FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Where do your ingredients come from?
Aside from the goat milk, which comes straight from the goats here on our farm, all additional ingredients are carefully hand selected from suppliers who are verified as cruelty free, meaning that they do not sell products or ingredients that are ever tested on animals. This has been an important requirement for Beaman's Fork Soap Company since the beginning.
- Do your soaps contain lye?
This is a complicated subject since the term "lye soap" is pretty misleading. All true soaps start off being made with lye (sodium hydroxide). If a "soap" is not made with lye, it is made with chemically produced detergents. The term SOAP is actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can only be used when referring to those made with lye. Even glycerin soaps (also known as Melt And Pour soaps) start off being made with lye; they are usually commercially made for crafters and have added ingredients that allow it to be melted and therefore poured into molds. This does not imply that one is necessarily better than the other (cold process soaps vs. glycerin "melt and pour" soaps), only that they are made with different methods and therefore they are different products. There can be a lot of variance of quality in either one, so it is important to know your soapmaker and ask questions. Reliable and reputable soapmakers will gladly talk to you about their product and the process in which it is made.
With that said, yes our soaps are made with lye using the traditional, and very old, cold process technique but during the saponification process and curing time, the lye is completely neutralized and no longer remains in the end product if the recipe is formulated correctly. This means that thanks to the magic that is chemistry, no, there is no lye left in our soaps once they are available for sale. "Lye soap" is strictly a term referring to the process in which it is made.
- If your soaps no longer contain lye after they are cured, why is sodium hydroxide (lye) listed as an ingredient on the packaging?
This dives a bit more into the ever-evolving regulations that impact soapmakers in the USA. True soap (aka "lye soaps" - see question above) actually do not have to be labeled with any ingredients at all by law. However, I don't know about you, but I like to know what is in the product I am using, therefore I choose to disclose my ingredients in full even though I don't have to. (Note: this 'no ingredient list' pertains only to SOAP, not other products such as lotions, sprays, etc.)
If a soapmaker chooses to list the ingredients, there are two options: either you list what 'goes into the pot' as in the raw, unaltered ingredients or 'what comes out of the pot' so to say, meaning what is left after the chemical reaction process known as saponification. Because it is much easier for the consumer (you) to understand, I choose the first option -- listing all of the ingredients that I am mixing together. This is generally viewed as the most accurate option and looks like this:
Goat Milk, Olive Oil, Sustainable Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Kaolin Clay.
If I chose the latter, aka what comes 'out of the pot', this is what it would look like:
Sodium Olivate, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Palmate, Sodium Castorate, Goat Milk, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Glycerin, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides.
Both of these ingredient lists refer to the same soap. Which would you rather try to decipher? As a perfect example to the previous question, you will see here that the 'goes in the pot' method of listing that I prefer to use shows sodium hydroxide (lye) as an ingredient, whereas the second listing, aka 'out of the pot' method does not. That is because in the first listing you are reading all of the ingredients that were used in the actual process of making the soap. In the second, more confusing listing, you are being given the ingredients that resulted from the chemical reaction (saponification) of sodium hydroxide binding with the oils. Therefore "Olive Oil" turns into "Sodium Olivate", and so on.
- Who oversees the regulation (if any) over soap?
True soap, which is made using the lye process and claims to do NOTHING more than clean, is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (federal), the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulations (state) and the Federal Trade Commission. Soap that also claims to moisturize, improve appearance of skin, smooth skin, etc., is considered a cosmetic and is additionally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Soaps that claim to treat or cure anything, such as acne, eczema, rashes, prevents sunburn, etc., is actually consider a drug and is not only regulated by the FDA, but also by law must be approved by the FDA, which is quite a long and expensive process.
- What do you use to scent your products?
This depends on the scent and product. Some scents are true essential oils.
For example: All of my products labeled as Tea Tree, Lavender, Gardener's Scrub, Frost (proprietary blend of multiple essential oils), and many of the additional soaps found in our ever-changing bulk soap option.
Some products are scented with high quality, paraben-free, phthalate-free, skin safe fragrance oils.
For example: Mango, Honey, Meadow, Birch, Shiver Me Timbers, and Oatmeal.
Some products are a blend of the two (Essential and Fragrance Oils). such as
For example: Bergamot and Tarragon, Sweet Orange Chili Pepper and Mermaid.
- Are any of your products vegan?
While we pride ourselves in being able to offer goat milk products from a reliable, cruelty-free source (our spoiled rotten goats!), we do understand that this isn't everyone's cup of tea. Many of our products are not made with goat milk and are actually vegan.
- All shampoo bars
- All shaving soaps
- All scented sprays
- All foaming sugar scrubs
- Mirac-Oil (Beard, skin and hair oil)
- All bath bombs
- Many of the exclusive skin care products found in our Seasonal Subscription Boxes
(Note: We understand beeswax is viewed by many as non-vegan and I understand and respect that. Some do not mind products that contain beeswax. In cases like these, our products that contain beeswax but no other animal products include all of our lip balms and our plantain salve.)
I also have a select variety of soaps that are available with coconut milk in place of goat milk. These soaps are made to order and require prepayment. Please note that there is a cure time involved. For a list of scents available for this option, please send me an email.
WHERE TO BUY (INCLUDING WHOLESALE)
- Where do you personally sell your products so that we can meet you?
You can find me (soapmaker Krisann Blackwell), every week in person at the New Bern Farmers Market located on South Front Street in beautiful downtown New Bern, North Carolina. I am there every Saturday from 8am-2pm year round as well as on Tuesdays 10am-2pm from April through December. This is currently the only place that I sell in person.
- Where else are your products sold?
Aside from here on my website, you can find my products in person at a select number of stores. You can find their information and locations on the Retail Locations page.
- If I order online, can I pick my order up locally instead of having it shipped?
YES! Online orders can be picked up on Saturdays (year round) and Tuesdays (April-December) during regular market hours at the New Bern Farmers Market. This is a great way to make sure you get the items you want before they sell out at the market, as well as order products that may not be available at the market (including extra scents available in bulk soaps, bath bombs, and wax melts for example). If the website does not automatically give you the option for local pickup in the shipping options, please use coupon code MARKET in the checkout process to waive the shipping fees.
PLEASE NOTE: Orders for local pickup MUST BE PLACED BEFORE 2PM ON THE DAY BEFORE YOU ARE PICKING IT UP AT THE MARKET. Please confirm in the notes section of your order which market day your order will be picked up and the name of the person picking up your order if different than the name on the account.
LOCAL PICKUP ORDER DEADLINES:
TUESDAY PICKUP -- Order by MONDAY 2pm
SATURDAY PICKUP -- Order by FRIDAY 2pm
- Do you sell your products at your farm?
No. I am asked this frequently, and I do not have a retail store on the farm. We also do not allow local pickups from the farm; all order pickups are at the New Bern Farmers Market during regular market hours. Thank you for understanding!
- Do you offer wholesale pricing?
Yes! Wholesale pricing is available to businesses with confirmed tax ID information for resale purposes. If you are interested in carrying my products in your store, contact me via email (include your business name and location, please!)
THE GOATS AND THE FARM
- Where is your farm located?
We are located in the western area New Bern, NC in a community called Beaman's Fork, which was named after our 1800s farm
- Do you offer tours or allow school groups (or other groups) to visit your farm?
We get asked this A LOT. Though we dearly appreciate the interest, unfortunately we are unable to fulfill these requests. Our 1800s house is a local historic landmark, but is also a real, working farm as well as our private residence.
Aside from the liability involved in opening to the public, our first and foremost priority is the safety and health of our herd. Our herd is a closed clean herd, which means they are highly protected from outside sources of diseases and health issues. To maintain this status, we have precautions set into place for their safety. This includes that they do not leave our farm (unless an emergency), we do not allow livestock from other farms onto our property, and we limit their human visitors (which is a common source of disease outbreak in petting zoos and farms open to the public). This safety measure has been put into place under the recommendation of our veterinarians, both locally and at the NC State University Veterinary Hospital, Farm Animal Division.
Also, to be additionally honest, we just don't have time!
- Do you sell goats?
We breed only on a needed basis according to how much milk is predicted to be needed for soap making in the upcoming year. This dictates how many does are bred in the fall for late winter / early spring babies. We sell our babies once they are weaned (at 8 weeks) to approved homes. Our babies come from very strong dairy lines and both parents (the doe and our buck) are here on site. For more information about our babies and possible future availability, please contact us directly.
- How is Greta these days?
Oh Greta... the infamous goat that was not only born into social media (literally... the world watched her arrive and grow up!), but in early 2018 following her delivery of two healthy twins, she fell deathly ill very fast and was rushed to the NCSU Veterinary Hospital hours away in Raleigh, NC where she underwent an emergency surgery to amputate one half of her udder. We were told chances were very unlikely that she would make it through the night.
The internet world and all of her fans rallied behind her and miraculously, she not only made an unbelievable turnaround in the early hours of the following day (even the vets huddled around her in amazement), but she was released to come home a week later. From there she required around the clock care in as clean of an environment as possible. Her wounds were cleaned and redressed every couple of hours, she was allowed short walks on a leash outside of her stall a couple of times a day, she was given tons of medications, IM fluids, painkillers and antibiotics (much to her dismay) and whatever she would eat (which wasn't much at first). She slowly but surely moved along on her path to recovery.
Until almost two months later when out of nowhere, the healing amputated side of her udder started leaking milk.
Our local veterinarian, after doing a mobile ultrasound and exam, conferred with the NCSU Vet Hospital and it was decided that we would transport Greta back to Raleigh for a detailed ultrasound and make a game plan. It turned out that her remaining "good" udder decided that she was once again healthy enough to start producing milk again and in doing so, the milk tunneled its way through the tissue and created a leak through her healing wound. After an in-depth meeting with the veterinary team, we decided for her to have a full mastectomy.
It was a tough surgery and a tough recovery, but a week later, she was able to come home. She was feeling much better until, weeks later, she developed a huge infection that required the surgical site to be reopened, flushed out, and drains inserted. Once again, another roadblock she was facing.
Like every other hurdle, she kept her spirits up and the world followed her as she fought the battles, one after the other. It took several more months (and a lot of continued around the clock care), but I am happy to report that she did make a full recovery.
Greta, at the age of five, was permanently retired for breeding immediately following the decision of the initial emergency surgery. She is now happily back with her herd and loving every moment of now serving as Herd Queen (yes, that is the actual name of the female goat in charge of a herd). While she no longer will have babies of her own, this season she fell flawlessly into the roll of a loving babysitter for her herd's babies. She often napped with the babies huddled around her in the shade and engaged in their baby games while their mothers took a break and wandered the pasture.
Greta holds a special place not only in our hearts and in the hearts of her fans around the internet world, but also with the veterinarians and veterinary students who got the chance to work on and learn from her traumatic experience. We owe so much to the veterinarians, both local and at the university, who opened up and stretched their limits to help carve new paths in the medical treatment with goats because of her. It was a long road, but because of Greta and her willingness to fight, hopefully many goats in the future will benefit from the knowledge gained on so many professional levels.
I want to sincerely thank Dr. Becca White DVM and Dr. Emily Gilmette DVM of Eastern Equine Associates in New Bern, NC and Dr. Joanna Wilson DVM, Dr. Derek Foster DVM PhD DACVIM and remaining crew of the N.C. State University Veterinary Hospital / Farm Animal Medicine. It is because of them that Greta is still with us.
MORE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS COMING SOON
If you have any questions or comments I have not yet addressed here that you feel are important, please let me know below.