Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2011

No kidding: Love of goats inspires soap making

May 5, 2011

Lana Howe’s customers have teasingly asked her in the past if she makes goats’ milk candles.

As it happens, she does.

“As it liquefies, you can use it for a lotion,” Howe said.

The question stems from her customers’ knowledge of Howe’s 10 years of making soap and the central role of goats’ milk in that process. That is an endeavor she started two years before she inherited the candle-making side of her business with the purchase of her Vintage Soap and Bath on Fourth Street.

Soap making remains her “first love,” Howe said. It is a passion that is matched by her love for goats, which provide an important ingredient for her soaps.

Just as goat milk is easy to digest, the vitamin-rich milk has properties that make it good for the skin, particularly for those with skin problems, Howe said.

So, although you can find soaps scented with many different ingredients in her shop, all have goats’ milk as their base.

Her nose and her research account for her many fragrances. It is a list Howe added to on Monday with the introduction of rosemary mint to her selection.

The soaps are also carved, an innovation suggested by her husband and “silent partner” David Howe, she said.

She has been able to increase production as she got faster and her molds have improved. Howe said she could now crank out 100 bars of soap a day. That’s good, because Howe supplements her shop’s soap sales with Internet marketing and bulk wholesale sales to other stores.

This weekend, Howe will return to her craft show marketing roots as a vendor Saturday and Sunday at the Kansas Sampler Festival at Ray Miller Park in Leavenworth. She is now providing soap to a number of stores whose owners she met at last year’s festival, Howe said.

That’s one of the attractions of the festival. The second is educating people about goats.

“I’ll be there with my goats,” she said. “People think goats are nasty-smelling animals, but they’re not.

“I love my goats.”

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