Those of you who have taken a look at the table of contents of the new issue of Salvo may have noticed a rather curious title in the mix: "The Jonas Profit: How Two Goats & One Big Family Found Their Calling" by Terrell Clemmons. This is the story of the Jonas family and their revolutionary (yet bracingly traditional) business venture. What started out as a desire to make natural soap for their children turned into a family vocation. Terrell Clemmons explains in the article:
Jim and PJ (Patricia) married after they graduated from the University of Virginia where PJ earned a degree in engineering and Jim, a BA in economics and a masters in teaching. When Brett reached school age, they moved the growing family from New Jersey to Indiana for a more homeschool-friendly environment. PJ didn’t set out to become a business operator; when she started making soap, it was simply with a mind toward wholesome living.
Then a bum engine in the family van presented a budget crisis. Rather than sue somebody to recover damages, PJ made a few extra batches of soap and offered them for sale in the community. People liked it; demand continually called for more supply; and in 2008, Goat Milk Stuff (GMS) was officially born.
Each of the eight children is responsible for certain tasks and receives a salary. “GMS has become more than just our family business,” PJ explains on the website (http://goatmilkstuff.com). “It’s come to represent who we are and what we stand for. From raising and milking our Alpine goats, to producing all of our soaps, everything about our products was created solely by the ten members of our family.”
Lest anyone mistake this family for an odd anachronism, GMS makes full use of twenty-first-century technology. Most orders come through the website and are shipped out by priority mail on the same or the next day. PJ blogs regularly and maintains a Facebook fan page and Twitter following to communicate with customers. The oldest three children have their own laptop computers for schoolwork, which they purchased using their soap salaries.
The family does, however, recapture something from an earlier era that is worth revisiting.
Be sure to read the entire article in the new issue of Salvo! You can subscribe here or buy individual copies here. I also wanted to give a plug for goatmilkstuff.com. I will be placing an order soon for Christmas presents. If you're looking for gifts, this might be just the thing!