Founder to Founder with Shannon McLinden, Founder and CEO of FarmHouse Fresh

Founder to Founder with Shannon McLinden, Founder and CEO of FarmHouse Fresh

Allison Langenderfer, Co-Founder and President of Spavia Day Spa, is excited to interview Shannon McLinden, the founder of FarmHouse Fresh, an all-natural and organic skincare brand. They will chat about Shannon’s inspiration, the importance of ingredients, and let’s not forget the animals and giving back – two key pillars of FarmHouse Fresh.

Allison: Take us back – what was your inspiration in starting FarmHouse Fresh? 

Shannon: I was an avid jogger, and so many of us who run have cracked heels due to the heat and moisture of closed running shoes. So I began tinkering to create a foot polish that I could use in the shower to keep my heels from cracking. Rice bran oil made a big difference, and sea salt too. That combination became the base of a trio of foot polishes that I packaged and sent to Oprah Magazine. I had no idea that they would be selected for her O List! Once the magazine landed, I kept following customer requests for products which included Honey Heel Glaze (it also made the O List), our Whoopie Shea Butter cream which won a Redbook Magazine award… Wine Down facial serum which was picked as a favorite by InStyle Magazine… I just kept creating products that were highly natural, infused with U.S. grown ingredients, and that could transform a spa experience for guests. It’s been 17 years in the making!

Allison: Your headquarters in McKinney, Texas, is also home to an animal sanctuary. Tell us more about how this was created!

Shannon: We built our headquarters with both a hydroponic farming operation and a non-profit animal sanctuary. It includes a medical/quarantine area, several barns, and acres of land where our employees take care of the farm animals – horses, donkeys, goats, sheep. Animals come into the sanctuary in conditions that take your breath away — they have been abused, neglected, or brought to sale barns without hope of adoption due to injury, age, and would otherwise be euthanized. The experience of caring for them is transforming! Watching them walk again, gain weight, become vibrant, happy, and healthy – is a soul-touching experience that is made possible through the purchase of our products. Not everyone has personal time to volunteer in their local communities, but through FarmHouse Fresh you can make an immediate impact by simply purchasing products you love. 

Allison: Something I love about your products is ‘Track Your Batch.

Shannon: Yes! If you turn your jar upside down or look at the crimped edge of a tube, you can type the batch code you see into our search function at FarmHouseFreshGoods.com. It will pull up all the rescue initiatives made possible by you in the very month your jar came off the line. Sometimes your purchases have funded a large animal rescue in another state, helped feed animals at our sanctuary, provided vet care to injured animals, or transported dogs from a kill shelter to adoptive families. We really send product funds far and wide, so that together we can do the most good for animals everywhere.

Allison: What we put on our skin is so important and we know ingredients are so important to your products, tell us more about this selection process.

Shannon: We like to say, ‘We Grow, so Your Skin Glows.’ We focus on growing high nutrition extracts that get crafted into our skincare. Fresh microgreens are grown fresh daily in our hydroponic greenhouse, and we grow cucumbers seasonally. The extracts are potent and fresh and used in our over 200 products. We carefully consider each microgreen for its phytochemical content – honing in on the best plant varieties for the product we’re developing. This week you’ll find parsley, kale, red garnet micro amaranth, and more growing or drying on our property.

A fun fact about our cucumbers is that within 24 hours of their harvest, they become an extract and we feed the leftover pulp and rinds to our farmer’s egg-laying chickens. It’s a zero-waste process that we’re very proud of.

Allison: What are a few of your favorite ingredient (and/or) skincare trends? 

Shannon: Fermentation is fantastic! This is a process where good bacteria, yeast, or microorganisms are placed with fruits, vegetables, or other plants and within a short period of time, the enzyme process can actually increase the concentration of phytochemicals in the plant. It makes them more potent. We use fermented lemon peel as one of many fruit acids in our Illumination Fruit Acid Peel Mask. In general, we love that so many brands are incorporating more natural and sustainable ingredients into their formulas. The more we all move toward this initiative, it’s progress for the planet, progress for people, and healthier skin & wellness. 

Allison: How do you think COVID has changed our industry?

Shannon: It has impacted our industry so much. There’s renewed interest in relaxation and general wellbeing, which includes loving the skin you’re in. We’ve found piqued interest in specific ingredients and their functions, as well as an openness to trying new routines and regimens that maybe in the past might have seemed cumbersome but today are something to look forward to!

Allison: What FarmHouse Fresh product (or products) can you not live without?

Shannon:  That’s like asking a bear what its favorite flavor of honey is 😊… Our significant others complain that they can’t see our sinks – there are so many FarmHouse Fresh products in our bathrooms! I use our bar soaps in the shower to shave, Moon Dip on my body, and I never start the day without Illumination Juice Facial Tonic – I spray so much of this peptide/superfruit brightener on, that it takes 5 minutes to dry! I actually get dressed while it dries. I consider myself a dry skin type, so I layer Supremely Lit Hi-Bio Hemp Serum under almost any moisturizer. Right now, it’s Full Moon Illuminating Facial Mousse. Glowing. When people come in to interview, they always say we all look so fresh and glowy. That’s the greatest compliment!  

Allison: When did you first fall in love with animals/skincare? 

Shannon: I fell in love with animals so, so young as probably all kids do? Bringing birds and bunnies in the house. In high school when I started driving, my dad lectured me about not stopping on the side of the road for a wounded animal, or I could end up running over myself. That was me. And fast forward to my foot care creation and Oprah feature – I was excited to help others solve their skincare needs. In my teen years, I had great challenges with low self-esteem. Not feeling pretty enough or smart enough, and wondering how I would ever have value for this world. I solved that by putting my passion and talents to use by crafting really effective skincare products that help so many people. And I wanted to do more with these loves — to continue to find people passionate about both wellness and animal rescue (which isn’t hard! Many of our employee’s volunteer, foster animals, run nonprofits, sit on boards – all related to animals). We get to lift people up every day for a living, by helping them look and feel their best. And we also help animals overcome, survive, and live a life full of hugs and love. I have a huge love for what I do. HUGE. I don’t know how I got so lucky, and I try to cram everything I can into every day to ensure this model thrives and expands. 

Allison: Like you, I have a huge passion for what I do… What has been the most rewarding part of your journey to start FarmHouse Fresh?

Shannon: Finding my passion and purpose, and realizing how much power we all have to change lives, animals, the planet – everything we can put our talents to – simply by buying products from companies that give to a greater good. That quote – “Your future’s so bright, I can hardly see…” I feel that way every day about myself, my team, really everyone who aligns their passion and purpose to incorporate a greater good. 

Allison: What is your motivation to keep doing what you are doing each day?

Shannon: I’m surrounded by it. Many of the books that I read when I was young to overcome my teen depression reiterated how important it is to create a space to live in that lifts you up, to surround yourself with people you admire, and to volunteer and find purpose. These are pillars of our surroundings here at FarmHouse Fresh. We have bunny-themed bathrooms and trees and plants everywhere indoors. Our team is full of warm, conscientious people who are so talented and who all rally around this bigger dream and don’t run for the hills when they find out they might have to help bottle feed a lamb some morning.

Allison: What is something we may not know about you?

Shannon: I’m a creative introvert – designing, dreaming, inventing. My team will tell you that they have created email folders “to read later” because I share designs, dreams, and inventions nearly daily – ideas meant to be squinted at and improved upon, added to, and expanded. It’s endless and I have to actively take measures to shut the process off to get sleep. Maybe it’s an entrepreneurial curse? I don’t know. 2 out of 10 ideas are good, but I enjoy the process. It does not, however, make me a spectacular manager or trainer! I rely heavily on the fabulous people within our company to put their skill sets to their passions here, so that the farm is bustling in the right direction as I dream and design away. 

Allison: What do you like to do outside of work?

Shannon: Cleaning barn stalls, brushing our many sanctuary animals, and hugging every. Single. One. I can spend a whole afternoon filling muck carts on the hill because they all wander over eventually and scratch against me and say hello.  

Allison: Oh my, I love to muck too…we will have to have a mucking session together…lol.

Allison: I love hearing people’s favorite positive quotes…what is your favorite?

Shannon: “Only good things.” This is how my husband responds any time I am worrying about something which is often. It’s a good reminder that what you put your energy into expands. So I try to reframe my brain with this quite often.

Allison: Thank you so much for your time, Shannon. I loved learning about how FarmHouse Fresh started and your passions. I am so grateful to have a strong partnership with an amazing company that is so focused on such an important cause.

Shannon: It was great to talk with you, Allison! We are so happy to be partnering with Spavia to bring a Farm to Treatment experience to your guests — something new every season. I can’t wait to go and experience the Summertime Smoothie Firming Facial at my local Spavia soon!

At Spavia Elmhurst, we use FarmHouse Fresh products in our Seasonal Facials, and the products are available in our spa boutiques. Schedule your next Spavia treatment and ask about the Seasonal Facials. Learn more about FarmHouse Fresh products here: www.farmhousefreshgoods.com.