Phoenix-based Wall Sensations, which transforms backyards and other spaces with custom outdoor and indoor murals, wallpapers and floor graphics, has completed thousands of projects since its owner and president, Alan Gellman, started selling its product in 2013.
Gellman actually started Wall Sensations in 2006 but he spent six-and-a-half years perfecting the materials and process for his murals before he sold the service commercially. Now, the Jewish entrepreneur says that Wall Sensations is the only outdoor mural manufacturer that can guarantee its product.
Most murals and prints deteriorate and fade relatively quickly, but the special material that Wall Sensations uses lasts much longer. The increased durability allows the company to offer a warranty for its product, providing customers with a long-lasting design solution.
The murals can last a minimum of three years if in direct sunlight, longer if in partial or complete shade. The material that allows this is a high-density vinyl that withstands harsh conditions and allows ink to harden over time and withstand sun exposure. Gellman said his murals can endure “the suns of Arizona to Las Vegas to the cold of Buffalo, New York.”
When customers contact Wall Sensations, the company sends a team out to see the location and verify that a mural will fit in and complement the area.
Gellman enjoys the variety his job brings, as each project is different from the last, from beginning to end. It’s most exciting to see the finished product, of course, and gratifying to see the reactions of the customers, too, after their product has been installed.
More than once, Gellman has seen peoples’ mouths drop open when they see the transformation that a wall mural has made in their backyard. Those are what Gellman calls the “warm-fuzzy” moments.
“We do not have an unhappy customer in the nation,” Gellman said, explaining that his business is very service-oriented. “If a mistake is made, we fix it — which is pretty rare.”
Gellman was raised in a Conservative Jewish household. Judaism “always gave me a great sense of balance in my life, the ability to pursue dreams and take risks,” he said, “as long as they benefit others as well as yourself.”
Starting Wall Sensations was one of those risk-taking, dream-fulfilling moments — but until Gellman found the right process and materials for the murals, he wasn’t satisfied.
“I wanted to make sure that our clients would be happy with the longevity of the product,” Gellman said. “And it took us quite a while to develop that. Patience was a virtue in this instance.”
Gellman also decided that if he was going to satisfy the customers, he’d have to ensure the murals had excellent resolution.
Wall Sensations uses high-quality digital photos printed directly onto vinyl material that has been measured to fit each customer’s wall. The company has an expansive library of high-resolution photos for customers to choose from. They have even taken on Kathleen Croft, a photographer known for her work in National Geographic, to help supply them with pictures.
“We’re always in search of new and exciting imagery that we think our clients will be interested in,” Gellman said.
Sometimes the murals look almost too real, like a giant trompe l’oeil. In fact, Gellman said that they once installed a photo of a pathway and later heard that a child, thinking the pathway was real, ran straight into the wall.
If a customer doesn’t like any of the photos Wall Sensations has at its disposal, a designer from the company will get in contact with the client to better understand what they’re looking for.
Gellman said that business has had good, steady growth since the beginning. They have been able to expand and meet requests from all over the country.
For the future, Gellman is considering expanding into working with home builders so Wall Sensations can install murals in homes even before an individual or family moves in. At that point, the company would be transforming backyards before customers even lived there.
This would be especially helpful in selling homes that have either plain or unsightly structures.
“That’s what I love about it. It’s bringing beauty to otherwise pretty heinous block walls, wood fences, chain link,” Gellman said. “We’re really able to
transform a backyard into an oasis versus what I would call an incarcerating block-wall feel.” JN