For this week’s Made in Arkansas, AY About You travels to Tammy Sue’s Critters, a small dairy goat farm that handmakes all-natural bath and body products.
In 2005, Tammy Pope and her husband bought a farm. Located on the edges of North Little Rock, the farm did not become the center of a soap-making business until two years later, when her son came home with goats and a gallon of milk. Pope had always been interested in homemade soap, and she began experimenting with crafting goat’s milk soap.
Pope discovered in her research that goat’s milk soap is one of the most difficult homemade soaps, but she eventually perfected her recipe through trial and error. Now, 13 years later, Tammy Sue’s Critters has an entire line of bath and body products, and Pope’s farm is home to 46 goats and even more animals, including a llama, bunnies and cats.
Pope has gradually expanded her inventory. In addition to the classic soap bar, Tammy has used the goat milk base for shampoo, lotion and laundry soap. She also has a beehive on the farm, and uses the beeswax to make lip balm, deodorant and ‘owie ointment’, which soothes cuts, bruises, burns and bites. Tammy Sue’s Critters has also added a menthol chest rub and a hand sanitizer to its list of products since the pandemic began.
By 2017, Pope realized she needed more space to run her business. Using the crowdsourcing website Kiva, Tammy Sue’s Critters raised enough money to build a small building on the farm that has become known as the Soap Cottage. All of Tammy’s products are now made in the cottage, and the business has developed an education program. Small groups can participate in Make It Take It classes, where they learn how to make their own goat’s milk soaps or salt scrubs and take home their crafted products. Pope continues to offer these classes, but currently only allows people that already know each other per class to guarantee visitors’ safety and comfort.
Pope also began a “work-away” intern program through the Soap Cottage, where people come to the farm and learn firsthand how to make goat’s milk soap products.
“They live in the Soap Cottage, where we have a bedroom, full bathroom, full kitchen and a washer and dryer,” said Pope. “We provide all their meals, and they work for five to six hours a day and learn how to make soap.” Their interns generally stay for one or two weeks at a time.
Tammy Sue’s Critters is currently preparing for the holidays, including socially-distant holiday markets. Pope’s soaps will be available at Jacksonville Parks and Recreation’s 43rd annual Holiday Craft & Gift Sale from Nov. 20-21. Pope’s work should also be available at the Arkansas Craft Guild’s Christmas Showcase on the state fairgrounds during the first weekend of December.
Tammy Sue’s Critters
4 Cheyenne Trl.
North Little Rock, AR 72120