Family finds goat milk good for more than just cheese

The Mayes family are big fans of goat milk, but not necessarily to eat or cook withthey wash and moisturize with it. The family lives on a farm in Mechanicville where they have been making goat milk soap and lotion in their basement for 10 years. What started as a small family business has grown to become a much larger enterprise, still family-run, that now services 50 states and 30 countries.

Maryclaire Mayes homeschooled her children and made soap out of goat milk for a science experiment. When the family started using it, Mayes said it was wonderful and she kept making it for home use and to give away as gifts. At her husband's urging, Mayes researched how to become a small business and things took off.

Because I was homeschooling my kids I was always putting the brakes on things. I didn't want to be big. Then they went away to school and we've been growing steadily ever since," said Mayes. "I made the soap myself up until two years ago when my son came home from college and took over; I made 85 bars a batch but he invented a system that mechanically helps lift the heavy pots and can make batches of 320."

Mayes said besides being a unique product locally, nationally and globally, she thinks what really makes the company, Alabu Inc., stand out is that it uses 100 percent goat milk.

"Other companies do make it but very few do it with fresh milk; many use powdered milk and reconstitute it. Usually, soap needs a water to dissolve the chemical that's the catalyst for turning oils into soap and keeps it from burning," said Mayes. "We've developed a method where we use no water which allows for our products to be extra creamy and moisturizing. We don't add any alcohol or preservatives."

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