Katy and I were working at an orphanage in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine in 2012 when we began dreaming about Joy Lane Farm. She was the daughter of first-generation immigrants from Australia, and I grew up on a New Hampshire homestead. Named for the long, curving driveway that led to it, Joy Lane Farm was my childhood farm where we raised goats and chickens and had a sprawling vegetable garden. My mom had made goat milk soap as a side business for years starting when we were in 4-H, but she and my dad were leaving that part of their lives behind them as they embarked on their own adventure to serve on the Africa Mercy, a humanitarian hospital ship that docks along the African coast. So, we took on the family soap business when we got home from Ukaine.
It was very small, just enough to pay for the animals. While we grew it, Katy taught high school math, and I waited tables at local restaurants. We added products, obsessed over formulations and packaging, and learned everything we could about website design, operations, and shipping and handling. Our "big, hairy audacious goal" was to be able to fully fund a crewmember on the Africa Mercy by 2027.
We’re passionate about the products we make and the people who use them. We believe high quality products come from quality ingredients, that lilac candles should smell like real lilacs, and that if a product is absorbed into your skin, it shouldn’t contain parabens. We partner with a local 4-H farm for some of our goat milk, because we know what it’s like to raise goats. We believe lotion should be thick, never watery, and that lip balm should moisturize, never dry out your lips. In our products, every ingredient has a purpose, absolutely no fillers.
As 2nd generation soap-makers, we believe the integrity and beauty of what we make reflects the generations before us and the generations after, and that investing in our community, locally and globally, is part of our inheritance. Continuing my parent’s legacy, part of our sales support Mercy Ships with the goal of fully supporting a nurse on the Africa Mercy by 2027. More recently, we also began supporting refugees in Ukraine.
Our FAVORITE part of being business owners is connecting with our customers, which we mostly do through the local farmers market, Facebook, and Instagram. You can follow us there or here on our blog. We LOVE to hear from you in the comments! Thanks for helping us build Joy Lane Farm!
<3 Joel and Katy