If you've ever met Jill of Brule River Barn before, you know her as somebody with huge heart, rock solid values, and the wild desire to bring joy to everybody around her. To get to know her and the Brule River Barn a little better, I asked her to shed some light on how they started, what they hope to bring to couples, and more.
Can you summarize who you are and what you do into two sentences?
I am a wife, Mom, and businesswoman that loves to create beautiful gardens and curated spaces for many to enjoy. Can you dive deeper?
My husband and I bought our property 34 years ago to make the perfect home for our family. We spent years renovating, collecting antiques, and tending to gardens for our own enjoyment, so when our daughter got engaged, she wanted to get married on our property. We spent half a summer renovating our old barn for the purpose, and had such a special time! Afterwards, people asked to use the barn for their own gatherings. and so the Brule River Barn was born.
We've grown and evolved over the last 7 years in business--from building bathrooms to offering Airbnb rentals--but our goal is still to offer the same welcoming family experience our daughter had.
We've built a niche for ourselves in the wedding venue business by offering weekend wedding experiences with lodging for up to 15 from Friday through Sunday and the option to stay longer. Weddings are always a hectic whirlwind, but when you can have all of your supplies and people in one place for the whole weekend, it seems to help make more time to slow down and enjoy their special day.
If your business was built on three values, what would you say those are and why did you choose them?
The value of time building memories with your most beloved family and friends - this is probably the most important, and comes from how we started the business.
Finding beauty in everyday objects - our buildings are old and beautiful and we decorate with other old and beautiful things because anything can be beautiful.
Sisu - It's a Finnish word that can be roughly translated to grit, determination, or hardiness. Building a business is a tough job, but sisu and my family and community help me move forward every day.
What would you say is the number one feeling you want your clients to walk away with when working with you?
I want people to feel like they just came home, meaning that they feel like the comforts of home are all here just for them.
What it the most important thing to you on somebody's wedding day?
What memories are made and at the end of the day--regardless of how things were, i.e., rain, wind, etc.--they are still married to the one they love.
Are there any exciting projects/offerings in the future that people can look forward to seeing?
We always have a big to-do list for the off season. We just gave a facelift to the laundry room and one of the bathrooms in the Farmhouse, and will be working on building new wooden dining tables and sprucing up the front flower beds.
Alright, it's always the elephant in the room, COVID-19. How are you and your clients handling the crisis?
Our clients have been so thoughtful and flexible! We've moved a few events so that we currently start in July and I'm working with the rest of our clients, but like everyone, we're trying to work through things as the situation changes. I just practiced my first virtual tour yesterday and am using my "safer at home" time to get projects done.
Are there any ways that you can help other couples who have to reschedule/find new vendors? (i.e. open dates, COVID related resources, etc)
We don't have many open weekends left in 2020, but do offer one-day and weekday weddings on top of our typical weekend weddings. We've been keeping our availability calendar on our website up-to-date, and have an extensive list of vendors we've worked with in the past for our clients.
Are there any ways that people can help you and your business through this time?
I also love the support from our fellow vendors, like you reaching out to help spread the work on who we are and what we have to offer! While we're not having weddings, our Airbnbs are open, so come social distance from our Cottage or Farmhouse!
Where do we go from here to find you?