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Charm Bracelets, Cosmetics, and Cattle

A meeting of the top charm bracelet designers held in a gorgeous San Francisco mansion may be the last place you’d think to find an Iowa farmer. It’s certainly not where you would expect to learn how calves are born. For cattle farmer Crystal Blin, that’s exactly where she feels she can make the biggest difference.

In addition to farming with her husband, Jon, Blin sells Keep Collective charm bracelets and has grown to lead a team of more than 350 people. Her colorful Instagram feed is full of beauty products, on-trend outfits, and arm parties (styled examples of the jewelry she sells).

To kick off 2019, Blin and other leading designers in the company spent some time with their CEO, Jessica Herrin, in her California home. All attendees introduced themselves sharing about their children or recent vacations they’d taken. When it was her turn, Blin said, “Our cows are going to start to calve soon, and we’re really excited about that.”

Suddenly, the other women were intrigued. They had so many questions. “How does that happen? Is there a veterinarian involved? You help the cows calve? How do you do that?” the women wondered.

“Ideally, Mother Nature takes a hold and that cow does not need any help. A calf is born with its front feet and nose first ideally, but sometimes there are other instances when we have to get involved or we have to bring a veterinarian out,” Blin recalls sharing.

Connections Lead to Conversation

Even though she didn’t mention hot topics like GMOs or antibiotics that day, by sharing just a bit about her life on the farm, Blin made an impact. 

“What they heard that day was the story of our cattle and how much we care about them. It was a really good opportunity for them to see how much a farmer like me cares about our land, our cattle, and our farm,” she says.

Throughout the week, she heard the CEO retell her story over and over. “Did you know Crystal has baby calves and they come out like they’re diving?” Herrin would ask.

“That conversation would have never happened if I hadn’t decided that I wanted to be part of a company that sells jewelry,” reflects Blin. Although she enjoys talking with farmers and ranchers, Blin believes connecting with people outside the agriculture industry is “the most important conversation that needs to be had.”

Photo Credit: Smith House Photography

With that in mind, Blin shares her love of beauty products and jewelry online and sprinkles in a few posts from the farm.

“People certainly have an interest in our farm and where food comes from, but the general consumer also has a lot of other interests. For me, it’s about connecting with different audiences via those interests,” Blin explains.

She continues, “I love lipstick and makeup. So, as I am talking about my newest favorite shade of lipstick or a new beauty product that I’m trying, it is attracting those who are also interested in that subject matter. We can start to have a dialogue over our favorite brands and products. But at the same time, they’re also going to start to stumble across the fact that I am a farmer.”

Whether she’s sharing on Instagram or hosting a jewelry designing party, Blin is always working to build trust and relationships with women through their common interests. “My hope is that they will remember, ‘Oh that girl that suggested that great lipstick I love, she also lives on a farm. Maybe I can reach out to her and ask my question.’ ”

Blin knows the average farmer may not have a passion for fashion, but she encourages fellow agriculturalists to think of ways they can relate to people less familiar with farming. 

Maybe you enjoy gaming, physical fitness, or cheering on a sports team. You may be involved in church, local politics, or community organizations. Due to the power of the internet and social media, you can even connect with like-minded people without leaving the farm.

“Everybody has some sort of interest beyond agriculture, and that is a group of people we can be connecting with. Then we can start to weave in our agricultural story,” Blin says. 

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