Nothing brings people together quite like ex-boyfriends. At least, that’s the case for illustrator Kate Worum and interior architect Jennifer Jorgensen, the duo behind She She, a Minneapolis-based print and pattern studio that specializes in custom wallpaper.
“My ex (and now boyfriend again) told me I had to meet Jenny and said that we were cut from the same bizarre cloth,” says Worum. By the end of a double-date dinner party, Worum and Jorgensen were sprawled on the floor flipping through wallpaper samples. “We decided that there was an opportunity for more fun, customizable artwork in the interior design world and that we wanted to do something about it,” adds Worum.
Enter She She. After a weekend getaway, the pair whipped up their first painted wallpaper design and have been brightening the walls of homes and businesses with their whimsical patterns ever since. Think: florals from a homeowner’s garden painted onto bathroom walls, and Smokey Bear floating on an inflatable doughnut in a boutique hotel. Now their first collection of wallpaper is available, too.
Of course, any business doesn’t come into existence overnight—or can it? Here, Worum and Jorgensen share the career-defining moments that made them realize they were on to something special.
They Started With Their Own Homes
For the She She team, the Field of Dreams quote “If you build it, he will come” is pretty relatable. After painting only a couple of wallpapers in their own spaces—a cheeky cabin-themed toile (featuring the occasional naked lady) at Jorgensen’s place and a tropical Havana-like design in Worum’s bedroom—the duo posted them to Instagram and started receiving phone calls. Two of their first projects even sent them out of state, to Purple Llama, a coffee shop–slash–record store in Chicago, and to Denver, where they painted a wallful of wink-y eyes for an eyelash company.
They Aimed High
“Sometimes we will blurt out huge and far-fetched ideas jokingly, but then actually discuss how we could make it happen,” says Worum. “It’s a fun game and also a fun business strategy to think outside the box.”
Some of those dramatic dreams-come-true include creating original designs for the Mayhew, a boutique hotel in northern Minnesota, and having a wallpaper featured on HGTV’s Stay or Sell. But most exciting was the moment they found a way to bring their work to more homes, by launching their wallpaper collection.
They Thought of a Way to Do Good
A goal for Jorgensen and Worum is to work with waste management companies across the country (or world!) to beautify waste and recycling receptacles, turning trash cans into, ahem, treasure.
“We think it could be fun to create a design to help inspire and inform people to recycle—and to do it correctly,” Jorgensen says. After all, with the help of a beautifully illustrated “glass goes here, cardboard there” infographic, separating recyclables could become easier—and hopefully more widely done.
They’re Already Planning Their Next Collection
More printed wallpaper collections—the next one inspired by a trip to Curaçao—are in the works. Partnering with boutique hotels to create artwork for walls and textiles is also on Jorgensen and Worum’s bucket list. “We hope our patterns liven up spaces by reflecting personalities and tell stories that create conversations; ultimately we just want to spread more thoughtful art throughout the world,” says Worum.
If that means more butts on walls, let there be more butts on walls. Worum and Jorgensen also have their fingers crossed that they might get the chance to work with a certain Goop-y celebrity client. “Gwyn!” Worum says. “Let’s chat.”
See more career stories:
Losing My Job as an Architect Inspired Me to Turn My Hobby Into a Career
How This Young Design Star Brings Her Wild, Imaginative Concepts to Life
I Left My High-Powered Job at Apple to Start Making Art Out of Knots