Good Clean Fun!
Legend has it that ancient peoples discovered soap when fat from animals and lye from ashes made their way down to a nearby stream during ritualistic sacrifices. The potential apocryphal nature of this primeval legend aside, one can experience the primordial indulgence of an ancient art form at The Spirit Goat Soap Shop. From the moment you step inside the cozy boutique, your senses awaken with a delightful array of scents, sounds, and sights.
Nestled among the unique businesses lining the historic Federal Avenue, The Spirit Goat’s unassuming exterior belies the wonders found inside. From the moment you open the door, the fragrance of essential oils fill the air. Colorful swirling bars of hand-crafted soaps line the shelves like treats in a bakery while you are greeted by smiling faces and working hands.
Owner Becky Yeager has been making goat’s milk soap since 2002. A native Texan, Becky came to the valley to work as a wildlife biologist. After having two children, she decided to leave her career and focus on raising her daughters. Becky began making soap for her family after finding products gentle enough for her daughters’ very sensitive skin proved challenging.
When asked if transitioning from wildlife biologist to running a soap making business was difficult Becky replied, “It wasn’t difficult because I had a choice to make it or not make it because I wasn’t a business at that point. It was more of just let me try to make this for my kids. But I learned pretty much 100% off the internet. It was a very different world on the internet back then, but there were some really good resources that I learned from. There were some very bad resources, too, so it was a kind of a process sorting through and figuring it out. But I do have a minor in chemistry, so that kind of helped. Networking through the internet too with other soap makers was hugely helpful and I still do that today.”
Over the years running The Spirit Goat Soap Shop has truly become a family affair. Encouraging her daughters since they were young to develop their own products and business plans, Becky has involved her children in the process from the very beginning. Taylor and Brooke, now 17 and 15, sell items to benefit a charity of their choosing and work in the store while Becky’s husband, an engineer by trade, mixes bulk oils offsite at their home.
Becky’s longtime friend Deanna has worked with Becky for five years at The Spirit Goat. Deanna’s job is to prep the oil measurements, melt the oil, and ready the lye and fragrance. “I just love it” she beams when asked of how she likes working at the soap shop with her friend.
Shopping at The Spirit Goat Soap Shop also benefits other businesses and charities, too. Most of the milk used for soap making at the shop comes from a local hobby farm in Preston, Idaho. Becky notes, “We try to support other local artists by selling their things in the store. Soap dishes, you know we have some potters and glass artists that make soap dishes for us.” Becky purchases her bulk oils from Majestic Mountain Sage of Nibley, Utah and is grateful that the company has tailored their products to suit her needs as the business has expanded.
Becky stresses the importance of giving back with her support of the Cache Valley Children’s Justice Center. For every 8 ounce bottle of lotion sold, she donates a dollar to the center. Other charities the shop has supported include Four Paws, the Cache Valley Humane Society, and the American Cancer Society.
When asked what would be the one thing she wants the public to know about her business Becky replied, “The products that we make are really good for sensitive skin. A lot of people when they come in here they compare us to Bath and Body Works… Sometimes their first question is “would this be okay if I have sensitive skin?” or “I can’t use this because my skin is very sensitive”. But it is why we have the business and it’s why we continue because we cater to that crowd and there’s a need for alternative products in this valley and everywhere.”
Location: 28 Federal Avenue, Logan, Utah
Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 10-6 and Saturday 10-5, Holidays until 6. For more information call The Spirit Goat at 435-512-9040 or go to www.spiritgoat.com.
Story by Karen Shackleford, a freelance writer in Logan, Utah. Photos by Lisa Duskin-Goede, coordinator, Bear River Heritage Area.