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When I was a kid, I loved walking through the paint section at the hardware store, hoarding and ruffling through thick bundles of paint chips. It was like picking out colors for my paint-by-numbers coloring book.
If only that same enthusiasm still applied today, when choosing the right color will determine the feel and style of your home (no pressure) and the labor of painting entire walls is a tad more intensive and expletive-ridden than plopping down in front of a coloring book.
Husband-and-wife duo Caleb and Natalie Ebel are the cofounders of Backdrop, a new direct-to-consumer paint brand that’s reimagining the home paint shopping and user experience. Having painted every home and apartment they’ve ever lived in, they wanted to create the brand they wish they could have used then.
Caleb was formerly at Warby Parker, while Natalie was the CMO of nonprofit Pencils of Promise. Unlike Nicole Gibbons, the founder of competing online paint startup Clare, they’re not interior designers, but they’re able to leverage their personal perspectives as homeowners who’ve painted every house they’d ever lived in.
Backdrop sells three types of paint for the interior and exterior of your house, for a total of six: Standard Finish (low-sheen, semi-matte), Semi-Gloss Finish, and Primer. The Standard wall paint is available in a curated collection of 50 colors, which have names like 36 Hours in Marrakesh (warm, earthy pink) and Skywalker (muted, light blue with green undertones).
You won’t have to purchase a whole gallon ($59) immediately, though. Backdrop sells 12-inch-by-12-inch square adhesive samples, which cost $3 each. Both the paint and samples come with free shipping, and any expedited orders come with small fees.
Once you’ve determined which colors you want, you can use the site’s Calculator to figure out how much paint and how many supplies you need. In addition to gallon-sized buckets for interior paints or 5-gallon sized containers for exterior paints, Backdrop offers brushes, rollers, and other accessories to aid you in your room makeover. The 11-Piece Essentials Kit ($45) bundles them all together at a discounted price.
The paint itself comes in rectangular, easy-pour buckets that don’t require a tool to open or close. The paint is low-VOC, which means it has low impact on indoor air quality, and it’s also Greenwise-certified, which means it meets high levels of performance and environmental standards. Made with a water-based, acrylic resin formula, it’s easy to apply, highly pigmented, durable, and quick-drying.
In addition to the better-for-you formulas, Backdrop’s paints also support the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit that helps those who have been displaced by conflict.
The artfully designed and easy-to-navigate site is similar to that of many other popular online startups and shows that Backdrop is leaning towards a younger generation of shoppers and homeowners more squarely in newly formed camp that believes paint can be fun, influenced by culture, and driven by design.