Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tell me a colour story...

One of the most fun parts of my job is creating the ‘colour-story’ for each collection, which essentially just means deciding what colours we want to release.

You might be surprised at just how much thought goes into creating our colour-stories. As I’m currently putting together the colour-story for our new Organic Cotton collection (COMING SOON), I thought I’d blog about it to give you a bit of an insight into the process.


Well, just like any story you might read, our collections of colours are carefully crafted and have a beginning, a middle, an end, a climax and sometimes an unexpected twist! A simple colour can set a mood, transform a space, or transport you on a journey of the senses!

BUDGET – First things first.

Launching a new collection can require a significant investment of capital. I always work to a budget and this will often dictate (and sometimes limit) the number of different colours I can include.


Of course, I want to make sure I include colours that I know will be popular and will sell well. Naturally, sales are a primary concern for any business and for each colour I have to ask “will it sell?”
The answer to that question is often 50% experience and 50% instinct. There are staple colours or tones that are always popular (neutral tones typically do well) but I don’t want my collections to only include neutral tones because that would be boring! So what factors influence the other colours?


Yes, I’m always looking ahead to find out what colours and tones are being forecast as major home ware trends. Incorporating ‘on-trend’ colours is one of the key ways we differentiate our eco-collections. Being forced to compromise on style in order to adhere to our sustainability ideals is just so unnecessary!

We frequently review our collections and introduce new colours as trends develop.


I don’t like to pay too much attention to the competition, but I always give some thought to what exists in the market place currently. What’s our unique value proposition? What makes our collection unique, better, best? Careful consideration of colours can distinguish our collections as superior to competing collections. I always bear this in mind.


Of course the media is always looking for products that are ‘of the moment’. Including vibrant, quirky or exciting trend-driven colours can often be a good way of attracting the attention of the media and garnering publicity.

I often bear this in mind when creating a story and deliberately include a colour or two that I think is likely to be picked up by stylists.


Incredibly, certain colours can sell well in some areas, but not at all in others! For example, (and it’s a cliché, but it’s true) in Australia, the Victorians tend to favour more subdued or neutral tones in their homes, whereas the Queenslanders very often favour our more vibrant hues.

I like to make sure I have colours that will likely appeal to both ends of that spectrum. Something for everyone.


It is important that the range of colours within the collection make sense together.

I always work to include colour sub-stories or to ensure that the colours work well together when co-ordinated in all kinds of different ways.

This makes it easy for our customers to choose colours to combine in their homes. It also makes it easy for our retailers to choose a selection of colours that they wish to stock in their stores (space or budgetary constraints mean that sometimes our retailers can’t take on our full range of colours).


I like to have fun with the process. I experiment and have draft combinations that I live with for a few days and revisit and rethink.

I don’t like to play it safe and I often include ‘high-risk’ colours that may or may not sell, but that speak to a cheekiness or irreverence in me. Sometimes it’s precisely those colours that end up being a HIT!

It’s important to have fun.

So there you have it, the low down on the creation of our colour-stories!

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