HOLLAND PATENT — Stephanie Finn has always loved goats.
Finn, 22, is a member of the Finndale Farm family of Holland Patent. Her love of goats started almost 20 years ago when her parents bought her her first two goats, Sophie and Trixie.
“I began showing my goats at the Boonville-Oneida County Fair when I was 5,” Finn said. “As I grew so did my herd size. I eventually aged out of showing but I just couldn’t give up my goats, so my next task was to figure out how to give them another purpose. I had to wait a few years before putting my plan into action because I went away for college and then came home as the full time herdsman taking care of 1,000 cows. My business has taken longer to get started than I expected, but the wait was definitely worth it. I have only been making soap for about eight months, but the outcome has been amazing so far.”
That business is Girl’s Got Goats, Finn’s goat milk soap company. She crafts soap blended with canola oil, castor oil, coconut oil, lye, essential oil fragrances, and goats milk from her herd. Finn currently has 20 goats, 10 Saanens and 10 Lamanchas.
Finn varies the soap scents primarily based on the season or upcoming holiday, but she is open to requests.
“I have bars of soap that are made for everyday use and also bars that are more decorative that are great for gifts,” she said. “Both types of bars are extremely moisturizing on your skin as they are all made using the same ingredients, they are just poured into different molds.”
Three local businesses carry Girl’s Got Goats products; The Douglas Hair Salon in Barneveld, Big Brook Farms in Lee Center, and Awesome Country in Boonville. Soap is also available for purchase directly from Finn at her home. Finn makes all of the soap herself, with help from family packaging and other tasks.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Finn said. “They have been extremely supportive of my business and willing to help me in any way that they can.”
Each batch is unique, due to the variations of the goats’ milk.
“The process of soap making sounds fairly simple, however, the greatest struggle comes from lack of consistency in the milk,” Finn said. “Each of my goats produces milk that is made up of different components, which means that the saponification process is usually different for each batch. Their milk composition also changes with their stage of lactation so each batch of soap turns out a little different.”
Finn was mentored by Leon and Angela Atwell of Grassy Cow Dairy in Remsen.
“They have been my biggest supporters in starting my business and helping me figure out many of the logistics,” Finn said.
“They took me out to Saratoga Springs to spend the day with
a relative of theirs learning how to make soap. Without their encouragement and support, Girl’s Got Goats would still be nothing but an idea in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue,” she added.
Angela Atwell even came up with the name Girl’s Got Goats.
“I struggled to think of a creative business name for a long time,” Finn said.
“Many of the names that I liked were already taken by other businesses. I asked all of my friends and family to help me think of names. It took about two weeks of considering different ideas before Angela Atwell, who is one of my greatest role models and a person who is very dear to me, suggested the name. It seemed so fitting and catchy that I knew it was perfect,” Finn said.
Girl’s Got Goats has given Finn’s beloved goat herd with a tangible business purpose.
“My love for farming was instilled in me by my parents who work tirelessly to run our farm and I knew that taking care of animals was my calling my entire life,” she said.
“Even though I am a true cowgirl at heart, I’ve never quite been able to shake my love for my goats. Hence the beginning of Girl’s Got Goats.”