New Paint Startup Poised to Revamp Interior Design

Blog posted On September 27, 2018

Nicole Gibbons knows good design. The former global director of PR and events for Victoria’s Secret turned interior designer has penned a popular design blog, operated her own high-end interior design firm, and been featured in print, online and on-screen for Elle DecorBetter Homes & Gardens, TLC, HGTV and Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. But for her, knowing good design wasn’t enough if it didn’t scale beyond the work she could do as a creative practitioner. She had ideas to build something bigger, build something that could become a household name. So, in December 2017, she raised $2 million to launch Clare, a direct-to-consumer paint brand targeted at digital savvy millennials who are keen on aesthetics, sensitive to the environment and pragmatic with how they spend their time.

Clare lets its customers skip the hardware store and the guesswork on what color matches the vibe of their apartment and lifestyle. It provides custom color recommendations based on an intuitive questionnaire and then sends curated peel-and-stick paint swatches from its zero VOC line. It’s “paint shopping, simplified” as the minimalist, yet colorful, website states.

Gibbons joins the growing number of black women founders to raise over $1 million in outside venture funding — an increase from twelve in 2015 to thirty-four in 2017 that continues to rise in 2018. While there is still a long way to go to achieve parity in venture funding, funds dedicated solely to investing in women of color founders like Richelieu Dennis/Sundial’s New Voices fund and Arlan Hamilton/Backstage Capital’s About Damn Time fundare helping to fill the chasm.