Daniela Boutsen is a born business woman. From her first business in Berlin as a young woman, every company she has started has quickly risen to the top of its field. But her true passion is art, which she channels into the fine craftsmanship and details of high-end interiors. Daniela has an incredible relationship with her Formula One champion husband, Thierry. Together they started Boutsen Aviation, now celebrating 20 years. Her latest business, Boutsen Design, was a “natural” spin off of Boutsen Aviation, creating the perfect union of all her talents. In only a few years, Boutsen Design has become the premier interior design firm for private jets, yachts and high-rise prope rties. She has decorated ten Airbus and Boeing private jets, including those of several heads of state from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia. Her elegant demeanour and authentic personality shine through in everything she does. We were lucky enough to speak with Daniela to learn about what motivates her, how she finds solutions to problems, and why she strives for harmony in her family and business.
HelloMonaco: What inspired you to start this company?
HM: Working with your partner can sometimes be difficult. Do you have any rules to separate business from personal life?
DB: Well, I think we have a very special relationship. It is based on love but also very much based on respect. And I think respect is a keyword in our relationship, because you have to respect your business life together, but also you have to respect your private life together. It all comes naturally; we want to switch over to our private life once we are home. We don’t have any rules, but we had to learn. When we
started our business, there was not the kind of communication there is today. So when we were at home there was more peace and privacy. But today, everything is connected and you have to reply immediately, so we had to learn over the years to adapt our lifestyle and be more disciplined and cut-off once we are at home.
HM: Would you say that you are a happy woman?
DB: I am a very happy woman.
HM: How do you find happiness?
DB: Happiness is different for everyone. I started with my husband 23 years ago and everyone knows that people can change and take different directions. In our case, we still want the same things and
we are developing together. We are always taking care of each other and we continue to develop confidence together. For me, that is happiness. And one day, we will be sitting like a very old couple, on a
bench outside looking back on a very happy life together.
HM: Is harmony important for you?
DB: Harmony is a very often-used word, but for me, it is a key word. Harmony means balance and I am extremely harmony oriented. I think this is my strong point. I’m always focused on everything going very
smoothly because I need to have inner balance through harmony. So when I am with my family, it is very important for me that it is going smoothly and harmoniously. But also in business: I always make sure there is harmony in my company. I have 15 people working for Boutsen Design and harmony is extremely important. Working in a competitive world, with different nationalities, characters, and
personalities, and being in a small space together, it can sometimes be a little bit challenging to find harmony. But I always ask if everything is fine, if someone is in trouble, if they need some help or advice. I think harmony within the company is important, and harmony with the outside, with yourself, with the universe, and for sure with your family.
HM: How do you overcome obstacles?
DB: When I’m facing a complicated situation, I like to go walking. I need to connect with nature. Or I have to do garden work. For me, it’s important to find solutions. Thierry likes to go on his bike for two to
three hours, and then he comes back and he has found a solution. But normally I go hiking. I need to isolate myself, take some time out and listen to the birds and nature. Then slowly, but surely, the correct answers come. And then it’s very important to go back with Thierry and speak with him to get his opinion. I don’t always need his confirmation, but he is very good and precise in his advice. It’s very valuable.
HM: What is success for you?
DB: Everyone can define success differently. For me, success is the final client, sitting in his private jet, or enjoying an evening on his yacht and sending me an SMS saying it’s absolutely great, what you did.
HM: What value does money have for you?
DB: Money doesn’t bring happiness; money brings security and stability. And you have to use it right. For sure, we are looking to make money, but it’s not a guarantee to be happy. I’ve seen so many people having so much money and not being happy. I’ve seen so many poor people having no money at all but being very happy. But then you also see people having a lot of money and being happy. So I think the goal is finding financial security to afford anything you would like to have, but not to forget to enjoy the simple things in life.
HM: Do you think love is an important criterion for happiness?
DB: I think love is one of the fundamental feelings in your life. And for love, there are so many different definitions, but you need love in your life and you need to be able to give love. I also think that giving love makes you happier and gives a lot of positive energy to you and your community.
HM: Have you had any moments that completely changed your life?
DB: I meet so many interesting people due to my job that I would say it changes slightly on a daily basis. It opens up my mind so much, so there aren’t specific moments, but being in the position to meet
some heads of state, or some people who achieved great things in their life, you are always learning something from these people. So it’s changing on a constant basis. A major incident was an accident with Thierry that completely changed our lives. It was extremely dramatic, but looking back on it now, I understand that when something appears to be extremely negative, you can always learn something positive from it.
HM: Is there a historical or contemporary person you would like to meet?
HM: What do you think of our project?
DB: I like that the questions are a little bit different from what we are asked normally. I like the format of doing it in Monaco. I think there are some great people living in Monaco, with great experiences. It’s
interesting to hear more from their personal perspective. So this makes us able to learn from each other.
See the full version of the interview go here.