A Word With Lara Lavi - First Time Week
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Matthew DeMello

Photo courtesy of Z!NG Revolution.

If you missed Monday’s photoblog, we had a chance to check out WIRED Magazine‘s 8th Annual WIRED Store in New York City over the weekend. It was quite a sight to behold as all 10,000 sq. feet of the store were decorated in a new line of home decor from Z!NG Revolution, a company that creates vinyl skins to help you personalize your stuff. While there, we also had the chance to speak with Lara Lavi, Managing Partner of Zing Revolution, about the power of personal branding, how personalized merch can help independent musicians, and why she considers herself the “chief bottlewasher” of her company.

BreakThru Radio: So, what exactly is Z!NG Revolution and what does it have to do with bottle washing?

Lara Lavi: Funny you should ask (laughs). Well, if you work at the company long enough you will wash something for sure ‘cause everybody is pretty much hands on with all aspects of the company. I’m not particularly corporate so I just invented a new way for us to do business. It’s probably smarter. Instead of departments and corporate blah, blah, blah we’re going to have interdisciplinary teams and the reason we’re going to have these things is because we have put a new brand out, Z!NG Revolution. It is the new brand of what the parent company I bought in January of 2011 started, which is a company called Music Skins. Now, the founders of Music Skins had a great idea to focus on music-related artists who have iconic images or recognizable images or cool images and print ‘em, and people pick ’em, and put them on these vinyl skins you can put on your phone or laptop, etc. And what we did was we lived with that for about a year and then I thought about it and I realized that, as a person who is sort of paying attention to a lot of pop culture, that we could probably expand this beyond music but still embrace music and so I realized that we probably had to change the name and change the approach. So I came up with the name Z!NG Revolution with the tagline “What does your stuff say about you?” We’ve been running around going “Z!NG your things!” and we have a lot of fun with it, it’s kind of kitschy. The bottom line is, we look at your phone, the wall, the refrigerator, your laptop, your school locker, your tablet, whatever, your mp3 player. We look at all that as a canvas for self-expression. We wanted to create a product, we improved on the product from when the company was originally purchased, that would so seamlessly integrate with the phone in terms of how it’s applied that it would look like it was really made for it, which it is. Then we realized it could extend to home décor, anything from walls to fridges to dishwashers. I have a really cool sunflower thing on my dishwasher that’s standing the test of time, it’s still on. And all my devices either have something cool on it, I just put Glenda the Good Witch and Dorothy on my Kindle Fire. My husband has a really cool picture of my son on his laptop and everywhere I go now, if I’m in a Starbucks or any other coffee house, I see everybody taking advantage of Wi-Fi with their laptops studiously open. I see the back of their laptop as a canvas for self-expression and we want people to make these devices or make their walls, or whatever it is, their own. It’s a fashion statement, it’s a lifestyle thing, it’s definitely riding the waves of personalization and we’re trying to be more fun with it. You don’t have a lot of money these days in the economy to go on a big trip to Tahiti, but you have enough money to take a little break and personalize your stuff. So that’s what we’re doing.

Lara Lavi.

BTR: So are there any limits as far as what kind of images people can use?

LL: Well, there’s two ways to go about this. Because I’m an entertainment lawyer by trade, and I apologize to the universe for saying the words “attorney” and “I” in the same breath but not withstanding that, I am a champion for the creator so we’re creating great opportunities for licensing independent art, independent music, major label music and major brands from MTV and HBO, The Big Bang Theory and Justin Bieber, and One Direction, but also lots of independent artists like Miles Regis and photographer Wayne Rutledge and Denise Klette, just all these tremendous artists. You can come to our site at zingrevolution.com and you can pick from thousands of images for over 250-plus growing devices and we have this really cool, very different from our competitors, customizer tool that speaks to our bigger initiative where you can upload your own images. So, your kids’ bar mitzvah, the dolphin you saw on vacation, your left toe, I don’t care, whatever. We don’t encourage porn but we’re not going to stop it if happens. If you send us something risqué we’re just going to snicker and send it back to you on a skin…please don’t do that (laughs). But if you do, we’ll just smile. We’re not like Kodak, the old-school film place at the drug store.

I think that what we’re trying to do is take this out of this sort of this corporate branding thing, and let this stuff e about the individual. We named the company Z!NG Revolution because we were looking for a non-sensical word, brightened word that could be a verb. But last year was the year of the protestor on Time Magazine and we felt that the word “revolution” really spoke to what we were trying to be, which is gain momentum towards a movement of people having a chance to be themselves. Nobody goes out the door without their phone, even homeless people have cell phones now, and these things are inextricably linked to us and they should say something about us. And hey, it makes the world prettier.

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