PJ Jonas is a business owner, goat-wrangler, entrepreneur, and mother. After getting goats to provide healthy milk for her eight children, she decided to put some excess milk into a batch of handmade soap. That decision was the beginning of Goat Milk Stuff, a growing goat milk products business that has been featured on The Today Show, The Doctors, The Huckabee Show, and in the Oprah Magazine.
What started with an initial small batch of soap has expanded into a host of goat milk items such as goat milk soaps, cheeses, candies, fudge, gelato and more which they sell at the family farm and online.
PJ Jonas had gotten goats for the family because she wanted a healthier lifestyle, and wanted her family to be able to drink raw milk. Buying and selling raw milk is legal in some states, but not in every state. In Indiana where they were living, buying it was not legal so, she decided to get her own goats.
They made cheese, and fudge, and candy. Never made soap initially. Then one day, with all the children in the bathtub, she picked up the baby wash that she'd always used, and looked at the ingredient list appalled to find that it was filled with chemicals that she didn't want to use on her kids' skin. She said
“That's it. I'm gonna learn how to make my own soap.
” What happened was, when I made the soap and put it in the shower, my husband's fingers stopped cracking and splitting. That was a problem he had had for years, that we hadn't been able to solve so, that was kind of my, “Ah-ha” moment, that, “Wow. I really have something here and this is something I can do something with.” So, that was kind of how the initial thought to Goat Milk Stuff kind of came about, was from that one experience. But, as far as starting an online business, I named the company, Goat Milk Stuff because, that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to make all sorts of stuff with goat milk.”
The Jonas family started the soap portion of the business in 2008, and then the food stuff in 2015. They knew that the internet was going to be the friendliest version, being that in spite of demands of the family, they could still run the internet business.
PJ shared that the hard part about growing a business is to make sure you're keeping up with your quality control while you're growing. That's something that a lot of people kind of lose sight of as their business gets bigger, and they're dealing with all the new systems that they have to put into place. It's important to say, “okay. No. Now that it's bigger, now that we have this much more volume, let's take a fresh look and see how we can do this in a more efficient and more cost effective manner.”
Goat Milk Stuff first advertised by of word of mouth. Early on they decided to do a craft show. So, they took all of the soap to a craft show and sold some but, the main goal was to collect people's email addresses and to give out free samples of the soap to everyone at this event. That following week, they started getting phone call after phone call, from people who had used the sample, and absolutely loved it.
The affirmation that they were changing people's lives came in the form of calls from moms who had children with eczema. They began getting calls that, oh my gosh, their eczema's gone, they're not itching, they're not scratching, how do I get more of this soap?
If you look at GoatMilkStuff.com, you'll see all over their site, testimonials of people that have used their product(s) and love it.
When you're talking about online, it's a little scary at times for people to try something, especially something as personal as soap. So, to have that customer feedback really makes a difference for people new to the product.
The Jonas family never sat down and formally created a vision or mission statement. Goat Milk Stuff was a natural outflow of the way they were living. It was all developed out of stuff that they wanted for their family so, it was more just a matter of understanding their target customer.
PJ describes her target customer as “someone who wants to live more naturally, who wants to give healthier products to their children, who doesn't trust all the chemicals, and all the mass produced stuff out there. I would never sell something that I won't use myself, or I won't use on my children, or feed my children.”
“One of the things that's really important to me is, that my children display honesty and integrity, and because they are so involved in Goat Milk Stuff, everything we do is completely above board. You know? It's not something that we try and take shortcuts, or do anything because, they're watching, and they need to know that you do it right, even when it might cost you extra time, it might cost you extra money, you do the right thing.”
To PJ, being successful is, seeing her children grow into the kind of adults that are making her proud.
PJ would much rather have less stuff and have no debt, and have an emergency fund available, and be saving money for retirement, over any of those artificial trappings the rest of the world identifies as success.
For the people who are struggling in creating their own business she says:
First, do you have the right values and the right priorities? Are you valuing that outside stuff or are you valuing the internal stuff and the peace that's much more important? If you are valuing the correct stuff and you're still struggling, it takes time. It just takes time.
We kind of have this myth of the overnight success, right? You see people who, you know, “Wow, look at them. Everything worked so well, and they became successful so quickly.” You don't see all those years and years of struggle, and hard work, and all the grunt work that led and prepped up to that success. Sometimes it just takes time.
Be sure to visit GoatMilkStuff.com to get your free bar of soap from them. If you are local in Indiana, you want to go by and visit them!
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Get a free bar of soap (you pay shipping) at GoatMilkStuff.com
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