Banding Together / 09

Updated November 11, 2020

MEET NICOLE GIBBONS: FOUNDER & CEO OF CLARE

Clare is a modern paint company that simplifies the process of buying paint for your home.

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Q: Take us back to the beginning. What was the lightbulb moment for you to reimagine the way people were buying their paint?

A: There wasn’t just one moment, I knew I wanted to start a product line of some kind and with a background in interior design—I saw a huge white space in the paint market. Companies that dominated the paint market were centuries old and it was a pretty archaic shopping experience. While we can purchase almost anything at the palm of our hands, this category of products was so behind in the times. I saw an opportunity to create a new experience that would resonate with a new generation of young home enthusiasts that simplified the experience of shopping for paint.

 

Q: How did you navigate creating a paint brand that was less toxic than traditional paint brands?

A: While paint is a chemical product, we make it with the best possible ingredient choices. It was important for us to have a curated and streamlined product line, so everything we created had a focus on being better for your health and the environment than traditional paint brands.

Q: People are at home more than ever this year, how do you feel this is affected your business?

A: People want to live in a space that they love being in. Creating a brand where we could help customers do this has always been core to our mission. I think Covid-19 has done, is caused people to prioritize what’s really important as we slow down, stay home, and prioritize home projects.


Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced or are facing?

A: We could have never predicted that a global pandemic would fuel growth and create brand awareness. We haven’t been without our challenges, but being in the home space and with everyone at home more than before, people are thinking about how to improve their spaces. With that, they are also looking to discover ways to order products online. As a result, we haven’t seen any insurmountable hurdles.


Q: As a founder, what techniques or advice do you have for managing your mental health?

A: It’s easy to get burned out, so it’s important to give yourself permission to take a step back from work to recharge. I’m a classic introvert who needs alone time to calm my mind and feel my best.


Q: What inspires your work?

A: Our customers. I created this brand out of solving a need people had and their feedback constantly inspires new ideas and ways to evolve the business.


Q: Do you have any advice for someone looking to enter into your field?

A: My field is very niche, but anyone looking to start their own business should be prepared for an uphill battle. There are highs and lows and you have to have a thick skin and never waver in your vision. There’s a facade that it’s very glamorous to be an entrepreneur, but it’s really not a rosy journey, it's one full of hurdles and setbacks. My advice is to keep pushing forward and be confident this is what you want to do.

Q: What are you thankful for?

A: I know so many small businesses are having a tough time, so we’re so grateful to be here and continue growing.


Q: What is your superpower?

A: My ability to see the big picture and see my vision clearly through a long-term timeline in mind.

What are the stories you’d like us to tell over the coming months? What advice do you need? Which topics and industries are of interest to you? If you have any thoughts on this, please email us at sayhello@grayson.com and make sure the subject line reads “Banding Together”. We will use your suggestions to inform our series going forward. Please email kimber@grayson.com if you would like to be featured on Banding Together.