Since KJ Goat Soaps & Lotions had its soft opening in May, owner Kim Everroad couldn’t be more excited and admits despite life’s twists and turns there is nowhere to go but forward.

Back before there was a lockdown, before anyone knew about COVID-19, Everroad had a desire to make natural, goat milk-based beauty products.

“Well, we’ve always had goats,” Everroad says. “We’ve had pygmies and sheep, especially with the kids being in 4H.”

Everroad always wanted to have dairy goats. So, when Eric was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago, Everroad had an idea.
Her plan would not be the couple’s first adventure in animal husbandry, but it would be a first for the benefit of crafting handmade goat milk-based soaps and lotions.

“She was trying to find a way to help me,” Eric recalls. “I would itch constantly and I tried all kinds of salves and things and nothing would work.”

Everroad had done her research and realized the potential benefit of her husband using products with no chemicals or harsh ingredients and if she could make them, all the better.

Just as she was getting into the swing of things, life threw a fast-pitched curve ball in the winter of 2019.

The 52-year-old Hope resident was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack the body’s nerves.

“That really put a wrench in the works,” Everroad says. “In four days, I was down and couldn’t walk.”

Several months of recovery during lockdown afforded Everroad time to reflect, she says.

“I think God gave me GBS to get me prepared for staying in the house during the pandemic,” she says. “But by September or October 2020, I couldn’t take it anymore.”

As she began feeling more like herself Everroad made her first ‘loaf’ of goat milk soap for Eric to try.

“I tried it and I haven’t itched since,” Eric says.

Seeing the tremendous benefit just for Eric alone fueled Everroad’s desire to carry on and explore more soap and lotion recipes. Soon, she was making more products and, as a consequence, the couple bought more dairy goats.

Among the couple’s four-legged residents, including alpacas and lambs, are more than one dozen dairy goats. When asked how many goats are in residence, Everroad admits she hasn’t taken a recent headcount. However, among the long-time populace are four-year-old Poppy, three-year-old Buttercup and two-year-old Tia.

When there is a new addition everyone tends to get along, Everroad says. Of course, there is an adjustment period where the older goats make sure the young ones know who is boss, Everroad says, and “after a while they mellow out.”

It wasn’t long before Everroad began attending farmer’s markets and craft shows in the area, including in Shelbyville and Edinburgh. The response was amazing, Everroad says. Not only does she regularly receive compliments for her displays, but she’s selling a ton of product. So much so, she recently opened a brick and mortar storefront on the southeast side of the Hope town square.

Taking care of the animals is in itself almost a part-time job and then there is making product.

When Everroad makes soap, she places it in a mold where it sets for four days. After she removes the soap from the mold she cuts it into bars and prepares it to cure for six weeks.

“The longer the bar sets, the better it is,” Everroad says.

Even more fun than perfecting her basic soap and lotion recipes is finding and making the plethora of scents she offers, which range the gamut of natural, floral and seasonal scents to earthy, unique, and unscented.

Unfortunately, due to the consequences of COVID lockdown, keeping supplies in stock has proven difficult at times.

“The biggest thing right now is ordering supplies and the shipping,” she says. “It was so slow with the pandemic.”

Despite navigating logistical hiccups, Everroad carries on with the help of her daughter, Ashley Mitchell, she says.

“I make sure the goats get in the barn and are milked,” Mitchell says. “I also try to help out getting the mixtures done, but she does all the measuring.”
Everroad says her husband also helps out on his good days when he is feeling up to it.

As the business blossoms beyond what Everroad or her family initially thought it might, she couldn’t be happier, she says. The response and support she has received from Hope and surrounding communities has been overwhelming, she admits.

“I kind of anticipated the response, but I was still shocked,” she says. “I was thinking it would go well. It went better than what I thought and caught on quicker than I thought.”

Those who shop with Everroad will find her soaps start out at $4 each and lotions come in four and eight ounce sizes, she says. Gift baskets are also available upon request, she adds.

Since joining Hope’s business district, Everroad says she is looking forward to KJ Goat Soaps & Lotions becoming a fixture in the Hope community.

And, though she was looking at locations elsewhere, Hope has her heart, she says.

“I hope to make it thrive,” Everroad says. “They have come a long way with improving the square and I love Hope.”