At the brink of autumn, Chloe MacKintosh invited me to her private suite in Lourmarin, France for a relaxed conversation about her Boxwood empire and her life as a creative. We had a very long day of antiquing and lunching (or should I say rosé-ing) with the retreat group for the most recent Boxwood Abroad in Provence.
Chloe settled into her simple white comfy loveseat as I pressed record. If I can say one thing about Chloe, it is that she seemed to always make time for everyone and with such kindness and generosity.
With countless interviews and articles I have read so much already about your business and life as a CEO. I want to dig deeper though, let's give my readers a more intimate perspective of your journey, beyond the processes and procedures.
"OK!" Chloe responded with her bright big eyes and smile.
For some of you, Chloe might be new. She started her business years ago through her Etsy store selling custom egg stamps. Her creativity did not start here though. Chloe's aunt played a large role in her knowledge, as a young girl, of crafting, sewing, and many other creative outlets. I loved hearing about this side of Chloe because often when we are asked certain questions, it gives us a time to reflect back on sweet moments in our journey. Women crafting and sharing has been passed down through centuries and still serve today as a way to share stories, culture, and support in a community. Chloe turned those moments into Boxwood Avenue; which today is a conglomerate of a mercantile, interior design, and now traveling.
What really catapulted you into this new concept of life that you now share with us as the Boxwood lifestyle?
"Well, I was quite young when my world shifted into ranch life. It wasn't a matter of am I doing this, it just made sense and then we did it. What I loved the most about leaving city life was leaving "keeping up with the Joneses" behind. I loved the feeling of it mattering more about the type of person I was, beyond the who and what you are wearing and doing. With Boxwood I just wanted to share that mentality of slowing down and living more meaningfully. This is also why we wholeheartedly talk about 'you don't need more, you need meaningful'."
Meaningful, this is exactly the sharing I received from Chloe during our conversation and the Boxwood Abroad trip. The energy around her and her team were undeniably authentic. For a full week we were surrounded by women of all walks of life sharing meaningful exchanges, conversations, stories, and support. This was leading up to my conversation with Chloe and it certainly set the scene.
What made you start Boxwood Abroad? What was the catalyst?
"I went on a trip like this. We didn’t do the same activities but we were in France going from one beautiful village to the next, and I was awestruck. It changed my life, it was so beautiful and to be around other amazing women was a reward. I still stay in touch with a lot of those girls from that trip. I roomed with a woman I had never met and we ended up going to Bordeaux together. I always felt I could do something with that; to share the experience I had with others. I love the details in traveling, where everything is really thought through and you get to meet with local artisans and see the culture."
I feel that everything here has been intentional and I love that aspect.
"Yes! We are being intentional, we are being Boxwood!"
We both giggled with that comment because the trip abroad really was intentional and thoughtful in ways none of us imagined it would be.
How have your business relationships influenced you?
"My friend Sarah, she is living in Paris right now. I worked for Sarah at Chateau Sonoma as a Social Media Manager. The first time I walked into her shop, I was around 19 years old; this was before I started Boxwood. I remember knowing that it was going to be important in my life. I felt it... I remember it distinctly. I didn’t know her at the time.
Later when I worked for her it was by happenstance, my wedding planner realized I was blogging and she hired me on the side to help her with blogging. So I ventured off and would write about all of these experiences. I went to Sarah’s shop in Sonoma and interviewed her, kind of like this, and we became friends and worked together. In my life she has become a soul sister to me, kindred spirits."
Do you take on more of the creative role at this point?
"I have an amazing team that helps make sure the brand vision is always top of mind and assists in everything running smoothly. You met Nadia, she is our Creative Director, and beyond talented. I feel so grateful to have her help dreaming up the brand. I also have a wonderful design team that is working behind the scenes to make sure our client experience is always excellent. They are amazing!
Yet - I’m still doing everything under the sun, each night we’ve been here I’m up til 2-3am working. Often I’m scheduling out Pinterest, Instagram reels, checking newsletters etc. While the creative aspect is so important, the first step is believing in yourself that you are going to make money. It’s not about the money it’s about the lifestyle you want to build, and that’s your why. But you have to believe in yourself that you are going to make money to be able to have that life of your dreams. Figure out how to make money. For us it’s interior design, retreats and the shop. While we are here, we are also starting to flip houses.
Second, I am so grateful to have someone to walk through the journey with me. I know it is a privilege and a luxury but Lori, our COO, she makes sure everything is buttoned up and handled so that we can just sit on the phone and creatively brainstorm; sometimes for 3 hours! We come up with something amazing and then in a week implement.
Boxwood Abroad is an example of what can be created when you have the safe space to do it. I knew that bringing this idea to Lori, that she would have my back and I’m going to have hers. For someone who doesn’t have a Lori in house, you could have that perhaps with a fellow entrepreneur. Have that trust, have someone in your corner, someone who is always ready to pay it forward. It’s so important to have someone who can be your cheerleader and advisor. It's important to connect in an authentic way so that you can be creative."
What's your next big dream?
"Since I started with interiors, it has been my true love. At Boxwood Interiors we trade time for money and I think any entrepreneur will say you can’t be trading time for money. So once you know how to make money you ask yourself, 'what am I going to invest in?'.
My goal is to create Boxwood BNB's throughout the U.S. and abroad. We don’t have a set name but the concept is to have a type of Air BNB, where we create intentional interiors the Boxwood way. I want guests to be awestruck. Everything will be sourced locally. Imagine your eggs are from a local farmer or the plates from the town's potter. That is the next step for us and we can't wait to share Boxwood with our guests."
With another call on the way, we ended our chat and made way to more work before our farewell dinner at the chateau. Behind every successful CEO is a network of like-minded individuals who support and inspire them. Chloe understands the importance of surrounding herself with a tribe of talented women who share her vision and passion. They come together to exchange ideas, challenge each other's thinking, and push the boundaries of what is possible.
In a world where dreams are often dismissed as mere fantasies, Chloe is proving that big dreams can indeed become a reality. With her unique blend of creativity, intuition, and a supportive network, she is carving her own path to success. She is a testament to the power of passion, determination, and the belief that anything is possible.
Where you can FIND Chloe MacKintosh