"Painting is such an important step in decorating and it should be fun and exciting, but the reality is that it’s a completely daunting and frustrating process," says Nicole Gibbons, founder of a new direct-to-consumer paint brand called Clare. When you think about it, she's entirely right. Traditional paint companies overwhelm us with thousands of paint colors to choose from, sample colors need to be painted on, and everything is traditionally bought in store and carried home.
But what if there was a better way to choose and buy paint? This is the question that interior designer–turned-entrepreneur Gibbons asked herself last year before launching her company. "I've heard so many horror stories about people's paint shopping experiences," she says. "A friend told me it took her two months and six trips to the paint store just to pick a color she hated. There are thousands of colors, too many product lines, the store environments are completely uninspiring, and there's also a lack of design guidance throughout the process—it's enough to overwhelm anyone."
Today, Gibbons launched Clare, a direct-to-consumer paint company based on a model similar to that of Casper, Warby Parker, or Harry's with one simple goal: to create an easier, more inspiring way to shop for paint. We chatted with Gibbons on all things paint and color trends. Get your rollers ready because you're about to want to redecorate.
On Clare, From Idea to Execution
How long was the whole process from when you first got the idea to launch day?
I started working on Clare early in 2017. I spent most of the year researching, planning, and building out our supply chain, and in the fall I started raising capital, closed the funding round in December, and since January, have been executing to get us to launch. I'm so excited to finally share the brand with everyone!
What are some of your favorite features that Clare offers?
We put a lot of energy in the curation of our colors and products. Typical brands have about 3000 colors and we edited a perfect palette of 55 colors—only the most beautiful you'll love. We'll never overwhelm you with too many choices. I reviewed close to 600 color formulations to get to our final palette, essentially doing all the groundwork so our customers never have to sort through a confusing and endless sea of paint chips again.
We also had a ton of fun-named colors. I wanted names that evoked emotion and really resonated with today's generation. There are some nods to Beyoncé (Lemonade and Blue Ivy), Cardi B (Money Moves), and Lupita Nyong'o’s epic red carpet moment (Nairobi Blue). Avocado Toast and Rosé Season are also such fun colors!
Another favorite feature is our Perfect Color Swatches which are color samples that you simply peel & stick on your walls. No manual labor or mess required. Finally, we created Clare Color Genius for people who need a little guidance. It's a digital interior design–based color consultation paired with a high-tech algorithm that delivers an expert color recommendation for your space.
On Picking the Right Colors
The color palette is beautifully curated. How did you go about picking the colors for Clare?
Building Clare was truly about curating a palette of the best and most beautiful colors for interiors. If you speak to any interior designer, we're never choosing from thousands of colors for our clients. Designers all have a curated roster of tried-and-tested colors we know and love that we use as go-tos time and time again. That's how I approached the creation of our color palette—timeless colors that will look beautiful in any interior and that you'll never tire of.
Which paint color would you like to see go away?
I don't know if there's any particular color I'm tired of seeing, but lately I feel like there's seems to be a strong preference for all-white spaces. Maybe it's because of their popularity on Instagram, but I'd love to see people being more adventurous with color and not being afraid of more vibrant colors. Color can really bring a space to life in such a fun way.
What are the three paint colors you believe are going to be hot in 2019?
Right now Fresh Kicks seems to be the most popular white. It's our cleanest, brightest white with no undertones. People are also really loving On Point. which is a lovely beige, and Summer Friday is a fresh blue hue that everyone is gravitating toward. Also, everyone is really loving Rosé Season on social media.
On Her Favorite Paint Colors
What are your favorite paint colors from the collection?
This is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. Honestly, I love them all. I'm partial to the ones with the really fun names, like Blue Ivy, Money Moves, and Avocado Toast. I also love Motor City, which I named in honor of my hometown of Detroit, and Wing It, which was named in honor of The Wing—the all-women co-working space and social club where I started Clare before we had an office.
On the Colors She Would Use in Her Own Space
Which colors would you pick for your own space?
I'm in the midst of decorating my new apartment. My old apartment had less natural light, so I made it super colorful to make it feel bright and cheerful. My new place has so much more light, so I'm in a much more neutral state of mind and want colors that can reflect the light all around my home. I just painted my bedroom Classic, with Whipped trim and doors, and my bathroom is painted in Chill. Those are just a few of my favorites, but I truly love all 55 colors.