I don’t know about you, but 2020 has certainly taken a toll on my hands! With such frequent (and important) hand washing and sanitizing, my skin has felt so dry, even with the summer humidity a few months ago. That all changed when I tried the Rapha Farms goat milk soap featured in several of our gift sets. My hands felt soft and nourished afterwards - noticeably better than when I use the foam soaps that I keep at home.
Our founder, Laura, made a visit out to Rapha Farms a few weeks ago in preparation for the holiday season, so it felt like a perfect time to learn more about the brand (and barnyard animals) behind this impressive product.
The Journey of Rapha Farms
Rapha Farms is a 4.5 acre homestead west of the Twin Cities, led by a dynamic mother-daughter duo, Karen and Sarah. After learning that her daughter aspired to be a farmer at the age of 12, Karen supported her dream by allowing her to accept a goat offered to her by generous family friends. After a few years, their original goats gave birth to four babies, and they decided to move to acreage for additional space to expand their herd.
Although they were using the goat milk to drink at the time, it was a twist of fate that ultimately got them into soapmaking. Karen was having a terrible day; goats were getting loose, she was stressed about finances, her then husband was planning to quit his job. Feeling helpless, she prayed, asking for a stable income source. A week later and without any possible understanding as to why, their milk turned extremely goaty, leaving her with 8 gallons that were unbearable to drink. She could not make sense of it, and turned to Google for other alternative uses. The answer was clear: make soap.
She whipped up her first batch and gave it away to friends and family a month later. To her surprise, every single person expressed amazing skin improvements. Her niece was elated she was able to wash her face without breaking out. Another person had a bad case of eczema completely heal. With such positive feedback and encouragement, Karen and Sarah decided to take a leap of faith and began Rapha Farms to bring this wondrous product to others.
What makes goat milk so unique and ideal for soap?
The benefits of our products all revolve around how they help skin. Goat milk has lactic acid, which is a natural exfoliant. Soap made with goat milk naturally strips away dead skin, leaving behind a softer new layer of skin. Because of this, goat milk soap helps with eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dry skin.
How do you manage the business as a mother-daughter duo?
Sarah and I have a unique relationship. First, she is an amazing kid that is just easy in many ways. Sarah had brain cancer when she was just 8 years old, and that dramatically changed how I parented her. I've spent many years protecting Sarah, and now at 17 I'm trying to pull back as we navigate dating, driving and the business.
I homeschool Sarah, so I'm able to pick homeschool classes that will help her with business skills. I've started Sarah on some basic tasks for Rapha Farms, and as she masters those, I add in new tasks. I leave her alone to run our booth by herself for short periods of time, so I am gradually having her do more and more. We are both pretty extroverted, so I think what we both like the best is working at the same time on different tasks with music blasting, with lots of joking going on. She is a very hard worker.
How has your business changed this year, as we've been navigating the pandemic?
COVID-19 has definitely affected us. I was starting to use enough plastic bottles by the end of 2019 to place a bulk order from overseas. My order was manufactured as soon as China was coming out of lockdown, so when no one could find a bottle in March, I had 4,000 bottles delivered to my door. We sold a ton of hand sanitizer in the spring, and we put a soap sample in each order, which helped boost soap sales on our website. Overall, the pandemic has made people look seriously at supporting local businesses, and we can tell! It means the world to us.
Tell us about the scents featured in Minny & Paul gift sets!
Our Orange soap has a fresh citrus scent that I just love in my kitchen. The Black Amber was one of our first soaps and is loved by both men and women with its earthy scents.
Stay Tuned & Shop
Follow Karen and Sarah’s journey (and see more adorable goat content) via the Rapha Farms website and Instagram. You can also snag a bar for yourself or someone special in your life in one of the following gift sets: