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Barn Boss | December 2023

By Cheryl Kepes

Photos courtesy Brandee Severtson

Brandee Severtson launches custom apparel business that caters to the livestock industry.

If someone would have told Brandee Severtson three years ago about the life she would be living today, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t believe them. A handful of years ago, Brandee was running her massage therapy business and enjoying her grandkids in Minnesota.

Now her life looks completely different, but equally rewarding. Brandee works side-by-side her significant other, Dean Volk, at his cattle operation in Butler, Mo. In May, she started her own custom T-shirt design business and boutique. “I would have never imagined it, but I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like for some reason this was supposed to happen in my life, and I am 100 percent going with it,” Brandee Severtson shared.

Cattle Connection

After an introduction by a mutual friend two and a half years ago, Brandee and Dean have forged ahead in life and business. “I met him, and we really hit it off and I kind of really fell in love with his cattle and thought that he was okay too,” Brandee lightheartedly joked.

Though Brandee didn’t have a background in the livestock industry, it didn’t take long for her to make a strong connection with the Simmental and SimAngus cattle gracing the pastures at Volk Livestock. “I just really got into the whole love of cattle, and it has blossomed from there,” Brandee explained. “I jumped in with both feet and helped him a lot with his cattle operation.”

The couple relocated Volk Livestock from Nebraska to Missouri in November of 2022. Volk Livestock specializes in producing Simmental and SimAngus cattle that are competitive in the show ring. Additionally, Dean and Brandee travel the country to torch cattle hair and trim feet.

Barn Boss Boutique

Due to the long stretches of time Brandee and Dean are on the road for work, she wanted to find a way to drum up additional income yet have a flexible schedule. After contemplating various ideas, she landed on a custom T-shirt and apparel business called Barn Boss Boutique. “I wanted to do something that generated income outside of cattle, but I didn’t want to be away from home,” Brandee said.

The name for the business stems from the nickname she has acquired from the time she spends breaking weaned calves and working with Volk Livestock show cattle. “The whole name behind Barn Boss Boutique is, Dean always joked about the fact that I was his show barn boss because I took care of the cattle in the show barn. So, that is how I came up with the Barn Boss Boutique name,” Brandee stated.

Starting the Business

Before launching the business, Brandee poured time into finding all the information required for startup, design, and execution. “It has been a lot of research. There is a lot more to it than I thought there would be. You don’t just buy a heat press and make a T-shirt,” Brandee said.

The laborious amount of research paved a smooth path for the fledgling operation. “I haven’t run into anything that has been a big struggle. I think a lot of that has to do with when we first decided to do this, I sat for hours and researched and researched. And I think that helped,” Brandee shared.

Growing the Business

Brandee operates the business out of her basement. She takes custom orders for T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other promotional items. Ranchers, farmers, sports teams, businesses, and organizations reach out with specific design requests and Brandee brings their ideas to life. She also works with agricultural producers to come up with unique, customized items they can give to people who attend their sales or visit their operations.

Future Plans

While her focus is squarely on growing the custom promotional items and apparel sector of Barn Boss Boutique, expansion plans are already in the works. Currently, Brandee is creating an online boutique where she sells clothes, handbags, and accessories.

After the online boutique is in full swing, the next step is to take it on the road. When Brandee and Dean travel to cattle shows, eventually she would like to bring a pop-up boutique to sell her inventory. But for now, the business plan is to focus primarily on the custom promotional items while growing the other portions of Barn Boss Boutique.

Though it may seem as if Brandee has taken on many new roles and ventures in recent years, there’s still one more priority in play. “If I am going to do all the work in the show barn then I think I should be able to show the cattle at the shows. My project this winter is to learn everything I need to learn to be able to show a cow,” Brandee shared. And that friends, was spoken like a true barn boss.

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