A creative, artistic outlet

Sazama makes goat milk soap from small herd

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – Making soap from the milk produced by her small herd of goats is a creative and artistic outlet for Colleen Sazama.
“I started with three Nigerian Dwarf goats and decided I wanted to try making soap,” Sazama said. “A friend and I tried it, and it was kind of scary at first. But then, I just couldn’t stop making soap.”
Sazama operates Fallin’ Pine Farm where she currently milks five ADGA registered Nigerian Dwarf does. In addition to caring for her herd of goats and making soap from the milk they produce, she also works full time as a special education teacher in the local school district.
Sazama purchased registered goats to allow her a market for the kids she does not need for replacements.
“It costs the same to feed and raise them whether they are registered or not,” Sazama said. “Being registered adds additional value to the kids born each year.”
While Sazama does not show her goats herself, she does market goats to a variety of 4-H members in the area for show projects and to other families looking to begin small goat herds.
“It is very important to me to keep the goats healthy,” Sazama said. “I grew up showing registered dairy cattle with friends, and I enjoy the idea of showing, but at this point I am more concerned about biosecurity and I just don’t have time to show.”
Although she does not participate in shows, Sazama shares her goats with the public by teaming up with a yoga instructor to offer goat yoga at her farm.
Keeping her herd small gives Sazama the ability to manage the goats alongside her full-time job.
“I kid my goats in June and milk throughout the summer when I am off from school,” Sazama said. “I typically dry them up sometime in October before the school year gets too hectic.”  
While the goats are only producing milk during the warmer months, the winter is when Sazama puts her soap production into full gear.
“I freeze the milk so that I have milk to make soap from throughout the year,” Sazama said. “That milk is very valuable to me. I have alarms on my freezers to make certain there are no malfunctions that might cause me to lose my milk supply.”
Making soap is not a fast or easy process. A batch of soap, which is poured into a mold to create the square shape, needs to cure for about four to six weeks before it is ready to be cut and packaged. Each batch is labeled with the type of soap and the date it was made before being cured.
Sazama likes to make her soaps in 30-pound batches, but if she is more limited on her available time, she makes smaller batches.
“On a school night, I can easily make 15 pounds of soap in a couple of hours,” Sazama said.
Once the soaps have cured, Sazama cuts the large blocks of soap into individual bars. She wraps each one with decorative packaging.
Sazama plans ahead to ensure her inventory is updated to accommodate busy times, such as the holiday season.
Besides traditional soap bars, Sazama also makes shampoo bars, lip balms, body butters and   bath bombs.
Keeping the soap as natural as possible is important to Sazama. In addition to the milk, her soaps are made from a variety of base oils; essential and fragrance oils; grapefruit seed extract; natural colorants and distilled water as well as lye.
“All soap has lye in it,” Sazama said. “Lye is what makes soap, soap. I have had people ask for lye-free soap, but I have to tell them that is simply not possible. Without lye, the oils would stay oils. Saponification is the chemical reaction between fats and lye to create soap.”
Making soap allows Sazama to express her creative side in a variety of ways, from finding scent and color combinations to creating packaging. She has also taken a few ideas from friends who decorate cakes and makes soap dough that can be used to embellish bars similar to the way cake decorators use fondant.
“All of my soap is handmade and hand cut so each bar is truly unique,” Sazama said.
Because the creativity is what appeals most to her, Sazama is always searching for new techniques to keep her product line appealing to customers.
“I kind of go by what I like, but I also keep my eyes open for new ideas that I can put my own twist on,” Sazama said. “I get ideas from other soapers, paint  color swatches, bakers, nature, basically you name it and it can probably be made into soap.”
As she experiments, Sazama keeps track of the exact recipe she used to create a batch of soap until she finds the one she wants to work with on a regular basis. And while her inventory has consistent tried-and-true soaps, the ability to experiment and offer something new is appealing.
“Sometimes I get bored with making a certain kind of soap, so I will take a break from that and find something new,” Sazama said.     
Sazama said sometimes she finds a packaging material that will inspire a new soap creation.
“I spend hours in paper shops looking through paper to find what I need for packaging,” Sazama said.
In addition to selling soap directly to customers, Sazama markets her soaps at five area businesses.
Sazama takes special orders through her website for favors for weddings and other events. For many of these, she creates a one-of-a-kind soap and packaging to commemorate the special occasion.
“I have been able to grow a hobby into a passion and a business,” Sazama said.

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