Just three miles south of Interstate 90 in southern Minnesota, a hidden gem can be found. Once known as the location for Country Cutting, a salon that employed six hairdressers, it is now the home of Lis’n Farm to Fashion Haircare in Bricelyn.
Before founding Lis’n Farm to Fashion Haircare, Paulette Legred owned Country Cutting. While she was at the salon, she took a part-time job working for Matrix. Legred found herself traveling all over as a guest speaker doing her own program, “Colour of Money.”
“Along the way, the ‘Colour of Money’ afforded me to meet a lot of different people,” she said, “and it really was one of the highlights of my career.”
After Matrix, Legred sold Country Cutting, which the new owners moved to Wells and renamed Ultimate Design. Legred then worked for a distributor for a number of years, but she felt a tug to branch out on her own again. During dinner with her husband, Legred confessed that she wanted to start her own brand.
“I said to my husband … ‘You know what, dear? I have an idea,’” Legred recalled. “He said, ‘Just a minute; let me go get a beer.’”
Over that beer, a business was born. Legred’s years of experience in the industry helped her to cultivate the right contacts to start up.
“I met a chemist in the industry and I met design people, and without them I couldn’t have done it,” she said.
While staying true to her farming roots – she lives on a family farm that grows corn and soybeans and raises hogs – Legred wanted to find a brand name that highlighted hairdressers, farmers and homegrown commodities.
“I grew up on a farm and married a farmer, and I have always have had such a respect for farming that when I came out with a brand, it had to honor farming,” she said. “It had to honor the hairdresser, but it had to honor farming.”
But first she needed a name. Legred was pulling weeds in her garden when a lightbulb went off: Lis’n, a wordplay on listen. As in, “We Lis’n.”
“That’s what we do as hairdressers,” she said.
Her husband came up with the “Farm to Fashion” slogan, which they trademarked. Once Legred got Lis’n up and running, it began to flourish and she started to pick up customers, thanks to Legred’s longtime supporters.
“The people I met along the way are my customers now and of course, more, and that means so much to me. … Without that, everything would be kind of hollow,” she said. “It is really cool to have that ground support.”
Success with Soy
When it came to designing her products, clean beauty and safe beauty both stuck out to Legred, along with her farming background.
“I wanted a brand that was progressive,” she said. “It had to utilize farm ingredients and it had to be honest. And you don’t really get more straight forward and honest people than farmers.”
Soybeans are a key active ingredient in her products. They can be found in the styling elixir and defining cream. The elixir uses glycerin, which gives hair smoothness, moisture and shine. Soy flakes are used in the defining cream to give flexibility and creaminess.
One of Legred’s farm-derived key active ingredients is sheep’s wool protein. It is in all but two of her products. The protein works in two ways: It strengthens hair and protects it.
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is dedicated to promoting value-added agriculture products. Lis’n fits the bill, said Mike Youngerberg, MSR&PC senior director of product development and commercialization.
“I am excited to see companies like Lis’n Farm to Fashion Haircare utilizing soybeans in their products,” Youngerberg said. “Finding innovative ways to use the different parts of the soybean helps increase demand and is a key component of the Council’s mission.”
All of Legred’s products are made in Minnesota, boosting local demand.
“We have the chemist here, the fillers here, the label design people, the label printing people and the ingredient people,” she said.
After the products are labeled and filled, they are shipped to Bricelyn, where they await online orders and salon orders before eventually being shipped out.
Lis’n Farm to Fashion Haircare can be found in nearly 1,000 salons across the United States.
When designing new products, Legred says she lis’ns – pun intended – to her customers and keeps an eye out for industry trends.
“I am launching a body shimmer for the holidays because people right now want little luxuries,” she said. “We are not taking our cruise and our trips, so we want little things to make us feel special.”
Going into her fourth year of her business, Legred is proud of the business she has built up and the local products she uses.
“I love to learn,” she said. “I feel like we have to learn every day of our lives, and we never quit learning. And this has been an education.”