i’m super pumped to announce the launch of my friends’ new company: R.L Linden & Co. they let me in on their project a little bit ago with testers of their goods. they had me swooning with every spray, swipe, cleanse, sip, sniff of their expertly concocted ecobeauty skin care products. i swear by their toner and am having fun doing further beta testing with them on a deodorant and facial serum. read my interview with robin and lynn below.

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

1. in your words, what is R.L. Linden & Co?

R.L. Linden & Co is Robin & Lynn. We are a small, local, women-owned company dedicated to crafting lovely plant-based skincare and healing teas.

2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

Combined we have backgrounds in herbalism, nutrition, women’s health and natural skin care; have always made products for ourselves and friends; and are total beauty product junkies. We are inspired to create products that help people feel gorgeous in their own skin, as well as getting to work with our favorite plants.

3. what has the process been like from conception to execution?

We have known each other for about six years now, but started creating and blending together in August of 2012. Around the holidays we decided to do this for real and started our LLC in January. While formulating and deciding on what products to offer first, we took business classes together and sent out beta tester product samples to gather feedback. The official launch of our first three products is on August 2nd; we can’t believe it’s already been a year!

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

4. has creating/developing/launching this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

We both had experience with start-ups in the past, so had a good idea of what to expect. Because we are committed to bringing our vision to fruition, and are so passionate about what we do, it makes the hard work totally worth it.

Of course we’ve had fairly minor challenges that are common to new businesses: nailing down our aesthetic, sourcing beautiful eco-friendly packaging, and definitely funding. Our biggest challenge, honestly, is more personal. With five kiddos between us, scheduling our work time with family time has proven to be a difficult transition.

5. tell us about other collaborators/helpers in the shop/brand?

Right now it’s just the two of us in the business, but we’ve been super lucky and really grateful for all the support that we’ve gotten. Blogs/Social Media/Product Lines like A Denver Home CompanionSeed to SerumRebecca CascianoGreen Beauty BunnyOne Love Organics and Beauty Bets have really helped to get the word out before our products were even available. It’s really humbling to be embraced this way.

6. who is helping you w branding/website development?

A huge thank you to Lynn’s husband, Jonathan Till, who did a beautiful job designing our logo and labels. Right now we have our website on VIRB and Lynn has set everything up so far, but we will likely enlist his creative services more as we grow.

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

7. where can you be found?

As of August 2nd, we will be available locally at Brick & Mortar General Store, whom we adore, and through our online store at www.lindenbeauty.com. also twitter || facebook || pinterest

8. what new/other/different businesses would you like to see in denver?

That’s pretty hard. Denver is totally rocking it right now.

9. what are your favorite shops in denver? food/restaurants? neighborhoods?

Lynn- A Small Print ShopBeet & YarrowIronwoodFancy Tiger (both stores). Udi’s off of Colfax is yummy and walking distance from us and True Food Kitchen is great despite it’s location. City Park, Baker, RiNo

Robin- Tallulah JonesKismet. I always get a great meal at The Kitchen and my favorite salad is the Macho Salad at Cherry Creek Grill. I love spending time in LoHi and City Park.

they launch friday, august 2, and are going to celebrating by participating in a wonderful gathering at our mutual friend that evening along with brick & mortar, ollie’s vintage, and other awesome small denver business companies). look at the flier below and keep scrolling for a giveaway!

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

robin and lynn are generously giving a bundle of one of each of their products to one lucky reader of A Denver Home Companion! just leave a comment below saying what daily beauty product you cannot live without. you can gain extra entries by sharing this giveaway on twitter and/or facebook, and also by following R.L. Linden & CO on facebook, pinterest, and/or twitter. one extra entry per share or follow! that’s a lot of chances! just make sure you comment back here for everything you do so it’s sure to be counted. the giveaway winner will be announced in a blog post on august 16. 

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

on the blog today, for the new small business series, i am pleased to introduce you to the lovely people of winter session. i kept seeing the name creep up in mentions from brick & mortar, instagram, and some tweets. i was intrigued. after doing some snooping around, well, i was sold! i know every town probably has it’s leather goods and their makers. but winter session just seems to be doing the partnership of canvas and leather and rivets so freaking well. from their logo to their stitch work, it’s impeccable. they offer everything from pen rolls to wallets to canvas bags (with this simple leather handle that just makes me swoon every time i see one).

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

ramona and jp and i stopped by their shop one day at The Outpost on welton street in five points, just a stone’s throw from crema. tanya, roy, and laura graciously greeted us and welcomed us into their gorgeous workspace (open thursdays to the public and other special days for pop-ups). it’s in an old building on historic welton street and has light streaming in that perfectly highlights the details of their goods.

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

we had a wonderful time speaking w them: picking their brain about their move from chicago (where we last moved from!), the highly reputable restaurants they collaborate with, how they got into it, how they maintain it, what they love about denver. basically, jp and i fell in love. their passion for what they do is palpable and contagious. and their products reflect this. again, the design and construction is thoughtful and perfectly executed. furthermore, we are thrilled they’re a part of the ‘hood as they are incredible advocates of all the awesomeness going on in the five points and north larimer areas.

A Denver Home Companion | winter sessionA Denver Home Companion | winter session

my photos don’t do justice for the items and the space they are created in (in my defense, my camera died when i still had many photos to take!) but just one look at their shop, online or IRL, you will get what i am talking about. read on to learn more about the inspiration and work behind the company and you will be swooning like i am…

A Denver Home Companion | winter session

what is winter session?

Winter Session is a leather and canvas goods company that designs and handcrafts bags, wallets and aprons at our storefront workshop, The Outpost, in Denver, Colorado.

how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

We both have backgrounds in art, architecture and design — both academically, and in professional experience — and were brainstorming with our friend Tristan, who worked at our neighborhood coffee shop in Chicago (and now owns his own, Gaslight Coffee Roasters), about opportunities to do something creative that was independently driven and involved working with our hands. The general movement of young people making things definitely contributed to our motivation.

We were (and continue to be) inspired by uniforms, utilitarian wear and gear, and also Japanese aesthetics.

A lot of people comment or ask about the experience of working with each other, since we’re also married. The idea wasn’t a foreign concept: on both sides, our parents own small businesses and work with their spouses (in the realms of food, design and clothing retail, all threads that are part of Winter Session).

[Roy]  My parents never questioned my desire to start a small business. [Tanya] my parents did, but because they’ve been through it, but that helped us think it through critically as well.

what has the process been from conception to execution? 

Organic and meandering. It started as a side project, not with the explicit intention of it being a livelihood.

Local retail, live events, and word spreading through blogs have been responsible for connecting us with pretty much all of our wholesale accounts.

We’re currently at another milestone, of having a space that’s open to the public, where we can expand the Winter Session brand as something a bit more experiential and collaborative, rather than just based in commercial exchange. We’re doing monthly popup markets, “Weekend Specials” — the next one is coming up on June 8th for Fathers Day.

has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

We expected it to be hard. Developing and sustaining is hard. But it’s a fun kind of business — building your own — there’s flexibility, and it’s totally open, but those are also the challenges. The same things that make it fun make it hard.

are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?

We are a small team at The Outpost, and we partner with sewing contractors in Chicago for some of our larger production. We also collaborate with other brands in designing special projects.

We also partner with other like-minded companies. For Father’s Day, we’re teaming up with the California company Juniper Ridge to offer a limited edition pre-run of our Dopp Kit stocked with Juniper Ridge’s all-natural soap and cologne, which they make by harvesting fragrances from the wilds of the West.

who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?

Nathan Michael, our friend and collaborator, has helped develop a visual vocabulary for us, and helped with building out our website and crafting our graphic identity. We maintain the website, and use the Shopify e-commerce platform. We also love Square!

when did you open for business?

We started doing physical research in May 2010 and “launched” in September. It’s been a slow and steady evolution. Our current direction and collection (including our online shop) really came together a year later.

where can your items be purchased? where can you be found?

The Outpost and online, and selected stockists around the US (and abroad).

instagram || twitter || facebook || blog

what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?

We’re excited about the coffee and eating scene, cafes that are doing something special with creating an experience — like cosmopolitan Cafe Max, dreamy Black Eye Coffee and roving Public Coffee. Small craft food brands like Ritual Chocolate, Dagstani & Sons and The Real Dill. Curators of product and culture like Beet & Yarrow, Brick & Mortar, Steadbrook … There are too many to list! We’ve been so grateful for and energized by the warm community of businesses that are confidently dedicated to craft at a really high level.

We want: doughnuts.  (Preferably across the street). And how about a craft butcher shop — it seems logical, as we’re surrounded by ranches. We’re pretty happy with the scene, though, and see a lot of positive energy moving toward the future.

what’s your favorite shop in denver? favorite place for food? neighborhood?

Our favorite shop is probably Ironwood, because it just does its own thing and has a magical character and presence.

Not trying to suck up, but we’ve really been digging the sweet potato waffle at Crema and anything involving seafood at The Populist (mussels, trout rillettes, ceviche).  We love the areas around The Outpost; so much history and fresh opportunity side-by-side. We also really like Berkeley and LoHi.

this week’s contributor is lynn till. lynn is a plant nerd. and along w her friend, robin, she’s about to launch a company, linden beauty, that creates whole-plant-based skincare products. i need them to launch soon as they make the most incredible facial toner, serum, and lip balm. as a beta tester, i couldn’t get over the gorgeous and natural scents of their offerings — as well as the efficacy of them! you’ll be sure to hear more about linden beauty from me as they get ready to open up their online shop and start carrying their stuff in other denver stores.
A Denver Home Companion | lynn till linden beauty
After living in the Baker neighborhood of Denver for five years, our family moved to the City Park West area earlier this year. We moved from a late 1800s small, victorian urban homestead to a new industrial eco-friendly 2 bedroom apartment, it’s been a big and mostly positive transition. I’m now able to walk my oldest son, who’s in 4th grade, to school, which is hands down my favorite thing about our new place. We drive far less, are an easy walk away from the Denver Zoo, and have two full bathrooms now — which is a huge perk for this mama of three messy boys.

Yet I do miss having a chunk of earth to get my hands dirty in. Our chickens joined a friend’s flock when we moved. We still get their eggs, but I miss my early morning walks in the garden while they pecked and clucked around me. I miss seeing all my herbs popping back up in the spring. I miss carefully collecting from the stinging nettles patch to make our favorite bright green soup. And I miss prepping the raised beds for veggies. Luckily, the patio at our new place will work great for container gardening. Plus, the city is teeming with lovely little plants popping up around every corner: in side walk cracks and up and down the alleys. It makes for fun discoveries during our daily walks. I listed some my favorite springtime plants and their uses below. If you go urban foraging just make sure you know for sure what you are collecting, use common sense, stay away from places that might have been sprayed with chemicals and those that are in high dog traffic areas…and most importantly, have fun!

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) This much maligned weed is a true healing powerhouse, containing more vitamin A than carrots, plus vitamins B, C, D, choline, and inulin. The whole plant, root, leaves and flower are edible and considered medicinal and packed with antioxidants. Dandelion leaf tea is a cleansing and non-potassium depleting diuretic, making it my go to tea for cycle related break-outs and bloating. Plus the leaves make a lovely, slightly bitter addition to any salad and are seriously amazing sautéed w/ a bit of garlic. The flowers can be made into wine, jelly and can even be dipped in batter and fried up for dandelion breakfast fritters!

 Sweet Violet  (Viola odorata) I look forward to the delicacy of eating sweet violet flowers every spring. The aroma is to die for! All you need to do to candy them is paint their petals with egg white, coat with super fine sugar and let air dry for three days. Super easy. Their cooling, slightly slippery, fresh leaves can be eaten in salads, taken as a tea to relieve a raw throat, or crushed and rubbed on blemishes.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) If you have ever planted peppermint in your garden you know it has the ability to spread out and take over quickly. It’s also one of the first herbs to pop back up in the spring. Peppermint tea soothes belly aches, is helpful to sip during a cold, and is just plain delicious. I like throwing a handful of fresh mint leaves into the blender with some lime juice, greens, and ice for an energizing mojito like detoxing green drink.

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) Midwifes know this plant for it’s ability to slow bleeding after birth or during a heavy menstrual cycle and foragers know it because it’s in the mustard family and offers darn yummy, slightly spicy leaves in early spring. Shepherd’s Purse tea may help stimulate and tone the kidneys and urinary tract and helps clear uric acid for the body. This pretty weed has the cutest heart shaped seed pods and I’m such a plant nerd that I even had incorporated them into my wedding bouquet!

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome plants popping up in your neighborhood and how to use them or to share your favorite urban foraging recipe, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

For additional resources check out these helpful books:

thanks, lynn! i’m definitely gonna go take a look around my yard and neighborhood and on walks for these plants. i’ve never thought this is something i could do myself. also, i am so excited for you and robin and linden beauty.

if you are interested in contributing to A Denver Home Companion, please submit original writing (or ideas!) to emily [at] adenverhomecompanion [dot] com. though i may not be able to publish everything, i certainly consider all of them.