New scents for a new store: Free Reign Farm opens brick-and-mortar store

Many stores sell soap, and many stores make soap that they then sell. Many of them make their soap and candles in similar ways. One family, however, wanted to try something different, and five years later, their project became a full-fledged store.

David and Bethany Banks opened their first brick-and-mortar store roughly a week and a half ago. Before that, they had been selling their product at Farmer’s Markets and other stores.

“This is the first time we have had a shop exclusively sell our products,” David Banks said.

The store, Free Reign Farm, sells a variety of home-made soaps, candles and even lip balm in a plethora of different scents, though every product shares a common ingredient: goat milk.

“Most people make soap by mixing lye and water, and then mixing the result with the oil,” Banks said. “We substitute the water with goat milk.”

He said using milk instead of water makes the soap last much longer. While water-based soaps may last a week before flaking or falling apart, Banks said his milk-based soaps last several weeks.

The duo have been making soap for about five years. The soaps originated during Banks’ time working at the ICU, when he would come home with the skin on his hands cracked and bleeding.

“Research says milk is among the most moisturizing substances around,” he said. “My wife learned how to make the soap from home.”

Even though milk has a relatively short shelf life, he said it does not matter in this case.

“The solution actually forms a salt,” he said. “Therefore, there is a chemical reaction. The milk will not go bad like it would in a store.”

Banks said he is not the first person to come up with the idea of milk soap, but he does hold himself to a much higher standard.

“Most people use about 5 to 10 percent milk in their solutions,” he said. “I make the milk the first ingredient I use, and so I try to get around 36 percent milk.”

He said this not only improves the quality and longevity of the soap itself, but also its moisturizing properties.

Soap is not the only thing he uses goat milk for, however. He also creates candles using similar processes. Again, Banks said he has his own method for getting from milk to the finished product.

He uses wood wicks with cotton strips on them instead of a traditional wick.

“This way, all the wax around it melts at the same time, instead of a small circle in the middle,” he said. “That way, you end up not wasting any of the candle on the edges.”

He said he uses soy milk instead of the normal wax because it is much cleaner, and it lacks a certain kind of chemical that overwhelms the senses if too much of it is in the air.

“That is why you get a migraine when you walk into a Bath and Body Works,” he said.

Banks said the opening of the physical store allows customers to custom order their products to their own individual needs.

“If anyone has specific skin conditions, this is a good place to come in and we can make what you need,” he said. “We make everything right here in the back.”

Free Reign Farm will have a grand opening event on November 17, where Banks hopes the new location will kick off sales and awareness of the availability of their product.

“When you call us, you are ringing our cell phones,” Banks said. “Everything we do is done right here locally.”

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