“Before & after slide technology that allows you to compare skincare changes” With Candice Georgiadis & Shannon McLinden

So many technologies can help us “fix it” and move on. That’s a big deal for people who marinate in a negative head space over something they wish they could fix. It knocks the barrier down, and they can focus on the bigger picture life has to offer. Asa part of our series about how […]

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So many technologies can help us “fix it” and move on. That’s a big deal for people who marinate in a negative head space over something they wish they could fix. It knocks the barrier down, and they can focus on the bigger picture life has to offer.

Asa part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shannon McLinden.

Shannon McLinden is the founder of the freshly harvested spa skincare brand, FarmHouse Fresh® based in McKinney, Texas.

Headquartered on a hilltop ranch, McLinden’s team grows organic extracts and ingredients that are crafted into high nutrition skincare products. Whether certified organic or using up to 100% naturally derived ingredients — all of FarmHouse Fresh® ‘s products are chock full of vegetables, milks and more from U.S. farms, including their own. All products are made in the USA.

FarmHouse Fresh® is carried at thousands of locations throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and United Arab Emirates, including top tier destinations like Sandals & Beaches Resorts, Four Seasons, Ritz Carltons, The Woodhouse Day Spas, Margaritaville Resorts, Dollywood, Westin Dubai, and many others. The company has repeatedly been voted Favorite Body Care Line, as well as among the top 2 favorite brands in other categories including Favorite Skincare Line, Favorite Natural Line, Favorite Indie Brand, and Favorite Education, by spas through American Spa Magazine Professional’s Choice Awards.

In January 2008, McLinden was a recipient of the “Make Mine A Million Dollar Business Award” from American Express Open & Count Me In, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources and business education for women entrepreneurs. McLinden spent time throughout college as a motivational speaker for teens and is the author of a book, The Me Nobody Knew, published in 1998, which details the struggles and triumphs of overcoming her teen years. Today, the book is sold in two languages: English and Taiwanese, and is used as a curriculum in middle school, high school, and college classes throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Shannon McLinden graduated with a Bachelors’s Degree in Journalism in 1997, and an MBA in 1998, both from Texas Christian University. She resides in McKinney, Texas.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Inmy teen years I had great challenges with my self-esteem — not feeling pretty enough or smart enough, constantly questioning myself and what I would ultimately do, and my impact on those around me and the world. I’m a problem solver by nature, which further fostered the pressure I put on myself to answer that question.

As I grew older, I started harnessing my passions and talents into things that made me feel good — such as creating products that had a purpose and solved problems. It started in college when I invented peel and stick liners for sandals to take the smack out of your shoes during those hot days! After launching, customers began asking if I had any other products, which led to the first FarmHouse Fresh® product. The line launched with a sea salt exfoliant trio to keep cracked heels at bay by combining fine grain sea salt and rice bran oil. The trio of sea salt scrubs were selected for Oprah’s O List, which catapulted my career path into skincare.

15 years later, I have the best job — through FarmHouse Fresh® my team and I get to lift people up every day for a living by helping them look their best and love the skin they’re in.

I don’t think I would have such a heart for what I do, had I not had such a difficult time looking in the mirror as a young girl.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We attend industry trade shows every month, and we always build out a beautiful storefront that includes a 10,000 pound country-chic barn with crystal chandeliers. During the early years we were at a show in New York City and from afar saw a forklift crash through a pallet containing the walls of our booth. Needless to say, once the booth was set up, there were huge holes in every wall. We spent the night in cabs going to stores across the city buying cloth, rope and rods to create drapes and decor to cover the holes and make the booth look purposely designed. Ironically, we won the award for the best booth!

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

When my first products made the O List, I had so many calls coming in from stores and spas, and it would take me 20 minutes just to get the courage to call a buyer back! I know my strong points — I am a creative, but also an introvert, so sales and customer relationship building…not my skill set.

Immediately after that, I knew I needed help and brought on my sister-in-law, Delia, as VP, sales & business development.

I distinctly remember on her first day at FarmHouse Fresh® I was driving with Delia, and she was taking calls every 10 minutes with an earpiece and a notepad in her hand and I just felt a wave of relief wash over me. She would take a call and say, “That was a resort in Orlando and they want to bring on the line” or “that was a buyer from a chain of paper stores and she thinks the product is beautiful.” I couldn’t believe it. I always say Delia was the rainbow that connected all the dots and she still is today.

Since then, we’ve grown tremendously as a brand and have built an amazing team with people who complement and fill in all the spaces. My brother, and Delia’s husband Scott, also joined us as brand & media director with a robust personality — he can entertain a ballroom full of partner accounts in training — which we attribute to his prior life as a TV Anchor. We have a wheel and spoke organizational chart — I’m at the center and our motion forward comes from all the wonderful people on my team who make up the wheel. I am grateful every day that they champion this dream.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am eternally grateful to my husband, Hani. I exhaust him with excitement and ideas, and he loves hearing them. I started the business out of our home and when it was time to find an office space, we would drive around the city, looking at possible workspaces, high rises and office complexes. One afternoon, I drove him out to horse country on a winding road with a hill at the end and a house on top, surrounded by animals. I said, “This is the end game for me…to have a working ranch, where we can live, and my team can grow ingredients, and rescue and care for animals.” And he said, “That should be your start — not the end game. Let’s go build it.” And that’s how FarmHouse Fresh® Headquarters came to life. Today the ranch includes a commercial greenhouse, groundskeeper residence, spa and animal sanctuary.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

I love this new before/after slide technology that allows you to compare skincare changes. This is something we’re implementing online. We develop so many fantastic products that not only feel impeccable on the skin, but generate results you can see — reduced irritations, calmed redness, better balance in skin tone, and lessened signs of aging and we’re excited for customers to see real, un-touched results.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Perfection isn’t the goal. As someone who struggled with self-image most of my life, I worry that putting emphasis on perfecting yourself could have a negative effect on the confidence of young people. The feeling that you aren’t pretty enough is something I know too well. So it’s a fine balance between showing how the right skincare can help you, but we want that to be through gaining self-confidence and not through self-doubt.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

So many technologies can help us “fix it” and move on. That’s a big deal for people who marinate in a negative head space over something they wish they could fix. It knocks the barrier down, and they can focus on the bigger picture life has to offer.

Instantaneous visuals of before and after including the application of makeup, hair styles, clothing, eyeglasses opens up a world of change for those who might have been afraid to jump out of the box they’re in.

Professional facial results can be amplified with the right technology tools — lasers, steam, oxygen and more. It’s exciting to see next-level benefits with the right combination of product and technology.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Education on tool use is important. Just as a doctor can graduate with a C grade, so too can a clinician. We hear from customers who have had a terrible experience during a service with an improperly trained clinician.

Inaccurate claims. When we travel the country at shows, we’re often asked questions like — “Does this detox your body? The product down the other aisle will remove all your toxins.” Some of the claims are just incredibly inaccurate, and unfortunately, many individuals believe the claims.

Young girls and boys being bombarded by messages of perfecting themselves is concerning. Depression is on the rise among youth, and we need more emphasis on the image-positive messages.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Volunteer. Help people. Help animals — just volunteer. Through your service, you realize this profoundly important fact — that you have a purpose, and you are appreciated for just being.

Be present when your friends and family are sharing their personal thoughts. So many people look at their phones, watch TV, and never connect. Really listening, understanding, and asking questions brings an enormous amount of comfort to others going through a struggle, and it’s so rare — you will feel the appreciation and know that you’re loved.

Wear a rubber band on your wrist, and snap it every time you have a negative self-thought. This was my first step to awareness of thought, and how it shaped how I felt and carried myself through life. Once I was aware, I forced myself to think of one positive thing after the snap — could be anything minor from “I have nice shoes” to “I remember small details no one else can remember.” Forcing a positive to replace a negative, with time, forces the negative out and lets beauty in.

Find a makeup brand with a makeup app. You will be shocked no matter how awful you feel your selfie is, when you start playing with colors, you find that stretching yourself to new and different is sometimes just the thing you needed to get yourself out of a bad headspace!

Grab a friend, tell them you want their help in trying something new with your hair, makeup, skincare — whatever. Sometimes friends have the best ideas on what you might want to try next. By asking them for their opinion, they’ll know you’re open to change and might not hesitate to suggest something obvious that you might absolutely love!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We are passionately, gushingly, living a movement at FarmHouse Fresh® and I feel incredibly grateful to have created this purposeful life. As a spa and wellness brand, we feel very close to animals and believe they are part of our healing and wellness. So, we collectively decided early on that we would take profits from the products customers love and use them to save animals from cruelty situations, neglect, and slaughter.

FarmHouse Fresh® Ranch headquarters was intentionally built as a farm animal sanctuary. We use profits from product purchases to fund, rescue, and rehabilitate neglected animals that our employees help care for at our sanctuary. We also help place animals with other local rescues, where they rehabilitate them and help them find the perfect forever home. Customers get to follow all the animals’ journeys — who they helped save — both online and in a printed seasonal publication called the FarmHouse Fresh® Farmanac®.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Live like you’re dying.” Perhaps because of my entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve always felt like time was ticking down. I feel a strong responsibility to contribute as much as I can, as quickly as I can. Particularly as we grow and see how much we’re able to positively affect people’s lives through skincare and how many animals are saved, while opening up the hearts of our customers and teaching children that kindness for all creatures is important. There is a grand mission here that makes me want to wake up every morning.

How can our readers follow you online?

Facebook — @Farmhousefresh
Instagram — @farmhousefresh

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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