Janelle Holmstrom, owner of Jangle Soapworks, knows goat milk is not just for cheese.
Holmstrom has been making and selling goat milk soap for five years. She lives with her husband and three children on a five-acre farm outside of Mount Horeb, where they raise and milk their own goats.
The soap business grew from Holmstrom’s interest in natural living. Her barn has no electricity and shares organic garden plots with neighbors. Each spring her family taps its own maple trees to boil syrup.
She describes herself as caught between wanting to live “that quintessential, simple life,” and wanting to keep up with aspects of mainstream culture, like her kids’ basketball and dance practices and orchestra concerts.
Holmstrom purchased her first goat 12 years ago while on a nutritionally motivated quest for raw milk. Now, she keeps five to 12 goats at a time, and names each new kid alphabetically (having started with Alphabella, the leader of the pack). This year, she reached the letter O. She feeds the goats vegetables grown in her own garden; they also eat pumpkin seeds as a natural de-wormer.
Part of the herd that produces the liquid of choice for Jangle’s body care products.
Holmstrom milks the goats each morning. To make soap, she freezes the fresh milk in ice cube trays. Then, she adds sodium hydroxide, or lye, a necessary salt-based chemical, to induce saponification. Saponification is the chemical reaction that transforms the oil, liquid and fat into soap.
After the milk and lye are mixed together, she adds melted fats or oils, such as almond, olive, coconut or canola. Then she adds colors, additives and scents, before pouring the mixture into molds.
Raw liquid soap could actually burn the skin. Soap must be cured over time — and, like wine and cheese, becomes better with age. Curing allows extra water to evaporate, which makes the bar harden and produce more suds and bubbles when used. Holmstrom cures her soaps for at least two months. The ideal time to use soap is six months to a year after it is made.
A main benefit of goat milk soap is that it nourishes as well as exfoliates. The texture itself is smooth, but the enzymes in goat milk help skin cells rejuvenate. Goat milk soap has been helpful for people with dry skin in winter and even for those with chronic skin conditions.
“Beer is [also] a skin nutritive,” says Holmstrom. “Most soap is made with water, but you can actually use any liquid...aloe vera or fruit juices, teas, coffee.”
For her beer soap, Holmstrom mixes beer from New Glarus or the Grumpy Troll breweries with goat milk.
Holmstrom also makes a variety of other natural products, such as body butter, lip balm, deodorant and shaving cream. Each product undergoes a development phase of at least six months. Her latest product is natural laundry detergent.
Jangle Soapworks products are available online and in stores including Grumpy Troll, New Glarus Brewery, Isaac’s Soaps and Antiques in Mount Horeb, Cat and Crow in Mount Horeb, UW Hospital gift shop, and Art and Soul Tattoo Gallery in Middleton. Prices range from $3 to $20.
Jangle Soapworks, janglesoapworks.com