On the Colour Couch with colourful retailer Laura Smith

Little Book of Colour. On the colour couch with Laura_Smith.

Meet the lovely Laura Smith who is the owner of LIFE is better in COLOUR who by her own admission is “doing my best to make life more colourful!… for people who live on the bright side of life.” Let’s delve into Laura’s life in colour and her great advice for anyone who is afraid of taking the colour plunge.

What is your earliest colour memory?
I don’t particularly have any colour memories from my childhood – most of my conscious colour choices started as a teenager. Back then, (as I am again now) I was going through an anti-fashion stage and most of my clothes came from alternative clothing stores or charity shops, and everything was comfortable and colourful. My favourite item of clothing from this era was what I called my ‘baggy pants’ – a pair of loose fitting cotton trousers created from oh so many pieces of rainbow tie-dye patchwork.

But as I got older and went to uni and then to work my colour choices became more conservative. It was only after working in a more corporate setting for a few years that I noticed that wearing subtle splashes of colour or choosing coordinated accessories was a noteworthy exception to the norm – one that always elicited a sarcastic comment from some of my colleagues.

I eventually came to realise that this kind of setting was not entirely suited to my temperament and have since learned to look for opportunities that complement my colour loving tendencies!

Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?
People who only know me via my business will probably be surprised to learn that my favourite colour is actually grey! Whilst I love combinations of bold, bright, block colour, in my mind nothing can beat the flexibility and adaptability of the colour grey! (Especially as it is a great base colour and is able to be combined with almost any other colour you can imagine!)

What do you think your life would be like without colour?
Even after just admitting that my favourite colour is grey, I know that I would be absolutely gutted if colour was no longer a part of my life. My relationship with colour informs so much of my personality and business that I can’t possibly begin to think how my life would function without it.

Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?
I’m not sure I personally have ever been afraid of colour (no one who chooses to wear those tie-dye trousers as a teenager can be accused of being frightened of colour!) but I have definitely found myself in circumstances where I have modified my use of colour because of other people’s preconceptions.

However, the colour pink has always given me some difficulty. For many years I avoided any shade of pink, desperately trying not to contribute to the ‘pink is for girls’ stereotype. I have often been heard bemoaning how manufacturers of functional tools for DIY and craft work feel the need to give everything pink handles.

But over the years I have softened my stance and have come to embrace many shades of pink* and now, hot pink is even an integral part of my brand identity. I came to realise that simply boycotting a colour doesn’t help to challenge the stereotypes around its use.

It also seemed strange to get so upset about a colour that doesn’t scientifically exist!

So whilst I am still alert to the multitude of issues that surround this colour, I choose to use it in my work and accept that for many (including me) it is a colour that brings joy.

(*Except millennial pink. I’m still totally bemused why that remained popular for so long!)

For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?
My advice to anyone who is afraid of colour would be first to assess
a) whether you personally are afraid of colour or b) you are afraid of how society will react to your love of colour.

Either way my number one piece of advice would be to encourage you to have the confidence to commit to one small change that helps make your life more colourful.

Here’s just a few of my cheap and easy suggestions to get you started:

  • Instead of wearing black sock or tights, switch to a bold colour instead.
  • Buy a colourful scarf to wear with your winter coat
  • Add one (or more!) pin badges to your ID card lanyard
  • Always choose a colourful mug to use for your morning cuppa
  • Purchase a new houseplant with a colourful pot

This commitment to making one small change could be the first step towards living a more colourful life!

If you would like to discover more about Laura’s colourful world you can find her over on Instagram @lifeisbetterincolour sharing her colourful musings.

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