BUSINESS PROFILE – The Suffolk Barn Company

The Suffolk Barn Company

Natural products handmade in Suffolk

No-one can deny that 2020 has presented many challenges to individuals and businesses alike, and many would consider it a time to put ambitious company start up plans on hold, but Claire Cornier is not the kind of person to shy away from a challenge. That is why she has chosen to launch her new venture now

The Suffolk Barn Company is a range of natural bath and spa products, as well as a limited selection of jams and chutneys, all of which are handmade using locally grown produce.

Originally conceived as an idea five years ago during a period living in Holland, Claire would counterbalance working in a corporate environment with enjoying time with her young daughter, Freya. Together they would find interesting shells and other natural items during walks along the beaches there and use them to make gifts to sell on a stall at a local craft show. The reaction to Claire and Freya’s craft skills was overwhelmingly positive and the seed of an idea was planted.

On her return to the UK in 2018, Claire settled in Suffolk with Freya and her golden retriever Bhodi, who she describes as ‘35 kilos of happy’. There she fell in love with the surrounding landscape and her new home, which is sandwiched between crops and coast. “Suffolk is a county of big skies and beautiful rolling green fields. I am fortunate enough to live in a village in the countryside with farmers as neighbours, and with several fruit trees in my own garden. The Suffolk Barn Company is giving me the chance to express my creativity while showcasing some of the county’s wonderful, natural produce. My love of travel has also inspired some of the flavours in the Suffolk Barn Company food range. For example, my passion for Italy led to me combining my home-grown cherries with Amaretto, and I intend to bring other global influences to the range as it grows and evolves.”

The bath and spa range includes an all-purpose salve, soaps and bath salts. The salve is made with olive oil, beeswax, coconut oil, manuka honey and essentials oils. It can be used as a hand and body moisturiser, or as a balm for chapped lips during the winter months. It has even been recommended as a natural alternative to some of the nappy creams on the market, and it smells as good as it makes dry skin feel.

The Suffolk Barn Company soaps and bath salts are available in a range of different ‘flavours’ including: Lavender & Camomile, Rose petal & Neroli (orange blossom), Peppermint & Eucalyptus, Honey & Oatmeal and the slightly more masculine aroma of Cedarwood & Orange.

All the items in the range have been awarded a certificate or CPSR (Cosmetic Product Safety Report) which guarantees that they meet the strict standards required and are therefore safe to use. These reports are written following submission of a product’s exact ingredients so that they can be assessed before the report is written.

Claire explains: “The process to get the CPSR was incredibly rigorous, but I was determined to ensure that my products met the requirements so that people can buy them safe in the knowledge that they have been approved by the correct governing body.”

The Suffolk Barn Company takes its green credentials seriously and has therefore sourced recyclable glass jars with aluminium lids in which to package the bath salts and salve. The jams, chutneys, marmalades and mincemeat are also packaged in these jars, and all products are entirely free of palm oil, the use of which is known to be harmful to the environment.

In addition to the bath and spa products, the Suffolk Barn Company is also launching with some food items. These are two jams (Summer Tomato and Cherry & Amaretto), two chutneys (Caramelised Red Onion and Wild Plum & Apple) and two marmalades (Red Pepper and Red Onion). There will also be individual jars of mincemeat for sale, just in time for those all-important Christmas mince pies. The mincemeat is being made using an old family recipe which combines delicious, traditional festive flavours such as apples, walnuts, orange and lemon juice and rind, as well as apricots, figs, raisins and more.

With Christmas gift buying firmly on everyone’s minds, there will be gift sets available directly from the Suffolk Barn Co. website along with all the products in the range. The gift sets will consist of a bespoke combination of a soap and bath salts with customers being able to choose which of them they would like to combine. The salve will also be available in a gift set with some cotton gloves and socks to wear after applying to ensure a full treatment, which leaves hands and feet feeling divinely soft and smooth.

The recent lockdown has provided the time and space to finally realise her long-held ambition to launch this range. Claire explains: “We have been working on the products for an exceedingly long time, spending days on each one to ensure just the right levels of each ingredient. This year’s enforced lockdown gave us the time we needed to put the finishing touches to our plans so for that, if nothing else, I’m certainly grateful.”

Suffolk Barn Company will be selling its products in a number of different outlets in the region, including Kinsella’s Hair Salon in Woodbridge and the Suffolk Punch Trust gift shop in Hollesley, which is a project she is emotionally invested in and keen to support. The Suffolk Barn Company website will be updated as soon as further retail stockists are confirmed.

She concludes: “At a time like this, when many of our freedoms are curbed, we are spending more time at home and we are naturally concerned about our health, we all need to look after ourselves. Home pampering with some locally-sourced natural products is an ideal way to do that now and over the Christmas break, so I hope that the lovely people of Suffolk and beyond will give them a go and perhaps also give their loved ones a treat to enjoy.”