Deskside With: Nelina Loiselle, Editor of The Scout Guide Hunt Country
Nelina Loiselle on location at an editor shoot. Alpaca courtesy of Mary’s Alpacas. Photography by Victoria Heer. Styling by Manuel Simpson. Wardrobe styling by Johanna Sfreddo. Jewelry from the Vintage Fox.
Born in Washington, D.C and raised in Fairfield, Iowa, Nelina Loiselle grew up riding horses, and became obsessed with magazines at an early age—a perfect combination for the future editor of The Scout Guide Hunt Country. When it came time to relocate the sustainable design firm she co-founded with her husband to the east coast, she made certain they landed in Virginia’s horse country. With a background in design, marketing, and social media, becoming editor of TSG Hunt Country was a natural fit. As editor, she loves promoting all things local and sharing in the delight of those discovering her area for the first time. The spirited editor, architecture buff, and horse fanatic is thrilled to launch her milestone 10th volume of The Scout Guide Hunt Country in late fall 2022.
Nelina and her husband, Vincent, with their dogs Rico, Charlie, and Wexley. Photography by Shawna Simmons Whitty.
TSG: Tell us about your background.
NL: I went to Georgetown University, with a major in communications and marketing, and I have a background in design, marketing, and social media working with entrepreneurs. In 2017, fresh out of college, I co-founded a sustainability company in the commercial architecture space with my husband. It’s now grown to 14 employees and we work on over 100 projects at a time, including the new flagship store for Kiehl’s in New York City. Although work with The Scout Guide takes up most of my time, I still oversee the marketing and creative side of the business, as well as having a hand in overall business strategy.
TSG: How did you discover The Scout Guide?
NL: When my husband and I decided to relocate our company to the east coast, I was clear on the fact that I wanted to be in Virginia’s hunt country. Having access to horses was a big priority to me and I ended up attending grad school at Georgetown so it was a perfect fit. The Hunt Country Scout Guide launched shortly after I moved to the area, and I remember picking up the first guide at Tri-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds in Marshall, Virginia. It was love at first sight! Being a long-time magazine aficionado, I was first attracted to the quality of the book—from the way it felt in my hand to the stunning photography of all the business owners. I especially loved that people kept their guides for years, stacked on coffee tables and displayed on bookshelves, as opposed to throwing them in the recycling bin.
Nelina with TSG Alexandria editor Sarah Phillips and former TSG Washington, D.C. editor Autumn Allen out scouting in Alexandria, Virginia. Photography by Sarah Marcella.
Soon after I arrived in the area, I became connected with the editor of TSG Hunt Country, who was seeking help with her social media. As her social media director, I intimately got to know not only her clients, but how the business worked. With my background in marketing, and my own experience owning and running a small business for ten years, when she was ready to sell her business, it was a natural next step.
Taking over an established guide, where I already knew the market and clients, helped the transition. Thanks to the talented previous editor, I had a beautiful book to sell from, but knew I would have to grow the book to make it a sound business.
An outtake from TSG Hunt Country’s Vol. 8 editor shoot. Photography by Victoria Heer, styling by Manuel Simpson, wardrobe styling by Johanna Sfreddo.
I was most excited to jump into the creative director aspect of the job, and overseeing photo shoots. Being involved in that entire process was my driving impetus for becoming an editor. It’s such a fun and rewarding part of the job to partner with TSG members and come up with a concept behind the shoot, pull together the creative talent, and bring the vision to life. But I was most surprised to find how much I really liked sales. I have a super competitive streak, so after I got the swing of sales in my first year, that quickly became one of my favorite parts of the job.
Personally, over the course of my tenure as editor, I’ve learned not to take anything personally. I’m still working on it, but I’ve definitely grown a thicker skin. Not everyone will see eye to eye on the creative or even do business in the same way as I do, but that’s okay. I’ve learned to be more collaborative and flexible, but also when to say “no.”
Nelina with clients at TSG Hunt Country’s Vol. 7 launch party. Photography by Victoria Heer.
TSG: What is a typical day like for you?
NL: As every editor will share, every day is different, which is one of the big appeals of this job. Today is Monday, so I worked through my emails, including some party planning details with a client who we are co-hosting an event with. Then, I collaborated with our graphic design team at HQ in Charlottesville to create our invite design, had a phone call with my editorial and social media team to review our content calendar and upcoming articles, edited this week’s blog post, connected one TSG client with another (to possibly do businesses together, exciting!), worked on production planning for an upcoming photo shoot, and posted a few Instagram stories of a shop tour we filmed on Friday. All in a day’s work!
Nelina with her husband, Vincent, outside the Inn at Little Washington after a day of filming with client Leo Anzoleaga.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about your work/life balance.
NL: I am a work hard/play hard type. I’ll work like crazy for a stretch, then take time off and go somewhere. I try to cut my screen time off by 5 or 6 p.m., because I sleep better if I do. I also try to make time to ride and exercise before or after work. I’m getting better at not working on the weekends, but if I find myself out and about at a cute new shop or restaurant, I can’t help but make a Instagram story about it.
TSG: How do you enjoy downtime?
NL: Well, I obviously love horses, so riding dressage with my Connemara pony, Mikey, is one of my favorite ways to spend my time. I also enjoy cooking, yoga, meditation, and architecture. I love all magazines, and regularly have a stack of Garden & Gun, Horse & Style, Town & Country, The World of Interiors, Bon Appetit, and Calling All Horse Girls that I make my way through.
Nelina enjoying a Hunt Country sunrise with a friend’s horse, Cowboy.
TSG: What do you love most about your area?
NL: With the holiday season upon us, I’m most excited about Christmas in Middleburg! We are planning a party with our member McEnearney Associates for all our TSG members and friends to view the parade. It’s always a spectacular event that draws nearly 10,000 to our tiny town! But year round, I really enjoy the open spaces and scenic country roads, the finest shopping, dining, and events (which is rare in rural areas), and horses, of course! Living in the nation’s horse capital is a dream come true.
THE HIT LIST: NELINA’S FAVORITES
Music genre: I love any live music, but especially indie pop, classical, and jazz
Meal or cuisine: Are desserts a meal? I love Mediterranean food and anything cheese, chocolate, and bread. The essentials!
Drink: I’m a huge tea drinker (loose leaf or bust). I also enjoy fine wine, and vermouth (plain on the rocks).
Book: I recently read Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl, former Gourmet magazine editor-in-chief, and it was amazing. I related as a foodie and editor!
Movie: Pride and Prejudice is a classic I could watch it a zillion times.
TV series: Downton Abbey, Yellowstone, Call My Agent, The Crown, and Emily in Paris (I know, but it’s so fun!)
Vacation spot: We always go to Prince Edward Island in the summers (it’s a magical place), but I love a good Palm Beach trip in the winter. And Sardinia is my all-time favorite place I’ve been.
Accessory: Sunglasses. I never leave the house without them!
Item of clothing: Boots. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an equestrian, but I never feel like I have enough boots! Riding boots, rain boots, winter boots, dress boots, combat boots…you get the idea.
Assistant editor Rico in the office.
Time of day: Dinner time, when the work of the day is done and it’s time to relax with good food and family.
Most treasured possession: The vintage Hermes watch my husband gave me for the holidays a few years ago.
Real life heroes: Artists. They create things we have never seen before, make us think and feel, and definitely are not in it for the money.
To learn more about Nelina and The Scout Guide in her area, follow The Scout Guide Hunt Country on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Hunt Country website. Learn more about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.