Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brown Barn Artisanal - Who are we? WHAT are we?

When I look back over the last several years and my time in my business, The Brown Barn Company, I am amazed at the transformation - of us, myself, my family, our employees and most of all our brand.

Starting out with the goal of bringing the best quality handmade bath & body products available to our customers seemed simple enough at first - but then we found other products we fell in love with and wanted to share with our customers. Tea, Coffee, Cheese, Ice Cream..Wine, Chocolates, Olive Oil and Vinegar...wait a minute - those are not bath products (most of the time)! We had a problem - how can we sell all of this and still remain true to our original vision? Does our vision fit anymore? Now what?

We have spent the last 18 months pondering and striving to answer these questions and more.

- Have we changed? After much reflection and discussion, Alyssa (my daughter and business partner) and I realized that what we really wanted to bring to our customers had changed. We'd moved from wanting to provide a great bath product to wanting to provide great products that enrich the lives of our customers on many levels. We recognized that creating a soulful lifestyle is about more than a good hot bath (oooooo...I can't believe I just said that!!!). We looove our bath products, our bath products are our heart - our soul - but there is just so much more to share! A great bath is made better when it includes a small tray of chocolate truffles, a cup of tea or a glass of wine. A morning shower is followed by that perfect cup of coffee...Coffee with toast and yummy jam....Jam and toast on a pretty plate....A beautiful towel to dry the plate after you use it...the list just goes on. We find we love all of these products and soon found we wanted to make them all - but that was out of the question - we do a great job of making bath products but we can't make cheese, coffee, tea and towels. We can however, sell them!

- What do we sell? Brown Barn isn't just about baths anymore. Brown Barn is now a marketplace for Artisanal and other quality vendors. We have added culinary, gourmet and home decor products with clothing and jewelry coming next. Our goal is to bring you into our lives and share what we love - from bath to food to home items. We've removed the "bath" boundaries we'd self-imposed and opened our lines up to other vendors and products. Now we are only limited by our imagination and the lines we are able to locate.

- Who do we sell? Even though we've expanded our lines we are still being extremely fussy about who gets to be part of the Brown Barn product line. Vendors are carefully selected based on some simple questions - Will it serve the needs of our customers? Is it good for us and our customers? Is it made well? Packaged beautifully? Does the price make sense? Can it be reproduced so we can keep selling it?  And more importantly - do we, as the owners of the company - absolutely love it??

- How do we sell? We also recognized that it wasn't enough for the customers to walk in the store, pick something off the shelf and walk out. I was always a little let down when selling this way. I have a Master's degree in Education so perhaps its been ingrained into me to teach, and I was a real "hands-on" type teacher so putting up a poster and leaving it at that just is not enough for me. We want the customers to experience the products and the process, to learn and feel when they come into Brown Barn. It's taken us almost two years of research and trial and error but we feel we've fallen onto the right products and selling methods for Brown Barn and our customers seem to agree! When you visit Brown Barn stores now you will find a blending bar where you can sniff and blend your own fragrance and then watch your product being finished in front of you; you can sample a tea and coffee before purchasing; you'll soon be able to sample your own blends of Olive Oil & Vinegar before buying the perfect combination for your table; you'll be able to taste wines before buying. We want you to have a sensory experience as much as a visual. We want the store to be exploratory - smell, sight, taste, touch.

- What does this make us? Well - it makes us more than a bath store but less than a department store. We've been stewing on this question quite a bit. We think we are an Artisanal Marketplace. You may have already noticed a change in our logo to "Artisanal Products - Authentic Living - from Seed to Soul". We are focused on bringing great products from vendors we love and trust, trying to not only focus just on the small hand-makers but also celebrate the ingenuity and superior product lines of larger companies who do it well. We are not going to be locked into a small niche but we are going to create our own niche - the Brown Barn line.

We hope you enjoy your next visit to a Brown Barn store. We are planning on opening stores regularly throughout Wisconsin in the coming years and expanding from there. We are also working on new web-sites and trying to come up with ways to bring the store experience to our customers virtually.

Thank you to all who have remained on this journey with us and welcome to those who are just now joining us! We hope we are able to help you find the perfect products to feed your soul and warm your home.

Christine Untiedt
The Brown Barn Company llc

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brown Barn Blending Bar Fragrance Encyclopedia

Floral Scents:

Aloha Waikiki: Plumeria and Tiare with sun kissed Sugar Cane.

Day at the Spa: Notes of lemongrass and black currant with hints of patchouli and sugar cane. A great year-round fragrance infused with natural lemongrass, patchouli, and lime essential oils.

Gardenia: Brown Barn's Founders favorite summer scent and perhaps Brown Barn's most romantic floral fragrance. This Gardenia is sweet and soft. Heliotrope, Jasmine and Freesia keep this scent from becoming too sweet.

Green Tea and White Pear: Sweet succulent pears effortlessly complement the fresh green tea scent in this zesty fragrance. Notes of crisp citrus, pears and apples blends well with gardenia, lilac, powder and vanilla.

Honeysuckle: A true sweet honeysuckle.

Japanese Cherry Blossom: A Brown Barn favorite! Tender cherry blossom, sensual white lily and blushing violet petals blended with a hint of warm vanilla. 

Jasmine Vanilla: Beautifully garnished silk white jasmine petals. This engaging rose fragrance comes to full bloom with creamy vanilla and classic rose.

Lilac: This Lilac fragrance is so near to the real thing you will think you've been transported when you close your eyes. Not too sweet, just right.

Lavender Essential Oil: The true lavender, made from oil distilled from the plant. Great for relaxing and soothing aromatherapy effects.

Moonlight Pomegranate: Intensively purple with sparkling notes of Citrus, Dewberry and Cassis to dress up the deeper notes of Musk, Sandalwood and Vanilla. This fragrance is deep and sensual with a sweet tart twist.

Peony: An elegant, not to cloying or sweet, Peony fragrance. Sophisticated and summery.

Pink: Neroli and Peony with Violets and Juniper.

Sweet Pea: Very near to the real thing. Sweet and young, bright and fresh.

Tuberose Moss: Sophisticated honey Tuberose with under-notes of green moss. This elegant scent is quickly becoming a Brown Barn Summer standard.

Ylang Ylang: Sophisticated Ylang Ylang blends well with floral notes.

Fruit Scents:

Black Raspberry Vanilla: A Brown Barn favorite! Fresh, vine-ripened raspberries and blackberry notes mixed with Italian Bergamot, Pear with notes of Plum Wine, Vanilla Orchid and a silky, Cashmere Musk. Overall, it's sweet, silky and mouth-watering. 

Cherry Almond: A classic mixture of sweet cherries and rich almonds.

Coconut: A great blending fragrance, this smells just like a coconut picked fresh from the tree.

Coconut Lime Verbena: A tantalizing fusion of fresh coconut, lime and invigorating verbena soothed by luscious vanilla.

Country Apple: Fresh picked apples with a touch of peach, lime and musk have made this a Brown Barn favorite with in-store customers.

Lemongrass Essential Oil: Unique, citrus with a bite. Lemongrass will awaken and energize.

Lime: Another great blending oil, green and tart but not bitter.

Love Spell: Orange, Peach, Cherry Blossom and Jasmine make this popular fragrance a classic.

Monkey Farts: Fresh banana with sweet grapefruit, mandarin orange, kiwi, coconut cream, pink raspberries, strawberries and apples. A Brown Barn favorite, especially for the young or young at heart!

Orange Essential Oil: Another Brown Barn favorite with all customers. Uplifting, fresh and delightful. A sure to please choice.

Strawberry: A freshly ripened Strawberry fragrance. Very true to the real thing. Blends well with 'Champagne' fragrance.

Tart Lemon: A bright, pure, citrus lemon scent. Perfect for blending.

For Men (and Women!):

Black Tie: Sophisticated notes of black peppercorn and leather carefully blended with Patchouli, Musk and Citrus. A Brown Barn favorite!

Cedar & Saffron: Fragrant cedar infused with sensual Patchouli, Sandalwood and Vetiver. Eastern spices and a touch of musk finish this gorgeous blend out. Smokey and sexy.

Green Irish Tweed: A refined gentlemen's scent similar to the same fragrance worn by Cary Grant, Richard Gere and Robert Redford. Sandalwood, Lemon Verbena, Iris, Violets and Amber.

Zanzibar Spice: Mandarin leaf, agave nectar and African lotus perfectly paired with Cardamom, Nutmeg and Black Peppercorn. Undertones of Sandalwood and Tonka Bean make this a great choice for the sophisticated man (or woman!).


Cashmere & Cotton: Pomelo, bergamot, citrus, vanilla and sandalwood blend to an amazing rendition of fresh sheets blowing in the wind.

Champagne: A great blending fragrant oil, smells just like champagne. Perfect for any special occasion.

Eucalyptus & Spearmint: A beautiful blend of Eucalyptus, Sage, Lavender and Spearmint leave you refreshed and renewed.

Green Aloe & Clover: Fresh mown green fields, deep woods and touch of Jasmine.

Neroli: This fragrance is made with Neroli essential oil strengthened with notes of Cinnamon, Dill weed, Eucalyptus and orange fragrance. 

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey: A Brown Barn favorite. Warm oatmeal with sweet milk and honey.

Patchouli Essential Oil: Earthy and deep. Wonderful for blending, especially with Lavender, Rose or Orange.

Sandalwood Sensuous: Deeply fragrant with rich notes of mahogany.

Spearmint: Fresh and bright. Refreshing Spearmint.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: A sweet, deep aroma of sensual flowers. The flower is a small delicate bloom from the Cananga tree native to rainforests. It is known for its ability to lift spirits, promote relaxation and enhance sexuality. Ylang Ylang is considered an aphrodisiac and has a soft, luxurious aroma. It is wonderful to sooth panic, anxiety and calm nerves. 

Vanilla Woods: Rich vanilla with earthy undertones makes this a deep and sophisticated scent perfect for blending.

Warm Vanilla Sugar: Rich and decadent vanilla and brown sugar with hints of musk.


Dancing Waters: This blend leaves you thinking of beaches and vacations. Cyclamen and Freesia round this scent out to complete loveliness.