How This Founder Raised Venture Capital -- Before She Built Her Debut Product
Interior designer Nicole Gibbons knew she could create a better interior paint brand. She also knew she couldn't bootstrap the process.
As an interior designer, Nicole Gibbons was used to friends asking for decorating advice. And in 2016, one needed help selecting paint, so Gibbons consulted a well-regarded brand’s website -- and found it impossible to navigate. The lightbulb went off: She could create a direct-to-consumer paint brand that offered a curated range of colors, an algorithm to point shoppers toward their ideal shade, and a simplified way to sample hues. But her interior design business was already a full-time job, so Gibbons didn’t move forward until, she says, “I woke up on New Year’s Day 2017 and was like, It’s now or never.” Here’s how she went on to build Clare, raising money before she ever had a product to sell.
1. Go all in.
After deciding to build a startup, she talked with paint-industry insiders to research the space. “Someone who had spent decades in R&D told me I was onto something,” Gibbons says. “That was the vote of confidence I needed.” She’d been running a successful interior design business (which in turn landed her regularly on Oprah Winfrey’s network and morning talk shows), but she hit pause on it all and lived on savings for a year while she researched and ideated.
Continue reading this article - and everything on Entrepreneur!
Become a member to get unlimited access and support the voices you want to hear more from. Get full access to Entrepreneur for just $5.
Get 3 months free with code zendesk
Presented by Zendesk
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
Zooey Deschanel Embraces the Word 'Quirky' and Thinks Businesses Should Too
A Simple (But Not Easy) Guide to Achieving Almost Any Dream
Making Time to Be 'Useless' Is a Vital Part of Creating Anything Valuable
A Billionaire Who Operates More Than 2,400 Franchises Knows These Types of Franchisees Make the Most Money
How Relentless Optimism Fuels Success for Hilary Schneider, CEO of Shutterfly
The Paradox of Celebrity Tequila
Social Media Was Draining Me, So I Gave It Up. My Business Has Never Been Stronger.