Founder and Editor of TOMBOY Beauty, and Director of TOMBOY Consulting
I could monologue about Chloe Brinklow all day long. Just ask my sisters, my best business buddy Kim, wide eyed students at our events, or anyone willing to give me 15mins to talk about women I’m obsessed with.
To me, Chloe represents all the glorious, messy and gutsy stuff that makes up an entrepreneur in 2019. She is progressive, real and not afraid to live life her way. Honestly, her #careerstory and trajectory blows my mind – and makes me excited to be a woman living in the world, with it’s plethora or opportunities. That’s the Chloe Effect.
If you don’t know her baby TOMBOY BEAUTY then please be prepared to find a new favourite online place to hang. Widely known as a premium online destination with a less-is-more approach to beauty and style, TOMBOY is everything you want. In fact, this interview is hands down, my favourite of the year so far.
Please meet Chloe Brinklow.
Chloe, thank you so much for joining us here at The Cool Career. Whre did you grow up? Let’s start at the very beginning?
I grew up on the beach on the Central Coast which is just under two hours north of Sydney. It’s a pretty perfect little piece of geography, with gorgeous beaches and bushland – just far enough away from the city that you get all the good ‘small-town’ values – but close enough that you’re not too sheltered or fearful either. I got a little bored, living it on repeat for 20 years, and when I was ready, I moved to Sydney to pursue a career in fashion and media. I didn’t consciously outgrow Sydney but some things happened in my personal and professional life two years ago which turned a 6 day work trip (and a serendipitous loss of my passport) into my new life in New York City.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Terrigal High School. People in the area called it Hollywood High because everyone was tan, and blonde, and wore knee high socks and pigtails. It was a little like Clueless meets ‘The OC’ – only those kids had accents, money and Chanel handbags. I loved school: not only for the social aspect, but because by the time I got to my senior years I curated my syllabus to be only the subjects I liked– which made going to class pretty enjoyable.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
To some extent, yes. When it came to choosing my HSC subjects, I chose only ones I loved: I did. 4 units of English, Visual Arts, Drama, Dance, and legal studies. I score about 80% right brain, so I blame the 20% left side for the choice to do legal studies, which was the subject I performed most poorly in. While I was at high school, I worked as a dance teacher 5 nights a week, and in hospitality on the weekends, and saw my friends every weekend. I think this time, taught me about work ethic, and finding balance. I finished with a mark of 91.75, which meant I could get into the uni courses I was interested in.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
My cousin is really high up at a commercial TV network, so through nepotism I secured a one week work experience gig at the network, primarily in the news room, as I was thinking about studying journalism at Uni. It was the first time I saw ego and sexism in a real world way and consciously decided that path wasn’t for me. The nos define you far more than the yes’s.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
When I first graduated from high school I was accepted in to a Bachelor of Fashion Design @ UTS, and deferred. It took me a year or two to work out what I actually wanted to do, and I ended up at University of Newcastle doing a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Journalism. I dabbled in drama, PR and Visual Communication classes too. I was offered an entry level gig at InStyle magazine, and left my degree with a couple of subjects to go. It remains in-completed.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
- INTERNING: I interned at RESCU, a PR agency and a magazine, for the entirety of my degree. For most part it was pretty shitty, unfulfilling and a bit pointless, aside from my time at RESCU. Bahar Etiman the founder, and my boss at the time is an incredible, fiercely independent business woman, strategic, and creative. learnt a lot from her, and she is still a mentor today.
- MAGAZINES: I got my first entry level gig at InStyle (thanks to Bahar providing a glowing reference) to then editor Kerrie McCallum, who was also brilliant. I worked my butt off there, met some of my best friends and favourite collaborators in the industry, but the actual work was for most part un inspiring. I learnt a lot about how the industry works, and also huge life lessons about how people operate and how that isn’t always from the same value set as my own. It was invaluable experience, but when progress (in the print business, and my personal career) slowed down, I jumped ship, to MAXMEDIALAB, a luxury full service agency, founded by Lynette Phillips.
- AGENCY: Lynette poached me from mags, and like Bahar, and Kerrie – she’s an OG boss lady, and taught me a tonne. I basically ended up heading up the digital content and beauty PR there, working in a multi-faceted away across most pillars of the business. And this is where I actually learnt business, sales, pitching, and that a creative skill set can be monetized.
- TOMBOY: From there, I left MML to start TOMBOY Beauty and sister consultancy, TB Consulting. I run the site and now digital magazine,, work on campaigns and creatives for fashion and beauty brands, produce events, cast, and I am the talent manager for one of the world’s pioneer fashion influencers.
What is the hardest part of your role at TOMBOY Beauty and TB Consulting?
I’m not really in the business of self-promotion. I have always subscribed to the under promise, over deliver paradigm, which isn’t exactly helpful when everyone else is really good at talking about themselves and what they’re up to. I sometimes wonder if people think TOMBOY is just a nice little blog, which I know is true, because people often ask me” is that all you’re working on”. I am working on feeling more comfortable talking about the great work my team does, and what we’re actually up to. But, It’s a work in progress.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you?
The ol’ cliché that no two days are ever the same applies here, sorry. But I can tell you what today looked like:
- I woke up late at 8am, I am usually a 6:00am riser but I just got back to LA and they’re three hours behind, so my sleep is off. I showered, did my skincare, skateboarded to my local coffee shop (it’s my new hobby), ordered an Americano with a dash of oat milk, and replied to my urgent emails, wrote my to-do list, and scrolled insta from my phone.
- I then skated to the “office” not my actual office, but the satellite one I use when I have meeting in Soho. Worked through the rest of my emails, had two WIP calls with content clients, before a lunch meeting with for a prospective client for the talent I manage.
- Next I interviewed Bree Warren an Aussie model who was about to go for a surf in Noosa where she calls home, and felt a pang of jealousy while I transcribed her interview.
- I then touched base quickly with Ella (who mans the TOMBOY Beauty ship in Sydney – and we updated each other on action points on the projects we’re working on for both TOMBOY Beauty and TOMBOY Consulting).
- Next I headed to The Bowery Hotel to shoot Teresa Palmer X CHANEL Beauty, with my room mate and collaborator, photographer Zanita Whittngton. This was the highlight of my day, pinch me moment to be given the opportunity to feature Teresa in partnership with one of the most respected brands in the world. But also, because watching Zanita operate the way she does is nothing short of inspiring. She’s an incredible talent, and often under-rated because she shares the same reservations around self-promotion as I do. You can see the shoot on www.tomboybeauty.com.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
I am not one for putting celebs on a pedestal and look to my inner circle for inspiration. I have a deep respect for my parents, the way they navigate the world, and brought me up with unconditional love and support, despite the many trials we faced as a family.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
I’d tell them to go against the grain. Work hard. Be kind it’s way cooler than being cool.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: TOMBOY Beauty (because I have to say that) SIDE-NOTE (particularly their film work and photo dairies), New York Times (for news, politics etc), Man Repeller (for the community and the intellectualisation of fashion).
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: I love @c_l_o for visual inspiration, @cubicle for innovation, @lukeshadbolt for his insane fine art photography (he is also a close friend), @GARYPEPPERGIRL (because she pioneered the thing).
- Favourite Podcast: OFFLINE by Alison Rice.
- Favourite Netflix Series: The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and Good Girls Revolt.
- Favourite all time book/s: I like reading Patti Smith’s books.
- People: I am really inspired by Alyce Tran (founder and director at The Daily Edited), she’s created a very successful business using social media, without her at the forefront. Karla and Emma @ SIDE NOTE for having a strong vision, my team: Ella Jane and Matilda Dods, they’re both 10 years younger than me – but teach me a lot.