You may have seen their many billboards, or passed their expanding farm on your way to the YMCA, but Goat Milk Stuff has been a locally owned small business here in Scott County since 2012. Owners Jim and PJ Jonas are not Scottsburg natives, however they have made Scott County home to their ever-growing goat farm along with their eight children.
Goat Milk Stuff offers much more than just their soap and other goat milk products. Coming to the farm visitors can enjoy a tour, a baby goat experience, some homemade goat milk sweets and gelato, as well as lunch during the warmer seasons. They also offer goat yoga classes, and, patrons can even experience baby goats being born during kidding season! It’s not just a shop, but a place to visit, learn, and have family fun.
The Jonas family is very happy here in Scottsburg, and with the success of their budding business. Being just ½ a mile from Interstate 65, “We have all the amenities of a city, and still have a rural feel,” said Jim. “We are close to the highway, have high speed internet, public utilities, and delivery access.”
Goat Milk Stuff did not start out as a large tourist destination; it was an unknown journey the family happened to stumble upon. The Jonas family built their small business from the ground up, with a lot of trial and error until all of the pieces finally fell together– leading them to Scott County.
Originating in Virginia, Jim and PJ met in college. After college they soon married and had their first child, Brett. They decided to move to New Jersey to be closer to family. Jim was a school teacher, and PJ a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother. Knowing they wanted a larger family, they began to search for a home and land that could fit the needs of their growing family financially.
“Since our lives revolved mainly around homeschooling, we started to look at Indiana and everything just fell into place. Jim got his teacher’s license in a very short time, we found a 3 month home rental so we would have some place to live while we searched for a house, and there were just a lot of other things that we were looking for that all came together in Southeast Indiana,” said PJ.
“So we moved to Indiana and haven’t regretted that decision once,” said PJ.
“We ended up buying a house on 3 acres in Charlestown, Indiana. That’s where we learned how to homestead and where we got our first goats.”
Goat Milk Stuff’s soap making originated back in 2005 when PJ discovered all of the chemicals she was putting onto her children’s skin and started making her own soap with goat’s milk.
“It was my desire to not use chemicals on the children’s skin. I had all the children in the bathtub one day, just letting them splash around when I picked up the baby wash I had always used and looked at the ingredient list. I was shocked to discover that it was full of both petroleum-based chemicals and other chemicals I couldn’t even recognize. I couldn’t believe that I had trusted my children’s skin to this company and their baby wash,” said PJ.
“I started doing some research and found some soap recipes that used water. I had the dairy goats and knew how good the raw goat milk was to drink, so I decided to put the goat milk into the soap instead of water and see what happened. After making my first batch of goat milk soap, I put a bar into the shower. Jim’s fingers soon stopped cracking and splitting. Since this was a problem he had suffered with for years, I knew I had something special. But I wasn’t yet ready to turn it into a business, so I set about perfecting my soap making and spent the next two years or so creating the “most perfect” bar of goat milk soap I could.”
Then in 2008, Goat Milk Stuff was born! PJ started their own website, and began telling everyone about their soap, and giving out free samples– but it wasn’t enough.
“We decided to sell our soap at the local Apple Festival. We bought a tent and put together a pathetic display (we really had no clue what we were doing) and set out to sell some soap,” said PJ.
“And that was when we started to see answers to all the prayers we had been making.”
Following the Apple Festival, customers began to reach out to the Jonas family. Not only did they love the soap, but it was relieving their eczema symptoms!
That small Apple Festival really launched the success of Goat Milk Stuff, and publicity would quickly follow.
“In 2009 we did our first television appearance with our local ABC news station. After that, we outgrew my homemade website and had a new logo and website designed and implemented. In the summer of 2010 our story was on the Today Show,” PJ said.
Their business boomed! They did other shows including The Doctors, and The Huckabee Show, and were even featured in Oprah’s magazine.
By 2011, the family had again outgrown their 3 acre lot and were searching for more land. They found their current spot (76 S Lake Rd N) in Scottsburg, and it met 10 out of their 11 criteria. After putting in an offer and being accepted, the family found out the area was not zoned Agricultural, but Residential. It was a struggle to get the area re-zoned, but the Jonas’ had faith, and eventually, the good news came in.
“About a week after we started talking about not closing on the property, we got the results back on the survey we had commissioned for 36.7 acres. We knew right then that this was the exact property God had for us, and we just needed to be patient. Sure enough, we eventually got our zoning changed!”
The family started building in 2012, and moved in September of that year. Since then, they have added multiple barns, a large home, and other buildings around the 36 acre property.
In 2015, Goat Milk Stuff made the change from a local farm and internet shop, to a full-blown tourist attraction. That year they became the first, and only Grade A Dairy Farm in the state of Indiana at that time.
As Jim said, “We are so much more than soap!”
If you want to visit Goat Milk Stuff for yourself, they are located at 76 S Lake Rd N in Scottsburg—just down the road from Walmart. You can call to schedule a tour at (812) 752-0622, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.