We are Joyce and Ken Douthwright, a long-time married couple, from Belchertown, MA. We spent our lives working in stressful careers and raising a family. We always dreamed of enjoying a relaxing retirement, traveling and exploring the country and the world, just enjoying our simple carefree lives. Boy, did we ever get that wrong!
Since retiring in 2017, we have been busier than ever! Instead of that lovely, relaxed lifestyle we so coveted, we found something unexpected waiting for us. We now get to spend our weekdays taking care of our two precious granddaughters, Lyla and Haley. And do they keep us hopping! When we’re not busy with them, we’re busy creating beautiful soaps and skin care products, and running a small business.
So how did we get here? Many, many moons ago, Joyce bought her first piece of handmade goat milk soap. It was a simple bar, but it was amazing. The lather was great, her skin felt nourished and moisturized, and she thought, “I’ll bet I could make this.” And so it began.
She dug into researching how to make cold process soap, watching hours and hours of YouTube videos, reading blog posts, trying out more than a few recipes she found online, and fell in love with the process. It’s been quite a journey from making very basic soaps with other people’s recipes, to formulating her own recipes, and experimenting with color, design, and technique. Within a few years there was so much soap that there was no way the family could ever use it all, and so began the business.
It’s interesting to look back on the process and see all the twists and turns this journey has taken. At first it was just a craft fair here and there, then the Belchertown Farmers and Artisans Market, the Winter Market in Hadley, her own website, and now the Amherst Farmers Market. As we’ve expanded our customer base and Ken has joined in the creative process, we’ve also added on many new products. In addition to all the soaps Joyce makes, we’re also making our own shampoos, hair conditioners, body butters and lotions, lip balms, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and cedar soap decks.
All of this has required copious amounts of research, experimentation, formulating and reformulating recipes, and lots of trial and error. We are passionate about putting out great products, tweaking and refining our recipes until we have created a product we not only love using ourselves, but that we’re proud to put our name on.
The quality of ingredients in each of our products is key, as is utilizing locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. All of our goat milk is locally sourced from a small farm right here in Belchertown, the beeswax in our lip balms is sourced from a family friend who has their own apiary, and the honey in our Oatmeal Milk and Honey soap is from a local beekeeper just down the street from us.
We’re so proud of what we have accomplished in the last few years and even more proud of the products we put out. We are passionate about using the best ingredients, creating high quality products, and giving great customer service. We love meeting our customers in person and getting to know them on a more personal level. We are so excited to be a part of the Amherst Farmers Market and are looking forward to getting to share our products with you!
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.