With goat milk soaps, Swinney turns hobby into business


Hope J. Swinney (third from left) poses with her family (l-r), daughter Ruth; husband David; and son Wyatt, on their Got Hope Farm in Elizabeth City.


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Through a process that blends the perfect combination of family, nature and artistic talent, Hope J. Swinney is creating her own soaps made from goats’ milk.

Swinney’s Got Hope Farm Goat Milk Soaps all began when her young son, Wyatt, said he hoped to have his own baby chick in the family’s backyard one day.

“A friend of ours had chicks, and he really wanted chicks,” Swinney said.

Swinney said she and her husband, David, told Wyatt he could save his money and purchase a chick a year later when he turned 6.

“We thought he would forget about it,” she said.

He didn’t however, so on his sixth birthday Wyatt was able to take home his own chick from a store.

Swinney said her family later decided to purchase goats, quail and turkeys to add to their Got Hope Farm, which is located on a one-acre lot in Elizabeth City. Swinney, whose grandfather was a farmer, said she looks forward to one day moving to a larger farm where the family can be more self-sufficient.

Swinney soon began researching how to turn goat milk into soaps. At first she gave them away to friends as presents. They’re now available for sale at Jeffrey’s Greenworld & Florist in Elizabeth City.

Swinney said Wyatt helps with the animals, and her daughter, Ruth, helps her with making the soaps from the goat’s milk and essential oils.

An art teacher at Grandy Primary School in Camden, Swinney designed her own label for the soaps. It features two children who represent Wyatt and Ruth.

“Each one of our soaps has scripture on it with the theme of hope,” said Swinney. “It’s been a blessing to us.”

The soaps come in a range of colors and scents, including honey and oats, lavender and cedarwood, peppermint, orange cream and tea tree and oatmeal. Swinney said she uses local honey in her honey soaps.

One of her favorite soaps is gingerbread, which combines clove essential oils and cinnamon.

During the holidays, Swinney plans to offer special Christmas-themed soaps for her customers. She’ll be selling them at the Holly Days Festival of Gifts in Camden.

Originally from Perquimans, Swinney graduated from Elizabeth City State University and has been an educator for more than 18 years. She illustrated Karen Gilbert’s two books in the Rufus T. Rouse children’s book series.

Whether it’s sculpting, painting or designing three dimensional art, Swinney says she enjoys the work.

“I just do it for fun, my escape,” she said.

For more information about Swinney’s Got Hope Farm Goat Milk Soaps, visit the Got Hope Farm Facebook page.