• Dreamers + Doers: Little Barn Apothecary

    Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new.

    Easy, simple, and organic are the founding philosophies behind homegrown Georgia line Little Barn Apothecary. Founded less than a year ago in Stone Mountain by Joshua Morgan and Brad Scoggins, the brand is already making a splash in the beauty world – and we’re fans of both their small-batch, organic products and self-starter attitude.

    With everything made in-house, Brad and Joshua have their work cut out for them, but making sure they have a hand in each product's creation ensures quality. "Stone Mountain is where our products are created from start to finish, all in our home-based studio," says Joshua. "All our products are things we wanted for ourselves. We search out what's missing and go for it. If [a product] is already there, we improve it and make it for ourselves — and then share it with the world."

    Ahead of their launch at UO, the duo sat down to chat with us about their love of Stone Mountain, the joys of being small business owners, and how Little Barn keeps them on their toes.
    Photos by Paige French

    You don't meet too many beauty brands in Stone Mountain, Georgia! How did you guys end up there?
    We are previous city dwellers but wanted to find a retreat to a slower, quieter, and simpler place, and we wanted a big backyard for our pups to play. [That's what] led us just Northeast of Atlanta to Stone Mountain. This is where our brand really came to fruition. We had been concocting and mixing and testing but we were missing an element. When we moved out of the city we found it... nature! The beauty of nature and the simplicity it provides for us has inspired us. We find the most inspiration within ourselves when reflecting in the backyard. We've redesigned our home and created a studio space that is separate from our living space but still all under one roof. It makes the commute pretty easy!

    What made you guys decide to start your own line in the first place?
    We wanted more from all-natural skin care and Joshua has always dreamed of creating his own skin care line. We were never really 100% satisfied with any products we tried so that’s how it started. In 2012 we began researching the power of botanicals and herbal medicines and started experimenting with concoctions to help with skin issues we were facing. We shared some of the items with our friends and family and we were showered with enthusiastic requests for more. So, we created our logo, designed some labels, and expanded the line to include today’s core collection. We went all in and debuted Little Barn Apothecary to the public in January 2015.

    What were your backgrounds before starting Little Barn?
    We come from opposite backgrounds. Joshua is a beauty guru and had worked as an executive for 16 years in the luxury beauty and spa industry. He is a bit of a self-proclaimed product expert (junkie). He knows a good product when he finds it. Brad was born in a small southern farming community and has always been passionate about the healing power of nature. He studied Biology in college and has previously worked in marketing, hospitality, and brand management. He has the green thumb of the two.

    Your brand is still so new, but what’s it been like working together so far? What do each of you do for Little Barn?
    It’s a lot of fun! We work really well as a team. Our backgrounds are what really make us a strong pair. Where one of us lacks, the other makes up for it. Beauty expert meets green thumb biology guy. We divide the work pretty equally. Brad takes care of the creative media, including designing the labels, logo, and creating the website. He also takes the brand's photography. Joshua is the social media mogul and an expert in sales and marketing. Formulations and product development are done together as well as production of our current selection.

    Can you tell us what the process is like for creating new products?
    We typically start by picking an ingredient we want to work with and then we build on from that. For example, when we created our new Charcoal + Aloe face cleanser we started with activated charcoal. We knew we wanted to create a face product and we wanted charcoal to be an ingredient. We concocted a few different formulations, some masks, some exfoliants, and a few cleansers. We then used our friends and ourselves as testers. That's the fun part; we test all our products and get as much feedback from everyone around us. Once we finally get the “votes” tallied up we finalize our formula and test it a little longer. After that comes the packaging, the label design, and a photo shoot.

    Where do you source your ingredients from? Do you grow some of them yourselves?
    We do grow many of Little Barn Apothecary’s ingredients in our backyard garden. We also source from nearby farmers markets. We like to source locally as much as possible. One day we hope to expand our garden to source many more of our ingredients directly from it. We are a PETA certified company and commit to whole, cruelty free, and certified organic ingredients; our sourcing is a pretty big deal to us.

    Why did you guys decide to focus on all-natural products and local sourcing?
    When you take a look at the ingredients in some skin care products on the market today it gets scary. You know your skin absorbs anything you put on it. Think of it like you're drinking or eating your products and, well, we wouldn’t eat some of the stuff that’s in there! Plus, we believe in the power and healing of all-natural ingredients. We see a lot of companies based in LA and NYC but not Georgia.

    Speaking of that, do you feel that living in the South influences your products and what goes into them?
    Living in the South definitely influences our products. It’s absolutely gorgeous down here. We take so much of our inspiration from the raw natural elements that surround us and translate that into beautiful products. Plus, we have a longer growing season which allows us to grow more botanicals. We want our products, like the South, to inspire you to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy your daily skin and beauty rituals.

    What’s been the hardest thing about starting your own company? The easiest?
    The hardest has been keeping up with the sheer demands; we've seen such amazing growth so quickly. We thought when we quit our day jobs we could just work when we wanted, but owning your own business means you don’t stop working! It’s a labor of love, though, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! The easiest thing is the creative process. Sometimes it's a good and bad thing. We're always sparked with new ideas, new inspirations, and want to forever create new products.

    What do you love about owning your own business?
    We are totally stoked to be business owners. It's almost surreal some days. We're proud and we scream it from the rooftops. Waking up late or taking a four hour lunch is a pretty great perk. Plus, owning a skincare line means we never run out of awesome products to use!

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