By Lonnie Huhman,
Unique, fun, handmade, natural and just plain awesome are just some of the ways to describe FarmSudz and its products.
It’s been nearly a year since the shop that makes and sells goat’s milk soap opened ups its doors in downtown Chelsea. Located in the basement floor below Chelsea Print & Graphics, FarmSudz was born out of Julie Konkle’s Chelsea home and since then it has bloomed into a successful business specializing in handmade, natural skincare with such products as all natural soaps, lotions, lip balms and much more.
Konkle and her business partner Erin Valkuchak, who is also her niece, said FarmSudz is all about handmade and natural. They make their products themselves right in their shop.
“We love it and it’s so much fun,” Konkle said while looking back at the past year in business.
“Our customers love it too,” she added.
The idea for the business began in earnest with Konkle learning about goat’s milk soap because her husband liked it so much. He was ordering it from out of state, so Konkle said she started researching it with the aim of making it for him herself. This eventually led her to make a connection with the Firesign Family Farm in Whitmore Lake, where her supply of goat’s milk is produced.
Why goat’s milk?
“It’s creamier and it’s good for your skin,” Konkle said, and added that’s just the start as to why they love using goat milk.
The pure goat milk soap, with its creamy, cleansing lather, is made with six simple ingredients: goat milk, lard, organic coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, locally sourced lard and organic castor oil.
Their products are made using organically grown herbs, raw goat milk and beeswax from Michigan farms, and with the highest quality oils and butters available.
A big part of FarmSudz is its personal touch. They team inside the shop all bring with them a background and experience in the medical field. Konkle is a retired nurse from the University of Michigan Health System.
“Our mission is really to help people, so we make our products with a purpose,” Konkle said.
Valkuchak said customer service is important to them.
“We talk with the customer, get to know them and really try to make sure they get individualized service,” Valkuchak said.
Konkle said they really appreciate the response from the community and their loyal customers. She said business has grown each month and they are seeing customers come back for more because of the benefits they are seeing.
FarmSudz’s popularity has grown so much that it’s attracted the attention of the PBS television show “Curious about Careers,” which will be visiting Chelsea to highlight the shop. They are also competing in the Bloodbath, which is the first annual soap making competition sponsored by the Handmade Soap and Cosmetics Guild. Out of 20 or so competitors, FarmSudz has made it into the top four and will be competing again next spring.
Konkle said they’re excited about year two in their cool location and look forward to continuing to help their customers.
For those interested in seeing what FarmSudz is all about and checking out their soaps, salves and creams, visit the shop at 104 S. Main Street in Suite #2 or call 734-593-7030. They also have a Facebook page @FarmSudz. The shop is open 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.