I can still remember trying to keep track of my three young children in the Walmart aisle. I was reading the back of every lotion, balm and salve on the shelf looking for something that would help my poor husband. He was working overtime in the ICU as an RN. Hand sanitizer had to be applied going in and out of every room, every 15 minutes…12 hours a day…5 days a week. Sandpaper was silkier than his hands. The cracks in them were deep, they hurt, they bled, and nothing I could find helped. I sighed and put one more product back on the shelf. I just needed and answer.
My answer came in the form of a suggestion from an older woman just a few days later. One look at my husband’s ghastly looking hands and she turned to me, “You guys raise goats right? You need to make some of that goat milk soap, it will fix those hands.” Yeah right, I thought as I smiled dismissively. We’ve tried everything, nothing works. About 4:00 AM the next morning when my husband left for another shift, I started scrolling through the internet. Turns out there are a lot of skin benefits to be had in goat milk soap. More research lead me to a simple DIY recipe for goat milk soap. I ordered the supplies, kicked the kids and husband out of the house (just in case I messed up and blew up the house) and made three tiny bars of soap. They weren’t the prettiest bars of soap, but the house and all living creatures survived my experiment. I set it on the shelf to cure (as the recipe stated) and waited.
Just a few short weeks later I handed my “creation” to my husband. He eyed it as if it were a snake that might bite him (yes, it was that ugly) but he agreed to try it. Within two weeks of using his new soap he came to me with hands that were no longer bleeding. Pink skin filled in the deep cracks. After a month, even the white dry flakes were gone. I couldn’t believe it. I made several more batches and the entire family started using it, we were in for an even bigger surprise.
Our youngest child had battled eczema, bad enough that at one point her pediatrician put her on steroids. A few weeks after we started using the goat milk soap on the entire family I noticed she wasn’t scratching as much. Wondering if it was a fluke, we started doing some research. What we found indicated that the chemicals not only in soap but shampoo and laundry soaps can cause everything from asthma, to dry skin and make conditions like psoriasis and eczema worse. We ransacked the house tossing out every chemical laden product we could. Which left me charged with the task of creating alternatives for our family.
Aluminum-laden deodorants were replaced with natural deodorant, goat milk laundry soap replaced carcinogen laced laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets, herbal salve stepped in where petroleum based ointments were, even my favorite candle needed to be replaced with a clean burning phthalate-free alternative.
It wasn’t long before realized it wasn’t just us who needed these things. Friends and family started asking us to make some for them. As word spread, so did the product line. The soaps were reformulated to offer the maximum benefits with more goat milk than any other bar. We chose not to use any GMO products or palm oil to eliminate those negative environmental impacts. We also worked to formulate a rich lather and hard, long lasting bar. Above all, it needed to be natural! We chose to use essential oils and herbs in place of any dyes, pigments, or fragrances for our soaps and worked hard to find phthalate-free fragrances for our candles.
The adventure is far from over as we continue to look for natural solutions and provide quality products to people who are looking for answers. What started with three goats and three ugly bars of soap has grown into something we never could have imagined when someone suggested we turn a little goat milk into soap.
Batches of soap started flying to friends and family. Eventually I started taking the soap to a local animal swap outside of a Tractor Supply and one farmers market. Six months into this experiment and I had to call my husband for help. Between raising the goats and the kids, making the soap and selling the soap, I finally had too much work for one person. My husband knew one of us needed to quit our job, but it seemed ridiculous to ask my husband to quit the higher paying (for sure) job so I could continue soap making.
After much thought, prayer, and advice from trusted mentors, the decision was made that David would cut down to 1 day per week at the hospital. Just enough to maintain a license, but definitely not enough to keep our family finances in order if the soap didn’t take off. This decision was a critical moment. My husband describes it this way:
As a business major, I know the failure rate for a startup soap company. But for some reason God kept asking me to trust Him completely by letting go of my security and working side by side with my wife. I struggled with letting go until God asked me one critical question:
“Who has free reign over your life – you…or Me?”
I turned to God and told him the only way we would survive this transition is if He carried us all the way. If we were to make a living through soap making, it would only be because God made it possible and brought enough people our way to try our soap.
The name of our farm is a testimony to this decision – at Free Reign Farm, everything you see is a result of allowing God to have free reign over every decision we make.
So the first farmers market my husband went to, he came back with a total of $50. We always sold the soaps at a price we personally would pay, which left very little profit margin in that market. But I turned to my husband and told him whether God blessed us with little or much, whatever he provides will be enough for us to survive. I think this was a great test of my husband’s faith – would he trust God even if the numbers didn’t add up at first? But we have since called this phenomena “God math” – it doesn’t make sense on paper, but somehow all of your needs are met.
We hope you enjoyed our story and encourage you to allow God to control your life even more than He does now.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:14-19
Disclaimer: this article is intended to be informational and biographical in content and is not intended to be used as medical advice. All medical decisions should be made using the advice of your medical professional. The FDA has not reviewed or approved statements regarding the efficacy of any listed products or ingredients to treat or diagnose or cure any disease or medical conditions.