Eileen Ray is the co-founder and creative developer of Little Seed Farm, a sustainable farm in Tennessee. Together with her husband and farm team, she creates 100% natural, non-toxic, organic skincare, deodorant, and soaps sold around the world.
If you’re a Nashvillian, you probably know and love Little Seed Farm. If you’re not a local, you can still find their handmade products at retailers across the world and through their website - but, if you ever find yourself in the area, I highly recommend an in-person goat experience. I first connected with Eileen when we were curating an ES holiday gift box a few years back, and we wanted to include some of their goat's milk soap. They made the perfect addition to our scarves and bags, and Eileen invited us to come out to the farm to visit and to see where everything is made.
The farm is a magical place - happy and healthy goats roam acres of green pasture, big, smiling dogs greet every visitor, and guineafowl cluck and scurry around underfoot. Eileen is just as magical; her vision for building an organization that aligns with nature is all-encompassing, and you enter it as soon as you arrive. She and her husband work tirelessly to craft products that nourish both the body and the environment in healthy ways. Everything from the solar panels lining the driveway (their entire farm runs on clean energy) to the individual attention given to every single goat (each has a name, distinct personality, and obvious affection for its human caretakers) attests to this. Eileen’s incredible children only add to the magic - she immerses them in farm life, and they are as happy as clams. Frolicking around in Crocs, hanging onto puppy dog necks, and digging in the garden - by the time her two little ones are ten, they will have had experiences many of us never will.
Situated amongst all this gloriousness are two aromatic buildings where Little Seed’s products are made. It all happens right there - the goats are grazing right outside (you’ll see one peeking in the door of the skin care studio; he couldn’t stay away while we were shooting), and the milking parlor is a few steps from the soap-making action. The workspaces are lined with cedar, only adding to the delicious aroma. It’s like a fantastic laboratory with essential oils and creamy elixirs everywhere you look.
If it’s not already abundantly clear, Eileen is a fierce inspiration. Her dedication to both her family and business resonates and motivates me. Dressing her for a day of life at Little Seed was such an honor. She prioritizes time with her children but also needs to carve out space for work, so her clothing needs to be simple, functional, and transitional. A morning with baby Cecilia in tow called for sturdy canvas Clydes and an airy linen tunic suitable for breakfast at the house and a visit to the milking parlor. She grabbed our wide-leg canvas Florence Pant and trapeze-y linen Harlow Tunic (a must for humid Tennessee summer afternoons) paired with leather clogs for a quick walk down the drive to harvest wild sumac - which is made into an extract and then infused into their Balance & Tone Facial Mist. Finally, a simple all-black look (a Linn Tee in linen and Cecilia Pant) for some time spent working on a new skincare formula.
Living off the land is not simple or easy, but it is such a gift and privilege to witness the circle of life in all its aching beauty. Eileen embraces that in a way I deeply admire with hope, optimism, and joyfulness. Eileen’s joy for her family and the life they’ve built at Little Seed Farm is contagious, and I’m not at all surprised that joy extends to her thoughts on dress.
We asked Eileen what role clothing plays in her life and work, and here’s what she had to say:
“Clothing is a celebration. A celebration of our physical body, as it carries us day by day throughout our lifetime. A celebration of our unique spirits, projecting our innermost facets for the rest of the world to discover and nurturing them when we need to turn inward."
Eileen wears the Sleeveless Placket Top in Ivory Midweight Linen (see a similar style), Clyde Work Pant in Navy Cotton Canvas (see a similar style), Harlow Tunic in Flax Midweight Linen, Cecilia Pant in Black Cotton Stretch (style discontinued), Linn Tee in Black Midweight Linen, and Florence Pant in Khaki Cotton Canvas (see a similar style).