Printer Friendly

Soap-making class leads to small business venture.

We started our farm back in 2009, after I gained interest in herbs and living/healing naturally. I was enrolled in an herbalist school through Clayton College of Natural Health online classes, and took a strong liking to the natural beauty products. Everyone always asks us "How did you get started making soap though?" To answer this question you must first know a bit about my morn, Cindy, and my childhood.

My sister and I were raised learning to live off the land and work in our parents' huge gardens and on their farm. My parents ventured into every aspect of living naturally including their own little apiary of bees. Morn was always trying new things, from making bee's wax candles, to new ketchup recipes, and even soap making (which at the time we all teased her about because soap was only $1 in the store). Needless to say, life is a full circle, and now as an adult I see why she had such an interest in making everything naturally vs. buying it in the store. There are no harsh chemicals, you know exactly what is in your products, and you can enjoy them to their fullest.

While I was enrolled in school, I got in contact with a woman in Wisconsin who raised her own goats and was teaching a very informal class on making soap. I asked my morn (who has been making soap for years) if she wanted to see how goat milk soap was made, and she agreed it would be a fun class. We left from our class with the "seed planted," and ideas spinning about how we could make goat milk soap, but differently and better. After our first failed soap attempt we kept at it, and throughout the years have mastered our own techniques and reformatted several recipes to create what we feel is our best product yet. From creating and reviewing recipes we have also ventured into natural oil soaps as well as lip balms, etc. This new venture has proven a fun experience and one that we hope you can enjoy as much as we have.



Soap making is incredibly rewarding. I can only explain it as the same feeling you get when you remodel a room; it's a lot of work, but you get instant results and gratification. My favorite part of soap making is exploring how to "recreate the wheel." Everyone thinks soap is soap. Not so! To a soap maker, this is far from the truth. Every batch of soap we make is hand crafted, so no two bars are identical. Each batch is an experiment of your minds' endless limits. One of our latest and greatest creations is adding natural bronze-colored mica to our soaps to create a subtle bronzing bar. Also, we just finished a batch of soaps that have been quite popular: Loofah Soap. The organic loofah is placed in our tubular soap mold and we actually pour the soap into the loofah so that when the bar is cut, the loofah is embedded into the bar of soap. Ideas like these keep us motivated, and our customers keep coming back for more.

As rewarding as soap making can be, it can also be frustrating. As I mentioned, every batch of soap is different. This means all the factors you're working with to create the soap are different as well. Making soap is temperamental for many reasons. Anyone who has ever tried to make soap can relate, and for those of you who haven't, here is your opportunity to learn from some of our mistakes.

Temperature is key when producing any kind of soap. By this I mean the outside temperature, the temperature of your oils, the temperature you mix at for soponification, etc. Temperature is the number one factor in determining a good batch of soap. Through many trial and error attempts, we've been able to pinpoint exact temperatures for mixing our soap otis, and also key room temperatures to get the soap to set or harden correctly. Many other factors can play into whether your batches turn out; some include measurements, consistencies, and even additives. We had one batch of soap turn completely lumpy on us due to the fragrance we chose to add to it. It turns out the fragrance wasn't conducive to a cold process soap and ruined our batch to the point where Morn and I were showering with aloe scented soap scraps for months! (No soap ever goes to waste.) You must have an immense amount of patience when you make any sort of health/ beauty product. Hats off to anyone who has attempted it!

From our experiences with soap making we've been able to make some great connections with our community, and continue to learn and expand our business off of our customers' feedback. We've branched out Goatin' Crazy Farms' products to include natural lip balms, dish soaps that contain lotion, and goat milk lotions. We try to keep all of our products natural and base most of our ideas off of this concept. "Natural" remains important to us even in our packaging and marketing techniques. All of our products are packaged simply with a small tag made out of recycled paper, and often a bow, or piece of fabric to fasten it. We want to sell a great natural product, not a great package. This technique can appear simple to our Internet buyers on Etsy and also our website, but it's hard to sell soap or any scented/flavored items without smelling them. However, we want people to like our product and be repeat customers, so we stick with what works. Once they try our products they will be back for more.

Future endeavors for Goatin' Crazy Farms are already in the works. We've found our path of natural products has lead us to see the fun and opportunities in all sorts of things. Earlier this year we finished creating our website: www. and this has proven to be a great means for us to communicate with our customers, and keep them up-to-date on what's happening with our blogs. We also joined Etsy and are adding items to our site weekly at: GoatinCrazyFarms. We're hoping to appeal to a nationwide, or even international market. The limits are endless at this point, and the ideas and feedback from our customers has been positive. As long as we continue to pour our hearts into something customers and we love, we'll keep producing.

Contact Lynn at: PO Box 101, Waverly, MN 55390;;



COPYRIGHT 2012 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:The homestead kitchen
Author:Volk, Lynn
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Dec 27, 2011
Previous Article:Adventure & misadventures in yogurt making.
Next Article:The difference between essential oils. (The homestead kitchen).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters