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TRENDER: Farmaesthetics Founder Brenda Brock

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

 

The self-proclaimed "accidental entrepreneur" who began as a kitchen chemist: Farmaesthetics Founder Brenda Brock. Photo: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today, Brenda Brock, the founder of Farmaesthetics, a line of fine herbal skincare products that has rocketed from being a local find to becoming a skincare line of national prominence--Brock's products have been carried by Macy's, Estee Lauder, and

Terrain. Her entire product line is both available online and at her gorgeous flagship shop on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.

Homegrown factor: Moved to RI when still working in NY in 1989. Bought an old 1876 farmhouse on Neck Rd. in Tiverton, and with my RI-native boyfriend (now husband), we lovingly restored it. I also plowed up a full acre of the 2 1/2 acre farm and planted herbs and flowers… and that was the start of my career as a RI kitchen chemist. I moved to Portsmouth after our child was born and live there today.

1. What got you into this business in the first place?

I am from a farming family in Texas, and grew up in the "kitchen culture" of those women in my family who knew how to use nature in simple, traditional recipes and formulas for health and beauty. I soaked up all the wives' tale information like a sponge as a child, and have had a lifelong love affair with herbal concocting, and making skincare preparations for friends and family. I started selling my beauty products in the summer of 1999, when I was invited to join a group of women to open a roadside organic farm stand on my friend's Portsmouth farm. I used the harvests from that oceanside farm to make my products, and continued to prepay crops in Portsmouth for the first 5 years of my business. We have grown so much that now we get to source from co-ops who distribute US grown organic herbs, flowers, oils, grains and beeswaxes, so we are staying true to our mission.

2. Did you ever imagine your product line would be carried by a major corporations (like Macy’s, Estee Lauder & Terrain)? What’s that like?

The clean, well-lighted spaces of Brock's Farmaesthetics shop on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.

Never even thought about a company much less having huge corporate customers! I always say that I am the accidental entrepreneur, and that is really true. It's so deeply satisfying to be involved in greening the beauty industry. It feels like everything I have ever done in my life has led me here to this place, doing what I do…

3. What is different about the Farmaesthetics line?

Farmaesthetics is a full line of 100% natural fine herbal skincare made from organically grown herbs, flowers, oil and grains from American family farms. We have a two year shelf life without ever using any synesthetic preservatives, fillers, dyes, fragrances, talc and that is quite a feat. We never ever waiver from the narrow dictates of truly natural formulation.

4. You live on Aquidneck Island... how do environs influence your work in this field?

I grow plants myself and the environment is my "laboratory". I find that I can better understand how to utilize a plant's vitality when I plant it, grow it, watch it, harvest it….Getting involved in the whole cycle of the plant and the seasons.

5. What's the one Farmaesthetics product you'd take with you to a desert island and why?

Cool Aloe Mist, because I imagine my skin would be so parched and over exposed that I would feel awful! Cool Aloe Mist would ease me first off, then help my skin heal, but of course I could also drink it if need be!

6. What is the best thing about working here in Rhode Island?

I chose to move here because I was drawn to the natural beauty and history of RI and I never tire of that. I still take the back roads to get to Newport to work so I can soak up the fields and farmland, stone walls and beaches and tides…and the sunsets! I take the same back roads home at end of each day.

7. The most frustrating thing?

I think the lack of manufacturing options in our state can be frustrating. But overall, I think RI is the perfect place for an entrepreneurial venture: unbelievable talent pool—where else are there so many top-notch potential employees and world class educational institutions in such close proximity? I also love the community-building that goes on in our state… there is a thriving community of support and help everywhere, and the state is small enough so you can find it! But lastly, and in general, I think people make a business, and when people love where they live, they tend to settle in and stay at their job. There is nothing so valuable to my small, growing business as a committed employee or colleague. You can really pick up steam when you have a stable, happy workforce.

To see (and sample) Farmaesthetics products in person, visit the shop at 144 Bellevue Ave, Newport, 401-619-4199. To shop online, go to www.farmaesthetics.com.

For more Beauty + Fashion coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

 

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