Rachyl Travis, Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap, North Scituate, RI
From Birthday Present to Business
| Rachyl Travis, Rachyl's Goat Milk Soap, Travis Family Farm
Rachyl Travis, who was born in 2003, is an experienced entrepreneur. For her 9th
birthday in June 2012 she received a pet Nubian goat and wanted to find a way to use the extra goat milk. Even as a little girl she wanted to contribute to the support of the Travis Family Farm where she lived with her parents, Lillian and David, and 8 brothers and sisters. Rachyl enlisted the help of her older sister Jaklyn to help research products using goat’s milk and decided to start making goat milk soap. Rachyl first gave the soap as gifts to family and friends. When people started asking how to buy the soap, Rachyl’s hobby became a business.
Goat’s milk has unique properties for soap because it naturally contains more than 50 nutrients, including vitamins A, C and B-complex, which nourish the skin. Each bar of Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap is made with an ounce of pure, fresh goat’s milk and then combined with organic oils and scents to create 19 individual types of soap. The names of the soaps are playful: Almost Summer has the scent of cucumber and melon; Cool Bean smells like vanilla; Farm Girl has citrus, lily of the valley and jasmine with a hint of sandalwood; and Field of Dreams is lavender scented. There is also an unscented version of every product called Plain Ole. Rachyl has added complementary product lines and now also sells 10 versions of body butter, 6 varieties of lip balm, and gift sets. She is experimenting with other products to pair with the products such as handknit washcloths, bath soaks and make-up remover.
Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap sells approximately 300 bars of soap a week during the peak summer season. Rachyl initially wanted to sell the soap at famer’s markets but only one, the North Scituate Farmer’s Market, would allow her to participate, perhaps intimidated by a 9-year-old exhibitor. After her success at North Scituate, she has been invited to many farmer’s markets but limits herself to four markets due to the time intensive nature of this distribution channel. Currently, more than 90% of the sales are through the web site: www.travisfamilyfarm.com
| Rachyl, Jaklyn and Lillian Travis
The business today involves Rachyl, her mother Lillian and sister Jaklyn, who is now married with a little girl of her own. Rachyl spends 3 hours a day, 7 days a week milking the 9 Nubian goats the family owns, each of which produce up to a gallon and a half a day of milk. Rachyl also hand crafts the manufacturing of the soaps, attends the farmer’s markets, and packages sales from the web site. Lillian makes the non-soap products, does deliveries and orders supplies. Jaklyn handles social media, marketing and the web site.
Rachyl is home schooled, which gives her a flexible schedule. Her plan is to attend Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) under a new program that allows Rhode Island residents to receive 2 years of tuition at CCRI for free. She then hopes to transfer to a 4-year college if she can get a scholarship to study business.
How Did CWE Help?
Rachyl spent 4 years learning by trial and error, and the business had reached a plateau. Rachyl realized she needed outside help and found CWE in 2016. Since then Rachyl, her mother and sister have taken as many courses as possible in business planning, marketing, social media and finance. Rachyl and Lillian are now enrolled in PowerForward, an advanced business planning course. In 2017, Rachyl wanted to take out a $25,000 loan under CWE’s microloan program but due to her age, the application needed to be in her sister Jaklyn Randall’s name. The loan was granted, and the money was used to buy automatic milking equipment and a larger warmer and provided the resources to order oils in bulk to receive wholesale discounts.
Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
- You need to understand how to make money. It is easy to spend more than you are bringing in.
- Look for outside resources, take classes, and learn as much as you can to make your business successful.
- Running your own business takes a lot of hard work and can be 24/7, but Rachyl wouldn’t trade it for anything else.