In northern Madison County you can find one of Indiana’s best kept secrets hidden among giant wind farms and rows of corn as far as the eye can see.
If you blink, you might just miss the cute little red barn-style shop that houses Simple Goodness Soaps, a line of goat milk-based lotions, soaps, bath bombs and more.
The brainchild behind the popular line of products is Kelly Caldwell, who says it all started 12 years ago when she began researching how to make natural laundry soap for her family. That initial research then led her to begin experimenting with body soap.
“We just made it for us as a family but we kept having extra product available so we took it to local farmers markets,” said Caldwell. “From there we started hearing how it was clearing up people’s eczema. Cancer patients who were going through chemo were saying how much it helped their skin.”
And thus, a new business was born.
“The feedback really furthered my interest in what these products could do for people. So our business has just grown from there.”
Caldwell says she focuses primarily on making soaps and lotions, emphasizing the majority of what goes into the product line is grown on her Elwood farm including the nine milk-producing goats Caldwell milks twice a day.
“We use our own goat milk so that way we’re able to know what’s going through our animals. We grow as much of the ingredients as we can here on the farm so we know exactly what is going into our products.”
Rave reviews from customers at local farmers markets and festivals motivated Caldwell to become an Indiana Grown Member in 2017. And it turned out to be a wise decision. Out of the over 1,500 Indiana Grown members, Caldwell’s Simple Goodness Soaps have been the organization’s top seller two years in a row.
With increasing demand for Simple Goodness products, Caldwell quit her full-time job last fall to expand her business, building an 1,800 square-foot store on her Elwood property that opened in December. But due to COVID-19, festival and fair business came to a halt. Caldwell says she has yet to be able to sell her products at a single event in 2020, including the Indiana State Fair which was canceled earlier this month.
“The State Fair is definitely the biggest event that we do,” said Caldwell. “This year already, every event has been canceled, so we were really looking forward to the State Fair, not only because it’s our largest event, but just hoping that we would still have the opportunity to have some sales through the summer.”
With no State Fair this year, Caldwell says her first event of 2020 won’t be until September 1. But she has pivoted her business model to cope with the current challenges posed by the pandemic.
“Luckily, we already had a website. We have seen increased traffic that way, but we’ve also just done some different things like curbside pickup. We also did a porch drop off, which was very successful. We picked a different local surrounding town per week and notified people on social media that we would be going to that town,” said Caldwell. “That was very helpful, something we’ve never done before but it worked for us.”
Simple Goodness Soaps is currently sold at 16 different locations throughout Indiana.