Sunday, May 19, 2019

Selling Goat’s Milk by-products to pay for College

By Kyra Nichols – Zumbrota FFA

Beth Ann Hanson, from the Medford FFA chapter, makes and sells natural products from goat’s milk. She grew up on a small, diversified farm. When she was in 5th grade she learned how to make soap from goat’s milk with her mom. This first step would lead her to an immense proficiency project in the near future.

Beth Ann had grown up watching her brother and mother make soap from goat’s milk. It had sparked an interest in her at a young age, so she decided to make it her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) when she joined FFA. Beth Ann’s SAE relates to Agriculture Sales Entrepreneurship as she produces her own goat by-products and sells them.

After learning to make natural soaps, Beth Ann soon began to make and sell them on her own in 2014. She started out with three scents: rosemary, peppermint and lavender. An oatmeal soap was also offered as a natural exfoliation. She realized that she wanted this to keep expanding, so in 2015 she purchased dried herb leaves and rose petals to make her product more unique. This expanded her customer base, which led her down a whole new path. With more customers, meant more demand, including a demand for lotion.

Beth Ann researched continuously to find a recipe for goat’s milk lotion but found it difficult to find one that did not spoil easily and was all-natural. Thankfully, this did not stop her. She then teamed up with a chemist to create a recipe that would work. The first prototypes were created in July of 2015, but she waited to sell them for a year to ensure proper shelf life.

Beth Ann uses brochures to educate consumers about her product and increase sales for Whispering Creek Farms. These brochures include every ingredient, and what they can do for your skin. The brochures also include positive customer testimonials. She has found that about 75 percent of her customer base is returning customers. She currently sells her products at local farmers markets, two craft shows and a hair salon. Beth Ann has also found it to be very helpful to have samples out at shows. These samples help prove that her product is worth the money, that it does not leave a greasy film on your skin and to show what it smells like. She uses a pump bottle for this so that customers can help themselves. She has explored different social media platforms, Facebook and Snapchat, to promote her product for free.

She now has 25 soap options and 10 lotion scents to sell. Beth Ann plans on expanding her business as long as it is profitable to help pay for her college tuition. She is inspired to keep doing this due to the positive feedback given by customers. She plans to expand by listening to her customer's needs and their positive experiences shared. She emphasizes the importance of what is being absorbed into your body. Her long-term plan is to earn a degree from Dakota County Technical College in early childhood and youth development and transfer those credits to a four-year school to finish her degree.

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