We infuse our organic goat milk in our lotions and creams to the 75% and 50% level respectively. We also make a colostrum based serum infusing it with 50% organic goat colostrum from our farm.
What’s the importance of goats milk in our products? Our organic milk boosts moisture levels, repairs skin’s barrier, prevents fine lines, and reduces acne.
Let’s talk about goats milk.
Organic farming is about giving back to the land as much as we take from it. We live WITH nature here at Alpine Made.
Video by @UplifterVideo
All of the obstacles and hardships I have faced are the driving force force behind my business success.
Video by @UplifterVideo
My brand creation story begins with the customer support I received along the way. Thank you for your support and belief in our products.
Video by @UplifterVideo
Who are we? In case you missed out on our Spring, 2021 introduction and our very first Roots Revival Box launch, here’s a recapture of the creative talents behind our collective.
RISE UP: THE ROOTS COLLABORATIVE
A WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE
Curated around the central theme of eco-consciousness, sustainability and women-based small business, each of the businesses and products in our Roots Collaborative are carefully chosen because they, in some way, bring into focus the question of how things that we use are made and where they’re from sourced from, and raise awareness of the importance of conscious consumerism and ethical consumption. The concepts highlight our fragile ecosystems (both natural and social). The physical retail box formed around the idea of collectively working to enhance the relationships and conscientious business models that need our support right now more than ever.
I think all of us have a better and truer understanding of how important the work we do collectively really is, now more than ever. Borderland has always been a model I’ve admired, ever since Jen Brazill pitched shop in the empty studio space at Redfish that I, coincidentally, now call my own. Jen’s drive to promote sustainability as a “this is just the way it should be done and that’s that” is a concept that captured me instantly. That’s why when the opportunity came to work together to grow last Christmas’ little Ruminant Love Box, affectionately known as “The Goat Box,” into something larger that could truly be of value, I was hooked. We both grabbed on and rode the wave.
We worked over the winter to bring The Spring 2021 Collaborative Box: Rise Up: The Roots Revival project to fruition, and it was a source of joy and connection. While I can’t speak for Jen, it kept me rooted to something hopeful and full of light through what was a very dark and difficult winter season. Forming relationships with the other women involved in this project as we worked to bring everyone together was a truly uplifting experience, and only validated (for me, anyway) how important the messaging behind this project really is.
Composed of products produced exclusively by small, local, female-driven businesses, we chose to launch our Spring Box on Earth Day to help drive home the message that our small choices matter to Mother Earth.
We launched our current installment, the Fall “Drawn In” Box, this past week at Borderland, where the Roots Collaborative was on hand to share in community. What an amazing day!
Our Roots Revival Box included earth-friendly products such as fresh local lavender plants from Wild Blossom Hollow, organic goats’ milk soap from Alpine Made, local honey, beeswax candles from Hahn’s Honeybee Haven, and a collection of seeds and pollinators from Masterson’s Garden. Local artists like myself and Jenny Licata included fine art that features subjects or processes that highlight the natural world and our consumption of it. The central focus of the spring box was regrowth and pollinator awareness.
Our Fall Box turns the focus towards individual self-care and as we draw in for fall and start turning our own focus inwards. What ways are the products we choose to invest in for self-care or beauty supportive to the environment, and how can we direct our dollars away from larger mainstream products to smaller models, made by women right here in our communities, gathering flowers, distilling at home while managing child care, thoughtfully engaging in the act of making without petroleum based or chemically based agents? What would that look like?
Individual acts, when taken up collectively, have an impact that go beyond just the benefit to ourselves.
Our Fall box includes Organic Hand Poured candles made by a small batch maker here in Buffalo, who mixes her own scents using essential oils and botanicals. She created a scent just for me using Provence Lavender and local harvested lavender buds. It includes a selection of natural Gua Sha stones and a bottle of hand distilled lymphatic health body oil, made from hand harvested herbs selected for their role in supporting lymph health, made by a woman in Hamburg. A loofa dry brush exfoliator is my own contribution this time, for use with the oil, made from single flock origin domestic wool, and utterly compostable. Alpine Made is back with her Lovely Lady bar, and Let’s Goat is again contributing a H.E.R.D. sponsorship to assit in re-outiftting the herd after their devastating fire earlier this month. If you don’t know about this, I’d encourage you to check out Jen’s feed here. Every box purchase counts as direct support to her and our four legged friends. And our friends at Borderland are contributing a piece of Borderland merch. A full listing of the contributions to the box can be found in the listing on our store.
The box is available as a pre-order now until October 25 for pick-up on November 7 out of our building on Elm Street in East Aurora. Inquiries for special orders for Christmas gifting can be made by sending an email through the website. Each one of the products in this box are a perfect way to gift conscientiously this year, either collectively or singly. Amazon’s going to be fine; our small maker and artist communities need our support.
Ten percent of the proceeds from sales of our Roots Boxes this year will be donated to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeepers, to help support the work they do to preserve and protect our local water tables, a critical piece of environmental work right here in WNY.
In addition to the obvious purchase, the larger messaging of this project will continue, involving each participant, with highlights designed to raise conversations and awareness about the real results that their work accomplishes, and how those who are on the consumer side of this relationship can share, and take positive steps to bring that work into their own communities. Those interested in participating can send an inquiry through the contact form.
This is not just a box. It is a movement by a group of very driven and dedicated women.
We have so much work to do, and compassionate, conscious small business models like these are the future. I’m so in love with everything about this project, and the response we’ve gotten so far from this project has been so validating – seeing that so many care about this work has been revitalizing for us as well. So, Thank you…from the bottom of our wild little hearts, for supporting this, either with a purchase or sharing on platforms that help promote awareness.
Please consider purchasing a box to help support the goals of the project and subscribe to the email list to keep abreast of new developments in the project.
You can also follow along on social media at The Roots Collaborative.
Thank you for being a part of this! Rise Up, and Give Green a Chance.
We are so excited to be collaborating with all these amazing women to offer you this exclusive product,
Rise Up: The Roots Revival Box!
The box includes an item from each participating business, with a focus on sustainability, conscious consumption and revitalization. This box is made with love and mindful awareness of our impact on this planet and how we can contribute.
There is a very limited amount so we expect they will sell quickly!
For full product description and to purchase a box visit .. https://www.oneblubirdstudio.com/product-page
#womenowned #shoplocal #motherearth #treadlightly #earthday #bnwaterkeeper
@alpine_made @beekeepers_garden @borderlandfestival @blubirdstudio @hahnshoneybees @jennyhallinanlicata @letsgoatbuffalo @mastersonsgc @wildblossomhollow
As a business run by a farm girl turned artist, Blubird is a passionate supporter of local agriculture and female farmers. You all know I’m obviously into sheep. I also really like goats. And our pollinators…like birds, yes, but especially bees. I strongly believe in the regenerative power of sustainable agricultural practices and the role that our ruminants can play in healing our planet.
I’m also a total crunchy granola who once set out on a perverse mission to grow 70% of my own food, keep my own chickens and bees, healed my c-section scar with raw honey, who owns a grassroots co-op and buys organic.
I believe in the magic that comes from collaboration and community support.
Several years ago, while I was still selling dryer balls out of my kitchen pantry to the women in my book club and calling Blubird a BuSIneSs, I worked up the courage to approach a very smart, kind woman with fantastic earrings at the Farmer’s Market about a wholesale arrangement. I was green but eager and she was doing something I couldn’t imagine doing myself – putting herself out there front and center.
We talked for almost half an hour, and she closed the conversation with a casual throwaway that would turn out to be a fateful sentence: “Send me your line sheet and I would love to take a look!” Whereupon I realized two things: a) I had no idea what I was doing, because I had no clue what a line sheet was, and b) My ambitions were bigger than my realities.
I went home, googled line sheets and then REALLY realized I wasn’t running a business. I set out on a two-month long mission to map out my exact production costs, production times (yes, with formulas – you all know I’m a geek by now) and develop my supply, wholesale and retail pricing models. It was intense. It was exact. It was consumptive. It was retentive and obsessive. It was a glorious exercise in getting over my shit and learning to how to value my time and by extension, myself, thereby making sure that what I was doing was worthy of commitment (I’ve been accused of some teensy issues in that department).
This was when Blubird was truly born. I made a promise to myself that within one year, I would get my product into a wholesale account with Alpine Made, and be a part of their market circuit, which stretched across the state. In order to do that, I had to build a solid foundation and be able to revisit that conversation with confidence. This was the first real goal that I set for Blubird, and served as what I know now as a first step in learning how to love something enough to subject it to the weight of an expectation, and susequently, the risk of failure. Which is what I think we all struggle with when it comes to commitment, isn’t it? The recognition that you want something bad enough to have to contemplate what it means to mess it up. And coming to terms with the knowledge that if you’re too afraid to take it seriously, you will. Sometimes you have to commit to the line.
Did I do it? At this point, do you have to ask? Yes, I damn well did. 5 dryer ball sets and a 10-pack of #goodcleanwool later, the deed was done.
The rest is herstory.
Through the Alpine Made herd, I’ve met some wonderful people that I’m proud to call friends and now, colleagues. Specifically, the driven, bright, lovely and authentically passionate Jennifer Zeitler of Let’s Goat Buffalo, who has undertaken the goal of establishing urban goat grazing in Western New York with all the energy of a one-woman army.
Goatscaping, while popular on the West Coat as part of the larger movements surrounding conscious green management in the Pacific Northwest, hasn’t made real inroads in our area. Using goats to manage greenscapes instead of traditional landscaping greatly reduces the use of toxic herbicides, and because the goat digestive process effectively sterilizes seeds and reproductive plant matter, they are an ideal treatment for invasive plants. Through Let’s Goat Buffalo, Jen employs rescued goats to provide effective vegetation clearing services.
Some of these goats are retired dairy goats from herds like Alpine Made, and some are goats who can’t bear or breed due to health issues, making them dead ends in a traditional farming model. Let’s Goat Buffalo offers them the chance at continuing to live fruitful, healthy lives, while contributing to a better environment for us all.
Goats, like other members of the ruminant family, eat around bird nests, avoid leaves containing a cocoon or chrysalis, and allow animals like turtles, toads and small mammals to move out of the way. (Traditional landscaping destroys habitat and often kills these creatures, which are essential components of our flora and fauna cycles.)
As goats eat and sterilize unwanted plants, their waste adds nutrients to soil, leaving the land healthier and able to sustain native plant growth. Because of the manner in which goats graze, they are able to root out invasives without damaging native undergrowth, eliminating the need for aggressive landscaping work or pesticide applications that are normally required to control noxious overgrowth.
These skills were on full display last year at Silo City and the grounds of Hotel Henry, part of The Richardson Complex. 2018 also saw Jen’s goats go to work on the Olmstead Park System and the RIT campus, and Jen recently returned from a huge project at Montezuma Nature Preserve, where this badass brave woman camped out by herself in the wilderness with no one but her goats in her GOAT BUS.
Yes, I said it. Goat. Bus. Last year Let’s Goat invested in a vintage school bus and retrofitted it to accommodate shepherds quarters and a mobile paddock for the four legged divas, and it is mad brilliance. I’ve ridden it – its virgin journey, in fact…at night, before the interior lights were repaired, with temp tags taped to the windshield; barreling down back roads with our beautiful friend Thiago grinding the gears and shouting in Portuguese in the dark like a mad hatter, while we bounced around in the back reliving our adolescence. It was all very Douglas Adams. Even more so by the fact that we were only going to the gas station.
In all seriousness, though, it also allows Jen to dispatch her herd to any commercial or residential property, no matter how remote, and bring the goats right to where they’re needed most.
By using natural, pesticide-free treatments, these goats help revitalize our home and community spaces by creating healthier soil, increased biodiversity and a greener future. Her work is rooted in wholeness, and her herd is hosted at Kerry Planck’s Alpine Made Farm, 15 acres of organic pasture tucked away by the Buffalo Creek, just outside of East Aurora. Kerry’s philosophy is guided by her vision for a world where working together with balanced selves within our community will create a shift towards a more harmonized state. Alpine Made is committed to soap and skincare products that nurture both the body and soul. Soap making is very close to alchemy, and Alpine Made soap is the real thing. All colorings and scents are derived from flowers, vegetables, herbs, spices and essential oils, many of them grown on the farm. Kerry’s interest in making sure we protect our local pollinators isn’t just an abstract concept for her – it is essential to her way of life.
She is resurrecting a lost art and tradition right here in Western New York, and I’ve loved every minute participating with it.
Kerry’s and Jen’s relationship with these goats is a perfect circle of loving, ethical and conscious animal husbandry and sustainable agriculture, and I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to be a part of this little business synergy engine that composes the Alpine Made, Let’s Goat Buffalo and Blubird World. This circle of women has supported me over and over when I am at my breaking point, especially through this past year.
It’s worth mention that Jen and I are both amateur beekeepers. The health of our native bee populations impact an entire chain of environmental health, from amphibians to birds. As these populations suffer, we ponder the realities of what that means from a first-person perspective. We’re not messing around. These individual movements matter, and the small contributions that we all make by forming our everyday lives around practices and products that contribute to wholeness and healthy communities of all kinds can change our world.
All of these reasons, and more that have no place on an already overly emotional revelatory blog, is why I’m proud to come together with Let’s Goat Buffalo, Alpine Made, and my dear friend and artist Erin Lalley of Ferncroft Floral in Buffalo, to create a local Ruminant Love Box, affectionately known as The Goat Box, to help bring awareness of the importance of these individual issues by offering a Christmas time gift box made of curated small crafted goods all connected to these movements that matter to us, timed to coincide with Let’s Goat Buffalo’s brand new goat sponsorship program, HERD, recently featured in the Wall Street Journal (go Jen!).
Consider a purchase, either for yourself or as a gift, to help be a part of making goat grazing a part of the Western New York landscape and eliminate pesticide use in the management of invasive species growth, and give green a chance.
Each Ruminant Love Collaboration Box includes:
1 bar of organic Alpine Made Goats Milk Soap
1 bar of Blubird #goodcleanwool Felted Alpine Made or Woolen Luffa
1 LGB entry level Herd Sponsorship and Limited Ed. Goat Charm Bracelet
1 Ferncroft Artisan Clamdle, handpoured using locally sourced beeswax right from East Aurora into
found clamshell; a special treat for our long winter nights.
Support our pollinators, our local biosphere, local arts, female entrepreneurs and farmers, and small organic agriculture this season all at one go.
Box pick-up will be out of our studio on Elm St, East Aurora or Ferncroft Floral by appointment for Buffalo Urban pickup, on or after 12/22. To reserve your box, order by noon 12/21, and select Local Pickup at Checkout.
See the Goods in the Shop through the link above.
We will happily ship, but be aware that shipped orders will not arrive in time for Christmas.
Thank you for supporting local in 2020!
All my love, Tami Fuller
In his Latin aphorism, carpe diem, Horace shared a message with the masses to seize the day. This phrase can conjure many opinions, thoughts, and ideas on its meaning. But, what does carpe diem mean to you? Do you take the time to seize the day?
What’s this “seize the day” business??
Seizing the day is synonymous with living in the moment or living with presence. Living with presence is about finding peace and enjoyment in each moment. To live in the present is to be free of unproductive thoughts and of fears. Essentially, your thoughts govern your reality – good or bad.
Living with presence and acceptance
Do you dwell on things that have gone wrong? Do you fear a future endeavor will fail? I challenge you to focus on what is happening now. You cannot control the things of the past; you cannot control future events. When you live with presence, you learn to accept what is happening in the moment.
Bad days result from egoic thoughts, we either woefully reflect or fearfully predict.
Adopt a mentality of acceptance of all outcomes to find peace and enjoyment in each moment. You can create a new reality when you change your perspective. You accept things as they are, thus creating a space of harmony in your life. It is then when living in presence is possible.
Are you ready to seize the day?
It is virtually impossible to enjoy each moment when your thoughts are askew and unfocused. Seizing the day is about seizing and accepting each moment despite all outcomes and uncertainties of life. As Seneca states:
The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.
Are you ready to live immediately? Are you ready to seize the day?
About the Author
Based in Ontario Canada, I work as a Freelance Technical Writer. In my spare time, I create stained glass art. I also research and write about spirituality, the esoteric arts, and the philosophy of stoicism. I hope you enjoy my web content as my goal is to bring a message of positivity and light to the collective.
We are so excited to be mentioned in Marie Claire Magazine under goat milk products for the December gift guide. Marie Claire is a leading fashion, beauty and health magazine that has been in print circulation since 1937.
Come visit Alpine Made at the Union Square Holiday Market in NYC and shop all of our hand crafted goat milk soap beauty and soap products. You can find us at Booth B11 in Row B now until December 24, 2018. We look forward to meeting you!
Here at Alpine Made we know the frustration that comes from a tough stain on a loved piece of clothing or area rug. We also know that using natural products can sometimes cause stains on our clothes (think body oils or deodorant!) Our Stain Remover Stick does an excellent job removing stains from clothing, rugs, couches…you name it. We have used it to remove tough stains such as oil, red sauce, wine, grease, mustard, and so many more.
We created a video showing step-by-step instructions on how to use the Stain Remover Stick so that our customers, who we love, can get the best use out of their stick. In this video we are removing a deodorant-related stain. We hope it helps you!
After many long days and nights of hard work, the Alpine Made store is officially OPEN FOR BUSINESS! We invite you to come to our grand opening in February!
Over the holidays, we were featured in a segment on Channel 7 during Small Business Saturday. Click here to check it out!
Throughout 2017 Alpine Made was featured in several news outlets and broadcasts!
We were featured on the City Shaper segment on WGRZ with Kelly Dudzik. You can view the segment here:
WGRZ City Shaper segment with Kelly Dudzik
Kerry participated in a SCORE radio interview with SCORE mentor David Bunis. You can listen here:
SCORE Radio Interview with Kerry & SCORE mentor David Bunis:
SBDC recorded a show at our farm with Susan McCartey and Clifford Bell. Alpine Made was featured, and you can view the show here:
SBDC TV Show with Susan McCartney & Clifford Bell
Organic is non GMO and More!
The magic is in the ‘MORE’
What does it mean to be truly organic? Sure, science and chemistry are very much at play. There are certain ways of raising animals and creating products that make them organic by label. But to us, it goes beyond that. Being organic means letting our lives unfold organically too. Organic means working with our natural seasons and rhythms. There is a time for working extremely hard from sun up to sun down, racing from farm to markets and back again to do the evening milking. Then, there is time for a more relaxed pace, with plenty of reflection on the immense amount of gratitude we have for our lives, for the opportunity to grow a home-based farm business, and for the wonderful people who have made our story a successful one thus far. Although nothing in nature is in bloom all the time, there is a world of activity happening in the roots that can’t always be seen.
As we settle into the winter flow at Alpine Made, we are caring for our pregnant goats, stocking up our inventory shelves, preparing for new products and planning for the busier seasons just around the corner. Additionally, we are focusing on ourselves and our families. We are nurturing those relationships that give our lives value. This is the inspiration that drives our passion.
As you grow with us, please know that the products you purchase from Alpine Made are made with one ingredient that is impossible to list. You guessed it; Love! As a child, I heard someone say that age old Confucius saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That never made sense until now. Truly living that way is a very different concept than understanding it intellectually. We’re not perfect at it, but everyday we practice. Everyday we see how our lives and our business are not two separate things. We see how we show up to our barn, our markets and our lives with the same purpose. We are in it with passion. We are ready to share, learn, love, fall down, have good days, have bad days, forgive, celebrate and grow. Thank you for being a part of our story, we hope you stick around forever!
Thank you for being here with me today, and listening to my story. My name is Kerry Beiter; I’m an organic farmer and small business owner. I own & operate Beiter & Son’s Farm, a certified organic goat farm in Wales, NY. I also own and operate a soap & skincare business I branded as Alpine Made. What I essentially do is pay our farm for the organic milk we produce and then use this as a raw material to create our luxurious soaps and skincare products.
Before I continue with the details on how I make money, I’d like to back track to a few years ago. In the beginning in 2008, I bought my first few goats and had to finish building a 300 square foot barn just to house them. I had no idea that farming for a living was in my near future, I only imagined raising a couple of goats as pets and milking them to make cheese and feed milk to my family. I soon loved the goat farming lifestyle so much that I began thinking of making cheese to sell and growing my herd to accommodate the milk requirements. I had been accustomed to raising my few goats organically, without the use of synthetic dewormers and medicines to keep them healthy. Which soon led me to the realization that becoming certified organic would give me a marketing edge in selling my cheese. At that time the US Dept of Ag was offering grant money to farms transitioning over to organic certification. I jumped on this opportunity and applied and low and behold received a grant to improve our farm by adding permanent pasture, adding watering systems, & solar panels to operate water pumps and electric fencing. I applied for certification in 2009 and became organic in 2010. Certification was indeed worth the effort. I soon found out we were one of 37 certified organic goat dairy farms in the country.
I thought that producing organic goat milk to make cheese and yogurt was going to enter me into a niche market that no one in NYS had attempted before. So over the course of a year, through research, I realized that to build a state approved creamery operation was out of my reach. I had watched the progress of a nearby goat dairy farm doing exactly what I had intended, with two men partnering dedicating their entire days to their farm & creamery’s success. With two very small children at home and a husband who worked full-time outside of the farm, I knew it would be very difficult for me to make cheese and sell it. I still underwent organic certification anyway. However the certification part was easy, even with yearly paperwork and inspections. The hard part was in figuring out how to raise the enormous capital needed to build a creamery, costing easily over $75K initially.
At that point, I literally had no idea how to make a living at farming, but was unwilling to give up after how far I had already come. I turned to the numerous business-mentoring organizations seeking help. I became a client with the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College. I also sought a mentorship opportunity with SCORE, a national organization of retired executives that volunteer their time to mentor start up businesses. I joined the 8-week Straight Talk Series in 2011 and attended all the workshops before settling into my mentor/mentee relationships with SCORE & SBDC. My Mentors helped me with my business plan, which changed direction so many times in these early years. It was a very intensive process but very important at that point. I can’t recall how many modifications I
made to my business plan, but it was a lot. I became frustrated for sure, but I never gave up! I knew I wanted to farm, and I knew I’d have to figure out how to support the farm. I needed to sell either a raw resource I produced, like milk, or create a value added product to sell at markets, promoting it non-stop until the product spoke for itself. It had to be a product line people loved and wanted to consume regularly.
Another major change to my business plan was that I did not want to place my family in debt for life, through the construction of an expensive creamery operation. At the time I was a stay at home Mom, having quit a full time position with the USDA, and supported by my husband. We had school loans and a mortgage to pay, and no bank would lend to us at that point. We eventually got a personal line of credit that I used to grow the farm. I used it to build farm infrastructure, including buying a much needed tractor. We started building solid credit, although it was personal credit, it was important. I also took a part time job at a local horse farm. I learned how to run a farm. And I was providing extra income to offset our farm expenses. Soon I developed an idea to use my organic goat milk to produce a value added product other than cheese. I had experimented with soap making in the past, I had two Biology college degrees, why not use some of my chemistry knowledge to make traditional soap with our milk?
As an aside, I knew my organic goat milk was unique in that other companies producing goat milk soaps and skincare did not have access to this raw resource. I soon got the attention of a well-known name in the industry; who’s CEO contacted me to produce a line of organic goat milk soaps under their brand name. At the time it seemed like a great idea until the wholesale price they offered me was half of my cost to produce the organic soap itself. I would’ve quickly gone under even with the consistent cash flow coming in from their substantial orders. They wanted over 24K soaps produced per year. I politely declined and pushed through. I had the confidence and perseverance to get through the lean years, knowing I had entered a niche market, could produce a product no one else had, and that was in demand! After all, this famous company had already demonstrated this through their online sales of goat milk soap and cheese. I knew I could create a profitable business over time.
So, I began soap production to meet quantities that would support multiple retail markets. I had applied to a handful of farmer’s markets that accepted me because of my organic status. No one had organic soap and organic certification was not something many farms had, even just a few years ago. Today you will find more and more local farms certified organic or at least transitioning into organic status. So, I had my organic milk I used as a marketing strategy, but I also had something else. I created a goat milk soap recipe that contained 38% milk, using no water in the recipe whatsoever. This is how I made MY product stand out above the rest. By claiming my soap contained 4 times the amount of milk by industry standards I showed how my soap could work therapeutically on the skin. I also talked about the benefits of goat’s milk for the skin. But the very high concentration of milk in each bar I produced was what sold and resold my product. That became my number one marketing tool. After handing out thousands of samples at my markets initially, getting people to try the soap, I was able to build my customer base. People used my soap, saw that it worked to sooth their skin and heal it, and eventually became repeat, regular customers. People noticed the benefits of my soap over other handcrafted soap. They noticed their skin feeling and looking better, and then wanted more.
My attention then turned to sales strategies, again modifying my business plan. I asked myself what number of Farmer’s Markets could I physically cover on a weekly basis, and what other sales strategies were available to me. Do I try to sell my soap wholesale? Or should I spend my time developing a state of the art website that was user friendly and well advertised on a national scale. I ended up doing both. I hired a website designer and manager who also took all of my product pictures. My website looked fabulous and very professional, and was well worth the investment. Initially, I tried creating my own website using a popular website building site. This worked for a while, but I wanted a polished appearance for where I was heading with my sales. I turned to my business mentors with SBDC and SCORE for advice. My approach ended up being a mix of all the above; local retail markets, online web sales that grew over time, as well as wholesale. My goal was to get the word out about my soap, even on a national scale. My web sales constituted almost a quarter of all monthly sales, while my wholesale accounts made up approximately 15%. I wanted to increase wholesale to around 30% of my total sales; which is our goal for 2016. Since 2012, I had doubled my gross sales each year and as sales increased over time, I was able to secure more personal financing to build a heated workshop where I could produce all of my products and store raw materials and inventory. I installed a full kitchen with stainless steel sinks and equipment. It was expensive but very important to expand, especially once I began hiring.
Soon my customers were asking for more soap and a line of organic milk infused, natural skincare. When will you develop a cream and a lotion I had been asked many times. 2014 came and went and with the advice of my mentors I hired my first full time employee in February of 2015. In 2015 my employee Amy and I doubled gross sales again. This was crucial! An important piece of advice given to me that I’ll never forget is that when hiring your first employee, their contributions absolutely need to generate enough revenue to pay for themselves. So, once the initial training period is over for your employee, you as a business owner should not have to borrow money to meet payroll. Also, another question I had before I hired was, “when would I know was the absolute right time to hire?” I found this tricky, I knew I couldn’t physically work any harder than I was to increase my sales, but could I afford to hire? The answer became simple, if I didn’t hire someone then Alpine Made wouldn’t grow! There was a point where I knew I couldn’t generate any more revenue myself. To grow your business, you need two basic things, to produce more goods and sell them, and to increase your yields (increase pricing to adequately cover costs and contribute to profits). I had increased my retail pricing for the first time in four years, at the end of 2015. I now had to increase production and sell more product.
Back to my story. Once I understood my business plan goals (selling soap infused with my organic milk), I started thinking how nice it’d be to partner with someone. To ensure a quicker start and quicker gains through the efforts of two people who’d share the labor and costs 50/50 between us. My goal was to delay the need to hire an employee; a luxury I felt at the time would’ve strained the fiscal health of my business. Thus, I had hoped that my partner and I would forgo a salary and place all profit back into growing infrastructure. However, it became impossible to find that partner. I was able to forgo a salary because I had a spouse working full time and supporting my family and I. It was a luxury for sure. The reality is, most people who start their own businesses need to keep their day jobs until they get to a point of affording to either hire or pay themselves to work more. Mentors have told me the longer starts ups can delay paying themselves the longer they can take profit and place it back into their business to grow it. I never have paid myself nor plan to to pay myself for another few years so that I can continue to hire more full time staff, which will translate to increased sales leading to year-end profit. If Alpine Made suddenly shows strong year-end profit, I will then opt for an owner’s draw, and will immediately place it towards paying down principle on my business loans.
So, back to searching for a partner. I never found a person to partner with. I did in fact find a fulltime employee who shared my vision, shared many of the same principles I started my company with. Amy was also looking for change in her life having quit her teaching job to work in the farming sector. She never looked back. She interned at a farm near us for a year producing vegetables, meats and eggs and selling them locally at markets and to restaurants. Amy, after pursuing years of college education, working in a school for 7 years, realized her creativity and passion for work lay elsewhere. Amy’s passion is in having total creative power, and I realized this so I put her to work on R&D of new products at Alpine Made. I had no time to create new products. I was tasked with the care of my farm, producing substantial inventory for 35 soaps while marketing it all by myself. I was at full capacity. Amy came on and was on fire, and loving her Research & Development of new skincare in our soap lab. After only a few months she created a fascinating and therapeutic line of milk infused skincare products for Alpine Made. Amy also can see becoming an equity owner at some point in the future. This opportunity, which I’m open to providing my employees who share my vision and passion, will keep our business family strong. It’s a way to not just provide someone with just a paycheck, especially someone who’s willing to strategically grow Alpine Made. It’s a great opportunity to give people to build something creative and new, and be a fully invested party in that process.
Thanks to many strong decisions and mistakes made along the way, Alpine Made is a company worth noting. We (currently just two women) have now doubled Alpine Made’s product line to around 60 products. We’ve doubled our sales in 2015. We are in 16 different stores mostly within WNY but a few in the NYC area as well. We have more then 500 nationwide online customers that continue to place orders regularly. We received our very first business loan in 2015 from the USDA to build a bigger barn and a new state of the art milk house. And we won’t stop there. In 2016, we’re open to any new opportunities. The sky is the limit. Last week we began the process of applying to Whole Foods under a specialized process through their New Vendor Department. We spent most of 2015 getting our product labels store ready so that when a larger store called on us, we would be able to accommodate orders immediately. We even plan to construct more work-space at our workshop, hire and train new employees all while keeping the current business flow going at our markets and events. I have no doubt this growth will happen, it’s best to have an action plan in place for when the larger opportunities present themselves. But, don’t keep asking when it will happen, take a deep breath, and don’t question the time line. It will happen when it’s ready to happen is my motto. I also truly believe that if you LOVE what you do, success will follow! And never ever chase the money, it will eventually come with a job well done.
Mercy me, do I love a good beard! I mean, like really love one! The single greatest thing a man can do is grow a beard. If you have a beard, show it off proudly and enjoy the satisfaction and envy of those around you who do not have beards. If you don’t have a beard, grow one.
For me, a whiskered fellow conjures up nostalgic feeling of a fierce gentlemen. A beard tells me you are noble, kind and sensitive. I see a fine beard lending a man confidence and stride.
I know, I know not everyone out there agrees with me. In fact, rocking a beard does not truly mean you possess any of these qualities, but it should!
Last week at a market of ours, I had such a gentlemen come up to the booth and comment that his Beard Oil had a scent much like our Gentlemen’s Bar. I asked him to elaborate on this Beard Oil and he explained the benefits of grooming his beard were for the look, texture and its healthy growth.
Because I am such an avid fan, I mixed up a nourishing beard lovin’ product for all you fancy facial haired guys out there. Our Manly Man Beard Oil provides a luster and a cleanliness to the beard. Working it through ensures no food or dirt particles are stuck in there and all the skin underneath the beard gets moisturized. Your skin, hair and roots will all be vibrant! Because you must also smell like a man, our Manly Man Beard Oil is lightly scented using only the best quality essential oils in cedarwood, wild orange and tea tree.
So be sure to stop by our markets every Saturday and pick up a vial of our newest product, Manly Man Beard Oil (or order one online). Your imperial five o’ clock shadow and your lady friends will be thanking you!
This includes participating in painfully long political processes! Read on…
Organic Farm has New York State backed farming support
Welcome back. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures in building Alpine Made from the ground up. This past winter we realized we needed plenty more space to work in. Quantity demands for our goat milk soap now approach 800 bars per month. So in early 2013 we set out to construct a workshop utilizing space in our tractor and hay storage building. Stealing space from one building’s function and re-prioritizing it for another function is what we’re forced to do for now until Banks are willing to extend us the business credit we need for construction projects.
So in January of 2013 we began digging a trench to lay water pipe from our barn to our future workshop where we would eventually install a water heater and furnace to work out of year round. Luckily we dug during a warm spell in January, thawing the ground enough to dig down four feet. And tada, we now have a lovely 600 square foot shop to work!
Hello, for all of you who haven’t met me yet, I’m Kerry. I live in a small rural town just 30 minutes southeast of Buffalo, NY (Home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabers). My husband Eric and I met almost 14 years ago in the Biology Department at Binghamton University. We received our Masters degrees, got married and moved to Buffalo, NY by January of 2001. Teaching kept Eric busy while I worked as an agriculture inspector at a New York/Canadian boarder crossing in the area. Lots of overtime spent on the job influenced me to take a few years off once my first son was born 4 years later. We had found a beautiful 4 acre property resting right on the Buffalo Creek in dairy country, set down roots and decided to raise Alpine Dairy goats shortly after. Years later, and much blood sweat and tears spent building our farm to the 8 acre, permanently fenced property it is today, allowed me to pursue another path, that of a small business owner.
Eric and I, having had extensive training in biology and the environmental sciences decided to pursue organic certification for our farm, which we named Beiter and Sons’ Farm in 2009. NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC oversees our organic operation. Our farm is small, housing a herd of 20 Alpine Dairy Goats with a few Boer/Alpine half breeds in the mix. We have fallen in love with the Alpine Goat, a breed known for its very good milking ability. Originating in the French Alps, these are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. We describe our doelings as being petite, a characteristic I truly enjoy. They are multi-colored and have no set markings, and they have erect ears, horns and a straight face. My blog picture of our goat Milly says it all, our impressive “Cou Noir” beauty!
After learning to milk, improving on our barn and milk house, and producing more milk than we could physically consume, we decided to use our organic milk to create skincare products packing a rich, creamy, moisturizing punch. I wanted to start small, as we did with the farm, so I began tweaking soap recipes to accommodate as much milk as was possible, paying careful attention to use it whole, raw, and never diluting it with water. The end product resulted in a soap containing 38% milk by weight with the other 62% compromised of my base oils (olive, palm, coconut and sunflower). Initially I was amazed at how effective goats’ milk in soap was in moisturizing skin, then I did some research and began understanding why. I’m now grateful to put our organic, goat milk to beneficial use by creating enriching and healing skincare products for our customers. My skin has never felt healthier, and I rarely apply over-the-counter products to it. I make my own salves using my array of dried herbs, extracts, essential oils I have on hand from soaping to heal my family’s skin irritations. So with that said, I’m looking forward to writing more about our adventures in creating and growing our raw, organic goat milk soap company. Visit us at alpinemade.com or on our facebook page, Alpine Made.
Welcome to our blog at Alpine Made for news at our raw organic goat milk farm in Wales, NY. Please check back for news and updates as we will be posting articles shortly.