Feb 26, 2010

Calling All Artists, or More than You Ever Wanted to Know On the Subject of Soap Molds

Can you carve? Do you sculpt? Are you a fair hand with clay? Wild Heaven Farm is looking for a sculptor to carve the plug/positive for our new soap molds and it pays in goat milk soap and skin care products.

Soap molds look like large chocolate molds, making between two and five bars per sheet. If you're making a few batches a year for your own use or for gifts, they work perfectly well. If you need to make more than your own body weight in soap each week to stay in business, ladeling molten soap into each individual mold is time consuming. The molds we have now are nice enough. In fact, our shaped bars are part of our claim to fame. But we need new molds. Why? Because I'm hard on them. Like most of my equipment and my beleaguered van, I demand a lot from them. Since I can't wait for soap to decide to come out of the mold on its own, I pop them in the freezer for a bit. Add the pressure I put on each cavity to un-mold the soaps and times the number of days I make soap in a year and you've got a lot of structural fatigue.

Rather than give up and do flat slab bars like a lot of savoniers (and far be it for me to impugn the nature of your trade or profession), we prefer shapes. So if we're going to be making our own molds, why not use our own shape.

Isn't it cute? :)

The plan was conceived for large, tray-style custom molds.
Not only would these molds lend themselves to better "branding", they will last longer than the plastic ones and allow me to make more soap per batch, meaning more soap per hour of my surprisingly limited day.

Having a custom mold made by a company that trades in such things really runs into money. To make it cost effective, you have to be willing and able to purchase several dozen. That means an outlay of about a thousand dollars, for starters. Ouch. No es bueno. So we're going to make our own silicone molds. I've worked with silicone before; it's fun and pretty easy. Mix blue bottle of goop A with magenta bottle of goop B, stir until your arm is burning, and pour around the "plug", the item you want your mold to duplicate.

But there's the rub - no plug. While I can milk a goat like it's nobody's business, I was not blessed with anything remotely resembling artistic skills. That's where you come in.
The plan is to make silicone or rubber molds with a simplified version of our logo (above). We need a local artist or artistic-type person to make us a clay (or whatever medium) representation of this image. The job pays in soaps and skin care products. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned barter.

If you're interested, drop us a line at wildheavenfarm@yahoo.com with the dollar value of product you'd like in exchange if your "plug" is chosen and the amount of product you think is fair if you make one but its not used.

If you're, like me, not an artist, but you know one, please, please, please pass this on or direct them to our Facebook page.

Bye-bye and buy bars.

Feb 25, 2010

The Month that Was: February; plus contest winner!

February simply flew by, one day here and the next gone. Here we are on March 1st, the first day of meteorological spring, looking back on the month that was.

All of my attention was taken up by that baby goats, who at their peak required as many as 34 individual bottles a day. We had a total of ten baby goats born here on the farm, half girls and half boys.

Their names were Nell, Vic, Dolly, Benny, Lori, Hyde, Cotton, Cody, Poppy, and Dex. In honor of this crop of cute kids, we held a contest to guess the theme we used to name the baby goats this year.

And the winner is...(imagine a spirited drumroll right about here)... Blair Neher of Chester. He guessed "prescription drugs" which is certainly close enough to "schedule II narcotics," the actual theme. (While this may seem an odd way to name animals, bear in mind that my husband's had four spinal surgeries over the last ten years, so it's an everyday things for us.) Blair will receive a gift basket, shipped free, containing products of his choice from our complete line.

We also have an honorable mention, who receives a coupon code good for $5 off their next order, Susan Watson for "[a]ccording to the Midwest Historical and [Genealogical] Society, they are the names of people who died in 1995," based solely on the face that I love research and she really worked on it.

Other entries included movie titles, names of soaps, rabbits, references to the movie Avatar (which I didn't see, cuz it stole the name from my favorite cartoon-cum-movie), Robert Louis Stevenson characters, boats, mobsters, Tiger Woods' mistresses, most popular names of a certain decade, and "possibly the names of characters in a book I "read" back in school."

Thanks to everyone who entered. Hopefully, we can do another contest very soon. In the meantime, keep your eyes on our Twitter and/or Facebook page for news of our upcoming referral program, which will reward all of our customers who are kind enough to recommend our products to others.

Feb 21, 2010

Goat Names and Gift Baskets

Another whirlwind kidding season has come and gone. What a month it was. There were days I had to give as many as 34 bottles.* Having three different groups of babies on three different feeding schedules really ties up your day, I'll tell you that for nothing. Now that all of the babies have gone on to their new homes to be pets or future milkers or studs, I can take a breath and dive headlong into soap-making, which I've been dying to start.

All told, we have ten kids, split evenly between bucks and does (that's plural "doe"), which is not bad considering our third year, we only got one girl out of eleven kids. From left to right, their names are Nell, Vic, Dolly, Benny, Lori, Hyde, Poppy, Cody, Cotton and Dex.

Every year, we have a theme when naming the babies. In the past, we've used everything from herbs & spice, to cars, to deadly poisons. This year's theme was ... well, I'm not gonna tell you. :D Wild Heaven Farm is pleased to announce our latest contest "Goat Names and Gift Baskets." If you are the first person to guess the naming theme for 2010, you will receive a gift basket of soaps and skin care products worth at least $20, shipped to you at no charge. Three honorable mentions (close guesses or most creative) will receive a free bar of soap with their next purchase.

To enter, email your guess(es) to wildheavenfarm@yahoo.com or leave them on our Facebook page. It's just that easy! The winner will be announced March 1. Enter as many times as you like, but try to put multiple guess on each email/post just to keep things from getting cluttered. Family members, close friends, and anybody I've already told is not eligible to enter.

*Why do we bottle-feed at all?, you might ask. Taking the kids off their mothers and bottle-feeding allows us to make sure that each and every kids gets all the milk they need, as well as prevents them from getting sick if a doe has mastitis, which is almost a given. Handling the goats so often also makes them very personable and friendly We benefit from the arrangement by being able to re-home the kids sooner, since we need the milk for soap but you can't have milk without babies.

Feb 1, 2010

The month that was: January

What a great start to 2010! Normally, winter is a dreary, dragging-on down-time, but we've been busier here at Wild Heaven Farm than any winter since we started our goat milk soap business. It's been a month of planning and preparation, as well as the launches of some new programs.

Here's the month in review:

"I gave blood; give me soap!" On 1/ , we posted our first-ever downloadable coupon. It's good all year, can be used up to six times and entitles you to a free bar of soap with purchase. The catch? It's only valid when you complete it with a heart-shaped "Be nice to me/I gave blood today" sticker from Virginia Blood Services. Give a pint of blood, lose 450 calories, save three lives, get cookies and Donald Duck orange juice, and get yourself a coupon for a free bar of soap. That's a win times four!

Virginia's only soap CSA That's no exaggeration. We offer the only soap CSA for 500 miles and the only soap CSA in the country that also offers lotion, lip balm, shaving products, baby products and more. If that's not something to shout about, I don't know what is. "But, goat lady, what *is* a CSA?" The answers to all of your questions lie within. If you purchase from us in-person regularly, a CSA share will save you money.

Live Nude Goats! (I can't help it, that's still makes me smile.) Ever wonder what a newborn baby goat looks and acts like? Have you ever seen a full-grown mixed-breed dog clean and nurture newborn triplets? Tune into our live webcam to watch baby goat kids as young as five minutes old in their pen. Even sound asleep, they're disarmingly cute.

Taped before a live studio audience Baby goat cam not broadcasting? No problem. Head over to our new YouTube channel for more adorable footage of the kids.

Looking ahead, February brings more cool news.

Speaking of webcam... How would you like free product or free shipping just for reposting/retweeting a message that the baby goat cam is on?

"You've got to try this soap." We have always been very grateful to customers who pass our products on to their friends and family. Starting February '10, your kindness will be rewarded when we launch our (yet to be named) referral bonus program.

"...and this is my job." So I didn't get on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, I 'm not bitter (much). Follow our Youtube channel to see the raw footage we'd taped to send in to Discovery Channel. (The goat lady who did get on just sent him a bar of soap. Why didn't I think of that!?)

To hear about these and other exciting new programs and events as they happen, follow us on Twitter or become our fan on Facebook.