Make Life Beautiful with Nicole Gibbons
Information about Make Life Beautiful with Nicole Gibbons
I’ve always loved using color in fresh ways and appreciated the role that paint plays in a design project. I had a lightbulb moment that the paint industry was incredibly outdated, and I genuinely felt that I could build a better paint brand. For the average consumer who didn’t have the opportunity to work with a designer, the paint shopping experience was miserable…. A thousand colors to choose from and back and forth trips to the store.
I knew that I could bring my point of view on color and my experiences in omnichannel retail and interior design to build a paint company that was curated, approachable, fresh, and better for our indoor air quality and the environment. I initially raised $2 million in venture capital to bring my vision to life and launched Clare in 2018! Clare is a modern paint company designed for the way people shop today. We offer only the best, most beautifully curated paint colors and deliver everything you need to paint straight to your door.
From Nicole’s portfolio taken by Kristen Francis.
If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would remind myself that life is a journey, and there is so much learning and growth along the way. Despite all that I’ve achieved, I’ve struggled with perfectionism and impostor syndrome. When I started out as a designer, I didn’t feel as qualified as others because I was self-taught — even with receiving a lot of recognition for my work. I experience similar feelings as a first-time CEO, along with a ton of pressure to know everything and do everything perfectly. I’ve learned more recently to embrace the journey and focus on continuous learning and progress over perfection.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
I’ve always been influenced by fashion and the arts. There’s so much inspiration in the color palettes on runways and in museums! I always like to have a very fashion-forward point of view when it comes to design and believe your home decor should be just as strong of a reflection of your personal style as your wardrobe choices.
Image by Kristen Francis.
What does your creative process look like?
I’m a classic introvert. I really need a lot of solitude to clear my head and think in order to be creative. This means I generally get my best ideas when doing something like taking a shower or relaxing at the beach. Being in a more meditative state really helps to spark my most brilliant ideas.
What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?
I’ve encountered a ton of challenges and have grown so much from building Clare. From figuring out how to manufacture paint to creating a new distribution model, developing a highly differentiated brand persona, learning the ins and outs of raising capital, and building the right team to help me execute my vision. These things comprise what has been my biggest challenge — taking something so large scale from an idea to execution. There are so many moving parts to building a company, and it’s been quite a journey.
Image by Kristen Francis.
What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”
Honestly, building Clare! I’m sure the idea of starting a paint brand to compete with legacy players in the space and pioneering a whole new model for paint shopping sounds insane to most people. I look at our Instagram and see all the beautiful homes across the country with our paint on their walls, sharing what an amazing experience they had with our brand, and it’s just incredible. My passion for design and helping people create beautiful homes has resulted in something that is helping people create beautiful homes on a much larger scale. And to know I built that feels surreal.
Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?
At Clare, Q4 is a quieter time since people tend to be more focused on the holidays, so we’re gearing up for exciting things ahead in 2022. We’ll be launching exterior paint as well as some exciting collaborations…stay tuned!
A scene we love from Nicole’s space taken by David Land.