Faith Farms' Goat Milk Soap
Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, according to the Oxford dictionary. Soap making is as much of an art as any other, from painting to woodworking. Skill and imagination are needed to help the product flourish. Behind most art is a belief or emotion—Faith Farms believes having faith and a loving family is the most important part of their products.
Addison and Ashlen, twin creators of Faith Farms, were only 15 years old when they began a petting zoo. The idea was spontaneous among them and their friends; neither of the girls ever imagined it would lead them to their future career in soap making. Before opening their petting zoo, they always tried to convince their parents into letting them get goats, even showing them slideshows on the pros and cons of owning goats. Every time they asked Heather, their mother, she would say, “Over my dead body!” Despite that, Addison and Ashlen eventually—after about 10 years—convinced her. “We were giving one of the talks on farm animals and someone asked if we milked our goats and were like ‘yeah, we do, we drink the milk right now,’” they shared. She joined her daughters in the soap making business.
All too soon, they realized that a petting zoo was very difficult to manage. Several times, they had been asked if they’d tried making soap with goat’s milk, which they hadn't even thought about. “We decided to just make one batch, we youtube’d recipes and just made up our own.” Soon, they gathered up what they needed, and made their first batch of soap. There was a lot of trial and error in their soap recipes, but the twins sold out quickly. Soon Addison and Ashlen got requests to make lotions, lip butter, and more. “We started trying new scents and people started suggesting… It just went on.” With this new business in front of them, the petting zoo was already in the past.
The goats are raised by the family, along with two non-goat friends that live with them too, Beau and Cotton. These two Great Pyrenees dogs love their family and their friends. They guard the goats, but also have a soft side, unlike the prior guard donkeys. “I have heard that this is the only breed of dog that has never been reported to have bitten a human,” Heather, Addison and Ashlen’s mom, shared. Their behavior rubbed off on one of the goats, Bella. Despite being a goat, Bella acts just like a dog. She, along with Faun, are the daughters of another one of Faith Farms goats, Claire. Cocoa, another one of the goats, isn’t related to those three, but she is just as close. The goat milk for the soap mainly comes from Claire. They recently got a little buck named Jed and are expecting to have bouncing baby goats in early spring.
The soaps are made from coconut oil, raw goat milk, cocoa butter, lye, and fragrance oil(in scented soaps). These are the only ingredients, and they believe that simple can be a whole lot better than a long list of confusing ingredients. The coconut oil, goat milk, and cocoa butter are very nourishing to the skin. The gentle ingredients provide a soothing cleanse. The goat milk contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are beneficial to healthy skin. A common misconception is that lye soaps are harsh and unsafe, but when lye soap is properly made it is gentle and will not harm you. Saponification is the gradual process of a lye base and oils turning into pure, safe soap. Addison realized that making soap is like being saved by God: our sins, like the lye, are caustic, but when formed into a bar of soap, it is pure and clean.
The soap making process is different at Faith Farms because it starts with milking goats. The milk is then frozen into ice cube trays to measure it and make sure the lye doesn’t get too hot. The frozen goat milk is then combined with lye. The mixture is then added to a heated pot of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and fragrances. The oils are heated within 10 degrees of the lye mixture so that they combine properly. They are mixed until there is a medium trace. A trace being how thick the soap is. A light trace is like a thin batter, the medium is when you can see where the blender stick came out, and thick like pudding. After the right trace is reached, it is poured into PVC molds and left to harden for a couple of days. The soap is removed, sliced into bars, then left to cure (harden) for 4-6 weeks.
About a year ago, Addison and Ashlen’s brother, Austin, built a wall in their garage to create a soap making room. The room has made the output of products much more efficient. “In the kitchen, we could make five lotion bars, but now we can make twenty at a time,” Ashlen said.
Their products that don’t contain goat milk are also great for your skin. A swatch of a lotion bar makes skin healthy and hydrated. The lip butter’s light, silky texture keeps chapped lips at bay. For a soothing bath, their bath fizzes are essential! They received a message about how their lemongrass lotion helped a child with a mosquito allergy enjoy an outdoor family reunion. Hearing about how products have helped people is one of their favorite parts of what they do. Mom-Mom, Addison and Ashlen’s grandmother, was the one who read that message, she said, “When you get a testimonial like that, it’s the most fulfilling.”
They recently opened a mobile shop to sell their products anywhere, not just select stores and farmer's markets. It started as a camper that Austin renovated. The inside, which was a “70s explosion,” was completely redone and turned into their store. They feature different local businesses’ products to promote buying local. They are all eager for this step forward in their own business and expanding their market.
The future of Faith Farms is bright, and one to look forward to. Along with two new additions to the family, comes a time for Addison and Ashlen to share their passions with their children. Every step in their journey has further fortified the idea of “Faith. Farm. Family.”
You can visit their website at www.faithfarmsgms.com.