Is Paint The New Mattress? An Interior Designer Wants to Revolutionize the Industry

published Aug 1, 2018
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With a female interior designer at the helm as CEO and a pared down, environmentally amped-up selection of color choices, the new online-only paint company Clare is a breath of fresh air.

Clare is a new eco-conscious, high-performing, tech-enabled and highly curated paint shopping experience envisioned and executed by blogger turned interior designer Nicole Gibbons—and backed by the same investors who saw the consumer promise in Casper mattresses and Warby Parker eyeglasses.

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Gibbons’ mission is to make paint shopping easier and more inspiring. Leveraging her experience as an interior designer (whose work and expertise have been sought by HGTV, The Oprah Winfrey Network, TLC, Good Morning America, ELLE Decor, and more), Gibbons tightly curated a product line featuring 55 versatile, zero-VOC and GREENGUARD-certified colors plus all the high-quality supplies consumers need to DIY their interior paint jobs like a pro.

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We sat down with Gibbons prior to Clare’s official launch yesterday for a little bit more Q&A—read on to find out everything we know right now about Clare Paint:

Apartment Therapy: What inspired you to start Clare?

Nicole Gibbons: Painting is such an important step in decorating and it should be fun and exciting, but the reality is that it’s a completely overwhelming and frustrating process. 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. Over my career I’ve heard so many horror stories about people’s paint shopping experiences. A friend told me it took her two months and six trips to the paint store just to pick a color she hated. That’s a problem. I wanted shopping for paint to be a joy, not a hassle, and I didn’t want anyone to ever have to sort through a confusing and endless sea of paint chips again. I founded Clare to create an easier, more inspiring way to shop for paint and our larger mission is to help people everywhere create spaces they love.

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AT: Clare feels sort of like a Casper mattress for paint.

NG: I think Casper has built a great brand and there are definitely some parallels in how they took a product that was painful to shop for in a traditionally unsexy category and created an awesome experience. Our approach is somewhat similar.

What I found most exciting about Casper’s business is that they did more than just create a strong brand, they changed consumer behavior. Before Casper, no one would have ever considered buying a mattress online, and now its the norm. I think there’s a huge opportunity for us to reimagine the paint category in the same way.

Paint is one of the few categories that really isn’t designed for the way people shop today and the industry relies on an uninspiring retail environment as it’s primary distribution channel. We live in an Amazon world where convenience rules and the old way of paint shopping isn’t rising up to meet consumer expectations. At Clare, my goal is completely reimagine the paint shopping experience, creating a whole new model where we’re the go-to paint brand for a new generation of consumers who are passionate about their homes.

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AT: Tell us more about your peel and stick paint samples.

NG: It’s super simple: You peel the sample off a backing, kind of like a sticker, and stick it right on your wall. They’re reposition-able, so you can view the color under different light sources and it’s one step, with no mess, and you can see exactly what the color will look like in an instant. We like to call it a paint-free and pain-free process!

AT: How is a designer-curated paint experience less painful and more efficient for consumers?

NG: When I would chat with people about their experiences picking paint colors, the only people who didn’t have a hard time are those who said they had help from a designer. That’s because a designer’s point of view is always trusted. We’re the experts. Whenever I present color options to clients, they never ask to see more because they trust my recommendations. I wanted to infuse an interior designer’s point of view to the paint experience because I felt that expert guidance was missing. So instead of focusing on thousands of color options, I took a very curated approach and developed 55 timeless colors that are perfect for any interior space. Most people don’t have the opportunity to work with a designer so we want our customers to feel like we’re their go-to “friend” for design advice, and that includes helping them find the perfect paint color.

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AT: How is Clare making DIY design life easier?

We are taking the guesswork out of picking a paint color and getting it up on your walls. By curating our colors, providing the right tools and offering tips and inspiration at every step along the way, Clare is making it easier than ever before to tackle your paint project.

AT: How does the Clare Color Genius work?

NG: Clare Color Genius is available on and it’s a tool that takes an interior design-based color consultation and brings it online. We built a proprietary algorithm that helps you find the perfect color by asking questions about your project, covering furniture selection, natural light, personal style, inspiration, and more. It then analyzes your answers to deliver one perfect color recommendation, along with two other options for more inspiration.

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AT: Will the colors constantly rotate seasonally/by trend? Or will you have a core catalog of like “Clare classics”?

NG: At Clare, our objective is to provide timeless colors that you will want to return to time and time again. That being said, as a direct-to-consumer brand we will have the ability to respond to consumer feedback and be more nimble in adapting to what our customers want. Convenience and curation is still at the heart of our brand, so we’ll never have thousands of colors to overwhelm you.

AT: Are there any plans for pop-ups or brick and mortar stores?

NG: Right now, our priority is to make the online shopping experience the best that it can be, but are already thinking ahead as to what the Clare experience will look like in the future.