Alumnus Produces Goat Milk Soap for Fun and Profit
Martha Fix Enriquez '82 Demonstrates Soap Production for Agriculture Class
November 3, 2011
(ABOVE) Martha Enriquez and her mother, Patty Fix, demonstrate the making of goat milk soap for an agriculture class. (BELOW) Pictured are samples of her soaps she shared with the class.
When Martha Fix Enriquez joined her mother in making goat milk soap from their animals’ excess milk production, she couldn’t have believed it would evolve into a cottage industry in which she would supply the massive Cincinnati Jungle Jim’s store with the unique product.
Enriquez, a 1982 Wilmington College graduate in agriculture, returned to her alma mater Nov. 2 to speak to agriculture professor Harold Thirey’s Meat Science class about finding a niche as an agricultural entrepreneur with her business, Pine Lane Soaps.
She and her mother, Patty Fix, demonstrated how to make the increasingly popular product.
Enriquez explained that most popular brands of soap are comprised essentially of equal parts water, lye and oils, along with preservatives. Enriquez replaces the water component with goat’s milk. The oils include olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, shea butter, botanicals and fragrance oils.
She doesn’t use preservatives, as her popular soaps typically are used long before preservatives would be of any use. Since goat’s milk has a high fat content, her soap possesses especially effective moisturizing properties.
“It’s good for people with dry or sensitive skin,” she said, noting she packages the soap in colorful open-ended wrappers that allow the fragrances to find their way to one’s olfactory sensors. Lemongrass, lavender, lime, peppermint, honeysuckle, chocolate, rose pedal and cinnamon roll constitute many of the samples she shared with Thirey’s class.
“The soap smell sells it,” she added. “People like it because it smells good and feels good.”
Initially, Enriquez shared the soap with her family; then she brought it to her workplace, where the reaction was so favorable that she, her mother and sister increased the quantity to where, today, they produce 192 bars a week. That’s their maximum output with the labor-intensive product, plus she works at another part-time job with the Clermont County Health Dept.
After obtaining the milk from their 18 Toggenburg and Saanen breed goats, they mix the milk, lye and oils for nearly an hour before adding the fragrance. The soap is cured for a month in which the mixture transforms into glycerin and the product is ready for use.
Enriquez said all profits are returned to her farm in Batavia in the form of feed for the animals and other farm expenses. In addition to Jungle Jim’s, Pine Lane Soaps can be purchased at specialty shops throughout southwest Ohio, online at <pinelanesoaps.com> and, during the holiday season, at Wilmington College’s Agriculture Department office.