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How Flat Branch Soap Co. Came to Be...

Two goats in the meadowFlat Branch Soap Co. began as Flat Branch Farm when we decided this little homestead needed some livestock. We already had a small flock of laying hens and a nice assortment of fruit trees, so goats seemed like a good fit.  In June of 2012, we brought home three American Alpine goats—two adult does named Vivian and ZaZu, and a cute little buckling named Fearless. They took to their new home remarkably well and everyone became quite attached to them right away. Never having raised goats or any other type of dairy animal, I was amazed at how much milk these little creatures could produce!  I was freezing some in case we needed to bottle feed goat kids later on, but we still had so much milk! I began researching uses for goat milk and the most popular suggestion was soap. With a basic soap recipe in-hand, I made a quick trip to the store and mixed up my first batch of goat milk soap. After a few days I chunked it into little bars and let it cure for four weeks…well, maybe just three and a half weeks (patience is a virtue, but I don't have it). The result—it was wonderful! I gave several bars to a few of my friends and family members and they liked it, too. And a business was born. Since then, we have expanded our proudct line from that signature product of Plain Jane goat milk soap. We now have several diffenent types of soap: scented, unscented, and essential oil, as well as lotions and salves, laundry soap, and even some 100% vegan soap made without goat milk. As the soap side of our farm grew, we decided to separate the soap business from the rest of the farm in the fall of 2015.  

The Name...

I am always asked “Where did the name Flat Branch come from?” I grew up on a beef cattle and grain farm only a few miles from our current home. My Grandpa purchased that farm in 1965 and running through the property was a creek called the Flat Branch (of the Sangamon River).  This is where he farmed and raised cattle and other livestock. In 1971 he built the house I grew up in, and named the farm Flat Branch Ranch. As the years went on, my grandpa decided he would spend more of his time with the cattle, and turned the farming operation over to my dad. He operated under the name “Flat Branch Cattle Company” and raised Angus and Chianina cattle until he retired from the cattle business. During the process of creating this website, my grandpa passed away. He enjoyed seeing pictures of the goats and hearing about the various projects we had going on at our little farm. I remember when I told him the name of my business; he just smiled and said, "No kiddin'!" He said that all the time. Now, more than ever, I love having a business name that is unique to me but also honors this part of my family.

Me and the Fam...

My husband and I live in rural Taylorville, Illinois with our four sons and a minagerie of animals. Our homesite sits just a few miles from the former Flat Branch Ranch, where my parents still live and farm. Our house was built in the late 1800's, and the barn that houses our goats was built in 1926. In addition to our Alpine goats, we have a small flock of laying hens, pigs, cattle, some honeybee hives, fruit trees, blackberries and raspberries, and some years, a vegetable garden. 

The kids are into sports - baseball, basketball, soccer, but they also like helping out with farm-type activities.  They like to break collect the eggs, love running around with the baby goats, and recently became obsessed with fishing and hunting.  

Even thought this whole "soap thing" happened by accident, I feel like it is a perfect fit for me. My family has been so incredibly supportive and I have had so much fun experimenting with different ingredients and learning the science behind the soapmaking process. I enjoy discovering how certain oils and additives change the soap recipe and is great being able to create exactly what we need, or someone else is looking for. I love having someone tell me that one of the products I made helps them with a problem they are having. Hearing those stories never gets old. But my absolute favorite part of this little business is all of the amazing people I have met - both customers and other crafters/artists. I have such an appreciation for things that are handmade, handcrafted, etc... now than I did before starting this gig and I hope you do, too.  

~Lori Parks, Owner

Reuse, Return, Recycle

We are reducing our environmental footprint one container at a time.  We work hard to be an environmentally-friendly company... all of our bags, business cards, and promotional material is made from recycled post-consumer paper and we are moving toward 100% reusable containersYou can help, too!  If you don't want to reuse any of our cute packaging, we would love to reuse them!  Simply return any of the clear or amber jars from laundry soap, lotions, salves, etc... or a handful of cotton soap bags and recieve a discount on your next purchase or a free gift from Flat Branch Soap Co.  All jars and bags must be in good condition to receive the discount (no cracks or chips).  We hope to have additional returnable and reusable packaging in the near future, so check back soon.  Any old plastic lotion bottles, pumps, caps, and other plastic containers can all be recycled. 


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