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Raising kids leads to goat’s milk skincare business for Jordynn McKeown

Jordynn McKeown with goats

Jordynn McKeown in the nanny pen with her six does, including her first goat, Momma Sophie, under her arm. She found Momma Sophie on Craig’s List. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Smithwick resident Jordynn McKeown was bored as a stay-at-home mom, despite homeschooling four of her five children, so she bought a goat.

“I decided to look for different kinds of livestock,” McKeown said. “I found Sophie on Craig’s List and thought it would be cool to have a milk goat because of all the stuff you can do.”

Four years later, that one Mini-Nubian is now six nannies, two bucks, and a business: Momma Sophie’s goat’s milk soaps, lotions, and lip balms. 

“I’ve always been a creative person, and I like things that relax me,” said McKeown, referring to long soaks in the bathtub with scented soaps. “I started making soaps and lotions, and my batches were so big I posted on social media and started sharing with other people.” 

Sharing on social media led to selling to those in Momma Sophie’s Facebook group, a quickly growing customer forum. She hopes to soon expand to local farmers markets and shops. 

“It’s done pretty well locally,” McKeown said. “We use the products ourselves and sell the rest.” 

With the help of mother-in-law Luciana McKeown, who is in charge of lip balms, Jordynn now makes goat cheeses and butter for family use only. They drink the milk as well but can’t sell anything edible because of government health regulations. 

Goat’s milk skincare might be one of nature’s best-kept secrets (at least it was for this reporter). According to, goat’s milk has been used for thousands of years on sensitive skin, including as a treatment to this day for psoriasis and eczema. 

All soap is created by mixing lye or sodium hydroxide with oils and water. Substitute goat’s milk for water, and you have a gently cleansing and exfoliating soap with healing and anti-aging properties. 

The active compounds in goat’s milk — lactic acid, fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamins — smooth, moisturize, and heal. 

Lactic acid increases the production of ceramide, the mortar that holds together skin cells, retaining moisture and lipids and keeping out bacteria and allergens. 

Momma Sophie's goat's milk skincare
A display of soaps and lotions made from goat’s milk by Jordynn McKeown. The pre-sliced loaf of soap at the top contains large stems of lavender to add fragrance and exfoliation. Also on display are soaps made with beeswax, oatmeal, and honey as well as variously scented lotions and lip balms. Mother-in-law Luciana McKeown makes the lip balms. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Fatty acids heal skin irritation and dryness. 

The milk is also a good source of vitamin A, a well-known anti-aging compound.

“Goat milk is really good for the skin,” McKeown said. “It nourishes the skin.” 

McKeown knew only a little of this when she brought her first goat home. 

“I learned it on the good ol’ internet,” she said. “I’m 100 percent self-taught. I learned by doing.” 

When batches failed, she shared her experiences on goat’s milk soap Facebook groups and used the feedback to perfect her process and recipes. 

“It’s been nice having a community of people help you figure out what’s wrong,” she said. 

One important lesson was that frozen goat’s milk can be used to make soaps and lotions but doesn’t work so well for cheese and butter. McKeown freezes surplus milk to use in the fall when she gives the goats a rest before kidding season. 

“Between January and June is when I have the most milk,” she said. “When the fall begins, I let the girls dry up so we can breed them. I know people who milk throughout breeding season, but I like to give them a break.”

She and Luciana built a milk stand together, which her well-trained goats jump up on when it’s time. The first few years, she milked manually, sometimes twice a day. This year, she invested in an automated milker to give her hands a rest. 

McKeown filters and pasteurizes the milk used for consumption and the lotions, which have a six-month shelf life. Milk for the soap doesn’t need to be pasteurized, she said. She adds emulsifying wax to thicken the products and scented oils for essence, although she does make non-scented soaps and lotions on request. 

The lotions are the biggest sellers, but the soaps are where she gets creative. Recent batches have included lavender, oatmeal, beeswax, and colors. She is developing a line of scented, multi-colored soap for men.

“The oatmeal and lavender give it that extra bit of exfoliation,” she said. “I know I love that.” 

The goats are the best part of running Momma Sophie’s, McKeown said. 

“It’s so fun to have all the little babies bouncing around every place,” she said about kidding season. “Mini-Nubian goats are a lot like dogs. I can call them, and they come running. And, they all have different personalities. They are adorable.” 

Thanks to help from her human kids, the goats get a lot of attention and become more like pets than livestock. McKeown has had to learn to emotionally distance herself from some of the babies because she doesn’t keep them all. Most are sold. 

Those she does keep do more than provide milk. They also win ribbons in Miniature Dairy Goat Association shows, something she began entering the past two years. 

Boredom is no longer a problem for this mother, wife, rancher, and businesswoman. 

“Goats are a high-maintenance livestock,” she said. “They can get sick easily, and you always have to be conscious of parasites. There’s deworming, monthly hoof trims, shots. I wouldn’t say they’re super hard to take care of, but you do have to watch out for them.” 

Just like human kids.

When looking for Momma Sophie’s on Facebook, be sure to spell Momma with an “o” as the first vowel. Ask to become a member of the group to see McKeown’s latest creations. She is also developing a website sales portal at