As an interior designer, Nicole Gibbons saw firsthand how difficult paint shopping could be.
“The process involves thousands of colors, confusing products, messy paint samples, multiple trips back and forth to the store and after sorting through and endless sea of paint chips people end up completely overwhelmed and frustrated,” she tells Parade.com. “The in-store environments are completely uninspiring and there’s a lack of design guidance throughout the process.”
It was on one of the many uninspiring paint shopping experiences in 2017 that a lightbulb went off for the New York City-based Gibbons.
“I immediately reimagined a better, more convenient paint shopping experience,” she says. The result? Clare, the paint company she launched in 2018, just months after she had her initial idea. She was able to raise $2M from investors to build Clare, which offers customers 56 shades to choose from and a digital color consultation tool that helps people find the perfect paint color. Her hard work has paid off—Apartment Therapy recently named Clare “the best place to buy paint” and Gibbons is gearing up for new product launches to be released this spring.
Here, she tells us the mantra she repeats to herself, her favorite organizational hacks, and her top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“‘Trust the process!’ Building a company is full of ups and downs and lots of mistakes. It’s important to not get discouraged from the downs, learn from mistakes and stay focused on that end goal. Hearing our customer feedback has been tremendously helpful to staying focused on that goal. Our customers reviews are incredible and we have an industry-leading Net Promoter Score. Every time I hear someone share how easy their paint shopping experience with Clare was or see them enthusiastically sharing their space on social media expressing how much they love their home now that they’ve painted, it’s incredibly validating and motivating.”
Favorite organizational hack
“As a CEO, my time is spread pretty thin and I’m super busy so my role by nature forces efficiency. I’m always trying out new tools and hacks to get more done faster. I use an AI chatbot called X.AI to help schedule meetings and I get really bogged down with email so I’m currently trying out a new email client called Superhuman to help make the task of triaging emails more efficient. Slack also helps streamline communication with my team members and vendors which really helps to free up my email inbox. And when it comes to my personal life, I have a lot of things on subscriptions! From Harry’s razors (Yes, I use the mens version!) to Daily Harvest—which I eat for breakfast and sometimes dinner—to personal care products. Not having to thing about these small things saves me a lot of time and energy. I also buy everything online…from groceries to anything else I need.”
Top success tips:
“Surround yourself with the smartest people you can find. That goes for both your peer network and building your team. When it comes to recruiting, hire the smartest people who are far more competent in their area of expertise than you are. If you have smart, ambitious and results-driven people on your team it will make your job so much easier. And when it comes to your peer group, build up a network of people who understand what you’re going through. Running a startup is hard so having people who have been through shared experiences that you can learn from and who will inspire you and push you to stay motivated is paramount.”