Shannon McLinden launched FarmHouse Fresh in 2005 with a “green” mentality that is still echoed today. The farm grows crops for use in its products and uses sustainable and organic farming techniques, which means no pesticides are used and the farm is conscientious about water usage. McLinden is committed to using fresh, natural ingredients and shared some unique highlights about FarmHouse Fresh.
Gift Shop: What was the inspiration which launched FarmHouse Fresh and what is your “wow” factor?
Shannon McLinden: We’re a southern brand growing and crafting high nutrition natural skincare from our hilltop ranch. Using hydroponics, aquaponics and organics, we bring freshly harvested extracts to a charming assortment of bath, body and skincare products that are so deliciously scented, it’s often said they smell good enough to eat. What makes our line really special is that every purchase helps neglected farm animals. Our headquarters is ALSO a farm animal sanctuary where I and my fellow employees care for animals that have been saved from slaughter and mistreatment. Customers get to follow the animals’ journeys, that they helped rescue with their product purchases, through our printed FarmHouse Fresh Farmanac.
GS: How many employees do you currently have?
SM: About 40, but we choose to outsource certain aspects of our business, so the actual team from planting to distribution and sanctuary operations is well over 100
GS: How many products did you offer when you started the business, and how many do you carry today?
SM: I started with a trio of foot scrubs — Sweet Cream, Whipped Honey and Early Apple — that were on Oprah’s O-List, and today we have nearly 200 bath, body, skincare products and candles.
GS: What is unique about your product offerings?
SM: Crack open a jar! From first waft, our deliciously scented, natural and certified organic products sweep you in to love at first sight. They’re freshly batched using local farm ingredients, and are charmingly packaged.
We are a spa treatment line, which means our collection has been tested by our internal estheticians, massage therapists and spa guests. Our fresh ingredients and formulas have an immediate effect on skin and everything is made in the U.S.A., with many ingredients grown ourselves, or sourced through local farm families.
GS: What types of bath and body products do you offer and do you have any seasonal or limited edition items?
SM: Rich moisturizers for hands and body, body washes and oils, triple-milled and hand poured soaps, lip balms and polishes, face masks and polishes, serums and cleansers, and coconut and apricot wax clean-burning candles.
We offer limited edition gourmet milk bar soaps made with 100% U.S. grown ingredients. They’re in the shape of cheese wedges and sold on a custom branded cheese board.
GS: What are your best-sellers?
SM: Our best sellers include rich shea butters for hands and body; whipped “Moon Dip” body mousses; food-based face masks; triple-milled shea butter bar soaps that froth up so thick you can shave with them; lip polishes with juicy local farm ingredients like Blackberry-Wine; Farm Basket gift sets with a sampling of favorites; and a hemp collection with CBD.
GS: Are there any ideas you’ve had for items that just didn’t work as you expected?
SM: We developed some incredible Facial Buffing Biscuits, which were small, 100% natural “cookies” that would crumble in your hand, and with a little water, would become an oatmeal-like exfoliating mask. They were selected by NewBeauty Magazine as their “New favorite thing” the year they launched! But because so many customers wanted them to travel, we ended up repackaging the mixes as powders that pour from a bag. They were beautiful, functional biscuits, but if our customers request a change, we listen!
GS: Are there current trends in the industry which impact products you sell?
SM: Integrity behind the ingredients and brand. In skincare today, it’s not enough to sell a basic lotion with no thought behind the craftsmanship.
Consumers are savvy — they look behind the brand and want to know that the brand is making sustainable, healthy choices. This means we grow our own potent ingredient extracts and source locally many of the ingredients we don’t grow ourselves. Fresh is local, and local is sustainable, by reducing transport emissions. Each product is nearly 100% naturally derived. We have a zero waste process with our cucumber extract used in all our moisturizers. Vegan products are increasingly popular. We offer a huge assortment of vegan options.
But we go even farther, taking profits from all our products and participating in “cruelty saves.” We rescue, care for, and rehabilitate farm animals and we help fund other rescues who do the same. It’s an incredible honor to be part of giving back precious lives to such deserving animals.
GS: What are your goals for future business growth or offerings?
SM: We are expanding our growing operations and adding additional heirloom varieties, focusing on vitamin content and clinical testing. High nutrition skincare is about to get a new wave of never-enjoyed-before fruits and veggies. We can’t wait to serve it to our customers!