I have dairy goats. These cute, fun, lovable creatures. I discovered them back in 2003 I think when I travelled to some conference with some other agriculturally oriented co-workers. I was lamenting that I'd never really had any productions animals - pigs were too messy, cows too big and I didn't have enough land, equipment or desire to raise a herd or flock of anything for slaughter.
Then a co-worker says - "what about dairy goats?" I had never heard of such a creature - tell me more! I took the damn dairy elective with my Animal Science major at Colorado State University, a VERY well known Ag school.
My sweet husband and I went on a little goat adventure each weekend - we milked goats, bottle fed goats, watched goats shown at goat shows... we toured large goat dairies where they make cheese, we ate goat cheese, we drank goat milk... each weekend we tried something different and researched the heck out of housing, care, vaccinations, kidding etc.
(this pix is not my dairy herd - I just wanted to show all you city folk some nice lookin' udders/milkers, these Alpine does come from Olentangy Alpines and they were the first farm I came across on the internet with a picture for you)
Goats are so manageable - I suppose you could find a way to get hurt by a goat but I showed a Holstein dairy heifer for extra credit while in college and that thing nearly kicked my fool head off! A cow kick to the head could be a life altering event. Dairy goats don't really seem to do that kind of thing.
Well now we have five goats - four does and one buck. We have these goats and I get such a kick out of everything involving them but they cost money. Each mouth equals more hay, more grain, and vet bills. I've been trying to think of a way they could earn their keep ever since we bought them.
We sell the kids (babies) each spring and that certainly helps but the babies don't bring in a lot because I don't do the goat showing circuit. They are "unproven" I guess even tho' thier sires and dams come from show herds and I have nice, quality animals. People don't want to spend money on something that isn't proven I guess.
It seemed there had to be more I could do. I can't sell milk or cheese to the public for drinking or eating unless I'm a grade A dairy and becoming a grade A dairy is MUCH more than I'm willing to take on. I still have a day job.
I don't spend a lot of time promoting my does at shows. I want to spend my weekends at home riding my horses, playing with my husband, working on projects around the house... the show world just isn't my "thing".
Well I attended the American Dairy Goat Assoc. convention this past summer. It was held right here in Ft. Collins and why not go when it's in my own backyard? I learned a lot about soap and lotion making. I've been making soaps and giving them as gifts at Christmas but I learned more about that process and I learned how to make lotion. For whatever reason, a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought - why can't I sell these things? I went to a craft fair in November to test the waters. My products were really well recieved. I sold out of my lotions.
Christmas was CRAZY getting orders out and I do have people coming back for more but for the most part things have slowed way down. That is o.k. because I plan on working with a graphic designer to really tighten up and professionalize my packaging. I don't want to go promote the heck out of something and then have it change appearance. Consistancy is the name of the game with branding and people recognizing YOUR product.
Once I have my branding down, I'm going to take it to some stores and pitch it. Who knows what will happen? Worst thing I figure is that they laugh and say no right?
I took my product to Sally Ann to try - she runs a styling salon and I figure she is a professional, she's in this business, she comes across beauty products all day long, every day. She said she'd try it. She called me up and told me how incredible my lotion is! Said it is a REALLY nice product and she'd carry it in her store.
That is pretty exciting - I can't wait to meet with my graphic designer for the packaging and branding.
Well the sun is shining and it's 55 degrees... my arse is itchin' to hit the leather of my saddle...