Rachel Mae Smith Inspires Daily Life with New Book ‘Hello Color’

by Ken Davids

The DIY Instagrammer shares the colorful details behind her new book and talks about the importance of having a creative outlet.

Lifestyle Instagrammer Rachel Mae Smith (Photo by Mary Costa).

Influencer Rachel Mae Smith is well-known on social media for her love of lifestyle, decor and most importantly, color. While on the promotional tour for her new book, “Hello Color,” Rachel stopped by the District and held a pop-up launch event at Steadfast Supply, which featured DIY crafts from the book and custom color palettes, as well as a selection of Sweetgreen salads and tea-flavored cotton candy from Wight Team Co. We had the opportunity to chat with Rachel and hear more about the vision behind her personal brand and the dream come true that is “Hello Color.”

Washington Life: You are on a 5-week trip around the country to promote your new book. How does it feel? Has creating your own book always been a dream of yours?

Rachel Mae Smith: Honestly, it’s surreal! It really hasn’t even hit me yet that I wrote a book. Who knows, maybe in 10 years it will.

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I minored in writing in college and always loved to read, but I never thought it would be possible.

How long has this book been in the works?

About a year and a half I’d say. I started working on it Feb/March 2017, it went into production December 2017, and hit shelves May 1, 2018.

In a recent blog post promoting your new book, you said that you originally started your blog in 2011 to “deal with the stress” of your full time job.

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How has that purpose changed/evolved since then?

It’s evolved in that now it’s my full time job and has been since 2014! I’ve tried my best to keep the purpose the same and make sure that the projects I produce anyone can make in about 30 minutes. My content also goes beyond just DIY now and I write about other topics like home decor, travel, lifestyle, and more.

Where do you find your day-to-day inspiration?

I recently moved to New York City, so inspiration is everywhere. I love disconnecting from my phone to go on walks, find new murals, or color hunt throughout my neighborhood. It’s amazing how much we can overlook on a day to day basis, so I try my best to slow down sometimes to take a moment to let life sink in.

Your blog and Instagram feed is filled with color. Why is color so important to you?

I used to only have neutrals in my home because I wasn’t sure how to do anything else. But colors have such an effect on us and our emotions that the change for me was worth figuring out.

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It’s such a great feeling when you wake up to your favorite color and it helps to start the day on a more positive note. I get so many messages that the colors in my work just make people happy, and I would never want to lose that.

Your book is all about DIY decor. Has this always been a hobby of yours?

I always crafted as a kid and made a few things here and there throughout college, but I started my blog as a purposeful hobby in 2011.

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I was working 80 hours a week at a stressful and non-creative outlet and I turned to DIY to find that therapeutic release. I only did one new project a week and after some time, was able to turn that into where I am today.

On your blog, you talk about how you wrote this book to give people (who might only have 20-30 minutes per week) a creative outlet that is simple and fulfilling. Do you think your book is unique or different from other crafting books in that sense? 

Absolutely! I wrote this book for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation as I was in when I started. Life is always so busy, and I think we all crave that stress release, so it’s a matter of coming up with activities in a short amount of time that won’t make you pull your hair out when you get started.

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What is your favorite project/chapter in the book?

This is always so hard! I think the temporary tattoo hangers are one of my favorite projects, and I also love the scalloped sugar and flour containers because it’s always a bit trickier to add color to the kitchen!

What’s next?

I can’t say too much, but shoppable items may be coming soon. And of course, always more color!

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