Our Story

Welcome to the Family!

Hi, there! I'm Marilee Johnson. My husband, Dwight, and I live in beautiful Central Oregon with our 7 boys and 1 little girl. We live on 40 acres, just outside of Bend and enjoy all that this area has to offer. We live on a hobby farm and also enjoy horseback riding, fiddle playing, tomahawk throwing, target shooting, bike riding, hiking, swimming in the pond, putting up hay, and raising goats. Right now, Dwight is addicted to soap-making. We are having so much fun in this venture.

So, Just How Did We Get Into Soap Making?

Where to begin... Dwight has always loved the idea of having goats. It all began when he first started buying goat milk for the children to drink after they were weaned. When the price per gallon began to increase (and we kept having children) Dwight bought our first milk goats. In February of 2007, we welcomed Molly and Velvet and their 3 kids.

We've milked goats ever since and had as many as 90-some goats on the property at one time. The whole family has been involved. We love the goats. My favorite part of raising goats is when they kid. I love baby animals, and baby goats are just adorable. 

Health is quite important to us. We've raised our own beef and pork. We raise our own chickens for meat and eggs. We grind wheat and make our own bread. We take great supplements. We use non-toxic cleaners. We are very aware of what we put in and on our bodies.

Chance's Eczema Raised Some Serious Questions

We had noticed for some time that one of our boys, Chance, had some itchy spots that would appear on his legs. Realizing that it was eczema, we began to work on digestive issues, which is often the core of eczema problems. But, whenever he was playing in the dirt for a while, his skin would dry out and begin to itch. He was so brave and hardly ever complained. Instead, he had a little "dance" he'd do which was our clue that he was itching.

Baths were a help, but we realized that his skin would dry out from them as well. Dwight was doing some research one day and heard that putting oatmeal in a bath would help. So, we tried that. It did help! The conditioning properties of the oatmeal were great. The mess, on the other hand, was a bummer. And, the help was temporary. Chance's eczema came back right away, and he would often scratch until he bled.

The Problem with Soap

Doing a little more research we discovered that the soaps we were using were contributing to his dry skin. Duhhhhh!!!! It hit us! We've always known that the skin is the body's largest organ and what you put on your skin is important!! However, all soap is NOT equally made. This was a new bit of information: what you put on your skin can get directly into your bloodstream. Yikes!! What you ingest gets filtered out by the liver and kidneys. But what you put on your skin, does not get filtered in the same way. It's important to know what your skin is absorbing.

Have you read the back of the soap bottle or box? The ingredients are scary, if comprehensible: Chemicals, alcohol, water, preservatives, fillers. That's what is IN the bar. What about what they took OUT? Glycerin is a natural product produced when oils are saponified. Often this glycerin, which softens the skin, is removed.

The Goat Milk Solution

Dwight read that goats milk soap was a superior product in so many ways. Already knowing that goat's milk is so good for us to drink, he learned that goat's milk is also nourishing for the skin. It is full of vitamins, proteins, and minerals. It's easily absorbed by the body and it has a PH that is relatively close to that of the human body. I've even heard that Cleopatra once took goat milk baths. It's a very moisturizing ingredient.**

Other Healthy Oils for Our Skin

I love coconut! Coconut milk, coconut water, coconut cream pies, coconut granola, coconut ice cream, toasted coconut... mmmm! Coconut OIL is also awesome in soap! Coconut is known for its moisturizing properties. It also contains lauric acid, among other things and is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial. Amazing.

Olive Oil is a natural moisturizer, contains chlorophyll (a great substance if you are dealing with acne issues) and many nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins.

Palm Oil is also a moisturizer. It is high in tocotrienols, part of the Vitamin E family. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant, healing, and anti-aging properties. It is also known that these nutrients are beneficial for fighting all sorts of oxidative damage by free-radicals. You can read more about the natural ingredients we use by clicking here.

Our Goat Milk Soap Was Born

It all sounded so yummy for our skin. He made his first 2 batches -- one plain, and one oatmeal/honey. We fell in love with them! :-) The first thing we noticed was how well it lathered! And, then it left our skin feeling sooooo smooth. And best of all, Chance's eczema vanished!**

We noticed a lot of other benefits from using the goat milk soap products, as well. My dry ankles, heels, and elbows were no longer dry! Dwight began shaving with the soap and using it in place of shampoo. He found that his skin started looking and feeling younger and softer, too. I made the switch as well -- out with the shaving gels and creams. I switched to our goat milk soap, lathering up with a loofah and loved it. My switch to using it as a shampoo was a bit slower, but I'm a definite convert now.

The Word Spread

We then began passing out our little samples to friends, family, and acquaintances.

"I LOVE that soap you gave me."

"Do you have any more of that soap you gave me??"

We made a peppermint batch. Everyone wanted more!! Friends with eczema and psoriasis have had success as well. We were super excited to share this with all of you! We stocked our sink counters and showers with our new soap and set out to make more.**


**Disclaimer: We here at Bend Soap Company do not intend to diagnose any skin conditions or offer that our soaps will "cure" any skin conditions. The causes of eczema, psoriasis (and other skin issues) are not completely known. We also do not intend to say that our products will CURE eczema. As far as we know, our soaps have only been known to help ease the symptoms and irritations caused by eczema – and in many cases make these symptoms disappear. Per our own experience, and per others that have used our soap (and their testimonies and reviews), we recommend trying it and seeing for yourself.