Goat Milk Soap Before It Was Cool

Toddler with goat in barnyard.

Long ago, in a land far away – verily, as long ago as 1986 in Portland, Oregon – we used to have these places called malls where people would go shopping. They were like a huge farmer’s market but where people sold all kinds of things, from Cabbage Patch dolls to Jordache jeans, and they sold it every day (except some places wouldn’t sell on Sundays, like Christian Supply).

My favorite store to visit was Crabtree and Evelyn because you could smell it from a mile away and the soaps and perfumes and sachets were just so…pretty! Even as a six year old kid I insisted on going in to look every time we were at the mall. And one day, when my mom and I were ogling and smelling the wares, she picked up a bar of goat milk soap. I remember vividly the black and white etching of a goat, done in a 19th century style, on the box. And she said “this is the best soap in the world. It’s so luxurious and it just makes your skin feel so good.”

I was a suburban kid and barely knew a goat from a cow from a giraffe, but I never forgot that goat milk soap was “the best soap in the world.” And I had just started getting an allowance, and Christmas was coming, and that bar of soap was just within my means.

That year and every year after, as I was growing up, my mom got a bar of goat milk soap for Christmas (in retrospect I sure hope she meant it when she said she liked it, but her reaction on those Christmas mornings as she unwrapped my gift is beyond my acting ability as a mother, so I assume it was authentic).

Fast forward to adulthood when I was making a bit more pocket money and my gifts became a bit more sophisticated – after a while I forgot goat milk soap. Malls sort of went by the wayside, too. They existed but many of them closed, online shopping became more common, and becoming a busy working adult who generally avoids crowds mostly ended my mall shopping experiences. As I remember Crabtree and Evelyn I’m kind of taking a moment to mourn the mall shopping experience. Online shopping sure is convenient but it’s also awfully sterile and impersonal. There’s no place there for my mom and I to share a moment over a bar of goat milk soap. And my mom is also gone (as I’m writing this, it’s the 16th anniversary of her passing).

I have five kids of my own now, we live in the middle of Dairyland, Wisconsin, we rarely visit a mall. But a year into our living here…we bought goats. At the time it was to meet our family’s need for unprocessed A2 dairy, but then a friend asked for a little milk so she could make soap. Goat milk soap. And I remembered that goat milk soap is “the best soap in the world.” I said, “hey, would you teach me to make that?” (Thanks, Val!)

Now I’m the owner of a small goat milk soap company, so I no longer have to go to Crabtree and Evelyn to purchase soap! I can go into my own soap studio, attached to my little 1920 farmhouse, and sniff any bar I want. I designed these bars myself, with the ingredients and fragrances that seem the most perfect to me. When my customers ask for something, I can happily meet their needs. My kids definitely know a goat from a cow from a giraffe (unlike suburban six year old me), and they 100% take it for granted that goat milk soap is the best. We know lots of goat milk soap sellers, too, so they probably just think goat milk soap is…soap.

Which is as it should be. Healthy, high quality soap should be the norm, not something you have to buy at a specialty store in the mall. And while I might somewhat mourn the passing of the in-person shopping experience of the mall, the farmer’s markets we sell at are even better places to shop, and online shopping makes great soap available far and wide (even to people like me who are too busy to shop and who hate crowded malls!).

Have you tried goat milk soap yet? My mama was right – it is “the best soap in the world.”

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.