Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brown Barn Oil Infusions

Infused shampoo, infused oil, herbal infusions, botanical infusions, gem name it and lately it seems to be on market shelves. We know its good for us but what is it? Why do we want it?

What is "Infused"? Infused means that plant material or some other component has has been instilled into a base oil, water or other liquid. Think of it like making tea, you infuse the flavor and antioxidants present in the tea into water which you drink. It's that simple. Brown Barn makes botanically infused oil using plant material. We also have made limited edition lotions with Gem Infusions such as Turqouise and Citrine. (You will see a whole new line of this in the future at Brown Barn!)

Why Infuse? Each plant has special characteristics. We love the qualities that can be added to Brown Barn products by using the infusion method. Some plants, such as Raspberry Leaves, are full of Polypeptides and Flavonoids to help fight aging while others, such as Calendula and Chamomile, soothe irritated skin. By infusing our oils with these natural skin enhancing plants we are able to bring a wide variety of qualities to our products without the use of chemicals.

Why not just use Essential Oils? Aren't they the same thing? Essential oils are much stronger and more highly concentrated than infusions. They are wonderful too and Brown Barn uses them freely in conjunction with their infusions. Think of the difference between Essential Oils and Infusions as the difference between a really strong cup of coffee (the Essential Oil) and a weak cup of tea (the infusion). Essentials oils are made using a different type of process, they are distilled thru a process that often uses expression, steam, or solvents to pull the oil from the plant. It takes far more plant material to make essential oil than to infuse. For example it takes about 150 pounds of Lavender plant to produce 1 pound of Lavender essential oil! When deciding between using an Essential Oil or Infusion we think about how much of the quality we are seeking is needed, for example we use Lavender primarily as an Essential Oil because we want to take advantage of the aromatherapy benefits Lavender brings with it as well as the physical skin enhancing traits of Lavender.

We love the gentle nature of infusion, the smaller footprint made on the environment and the fact that we can perform the infusion ourselves in our own labs. We love that we can actually grow and trace down that exact cultivar of Calendula that will bring the perfect color or attribute to our product. By growing the plants themselves or harvesting them from our own plots we can trace their origins - we know what storms that plant struggled thru, how old it is, what day of the year it was harvested. Why, we can even sing to it to help it grow if we want to! 

By infusing our own oils we can also bring uinque plant materials to our products that are not readily available thru distributors. For example this year we launched Brown Burl wildcrafted products which use materials we harvest ourselves from the forest. Essential oils can drive the price of your products up very quickly with little real difference in outcome between using essential oil or infusion. Also, because essential oils are so strong we can sometimes be limited in how much essential oil is used in a product where infusions can be countless because of the type of process we use. 

How is it done? There are several methods Brown Barn uses to infuse their oils. One is to simply place fresh or dried plant material into a container and pour oil or another base on top, mix and allow this mixture to sit for a length of time. Another is to warm the oil/plant mixture over very low heat or by solar heat for many hours until we are confident the plant has released its properties into the oil. We typically choose oils that have already been selected to be included in the formula such as apricot kernel oil or soy oil. 

Do I have to use Infused Oil in another product? Can I just use the oil straight on my skin? Yes! You can use infused oil straight on your skin! It's so gentle it actually makes a fabulous body oil. You can purchase infused Calendula, Chamomile or Lemon Balm Oil from Brown Barn. You can use this oil as either a massage oil, body oil, bath oil or a product booster. For example, just put a bit of it in your hand, add your favorite lotion and mix together and you have boosted your lotion! Even though we refer to these oils as "unscented" they do carry a very light natural plant scent brought to the oil by the plant material infusion process.

Who can Infuse? Anyone can infuse. There is no FDA regulation on infusing products. However, you should seek reputable formulators when purchasing any body product. Unfortunately, due to lack of FDA regulation and enforcement of the rules they do have, there has recently been a surge of people claiming to be "home" formulators and making bath products that they have learned to make from shared You-Tube videos or other questionable resources. We are not against new people entering the marketplace and encourage all new ventures, afterall, we started out on a farm and in our greenhouse! However Brown Barn has a history of generations of women who have passed down their plant knowledge and infusion methods to us, with myself learning at their knee. Our formulator (and my daughter, Alyssa Untiedt) is a certified Aromatherapist and holds a University degree in Biology, we are members of the Cosmetic Chemists Society and National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and are experienced researchers. We research...all the time, everything. We have created our own databases of plant knowledge that we apply to our formulas. Our formulas are tested and are constantly being revised for improvement. And we utilize sound manufacturing practices in our production labs to ensure our customers are receiving healthy products.

What is the future for Infusions at Brown Barn? We began expanding our infusion practices this year and are planning a much larger expansion in 2014. This year we began adding our infusions to our formulas and educating customers about infused oils, we launched Brown Burl wildcrafted products, which use plant materials we harvest and infuse from our private farm and woodlands. Unique plants such as Birch, Pine and Violets are used in these products. We also launched a small selection of Artisanal Infused Oil for our customers to purchase. Lastly, we launched our all natural Skincare line which uses infused oils and astringents. This line represents our techniques used to full advantage and has been proving itself effective over and over.

In 2014 we will expand to utilizing our own greenhouses to grow the majority of the plant material we use in our infusions (right now we use a combination of our plants and those purchased from reputable dealers). Brown Barn customers will enjoy an expansion of the infusions in their products - making Brown Barn's already unique and fabulous formulations even better! 

We hope to have both of our labs and our greenhouse USDA Certified as Organic Processing Facilities by the end of the year. We will be revising and expanding our line of Artisanal Infused Oils to accomodate a higher demand for non-GMO base oils. And we will also be addressing this same issue in all of our Brown Barn products. We will be adding more Solar infused oils by using our glass greenhouse as a processing facility, allowing the oil to heat and soak in warm sunshine as part of the process.

Lastly - and I think most exciting - we will begin using our infused oils in Bar Soap production. When Brown Barn opened its first store, we made all of our own Bar Soap in our lab however we grew so fast and all of our products were so popular we found we had to find help from another fine handmade soaper to keep up. While we continued to produce our own Shampoo Bars and Molded Soaps, we distributed the bar soap. This also allowed us to concentrate on our higher end formulations such as lotions and facial products. While this soap is fantastic we want to bring our own formulation to the table as well. We will continue to sell our distributed line (because our customers love it so much!) but will be adding to this line our own bars to choose from. Now we are almost done opening a second lab, located on our little farm, dedicated to making bar soap. This soap will utilize our infused oils and other plant materials, with the goal of bringing a truly luxurious and therapeutic level to our bar soaps.

We look forward to sharing more Infusion Information with you as we add new infusions and products in the coming year!

Christine Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Birth of a Product - From Idea to Market

"Do you have This?", "Why don't you have That?", "You know, you really should carry These". We hear this all the time at Brown Barn. Bringing new products to Brown Barn market is a long and complex task, requiring a series of steps to ensure that products meet Brown Barn standards.

1. An idea is born. Typically, Brown Barn product ideas come from a hole in the line or one of those conversations that go like "You would be really cool if we.....".  Ideas come from customers, our own imaginations and things we see on the market that we know we can improve on or need.

2. The idea is reviewed. Alyssa (my daughter and business partner) and I meet regularly to plan production and the introduction of new items. We seem to have a never ending list of needs in the research and development area of our company. Currently we are preparing to launch our new facial line this week. Yesterday we introduced a great new foot polish. By October 1st we hope to launch the Brown Burl's wild-crafted bath and body line along with the new Honest Balance on-line magazine (a much better blog and fun articles with recipes and other great info). After that its Christmas planning and then we will be working on a Mommy & Me line as well as a Men's line. No wonder we are often tired!

3. Development. If we decide the idea is a good one the next step is to decide if we are ready and have the ability to develop the idea into a product. This is mostly a conversation between ourselves with a realistic look at where we are and where we are headed.  New items need to pass the following questions: Is it something we have a need for? Is it something we are interested in? Is the item something our customers would like/buy? Can we make it for a price that is reasonable? Is the product able to be made using all (or nearly) natural ingredients? Does it fit Brown Barn's line? Is this an "emergency" item that is needed right now or can it wait until some other things are finished first? 

4. Formulation. Alyssa generally takes the lead in the product formulation. She draws on her wide background and education to develop a formula for us to try. Often formulation requires research on-line or a call to a teacher or expert. I then look over the formula Alyssa develops in order to add input in terms of ingredients. For example if her formula calls for soy oil, I might suggest we use one of our new infused oils instead so as to add depth to the product and that Brown Barn personal touch. We also discuss fragrance and whether this item will be in our signature line or all natural line. 

Alyssa working at the computer at the packaging station. The most important part of the product development happens while formulating at the computer.

5. Production. Once the formula is finalized it is sent off to the Brown Barn lab where Chas makes a "test" of it. Chas has become a fabulous soaper in her own right and we are so happy to have her as part of the Brown Barn family. 
Chas is blending up something yummy!

6. We then "live" with our new product for awhile. This will include everything from watching for separation to testing for mold. Trying it out on ourselves, family, friends, innocent by-standers to get input and check for skin reactions. We may have to go back to the drawing board several times during this phase (driving Chas crazy!) while we tweak the formula or change ingredients. Our new foot polish was reformulated several times as it started out too hard and then went through a switch out of ingredients followed by a suggestion to add blue jojoba beads for fun and color. We find the more time we take in this phase the better the product.

7. Ingredients are Sourced. During the development phase we use small amounts of ingredients that we either have on-hand or order in. Before we can enter production we must source our ingredients to ensure they meet Brown Barn's high standards. Ingredients must pass a list of questions including - Is the supplier reputable? Can we find the ingredient grown/sourced in the USA? If not, where does it come from? Can the ingredient come from a renewable resource? Is the price of the ingredient reasonable or will it drive our final price too high? Is this an ingredient that will be in steady supply? Sometimes we find that we have to go back to re-formulation because we cannot source our desired ingredients reasonably or consistently. Once ingredients begin to arrive we check them carefully to ensure they meet our standards for quality, color and scent.

8. Containers are selected. What color and size of jar or bottle will the product be sold in?

9. Production. FINALLY...we enter production. Brown Barn typically moves to production with a small "starter order" for its Outlet Store.  Chas is called in again to produce the final products. Depending on the product she might get to use new tools or larger equipment, such as our bottle filler.

Chas fills a bottle using our bottle filler.

10. Labeling. Once the items are made they are carefully labeled with batch numbers and logs are filled out indicating everything we've done and every detail of the batch. The products are then loaded up and moved from the lab to the Outlet Store where the labels are applied. Store clerks spend their time labeling when they are not busy with customers or filling Internet or Wholesale orders. Brenda has become an old hand at label application!

Brenda carefully applies a label to a lotion bottle. The labeling center was set up so staffers could enjoy a view of the woods while they work.

11. Photography. Kathy takes all of these wonderful product pictures in our Photo Lab which has light boxes and other props. Kathy didn't get a picture for the blog of herself taking pictures of products! Kathy's pictures are used on Facebook and web-sites as well as some of them going into our brochures, emails and sent out to wholesalers for their own marketing.

This is called a "glamour shot" of Lavender Sugar Scrub.

12. Quality Control. Once labeled, the products are moved from the labeling area to the Quality Control rack. The clerk fills out a form indicating their name and which products they labeled in case we encounter problems such as crooked labels or mislabeling. Alyssa then reviews each product carefully to ensure the labeling meets Brown Barn high standards.

13. To Market! Once the product has passed thru QC it is entered into our inventory system and assigned a product number. Some of the products are placed for sale in the Brown Barn Outlet Store while others are put in the warehouse, where they will await sale thru Internet order, shipped out to wholesale or eventually sold in the Outlet Store as inventory is restocked, At this time the products are added to our web-sites and announced on Facebook and in customer emails. 

Bar Soap lined out for sale at the Brown Barn Outlet Store in Holcombe, WI.

14. We Re-evaluate. Brown Barn is constantly evaluating and re-evaluating its product line to determine if a product should stay, be dropped or changed. It is thru this constant reflection that our line has developed. 

And there you have it! The birth of a product! The next time you pick up a Brown Barn product think of all the thought, time and care that has gone into bringing that product to market just for you. 

Have a great Sunday!

Chris Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Artisanal Infused Oils 101

This week Brown Barn launched an all new product line!  Artisanal Infused Herbal Oils. Brown Barn began producing these oils in Spring of 2013. We've been incorporating this rich oil into our bath product formulas for several months now and love it so much we decided to sell it as a direct oil for you to use at home.

We began small with two Soybean oil based products infused in Chamomile for skin relief and Lemon Balm for relaxation. We also included a Calendula infused Olive Oil for those with very sensitive skin. More oils will be introduced regularly over the coming year.

Different from regular body oil, our infused oils are lightly scented to unscented natural oils that have been infused with plant stems leaves and/or flowers selected for the specific benefits each plant brings to your skin. To learn more about the individual oils we've introduced visit our web-site at:

These oils have a number of uses but the one we like the most is as a lotion or product "booster" to your existing favorite bath items. Do you suffer from dry, itchy skin? Try adding a bit of our Chamomile Soy oil to your lotion to boost its effectiveness, making a custom formula from your existing products! The oils are also wonderful as bath and body oil or massage oil.

What makes Brown Barn oils special?

Brown Barn produces its own herbal oils using an age old process of steeping the herb directly into the oil for a period of time and then dispensing the infused oil. We only use plant materials cultivated or wildcrafted (harvested from our own woods) fresh from our Wisconsin farm or sourced from other reliable organic growers. We feel that the more plant material Brown Barn can produce itself the more control we will have over the quality, cultivation, choice of cultivar and growing conditions of these plants. In other words - our good Karma will hopefully pass on thru the plants and into your products!

Why Soybean Oil?

Most of our oils are based in Soybean Oil (we chose Olive Oil to give a very mild alternative for Sensitive Skin). We gave careful consideration to the many types of oils available on the market and chose Soybean oil for its skin-loving qualities as well as the fact that many of our surrounding farm fields grow soybeans. What better way to celebrate our local farm heritage than to utilize a product grown locally?

Benefits of Soybean Oil: 

- Improves overall skin tone
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Effective moisturizing due to its small molecular structure, enabling Soybean oil to easily penetrate skin
- Less irritating to sensitive skin (with Olive Oil providing an even finer alternative for sensitive skin)
- Reduces blotchniess and discoloration by evening out the appearance of skin pigment
- Rich in Vitamin E, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and lecithin
- Soybean oil stimulates the synthesis of collagen, elastin and other proteins
- Soybean oil is a locally grown renewable resource

We are sure the Brown Barn Artisanal oils will find an important place in any skin care routine. You may purchase the oils at our Outlet Store or on-line at Please feel free to contact us for suggestions on how use of these valuable oils can assist your specific skin needs.

Have a great weekend!

Christine Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Running Back Home...The Little Farm

Have you ever thought about running away from home? Just leaving and trying a different lifestyle? I had this gift given to me two years ago when we decided to move forward with The Brown Barn Company retail stores and marketing. At the time I didn't realize that Brown Barn would take me so far from home for so long and it certainly was not my intent, but away it did take me.

I call this time away a gift because I truly did not appreciate my life on the Little Farm before I was called away. I felt I was slowly spinning my wheels, that no matter how hard I worked, I just could not get the Brown Barn brand and products out to enough people fast enough using the Internet alone. I had procrastinated the decision to really jump in with Brown Barn as long as I possibly could but a turning point had occurred, it was either shut it down or ramp it up. I chose to ramp it up and have not regretted one single moment of the time and effort it took to do this.

Most people would not choose to leave their home to "go out in the big world" and spread the message of their business in the manner we did. And I certainly do not recommend it as a choice for everyone - it was the right choice from me though. I needed to throw my hat in the ring and Brown Barn deserved the effort to become a "real" business in the greater market-place. I also knew that the only way the Little Farm would be productive as the Brown Barn Company was for us to establish the Brown Barn business first, then come back to the farm. It seems backwards - but this was the only way we could make things happen. We'd tried other avenues and all had come to dead-ends. So out into the world went the Brown Barn Company, taking a break from the farm.

Now that the Brown Barn Company has taken another turn in its life, going over to primarily Wholesaling and Internet sales, I have suddenly found myself at home again on the Little Farm - back where I started and joyful to be here.

I am loving being home again but this time with a more focused purpose. The farm will be the location of our second lab, where we will be producing bar soap, candles and infusing herbal oils to be sold individually and used in the popular Brown Barn lotions, sugar scrubs and massage bars. I will also be conducting the business portion of the wholesaling, updating the web-sites and more from there. By leaving I was able to learn and come back with a fresh, new purpose for myself, Brown Barn and the Little Farm and will hopefully breathe a new, more focused and productive life into the place and my own world.

Like all home-comings, mine is filled with joy, exclamation and raised eyebrows. When I left to start and supervise the retail stores my yard had been my pride and joy. After running the greenhouse as a business for many years I'd accumulated an expansive variety of perennials and had spread wood mulch around every bed, tree, shrub and building in approximately a five acre area. We'd built a "micro-climate" fenced garden for lavender and roses and had put a few years into dedicated organic herb production. Our small orchard was just beginning to produce fruit and I had neat rows of canned fruit spreads, jams and garnishes on my kitchen shelves. Whole whiskey barrels overflowing with flowers decorated the landscape.

The fenced "micro-climate" garden for Lavender and Roses.
The retail stores had unexpectedly taken up so much of my time so quickly and unexpectedly that I literally was here one day and gone the next, never feeling I could take a moment to come back to the farm. We were left with no choice but to abandon the farm for awhile in favor of pushing the Brown Barn brand name forward with the plan of eventually coming back to the farm and implementing greater production from it. While I was gone the Little Farm became a "work space" for my husband's Wastewater business (for those of you who do not know what this is - it is spreading manure, whey or liquid waste from large manure/waste lagoons pits at the large Wisconsin farms and cheese factories - a dirty but important process for dairy agriculture).

I thought, okay, he's one man, alone in the house and on the farm for awhile, how much damage could he do? Oh Boy!! While my husband did his best, he is uber-focused on his business and business is all he is focused on. The lawns were minimally mowed by hired hands, the greenhouse is now weedy and the house - always in a state of half-renovation is worse than ever. I have so many projects going on right at home I am not even sure where to begin or when I'll be able to leave guilt-free again!

Yesterday I did the first of what will be many "mows" of the large yard, gardens and orchard. I found left to go wild, Mother Nature has made a big step forward in reclaiming the little farm. All of the trees and shrubs are in need of trimming, weeds are rampant - grown into the flower beds so tight I fear giving up and mowing off is the only way to deal with them, "weed trees" have grown up among the shrubs and a "gift" from a neighbor of wild bamboo has invaded the entire front yard. My beloved fenced garden is so tight with grass and weeds I cannot imagine how to even begin to proceed in that area and my lovely whiskey barrels have been used as garbage cans for some of our employees! I also realize I will need to focus more on the business of the Little Farm/Brown Barn than on the decorations (and like most women, I do love to decorate!)

But as bad as things have been let go there are still some beauties fighting their way thru the weeds and the farm is still pretty in its state of wild disrepair. Here are some pics from yesterday's first Spring mow on the Little Farm.
Plum trees in bloom this week.

I watched these Fritallarias grow almost overnight!
Pictures do not do justice to how very large these tulips are, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even without proper mulching and feeding they are happily growing and multiplying right thru the weeds.
Weeds weeds weeds in the background of this "Peony" tulip.

I'm not sure how to approach the weed issue, I might have to actually dig out all of the bulbs and replant.

Lola, our son's Border Collie has come to live on the little farm with us as our son has joined my husband in his business. She's like having a child on the farm again and loves to jump in my garden pond.  
The barn is slowly being re-claimed by Mother Nature - just like all of us!
Today is calling for rain and candle-making is calling my name. I hope your Sunday is productive, lazy and restful all at once. If any readers have suggestions for how to deal with the weeds in my garden please share them...I need every ounce of help I can get!!

~Chris Untiedt, Owner, The Brown Barn Company llc

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Infused Oils

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Brown Barn is so excited to begin production of a new line of herbal oil infusions. These oils will be used in our new All Natural spa product line, in our soap production, a line of Mommy and Me products and sold individually. We have been away from the farm for too long and cannot wait to get back to growing and drying our own herbs and using them in our products.

Rosemary bundles drying in the Brown Barn.

What is an Herbal Oil Infusion?

Herbal oils have been used for a variety of purposes for hundreds of years.  This is a type of oil in which whole dried or fresh herbs have been “soaked” in an oil base for a period of time. This process draws the “power” of the herbs into the oil, creating a fusion.  It’s different than using essential oils, the oil infusion process binds herbs to a “host” oil where essential oils are oils derived entirely from the herb plant. To begin we will primarily use Soybean or Apricot Kernel oil in our infusions.

How are they made?

Brown Barn will use organic herbs that are either purchased from reliable USA growers or organically grow its own herbs in our greenhouse on our Wisconsin farm.  There are several different approaches that can be used in creating an oil infusion but the main process involves allowing herbs to “steep” in oil for a period of time. Once the oil has been infused it must be carefully drained off the plant material, bottled and either sold directly as oil or used in the making of our other products and soaps.

Calendula Flowers Steeping in oil during our trials.
Herb Liners waiting to be potted up in our Greenhouse.

Why is this good to use?

Herbal oil is a rich blend that brings to the body the therapeutic benefits of the chosen oil and herbs. Brown Barn’s goal is to eventually grow all of the herbs used in its oils on its own farm. We believe that each plant is the product of its environment and being able to participate in the growing process including selection of the soil, fertilizer and cultivar will allow us to develop unique and more highly effective formulations.

What will they be used in?

We have been using our own Trauma oil blend in our popular Rejuvenating Lotion Bar for the past year to great success.  It was the many customer testimonials about the powerful effects of this bar that have resulted in our researching this process further and taking it to the next level. Our new All Natural Spa line uses infused oil in several of its products. This line will be introduced soon. We also plan to incorporate the oil into our soap bars and into a line of Mommy and Me products coming soon.  The oils will also be sold individually for use as a massage oil, bath oil or body oil. 

We will soon be posting these new items on our web-site as they become available.  We hope you try them out and let us know what you think!

Have a wonderful week.  On Monday we will be launching our Mother's Day gift boxes!

Chris Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Saturday, April 6, 2013


"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

- Winston Churchill

If Winston Churchill is correct in this quote then The Brown Barn Company has to be nearly perfect. 

Since opening our flagship store in Holcombe, Wisconsin in the summer of 2011, Brown Barn has undergone nothing short of a metamorphosis as it grew from a home-made, hand-made company into its more professional and larger shoes. This has been a journey of ups and downs, successes and disappointments, gain and loss.  I cannot count how many formulations, employee names, label designs, product scents, marketing ideas and renditions of the Brown Barn have passed across my desk this year. 

When Alyssa (my business partner and daughter) and I sat down to sketch our initial vision for the company we had specific goals in mind.  We wanted to be eco-friendly, to offer a safe haven for our customers, offer a safe and uniquely fabulous product line, and to provide a calm and relaxing workplace for ourselves and employees. We wanted to make a difference, to educate, to share ideas.  We wanted to develop a company that would allow us to grow as individuals and would positively enhance our lives, the lives of those around us and those of our customers.  We wanted to contribute at home, in our community and to the world.

We opted to start out with our own retail stores.  One thing we did not realize in starting retail stores was how very demanding they are as a whole.  Even our quietest location requires constant vigilance to maintain the required cleanliness and “look” that Brown Barn demands.  Add to that the hustle and bustle of employees and customer sales and a store becomes all-consuming in and of itself, leaving little time for important product research and development.

In running the stores we realized we have been pulled far from our first love and the very reason we started this company – making great bath and body products.  After a lot of reflection and analysis we have come to the conclusion that the only effective way for us to build the life we want, not only for ourselves but for our company, employees and products is to downsize our retail stores and devote ourselves fully to product development, Internet/web-site sales, national marketing and wholesaling.

In this way we will be able to bring forward better and more interesting product lines; introduce Brown Barn to many more locations faster and we’ll be able to reach the goals we cherish – supporting ecology, providing funding donations to causes we believe in and bringing nature to customers through our products.

The challenge now is how do we accomplish our hefty goals when we are so busy with the daily running of retail stores?  How do we survive as a business without this growth?  How do we accomplish these goals without the cash flow of retail stores?

After much reflection we came to the following conclusions:

-  We must ramp back the company in order to apply what we learned, make needed changes and grow our future.

- We must make changes that will allow us to move to the next level in terms of product sophistication, offerings and marketing.

- Our mental and physical health must be of high importance in order to allow us to focus and accomplish these goals. We must form a business environment that allows room for us to nurture ourselves so that we may give to others.

- We want to bring the Brown Barn and Honest Balance product lines to people everywhere, not just in a few select places.  The Internet and Wholesaling is the most efficient way to do this.  We need to focus our energies on developing these areas.

- The Retail Stores are drawing all of our energies and focus far from our ideals and company goals.  While we absolutely LOVE chatting with our customers, seeing their lovely faces and spending time in our adorable stores, the stores have actually become a weight on the company, distracting us from our goals.  (A lovely distraction, but a distraction all the same.) 

- In order to provide much needed time for development we need to close our Steamboat Springs, Colorado store but we will always continue to have our “outlet” store at our “home” location in Holcombe, Wisconsin.

- So our customers will be able to purchase Brown Barn products closer to home, we will work to develop wholesale relationships in areas throughout the United States.

- Because education is so important to our vision, this year our customers will be able to enjoy a much larger and user friendly web-site with more information available.  More time will be spent sharing information with our customers thru our blogs, e-mail and social media.

- We value our farming heritage and feel we can only provide the very best products if we grow them ourselves.  An additional lab will be added to Brown Barn at our “farm”.  Brown Barn will be back to growing its own herbs and making oil infusions which in turn will be added to our products, making uniquely beneficial formulas that can only be found in Brown Barn products.

We understand that some of you are accustomed to shopping at our stores and will not be happy that your store has been closed. We hope you understand that growth and change is necessary to us as a business.  We thank you for trying us out, your input has been invaluable to us.  We consider every customer a unique part of Brown Barn and hope you will continue to visit our web-site and blogs.

Thank you for cheering us on and giving us the courage to continue to grow!

Christine Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shea Butter Basics

Shea Butter is used in a variety of Brown Barn products and products made using Shea butter are often requested by our customers. But what is Shea Butter and why is it so popular?

What is it?

Shea Butter is made from the fat of the nut of the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa).  Shea Butter is noted in ingredient lists by its botanical name: Butyrospermum Parkii. This is a great example of not following the adage of “only use body products whose names you can pronounce”. This is definitely one product you want to use!

Why is it good to use?

The traditional use of the butter is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and stretch marks, and to ease a variety of skin irritations, such as psoriasis, eczema and sunburn. Shea butter possesses several fatty acids and plant sterols, namely oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that allow it to produce these amazing results.

Antioxidant Content

Shea butter contains vitamins A and E, as well as catechins, plant antioxidants also found in green tea. While it is unclear how well vitamins A and E in raw Shea butter are absorbed, there is evidence to suggest that cinnamic acid esters in Shea fat help to prevent skin damage from ultraviolet radiation.

Other Uses

Shea butter softens and conditions leather and wood, so musicians use it to improve the flexibility of leather tuning straps, and the pitch and timbre of animal skin drums and other percussion instruments. Africans use Shea butter in cooking. In other parts of the world, manufacturers add Shea butter to margarine.


If you have a known allergy to other tree nuts, you may experience a reaction to Shea butter. Consult your physician or allergist before using this product, if this is the case.

Brown Barn Products using Shea Butter:

· Shea and Aloe body crème

· Super Shea bar soap

· Selected other bar soap

· Lip Balms

· Sugar Scrub

· Massage Bars

· Selected Facial Items

For a complete list go to our web-site at and “search” the word Shea. 

What's coming using Shea Butter? For Spring: Whipped Shea Butter body butters with added botanical extracts.

Have a great weekend!  

Christine Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sugar Scrubs 101

Our Brown Barn Sugar Scrubs have become one of our most popular selling items.  Winter or Summer, these scrubs help dry skin become fresh and new again but did you know there are a host of other benefits gained when using a Sugar Scrub?

  • Sugar scrubs are user-friendly for all skin types because they leave no side effects in their wake. 
  • They work wonders in preventing skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis because they hydrate skin so effectively.
  • Sugar scrubs are a great way to fight cellulite in the body.
  • Sugar scrubs can be used on your face are used not only for skin exfoliation, but also for cleansing and massaging it. The advantage of which is that they do not clog the pores and are easily absorbed into the skin. Using a sugar scrub on the face will leave it smooth and healthy and will prevent the onset of acne.We recommend using the Brown Barn sugar scrubs that contain essential oils rather than fragrance oil for facial applications.
  • They are packed with the goodness of alpha-hydroxy which is essential for glowing skin.
  • Repeated use of sugar scrubs will help one to have healthier, glowing, uniformly textured and colored skin.
  • They are a much better choice than salt scrubs because they aren't as harsh as salt scrubs and are much smoother than them.
  • Sugar scrubs can be used by children without any side effects.
  • Sugar scrub can be used to circulate and stimulate the lymph nodes. Always apply in circular motions from fingers and toes toward the heart to stimulate circulation.
  • Everyday use will also help to formulate a protective layer for the skin and prevent areas like the knees, elbow, etc. from becoming dark.
  • Sugar scrubs can be used on the lips as well. Sugar scrubs work wonders for lips because they help in preventing chapped lips and skin. If one already has chapped lips, a single or probably two uses of sugar scrubs can soften the skin.  Again, we recommend using Sugar Scrubs containing essential oil rather than fragrance oil for this application.
  • Sugar scrubs also help to absorb the oils and dirt from the skin and balance the natural oils.
Lastly, Sugar Scrubs just feel ooooh so goooood.  The Brown Barn Sugar Scrubs are "dry scrubs" meaning that we use solid oils rather than liquid oils in our scrubs. This helps to avoid leaking and the dreaded accidental tipping of the jar oil loss we've all experience in our tub!  Look for expanded and new blends and scents in this line with our Spring scents and available by popular demand on-line and in our Steamboat store today is Black Raspberry Vanilla with added seeds.

Visit our web-site for more information.

Have a super scrubby day!

Chris Untiedt