To celebrate International Women's Day, we interviewed Chloe from Boxwood Avenue (@boxwoodavenue) sharing her journey with social media and diving deep into her experience with brand collaborations.
If you follow Chloe, you will know that she shares tips on interior decorating, her favourite cooking recipes, and her life on the ranch with her goat and chicken after moving with her husband from the city to the countryside. She has grown her followers on Instagram to over 147K followers and has over 9 million monthly views on her Pinterest account.
Q: Tell us about Boxwood Avenue. What inspired you to start?
Chloe: I think it all started with the idea of me wanting to connect with others. We moved out to this ranch which is in the middle of nowhere. In the beginning, I had a DIY blog and Etsy shop, and then I slowly started sharing my life on the ranch and nature - people seem to really enjoy the beauty of nature around that I get to experience and share that with others. And so, I took that idea, ran with it, and developed a brand. And we still share some handmade ideas, but it's more design-centric now with an infusion of nature because I think nature is so beautiful, and it's where I get a lot of inspiration for my designs.
Q: What tips would you give someone just starting to grow their social account?
Chloe: For the past three months, I was pretty stagnant in my followers and my audience size on Instagram, so I understand the frustration of anybody that's getting started. It almost feels like how in the world am I going to be able to do this? Like I'm coming in late to the game. But I did I recently posted a reel of my have one single house. I think we've grown by three or four thousand followers in like a week since I had posted that. I would say create more Reels content - don't sleep on them! They are powerful, but doing them correctly in a way that I think is like niching down.
Q: How do you currently repurpose your content?
Chloe: I've started on TikTok now because I see that platform growing and opportunities there, so TikTok is the beta lab for me, and if it does well on TikTok, then I'll pull that video and post it as a reel. And now, I like to see what content resonates well with the audience and then cross-post that on Instagram. And also, the beauty of short-form video is that you can take that TikTok or that reel, put it on Pinterest, too. And you're utilizing that content across many different platforms.
Q: Which programs do you currently use to edit your video content?
Chloe: I mostly use Adobe Rush, but I like to use the in-app editing tool in TikTok or Instagram too.
Q: How did you first get into brand collaborations?
Chloe: It's very similar to life. You try to connect with somebody through your own business or as a friend before beginning the collaboration process. You do need to make sure that the connection is genuine and authentic. This is an excellent way to build a foundation between working with your dream brand.
Q: Tell us about one of your favourite brands that you collaborated with
Chloe: One of the first large brands that I got to work with was Home Depot. We have built a great relationship with them over the years and have worked with them many times since. It's always so fun to work with brands because they give you complete control of your creativity to tell the story and style the shoot in a way that shows my personality and resonates with my audience.
Q: Which content do you think brands are missing out on?
Chloe: Definitely blogs. We invested a lot in SEO. Boxwood Avenue has three separate LLCs - our blog, the interior design firm and our e-commerce shop. Through writing blogs, I've begun to understand SEO a lot better. I've always felt that brands are focused on the wrong thing sometimes. For example, a brand may be willing to put a big X budget on an Instagram post, but only an add on the budget for a blog post. The blog post has more longevity and power because somebody has that intent, that search intent. They're landing there. They're already in a buying mode or like educating themselves on that. So, I think that brands should not neglect the power of blogs and SEO.
Q: Which type of collaboration compensation are you open to doing?
Chloe: I think it's all about aligning with your needs. I think everybody needs to find what's right for them. But my rule of thumb is, if I were going to pay for the product out of my pocket, I would be open to work with the brand on a trade basis, but if it's not a product that I necessarily need, but I want to work with the brand, I will ask to be compensated for in payment.
Q: How do you involve brand collaboration with your client's projects?
Chloe: Sometimes, as a designer, you're like, "Oh, gosh, this project could be really cool if we had this a little bit more budget for this, we could take it to the next level." Whenever a brand collaboration is involved, I ask my client first to see if they are comfortable with me reaching out to this brand and shooting some content for it. It's one of the first questions that we ask our clients because each one of our projects is a minimum of one to two years. We want to make sure that they are comfortable with us doing it before we start reaching out, but I do see that it is a win-win situation for everyone - my client will get the product, I will get to work with the brand, and the brand will get content from me. It's truly an excellent opportunity to create content for cross-promotional on all the channels.
Q: What's next for Boxwood Avenue?
Chloe: We have some really cool design projects going on. This year, our goal book is to buy an Airbnb and turn it into a Boxwood experiential stay where people get to immersive themselves in boxwood mercantile's products. We are super excited to start this project and have Boxwood throughout the country one day.