This blog post was written by Bend Soap Company founders, Dwight & Marilee Johnson.
When another year flies by and you can’t believe that it’s gone so fast, you know it’s been a full and fun year!
Such was Bend Soap Company’s 8th year in business here in beautiful Bend, Oregon. It’s hard to believe that it all started with a small four-pound batch of soap. Now, 8 years later, it’s a fun, thriving work environment for our dedicated employees, and we’re quickly becoming a familiar name in the area.
This year, the internal workings of the company have changed quite a bit. We’ve entered a new partnership with Mission Farms CBD and added a whole new line of products, all of which is super exciting! As our business has grown, so has our need for our star ingredient: fresh goat milk. So, as we’ve expanded our herd, we’ve also decided to transition them to a wonderful local dairy farm that’s more accommodating to the ever-increasing needs of a goat herd.
And through it all, YOU — our loyal customers — have been our biggest advocates and partners! We love you and are so glad to have you a part of the growing Bend Soap Co. family. Thank you for sharing these products with your friends and family and thank you for being so committed to all-natural.
Servicing our customer is such a privilege. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your loyalty and love for Bend Soap Company products. It is truly inspiring. We love the support we’ve gotten from all over the U.S. and many parts of the world, and look forward to serving you even better as we continue to improve our website and our fulfillment procedures. Don’t forget that our customer service team is always available to answer any of your questions and happy to help in whatever way they can! We really feel like you are the extended Bend Soap Co. family all over the country! It’s fun to run into a BSC customer while out and about — it feels like we’re kindred spirits.
We’ve heard the most amazing stories from you all this year! It’s been such an honor to see how our simple, natural products can make such a huge difference in your lives. We know how it has affected our own now that our son, Chance, is completely eczema free (more on that here!) It is our dream and vision to be able to provide the best natural goat milk products to as many people as possible.
As you may have figured, as our little company has grown, so have the number of goats! As of summer last year, after all the does had kidded, we were up over 100 goats! The pasture gets rather full and all 4 pens were busting at the seams. It can get overwhelming quite fast!
Well, this year was no different. Milking the 35 milking does morning and night, even with a wonderful team of helpers to cover several shifts, was a bit much for us. Being tied to the farm and handling a 3-hour shift morning or night was adding up to a weariness that we were all too familiar with, having milked since 2007. The kids were burnt out, and so was Dwight.
What’s more, from a business perspective, we felt torn. Between the actual business and milking the goats, we felt like we were building two businesses at once with both needing capital, our energy, our time, and our investment in order to thrive. We had plans for putting in a huge dairy milking parlor and barn, plans to rework the pasture, and even put in new fencing. However, the reality being that there are limited resources, we weren’t doing any of those things. Of course, they are just as darling and healthy as ever, but we knew we wanted to do more.
So as a step towards taking a break, we moved our sweet herd over across town to be managed by some friends. The McCourtney family of Hope Springs Dairy, with their 9 children, took on the tasks of helping with kidding, bottle-feeding kids, and milking morning and night. It’s so encouraging to see their family enjoy the goats as much as we have over the years. We’re happy to be able to support their dairy by purchasing some of the milk back for our soap-making!
But there’s more, not only can you go milk and feed the goats on their farm, but you can also buy a part of the herd through their herd-share program and try out the fresh goat milk for yourselves! It’s liquid gold, folks! And we are delighted that they are able to offer this option to our local Bendites!
In addition to our own herd, Bend Soap Company has decided to support local milking families in the Central Oregon region by purchasing goat milk from their farms. Rather than become a HUGE dairy ourselves, local farms, committed to raising small herds with high-quality standards and personal oversight can provide the same high-quality fresh goat milk that we need. It’s a wonderful way to support other families in the area that are as passionate about goats as we are. Helping other local families and farms has been one of the biggest highlights of this past year and we are thrilled that our little company can now support others in this way!
The Joy of New Opportunities: Partnering with Mission Farms
Introducing new products is always a highlight as we move forward and continue to grow. This year, Dwight was passionate about infusing CBD oil into a few of our milk baths and soaps. This quickly led to an entirely new line of products and a partnership with a new local business, Mission Farms CBD. We love their similar vision and commitment to integrity and quality that resonates with our core beliefs.
Changes to the Business
When in business, there are those highs and lows that cause you to grow and face new challenges. It’s one of the things that makes business so exciting! This was another one of those years with lots of decisions needing to be made and lots of changes taking place. We love how Bend Soap Company has continued to grow and bless so many, but there are always areas that need improvement, tweaking, and changing. There was something missing, something that got left behind, and something we wanted more of.
This year, we sought to figure things out to make it right, make it better.
Part of our growth as a company has been our leadership. Dwight is an amazing leader and envisions a company that can stand on its own two feet instead of needing his constant babysitting. That involves getting the right people on the bus and having a team that takes responsibility and initiative. These concepts resonated in Dwight when he attended a quarterly coaching class through Strategic Coach which we highly recommend. Now, we finally feel like we’re on the right track and in a position to take our company in the direction we’ve always envisioned. Stay tuned over the next year for some big, exciting changes for Bend Soap Co.!
Building Our Team Culture
We’re so lucky to have an incredible team behind us who’ve helped us foster a culture built upon integrity and quality. Our staff works hard to make sure we’re always working towards our goal of improving the quality of life for as many people as possible because at Bend Soap Company, we believe the human race should not be poisoned by toxic skincare products and deserves healthy solutions. Everyone from our production team to our shipping and fulfillment staff and customer service representatives are a huge part of making this happen. We’re grateful to have such passionate employees dedicated to producing quality products and service, all while having a blast doing it!
Back to You
Join us as we celebrate 8 years of providing farm-fresh goat milk soap and other natural skincare products to our customers! From now until Thursday, September 26th, we're giving eight lucky folks the chance to win an Essential Gift Set full of over $100+ worth of our best-selling products and the latest Bend Soap Co. gear. So, enter the giveaway now and then be sure to come back daily to earn bonus points to increase your chances of winning!
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