God's Business Answer for Ind. Family: Goats, Soap and Hard Work

If you live in America, you've more than likely heard of "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

Less likely is the chance that you've heard of "Jim & P.J. Plus 8" (for one, because there is no such reality TV show).

While notably less dramatic than the Gosselins, however, the Jonases of Charleston, Ind., would provide an interesting story.

The eight young children in the family, ranging in age from three to 13, help run the family business of making chemical-free goat milk soaps and other body products. At the Goat Milk Stuff company, located in the barn next to their farmhouse, every family member has a job – from the older boys who milk the goats to the youngest daughters who put the soaps into fabric bags.

Together, as a family of ten, the Jonases work side by side to produce some 45,000 bars of goat milk soap a year.

"Our faith is pretty much the backbone of the business," said mother P.J. Jonas to The Christian Post on Wednesday. "I had actually started to pray for a family business years before we started this one because I really felt that Jim, as head of the family, needed to be home more than he was when he was working away from home."

Before Goat Milk Stuff was born in 2008, Jim Jonas was working as a middle school science teacher. P.J. recalled that her husband would come home tired from work and did not have time or energy to interact with the children. She prayed for God to reveal a family business where Jim could spend more time with the kids.

"Now they (the children) are happy if they can get away from me," quipped Jim with a laugh.

Several years before Goat Milk Stuff was founded, P.J. was making her own soaps out of concern over all the chemical ingredients in the bath products sold in stores. She wanted to create chemical-free products for her children.

So when the family was thinking about what type of business could be God's answer to their prayers, the family agreed that soap making was it. With all eight of the children homeschooled, P.J. had plenty of eager young hands to help. The children usually work several hours in the morning and then attend classes in the afternoon.

As for Jim, the father of eight gradually reduced his hours as a middle school teacher until he could fully switch over to the family business.

"We seek to honor Jesus in all that we do and that plays a big role in our family and our business," wrote the Jonases on their Goat Milk Stuff website. "Our children are taught 'everything is a God issue' – including making and selling soap. We believe these values come through in the goodness of our products and we hope you will agree."

Each five-ounce bar of soap contains one ounce of goat milk. The soaps feel creamy because goats produce milk that is high in skin nourishing Vitamin A and lactic acid. The Jonases pride themselves in curing each bar of soap for six weeks instead of forcing the cure process to rush the product to market as some companies do. The natural curing time increases mildness of the soap. The products are also highly fragrant, and are known to have been placed on window sills to freshen up the bathroom.

Notably, the soaps and other Goat Milk Stuff products are wallet-friendly. P.J. said she would not sell anything that she would not buy herself, which also takes into account costs.

The most popular goal milk soap scents are presently Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Black Raspberry, and Honeysuckle. Goat Milk Stuff also sells soaps to repel bugs as well as lotions and lip balms.

"God has a plan for everyone, with us it turned out to be soap," said Jim.

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