A Passion for Colour

PUBLISHED: 22:51 23 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:26 24 April 2013

Melissa at Kettlewell Colours HQ

Melissa at Kettlewell Colours HQ


There is more to chic dressing than just black - and once you start wearing colours you’ll never look back says Melissa Nicholson

“I am so absolutely and completely passionate about colour,” says Melissa Nicholson with an infectious enthusiasm, “I’ve seen countless times how it can benefit people, in so many ways.”

I am sitting with Melissa in her office at the HQ of Kettlewell Colours, her fashion mail order business based in Crewkerne, on the border between Dorset and Somerset.

“I recently had a lovely email from a woman who’d had her colours done before going to a job interview. She went in full Kettlewell colours –I’m thrilled to say – she got the job.”

Although you don’t have to have had your colours analysed by a colour stylist first, most of Melissa’s clients do and Kettlewell translates that colour analysis into an easy and wearable capsule-style wardrobe in your seasonal palette.

It was just under 10 years ago that Melissa and her husband John thought about escaping the rat race of London. Both had been to school in Dorset.

“I spent a lot of my childhood outside on my bike – and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, naturally I longed for my children to be able to do the same.”

Melissa spent 15 years working for Together – at the time the largest fashion mail order company in the world, and her husband John had many years of being self employed, so between them they had the credentials to start up a business in the heart of the Dorset countryside. Kettlewell (Melissa’s maiden name) was born in a former pigsty in Dorset that they rented from a local farmer. But as the demand for their colourful clothing grew, Kettlewell relocated to larger premises in Crewkerne.

The idea for the company started with Melissa’s mother-in-law. She was a classic country lady wearing tweeds and muddy browns and olive greens. Then one day, she had her colours analysed she was told that she suited fuchsia pink, royal blue and rich purples. “It was a radical transformation,” Melissa recalls. “Her friends would stop her in the street to tell her how amazing she looked. Honestly, it made her look 10 years younger.”

It was hard to ignore such positive results, so Melissa and John both had their colours analysed too. “I worked in London and wore black every day, I might have thought black was chic and slimming, but it gave me a washed-out, drained appearance, whereas wearing turquoise quite literally gave me more energy.” laughs Melissa who tells me that she was analysed as a ‘Golden Spring’. It was this dramatic experience with colour that convinced Melissa and John to launch Kettlewell.

Their company offers a huge range of colours all year round. No one else stocks or sells colour clothing in the way they do. Their customers love the fact that they can repeat an order in the same style but in a different colour a season later. “This is where we have the advantage over High Street chains where women are at the mercy of the buyer’s colour choices for that season,” explains Melissa.

Their colourful capsule wardrobe ranges from tops and jackets to skirts and trousers. Most are in block colours which, on their website, are identified by season. The few patterned pieces blend seasonal colours so it’s easy to mix and match.

Melissa is convinced one of the benefits of colour analysis is providing simplicity and structure to your wardrobe. “It’s about creating harmony between your skin, hair and clothes,” she says. “Once you know if you’re a warm or cool tone you can start to choose your colours accordingly. When you know what your colours are you will save lot of time and money - and of course you will look fabulous too!”

For more details visit Kettlewell Colour’s website kettlewellcolours.co.uk or call 01460 279800

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