Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Business Babe: Chloe Johnston

Chloe Johnston is one of my favorite people! She's entrepreneurial (she's the founder and president of Chloe Johnston specializing in shopping trips to Paris!), beyond chic... perks of constantly going to Paris and an actual nice person. Hey! Those are hard to come by in this industry. 

I met Chloe years ago actually through an internship I had when her business was first starting out. Since then we've become friends, bonding on a mutual love for fashion and becoming networkers in crime! You might remember our recent trip to NYC to see Mrs Lilien at Jonathan Adler and Chetna Singh's show. But enough about me, let's talk about Chloe and her business! 

From Philadelphia to Paris, where did you develop the idea for Chloe Johnston Tours?

From my love of Paris of course! I first visited the city when I was 12 on a family trip. At the time, being only 12 years old, the fact that I could eat chocolate for breakfast was a big draw! Fast-forward into the future where my exposure to fashion, design, and the arts (it’s simply woven into our family’s life) took over and landed me in grad school in NYC.  I was studying to get my MBA in fashion entrepreneurship, and honed in on what I believed was missing in the market place.  I was constantly asked about where I got certain pieces and each time the answer was Paris; it was always the same response: “How do you find things like that?” “I didn’t see anything like that!” I decided there was definitely a niche for something like this and decided to turn one of my school projects into a business. With the help of my Mom I was able to make a dream a reality. The relationships we’ve developed, the friends who have helped us as my business picture got colored in, are indescribable!

What has been your biggest battle as an entrepreneur? Your biggest success?

My biggest battle would have to be sales.  Connecting the dots from idea, to making a living, requires selling and selling on so many different fronts.  The secret sauce that finally connects all the dots is quite a process; nerve wracking, fun, exhausting and sometimes costly but oh so necessary!  My biggest success would be growth and expansion, looking back at where I started to where I am today, is such an amazing feeling!

Chloe Johnston Tours offers several different fashion tour packages for their customers. How else do you specifically cater to your customers unique style?

Well, that is the secret sauce!! Everything we do is customizable based on our dialogue with the client, our boots on the ground in Paris, including our trend forecaster and our designers. We really make sure that every client has the best experience possible with the emphasis on experience. Remember, style lasts forever.

What is the fondest memory you have of the City of Lights as a little girl while visiting with your mother?

Such a difficult question! I think the fondest memory would be during my first trip to Paris.  We were going to spend Christmas in Paris, which for my brother and I was such a scary thing even Santa had a different name (clearly the cookies and treats got to our heads). Once we arrived I insisted that we purchase a Christmas tree:   its not Christmas without a tree of course!  We went to the flower market and found the perfect tree for the little apartment (it was flocked!)  As we were walking down the quay back to the apartment, the shopkeeper came sprinting after us shouting something I did not understand.  I of course was terrified. I thought we did something wrong!! After he caught up to us, he gave us each a gift, for good luck, and wished us a very Merry Christmas!  I wish I had a photograph of those smiles.priceless!

What are your plans for Chloe Johnston Tours in the next 5 years?

We definitely have plans for expansion into other cities, which I am extremely excited about!

What is the story behind your most prized piece of clothing or accessory?

Right now I would have to say my most prized piece of clothing would be my wedding dress and my most prized accessory would have to be my engagement ring. That little accessory is NOT a Paris find but certainly prized!  Back to “La Robe” (the dress!)  She Said Oui, a new tour idea was in development and my mother and I were visiting bridal boutiques in Paris. We walked into a shop recommended by a designer/colleague.  I loved how different everything in the shop was and there was just a very special vibe. One dress in particular, on a most elegant mannequin spoke to me.  I had no intention of trying anything on as I was really in research mode, but that dress called out to me.  It was explained to me that this dress was a prototype and a very special one, but alas, no ability to replicate it…so it either fits or not! Of course now I had to try it! Low and behold it fit almost like a glove! It was the first dress I tried on, even looked at.  It was the one! To add to the moment, another beloved designer I work with is adding his special magic …can you say fairy tale!!  

Thanks Chloe!

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