We’ve got a good one for you on the blog today! We’re so excited to be sharing an exclusive interview with Chloe Mackintosh from Boxwood Avenue. She’s one of our favorite creatives to follow on Instagram, and she’s sharing some salient advice for anyone interested in the creative field of work. From how Boxwood Avenue was born to what’s next for Chloe, keep reading for all of the goodness she shared!
01 / Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to start Boxwood Avenue?
Boxwood Avenue all started on Etsy. While in college, I sewed pillows and sold ribbon. I used a vintage sewing machine my aunt gave me for my 18th birthday to sew the pillows in my shop. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a creative person prior to the gift of a sewing machine. It spurred my creativity and gave me the courage to try new things! I was always so fascinated with sewing, and still am. Creating something beautiful out of raw materials pulses through all that we do at Boxwood Avenue.
When I graduated college, I was really tired of making pillows. I knew people had “blogs”, so I thought, “maybe I can write a blog where I teach people how to make pillows?” Thus, Boxwood Avenue was born. I started Boxwood Avenue to share DIY projects and my journey as I transitioned from city life to ranch life. I shared lots of projects (that I now cringe at), recipes, and stories from the ranch. Since then, it has transformed from just a blog to an online shop, brick & mortar, design firm, and lots more! We are always looking for new things to try!
I never thought I would be an interior designer, and still sometimes suffer from imposter syndrome. Our design firm started when we remodeled our home. Through that, I began receiving requests from clients for remodeling and design help. I took on a few lovely clients and found that I really enjoyed the design process. Over the past couple of years I have spent a lot of time ironing out our process and workflow in order to create an enjoyable experience for our clients. While we are constantly looking to grow and innovate, I am very happy with where we are now.
If I could give anyone advice, it would be to spend the time developing a clear process. Talent is inherent, but more often than not, creative people tend to struggle with organization. Find someone to help you stay organized – it will help your business flourish!
I would also be remiss to exclude a conversation Mindy was kind enough to have with a few years ago. She was so gracious to impart some wisdom from her experience to me. It’s not impossible to begin a design firm, but it’s definitely not easy to start from scratch! I have always tried my best to glean all that I can from designers and industry friends. I am so grateful for Mindy taking the time to chat with me, it was an act of kindness I will always remember!
02 / How would you describe your personal style and aesthetic?
A lot of my style is inspired by the French way of life as well as ranch living. My family is French, so I find that I draw from that often. In addition to the beauty of French living, I have a deep love of French antiques (Belgian and English too!). Even when we work on a more contemporary project, I infuse a bit of France into the overall design. Additionally, I can’t help but be inspired by living on a cattle ranch. The colors, textures, and nature surrounding my home provide endless inspiration!
03 / What does ‘slow living’ mean to you?
Ah, I love this question! To me, slow living means seeking beauty within the ordinary. Doing dishes can be something wonderful with a dish brush made of French oak and handcrafted soap. Cooking dinner with music and infused water from a hand blown drinking glass? Blissful! It’s slowing down and taking the time to make each moment within the day count.
04 / What are your current favorite design trends, and how are you planning on incorporating them into your work?
Many designers often say, “don’t follow trends, just do what you love!” To a sense, I echo that, but of course there are lovely timeless “trends” that resurface and cause me to pause! Right now, I am totally enamored with cafe curtains – they’re darling!
05 / What’s next for Boxwood Avenue?
We open our brick & mortar shop in Reno, Nevada, this August which is something I have dreamt of since I started years ago. I am so excited to see a real life Boxwood where people can come experience all of the things we believe in.
You can follow The Mercantile on Instagram to keep up with their journey and opening next month!
06 / What is your best piece of advice for aspiring creators?
Running a business takes grit and courage. You must believe in yourself and push yourself to produce unique work you are proud of. I think my biggest piece of advice is to just do it, and then keep going. While it’s not easy to jump in and “just do it”, it’s definitely the easier part of running a creative business. The hard part is continuing on your path when there’s a bump in the road. Perhaps a cliche, but there will definitely be bumps, and times when you feel like giving up. It’s not easy to run a business, but it is very rewarding.
At the end of the day, I truly love what I do. I find myself thinking, I didn’t get any work done today! When in reality, I worked all day, I just didn’t realize it was actually work! That is a wonderful feeling I am grateful for!
07 / Where can our readers go to see more of your work?
Thanks so much for following along with our interview with Chloe from Boxwood Avenue. We’re feeling inspired, and we hope you are, too! For more of our creator interviews, check out our previous discussions with Susan Connor and Jennifer Daily. Until next time!