Kettlewell in the USA


John and Melissa on the roof of the Rockefeller Centre

It’s been a month since John and I returned from our eight-day trip to the States but it’s only now that I’ve come back down to earth. What an exciting, inspiring and, most importantly, colourful trip that was. From the moment we touched down at JFK airport, it was a whirlwind of meetings, presentations and dinners, all with one aim in mind – to find out how our colourful clothes are going down across the Pond!

If you’re wondering if it was all work and no play, John and I did manage to squeeze in a weekend in New York before the serious business of colour began. It was so nice to have a good look around, check out the stores, find out what everyone’s currently wearing (yes, I stopped people in the streets to ask!) and generally gauge how New York measures on the colourometer (I’d say a lot of business black and grey interspersed with the occasional pop of colour). We definitely got our colour fix, though, when we visited the Color Factory in Soho, a cool, interactive art museum that celebrates the hues of the Big Apple through a series of multi-sensory rooms. There’s a Color Factory in Houston and Chicago too, which I would definitely recommend visiting if you’ve got kids – it was great to see Americans really celebrating the joy of colour and being excited by it.


Exploring colourful New York

From New York it was a three-hour flight to Nebraska, where we stayed at the Oakland home of Karen Blanc, the third consultant in the US to train with House of Colour (now 200 stylists and more training all the time, such is the interest in colour). The Midwest state of Nebraska has proved so successful for Kettlewell since we launched in the US that John and I wanted to meet the amazing consultants to find out exactly what it is that they are doing right! If the colour consultation Karen invited me to watch is anything to go by the secret is simple – they take their time and they understand that not everybody grasps colour analysis straight away, some people need a little time and help to see the difference the drapes make.


Arriving at Karen's home in Nebraska - loved the number plate on her car!

When Karen’s client came through the door, she was quiet and introverted, her shoulders slumped; by the time her consultation had ended, three hours later, she was sitting up straight, exuding confidence and glowing. You wouldn’t have known it was the same person – she looked like a movie star! When I asked Karen what her clients get out of her colour sessions, she said, “I ensure that when they walk out of the door they have all the tools they need to look amazing.” That is what motivates Karen – she can see the power of transformation and the value of making yourself look and feel better, which in turn inspires other people to do the same. So inspiring.


Stacey discovering she is a Deep + Brown Summer

If you follow us on Instagram you can’t have missed the next appointment in our diary – colourful cocktails and dinner with 22 fabulously vibrant consultants from House of Colour Nebraska. For John and I, it was also an opportunity to get some feedback, see what from our collection sells best for them and how we can support them. After dinner, we talked about our brand and how aligned we feel with the colour industry, especially in this world where we need to make our clothes work harder than ever. Using a number of green garments as examples, I also demonstrated how Kettlewell is all about precision – that’s what sets us apart from other brands. We take time to code all our colours, checking and double-checking that they are consistent, regardless of the time of day, the light, or whether it’s rainy or sunny outside. It’s no exaggeration to say, I spend half my life in the lightbox!


Coming full circle, we then headed back to New York for a meeting with House of Colour’s Wendy Jacobs, whom I first met in the UK and have had many conversations with over the years about launching in the US (thrillingly, we also got tickets to see Alicia Keys in concert with her husband) and dinner with the new MD of House of Colour US, Kimberly Mayhew, exploring exciting opportunities in the States. 


Meeting Wendy Jacobs (and family) at the Rockefeller Centre to see an Alicia Keys concert

And, finally, despite our tight schedule, we couldn’t leave the States without meeting up with the lovely Eileen, who you may be familiar with in our Facebook group, the Colour Club. As soon as we spotted each other in the café we gave each other a big hug – it was like meeting up with a long-lost friend. We had so much to talk about, and it was wonderful hearing about what she loves about Kettlewell and what she wants to see in the future (all great feedback from an incredibly supportive, real-life customer). Eileen’s parting words to me were, ‘There should be a movie made about us all in the Kettlewell Colour Club, just like Calendar Girls.” Now, there’s a thought!


Some of Eileen's wonderful posts in the Colour Club

If you would like to join our Facebook group, the Kettlewell Colour Club, click here.

susan schneider on Oct 17, 2023 7:16 PM

I had my colors done about 30 years ago, and completely delighted to find a catalogue devoted to this color theory! The quiz shows me I was correctly determined to be a Spring way back then. I'd really welcome a curated makeup guide ("X color by X brand is a good green for springs," etc.).

Piff Fitting on Sep 27, 2023 5:01 AM

Very interesting comments & wonderful colors too! I had never heard about Kettlewell before receiving a catalog in today’s mail! Now I’m busily devouring all of the info I can find & checking out all of the beautiful clothes! Years ago I had my “colors done” for my work. The result was that I am a strong Summer but I believe that I am more of a Spring, which is what your color quiz said! Now I have to do some serious shopping!

Paula on Sep 27, 2022 5:43 PM

I just saw this. What a wonderful trip! To meet some of the women who live color is very special.

You have some great products.

Mary Seidel on Sep 24, 2022 12:01 PM

Looking forward today something new

Nicole on Sep 24, 2022 12:11 AM

Such an honor to meet you and John in person!!

Marsha Shufrin on Sep 20, 2022 12:57 AM

Nice to see Wendy Jacobs! Such a surprise. She did my color analysis.... and style session.... and color combination session <3... I can't thank her enough!

Rebecca Saffer on Sep 19, 2022 7:04 PM

So happy to seeing your trip to the States! Being a lifelong NYC woman, I especially loved your meetup with the fabulous Eileen.

NYC is mainly a neutrals place, except for the warmer months (in my opinion) but I do love color. Unfortunately my one and only order had to be returned due to sizing issues and took 2 months for refund. USA sizing is so different but I hope to try again!

Chris Pole on Sep 19, 2022 11:48 AM

Pleased to hear all abut your trip!

Alison Marsh on Sep 19, 2022 4:50 AM

Fab post, so interesting!

Eileen on Sep 18, 2022 7:36 PM

Melissa, I am beyond honored to have met you and John in person and to be featured in this blog! You have created this amazing, colorful community of women that has sparked countless real-life friendships. I am a customer for life and will always spread the word about Kettlewell Colours! Love and hugs from New Jersey.

Sue Haighton on Sep 18, 2022 8:27 AM

Really enjoyed reading about your USA trip. Sounds like you had lots of fun despite all your business engagements!

Rebecca Young on Sep 17, 2022 8:28 AM

What a fabulous blog!! Feel like I've just had a usa holiday with you!! Fantastic pics too!!! Becky

Jacqueline McGrady on Sep 16, 2022 10:56 PM

Loved reading about your trip.

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