Q+A with Lone Goat Soap
It was an instagram shot of freshly harvested bunches of lavender drying in the early summer light that got me. I had to know more about this local soap-crafter who was cooking up soaps with edible organic fresh ingredients. Meet Lone Goat Soap.
1. Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Victoria. I pretty much have the same story as any other person from Ontario living in BC; came out west right after high school to play in the mountains for just one year, fell in love with BC and haven’t looked back since. It’s been 6 years now for me. I have been in Pemberton for 3 of those years and can’t see myself living anywhere else. I love our sleepy quaint farm town.
2. Where did you learn to handcraft soap?
I was visiting my mom in Ontario this past winter and she had just taken this soap-making class through the local library. She came back from the class so inspired and excited about soap. She was so impressed with the lady who held the class that we went to her shop the next day to check it out. I was a bit skeptical at first but once I got there, my feelings instantly changed. This soapmaker was so enthusiastic and passionate about her craft and so willing to pass it along. I did a class with her and was instantly hooked. At first I started making it at home just for fun and experimenting, but it slowly developed into a small business as friends became interested in what I was making.
3. What inspired/motivated that? Was it a political/toxic beauty kind of thing? Or is soap just the funnest thing ever to cook/make/bake?
The soapmaker from Ontario definitely inspired me to start. She was very insistent on me giving soapmaking a try. I had also sustained a knee injury in December so was experiencing a bit of cabin fever. Everyone was really supportive, but there was no way anyone was giving up a 30cm day to come hang out inside with me! I have never really had an indoor hobby before so once I discovered soapmaking my days thankfully became filled. It’s really nice to have a creative outlet. I feel like sometimes we forget about that side of ourselves.
4. Who are the goats? Or it is really just one lonely goat?
There are multiple goats! I purchase my milk from the good people at Goat’s Pride Dairy farm in Abbotsford, BC. They are true believers in clean farming and giving love back to their land. Their goat’s milk is certified organic and makes great soap! I really hope to one day be able to have my own milk-producing goats. Being able to get milk from my own goats in Pemberton to make my soap is my dream.
5. How many bars of soap do you make per batch? How experimental is it for you? Do you incorporate other wisdom/wellness modalities etc when you’re concocting the ingredients? What ingredients are you most jazzed about?
Each batch makes 6 bars but I am usually able to make 4 batches at a time. It helps speed up the lengthy process a bit; once they’re in the moulds, they stay in them for about 3 days then I take them out and they have to cure for a month.
At this stage of my soapmaking “career”, I am still very much experimenting. There’s days when everything happens flawlessly and then there are days when things go seriously haywire and it gets very frustrating. It’s hard when you’re trying new ingredients because sometimes they react in a way you wouldn’t expect. My worst experience was adding a particular essential oil that caused my soap to instantly harden when I added it in. So I was left with a solid bowlful of soap. I was so shocked at how quickly things went wrong for me and had no idea what to do with this massive hunk of soap.
I put a lot of time into choosing my ingredients. I never add anything merely for aesthetics. Every ingredient somehow has a nourishing benefit for the user, whether it is the creamy goat’s milk or the scent of an essential oil. I am learning a lot about the effects of essential oils, which is extremely interesting.
My absolute favourite ingredient right now is the glacial clay I use in the CLAY BAR. It’s harvested from the northern coast of BC and it is amazing. It makes your skin so soft! I’ve definitely dipped into my soapmaking supplies for personal use. My favourite is to make a clay mask with it.
6. What’s wrong with commercial soap for $2 a bar? $6.50 seems a lot for something that is basically getting washed down the plughole…
It does seem like a lot but when you really start to read into the ingredients in commercial soap, you will easily be swayed. Many commercial soaps contain ingredients that have been found to be irritating, drying and cause allergic reactions. Some ingredients are even found to be carcinogenic. For example, with natural soap you will notice that you don’t get the lather you would with a commercial bar. This is because commercial soap contains the notorious sodium laurel sulfate that has been found to be irritating and even cause inflammation, but is added to create that nice rich lather. Your skin is your largest organ and it does a great job of absorbing what you put on it so why would you want to rub toxins all over it?
And the fact that it does just get washed down the plughole is alarming as well. Imagine how we’re influencing the water source with all those chemicals…
7. I’m a big fan of local food. How big a step is it to go from that to local cosmetics/healthcare products etc? (I love that you are using Randy’s lavender, Isabelle’s tea… how important is it, to you, to make things that have that degree of intimacy or connection?)
The local movement is growing everyday and it’s definitely here to stay. Food is easier to source locally, especially given the area we live in. Local cosmetics and healthcare products are taking a bit more time to catch up but it’s happening for sure. There are so many great companies popping up now that have a lot to offer. One just has to be open to trying new things and experimenting a bit until you find a product that works for you. It’s really great to see shops throughout the Sea to Sky corridor supporting this movement and stocking their shelves with local options.
For me it’s become part of my lifestyle and I really try to incorporate this into my soapmaking. Using ingredients from local sources ensures me that I’m getting a great product and I’m supporting someone in my local community. It’s a great feeling when you go to buy something and you know the person that made it or grew it. It’s almost a sense of pride.
8. Should soap be edible? (I’ve often thought that, given that the skin is the body’s largest organ, we really shouldn’t put anything on it that we wouldn’t put in our body. And now I have a 1 year old, his favourite thing to take a bite out of, in the bath, is the soap…)
Haha I really want to say yes but unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend eating soap. Even though you could eat most of the ingredients, soap becomes highly alkaline following the saponification process. Depending on how much you eat, it could cause a seriously upset stomach and vomiting.
9. Why Pemberton? Why is Pemberton a good place for you and your initiative?
I’ve never experienced a place that is more conscious about quality and local pride than Pemberton. It’s great to see how concerned people are about what they’re buying. I grew up in Southern Ontario where everyone shops at Wal-mart to get the cheapest things they can buy. Pemberton is just such an outdoor community that we have a special connection with nature and our surroundings. I think this in turn influences us to buy local and nature-friendly products.
10. Where can people find you and your product?
At the moment, soap is available at the wonderful retail shelf at Mile One in Pemberton and also from the gals at Wild and Heart in Squamish. I also partook in Downtown Squamish’s Summer Nights market a couple weeks ago and really hope to make it down to a couple more this summer. I can also do deliveries within the area or arrange shipping to elsewhere.