Visitors who drive up to the Bennetts’ property in Caledonia, Michigan are immediately taken by the sweeping rows of purple and white lavender, as well as the serene pond overlook where Vic and Vickie take their respite after a day of working in the fields. If those aren’t impressive enough, the Lavender Life Company farm now has a new attraction: a towering red barn with floor to ceiling windows, a fully appointed test kitchen, a stone hearth, a bustling production space where orders are fulfilled and shipped, and areas for volunteer groups to work and congregate.
When they first started their business, Vic and Vickie Bennett managed every aspect of it—from creation to dispatch—in their home. With dozens upon dozens of products, including skincare, bath, and aromatherapy items, baby gifts and textiles, culinary treats and teas, and, of course, their now infamous Xander Bunnies and Dogs warmable stuffed animals, they definitely had their hands—and their house—full!
It took a few years to come to life, but the barn now stands as a testament to their vision. “Just because it’s a barn doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful,” Vickie says. “We wanted a place that could be functional for us, but also be a warm, inviting spot that embodies who we are and the aesthetics we love.”
The barn is all of those things and more. The Bennetts, who are always formulating new lavender products, use the kitchen to test new ideas for their apothecary line and try out lavender-infused recipes using buds, extracts, and honey. Tucked away behind closed doors and expanding into the basement is where they keep their stock, and where staff—including the Bennetts themselves—package up orders. The roomy open area adjacent to the kitchen is mainly used for when corporate groups come to the farm to volunteer stuffing Xander Bunnies and Dogs, as it can hold a large number of people, as well as long, fold-out tables for assembly.
It’s also quickly become a home away from home where the Bennetts can entertain family or just relax on the sectional sofa, gazing up at the sky and clouds through the top-level windows.
Companies looking for a corporate team building event or philanthropic endeavor can schedule their outing at the Lavender Life Barn. They’ll enjoy a comfortable and aromatic environment while helping the Bennetts achieve their mission “To be an engine to support kids at risk worldwide.” For each and every Xander Bunny or Dog purchased, they donate one to a child in foster care. They always need support in their production area and heartily welcome groups to take part. Contact Vic atVictor@suitefab.com or 616-481-3349.
Photo credits: Jordan Parham, Build by Caliber Home Improvements