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    Teenaged Entrepreneur | Fall 2015 Out Here Magazine

    Toni and Lily Perez’s La Mancha dairy goats produce high-content butterfat, making them ideal for soap making.

    Lily Perez’s attention to detail spells success for her goat’s milk soap business 

    By Erin McIntyre

    Photography by Betsy Hansen



    From the time one of her baby goats enters the world to the moment its milk is used to create skin-soothing confections, Lily Perez is involved in the intricacies of the business she started five years ago with her mother, Toni.

    Lily is just 19, but she’s been instrumental in helping Simply Caprine grow to offer an entire line of skin-care products.

    On the outskirts of Floral City, Fla., the Perez family’s 40-acre farm gives their La Mancha dairy goats plenty of room to frolic about the pastures of rolling hills. These happy goats produce milk with the highest-content butterfat of all varieties of dairy goats, making them ideal for cheese and soap making.

    It all started when Lily was a toddler, and Toni struggled to find a natural remedy to alleviate the eczema that irritated her skin. She experimented with making soap and discovered a recipe with tea tree oil that helped.

    Goat’s milk is known for its moisturizing properties. It’s also high in Vitamin A and contains alpha-hydroxy acids to help remove dead skin cells.

    When Lily was only 8, she saved up money doing chores around the farm to buy her first goat. She chose the first of the La Mancha herd, a doe named Delta.

    “I thought they were cute because they have these small, little ears and big personalities,” Lily says. A year after purchasing Delta, she bought Cimarron, and used her to establish a breeding program.

    They now have 26 goats, with the herd growing every time a new kid is born. That’s Lily’s favorite part of the business.

    “I’m partial to the babies. My mother, she likes the older does because she grows attached to them,” Lily says.

    Lily and Toni both have strengths they bring to the business. Lily takes the lead in marketing, online promotions, and maintaining the website and blog. Toni spearheads the actual manufacturing, as well as research and development. She likes to call her job the “pot-stirrer.”

    All the soap recipes begin with olive, coconut, and castor oils, as well as cocoa, shea, and mango butters. Lye is added to saponify, or convert the oils and milk into soap.

    Each batch of soap contains 30 percent goat’s milk, contributing the moisturizing quality. The products are all natural, without mineral oil, parabens, or artificial ingredients.

    One of their top sellers is the complexion bar, gentle enough for any skin type.

    “We use Dead Sea mud in it and that’s beneficial for drying any impurities or oils from the skin,” Lily says, “but the addition of the goat’s milk and the essential oils that we use makes it so it doesn’t dry your skin out.”

    Every bit of their soap-making business is handled by Lily or her mother, from milking to manufacturing to packaging to marketing.

    Product Development

    Simply Caprine fills a niche for customers seeking an all-natural solution to skin care, something Lily has seen an increased demand for in recent years.

    “People take for granted that our skin is our biggest organ in our body and it’s just as important to pay attention to what you put on your skin as what you consume food-wise,” Lily says.

    Many of their products come from helping to solve problems for friends or relatives. The blissful balm was developed to help a longtime client whose daughter suffered from eczema. But when Toni was inventing the recipe, she found her cuticles had never looked better. Today, the blissful balm is valued by customers for everything from soothing rough skin to treating radiation spots from cancer treatments.

    Mother and daughter continue to work together to develop new products and expand their reach to sell their products through retailers throughout the United States.

    They offer more than 50 products with 20 different kinds of scents and though they have been approached about mass-producing their soap, Lily and Toni have declined because they don’t want to lose control of product quality and the appeal of the business.

    “We do want to keep the charm of the small, local farm business,” Lily says.

    “The business is enjoyable to us, so in our minds we don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that joy,” she says. “We don’t want to become so big that we’re not personally involved in every product from the very beginning — down to the birth of the goat that will produce the milk for the product.”

    Lily credits her mom and the business for teaching her skills such as taking initiative, critical thinking, and responsibility.

    “You have to be very self-motivated when you own your own business, especially when you work from home,” she says.

    Toni says she’s learned a lot, too, particularly about her entrepreneurial daughter.

    “Watching her grow and develop as her own person has been the biggest reward,” Toni says. “And although I started off as the teacher/mentor, she has taught me a lot about the importance of quality and how to apply loving details to the business. I used to think it was being picky, but I know it is her desire to achieve the very best in every aspect of the business.”


    Erin McIntyre has La Mancha goats on her wish list for farm animals to acquire someday.

    Fall 2015 Out Here Magazine Home Page