we delved into the captivating world of wallpaper, exploring the intricacies of production and the unwavering passion that drives their creative endeavors.
Tell us a little about Milton & King? How did the business start?
Milton & King was started by myself and my older brother Richard back in 2008. I have a background in graphic design, and Richard has the sales and accounting experience. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision for us to join forces – we had worked together in the past, but having grown up as farmers it was certainly a whole different ball game for us to jump into the world of wallpaper. Australia has never had the biggest market for wallpaper, so our goal was always to go international – and it’s taken a lot of research, commitment and coffee to get us where we are today!
We now have a team of over 15 people internationally, and two production offices – one here in Toowoomba, Queensland, and one in Dallas, Texas. There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve made a name for ourselves as Australia’s largest non-woven wallpaper production company, and we’re very proud of our team.
We see you are based in regional Queensland, being a regional company ourselves we love living and working in a regional town. But tell us about Toowoomba, how do you find operating a global business from a regional hub?
We actually operated out of Sumner in Brisbane for quite some time, and it was only after my parents moved up to Toowoomba (where my brothers and I went to school) that we thought to follow. We’re closer to family, it’s a lovely place to raise our children, and it’s like a world of its own up here on the Great Dividing Range. There’s no place quite like it! It’s also close enough to Brisbane that we reap a lot of the benefits of being connected to the world, but far enough away that it still feels like a small country town, which makes it feel so much like our hometown in rural New South Wales. We’ve been operating out of Toowoomba since 2018, and it’s hard to picture Milton & King anywhere else.
Your range features some amazing designers, how do you form these collaborations?
Usually, it’s just that I come across an artist whose style I like, or a design that I like, which I think will translate well to wallpaper, and I approach artists directly to see if they’d like to collaborate. A lot of the time it’s a format that they haven’t considered that their customers are over the moon for! We do also occasionally have artists and brands reach out to us because they want to expand their product range, and we love working with other businesses to bring their concepts to life.
What drew you towards Bespoke Letterpress and working on building a collection together?
We’re always looking out for opportunities to collaborate with other Australian-owned businesses, so working with Bespoke Letterpress just felt natural. Combine that with the unique art style, the luxurious quality and our shared passion for printing and paper, we would have been crazy not to!
Our collection with Bespoke Letterpress is certainly a winner, and we’re really thrilled to have the opportunity to work with another Australian company that’s as passionate about great quality printed products as we are.
Have you any firm favourites as to M&K x Bespoke Letterpress collection of prints? Which ones and why?
We love the Peacock design. It’s a favourite around the entire office, for sure. It’s an elegant design that’s very versatile and we’re excited to see how our customers style it. The sleepy sloth is also a bit of an office mascot, especially with how cold it’s gotten here in Toowoomba recently. Our design team are also big fans of the Around the World design. It’s so nice to see such an adorable take on the different kinds of architecture!
We are of course fascinated with your printing processes! We would love to hear about your printing machinery and how wallpaper is printed!
It’s not quite as exciting as traditional letterpress printing, but it is pretty interesting. We print on HP 3600s, which are wide format digital surface printers that are capable of printing four rolls of wallpaper at a time. They’re not too dissimilar to your standard office printer, only they’re 20 times the size, 20 times as loud, and they’re a lot harder to reload when you run out of paper.
Can you tell us about your wallpaper stock? What makes it so wonderful for wallpapering?
Well, firstly, we’re big on sustainability, so all of our paper comes from an FSC certified mill – meaning it’s responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious and economically viable product. We also use water-based inks, which are better for the environment, too.
The non-woven backing is also a huge benefit – it makes it easier to apply, it doesn’t expand when wet (so it won’t shrink once the glue dries) and it’s breathable, which reduces the risk of mould. The best part is that it’s super easy to remove – it’s dry strippable, so if you ever change your mind about your paper, it’ll peel right off the wall in big pieces without the need to use chemicals or heat.
Plus, it’s got a Group 1 fire rating, so it’s suitable for all interiors.
We love that you print on demand. It’s environmentally friendly and saves having stock living and ageing in warehouses. How do you manage to print on demand so quickly?
The digital printing process certainly helps! Globally, we have the capacity to print over 1000 rolls a day – which equates to more than 10 kilometres of wallpaper – so we’re very well equipped to meet demand. Having our warehouses localized to customers also means that we’re not experiencing significant international shipping delays. Our US orders are printed in the US, and our Aussie orders are printed in Australia, so it hardly takes more than a week between when you place and order, and when it arrives.
What trends do you see incoming for Wallpaper? What types of designs do your customers love the most?
Lately we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of more traditional styles, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. In terms of wallpaper, we’re certainly seeing a trend towards going back to our roots. Traditional murals have been gaining some traction, particularly the chinoiserie styles that are heavily influenced by the origins of wallpaper, which started out as painted fabric murals glued to the wall. The quality of digitally printed wallpaper has improved a lot in recent years, so our customers are leaning more towards the hand-painted traditional artworks that we’ve converted, to give their spaces a more authentic and homier feel.
Any top tips for selecting wallpaper designs?
Samples, samples, samples! We can’t stress enough, the best way to make sure your selection is perfect for your space is to have it in your space when you decide. Creating a flatlay or a moodboard and using a full-scale sample of your wallpaper options makes it so much easier to create a finished space. Lighting makes a huge difference, so you won’t know for sure if the design is going to really pop in your space until you see it in its final position. We offer samples for all of our designs for precisely this reason – so you can feel the quality of the paper in your hand, and you can see exactly what it’s going to look like on your wall.
And any professional tips for installation?
Prep your walls, use a good glue, and take your time! Installing wallpaper doesn’t have to be scary task that you need a professional for. Plenty of our customers have installed their own wallpaper without any prior experience. The key is really to have a solid starting point, good tools, and patience. Make sure your walls are fully sealed and primed, use glue that doesn’t dry too quickly and has a good wet tack (which makes it easier to move around) and take your time aligning each drop. But don’t stress – we send detailed instructions with every roll, so you won’t be left floundering.
What is upcoming for Milton & King?
We just recently launched our Trade Directory in the United States, which is an exciting addition to our site that we’re hoping to have worldwide very soon. We’ve also just launched our first two volumes of official swatchbooks, which will make their debut at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair Trade Show in New York on May 21st. Beyond that, we have a few new collections in the works, and some more super-secret projects expecting to launch this year! You’ll have to keep an eye out!
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the world of wallpaper. View our exciting Bespoke Letterpress x Milton & King Wallpaper collection