At the beginning of 2021, we faced a hard reality. We made enough soap to live on, but to sustainably do this for years to come, that number would need to dramatically increase. The hardest part was that we didn’t have enough time. Even if people asked for more soaps, candles, and lotions, the time intensive processes made it unfeasible to make and ship them. Despite this, after crunching some numbers, we set a wildly ambitious goal for this year that far outpaced our manufacturing capacity.
A good amount of this year was spent answering questions like, “How can we make ten times the amount of soap in the same amount of time?” and there weren’t easy answers. Batches failed, equipment was expensive, and research led to very different approaches with no guarantee which would work better.
We anchored ourselves, almost delusionally, to our dream to fully fund a crewmember on Mercy Ships by 2027. We said, ‘no’ to appealing job opportunities and faced unexpected challenges, like when glass jars vanished for two months thanks to supply chain shortages, and we navigated it all while staying extremely cautious of covid knowing that when small business owners can’t go to work, no one goes in their place.
Thank you, all. Not just for the orders, the reviews, the word-of-mouth recommendations that fueled this year, but for the countless notes, emails, and words of encouragement to keep going--that Joy Lane Farm was worth building.
We. hit. our. goal. last. week.
Thanks to you, we are well poised—God willing—to tackle the year ahead. We have our sights set on new products, more efficient processes, beginning to set aside a reserve to purchase a farm property customers can visit, and to continue steadily, resolutely toward our Mercy Ships 2027 goal.
After lots of hard work, we are closed for the year. We’ll spend the break together with our girls, fully pause shipping orders on Dec 23rd, and resume in 2022 with clear goals, and a clean soap studio.
We’d like to leave you with this image of my Dad by Mercy Ships photographer Katie Callow, playing a game with a patient aboard the Africa Mercy in 2016 where he and my mom spent the last years of his life.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families. We pray you have good health, full hearts, and ample time to give thanks.
Joel and Katy