Bearded Lady Goats is a family-run business based at Wallington, a small rural pocket on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.
Chris and Shannon Bryan, with lots of encouragement and enthusiasm from their teenage children Ashton and Holly, launched Bearded Lady Goats in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many other Victorians, the family spent much of 2020 working and schooling from home. With the threat of coronavirus always present, excessive hand washing and sanitising resulted in very dry hands. The need for a more gentle soap became clear … and Bearded Lady Goat Soap was created.
But the story really begins several years before …
A young family keen to spread its wings moved to a small acreage on the Bellarine Peninsula and bought two beautiful Saanen goats – Krystal and Kandy-Floss.
With romantic notions of all the wonderful things they could create from goat’s milk, they turned their soft computer hands to farming and milking. Even the children joined in and soon became expert goat milkers.
Chris relished his role as chief cheesemaker. His goats milk chèvre made regular appearances at family gatherings and social events.
Shannon, less enamoured by goat’s cheese, turned her hand to soap making. Having heard of the benefits of goat’s milk for troubled skin, she was thrilled with the improvement in her daughter’s eczema.
Farm life was exciting. The tribe of goats grew to six. Ashton and Holly fell in love with their baby goats and even took them to school for ‘show and share’.
But baby goats soon grew, and the human kids grew too. The novelty of milking goats passed and they became more interested in their friends, sports and activities.
Life for the Bryans became very busy juggling work, teenagers, a large rural property and pets. The time for milking and for making cheese and soap seemed to have passed. The even consider selling up and moving into ‘town’.
Then in 2020 the pandemic hit and Victorians were forced into lockdowns for months on end. While for many (particularly in the city) it was a challenging time of restricted movement and confined spaces, the Bryan family discovered their world had somehow opened up. With less to do, there was more time just to be.
They fell in love with their land all over again and relished the fresh air and abundant space. They spent more time talking to the animals, tending to the garden, growing vegetables, cooking, learning new skills and making things, eventually rediscovering the benefits of hand-made goat’s milk soap.
The first few batches were made and shared with family and friends with some positive results (and the odd failure) as recipes were adjusted and adapted.
Many, many washes and batches of soap later, the Bryan family is now thrilled to be able to spread the milky goodness.