Animals: They were here first
The Value of a Goat
Goats get a bad rap. Down through history and highlighted in Bible stories, goats are pitted against sheep when it comes to character analysis. Everyone loves sheep, they’re so docile, so agreeable, but those goats - so stubborn, and hard to deal with. But such generalities, as in any analysis, don’t measure up.
My father said that the best pet he ever had was the goat he had in childhood. My father grew up as an only child, raised by his grandparents on a lonely farm. That goat kept him company and made him laugh.
While listening to the BBC Outlook the other night, a story came on about the healing power of goats. I smiled as I turned the volume up, thinking of my dad and how he would love to hear this!
The story starts with an American woman, Shann, married to a British man, Rich, living on a farm in Wales. Their son had a serious health issue with bronchial infections. Constant use of antibiotics was not helping. Rich suggested that they try goat’s milk which he knew was a time-tested remedy used by farmers in Wales to alleviate bronchial conditions. After only a few weeks, their son’s asthma cleared. Shann wanted to learn what it was about the goat’s milk, so she started to do some research.
Her story gets even better as she tells of all the ways that goats helped her family’s health, even curing a bout of MRSA that Rich developed after a hospital stay. Shann figured out how the natural probiotics of goat’s milk could stop the infection which was taking over Rich’s skin. Shann created a oil from the goat’s milk and it cleared everything up.
Shann took some classes in making goat’s milk soap and also started making kefir (a kind of liquid yogurt) from the goat’s milk as well. A business was born.
After the radio show, I looked up more about Shann Jones online. Forbes interviewed her last July. In addition to telling her story, she talked about her passion for her business which revealed some basic principles for pursuing whatever it is in life that gets you up in the morning with a smile on your face:
Three of my key principles: Passion, Standards, Value
“Do something you’re passionate about. You’re going to be getting up early, staying up late, so you need something that drives you forward and pulls you out of bed. Nobody else has your particular skill set so if you follow your passion it will be an expression of who you are. My test is that time goes away: you look at the clock and realise the hours have flown.
“Keep your standards high. Novelty doesn’t hold customers, but high quality does. Goat feed is expensive. Were we going to go with a cheaper version? What our customers wanted is GM-free, soya-free products: nobody in the UK produces soya-free feed so we had to have it mixed specially. But if I can’t have my animals free-range and properly looked after, I don’t want them. That’s how we’ve proceeded from the beginning. Our customers are informed, they care about every detail: how we care for our animals, how we feed them, how we medicate them. My advertising budget is zero but I had 940% growth in sales from year one to year three from word of mouth. I connect through social media, we’ve had editorial, and that’s it.
“Offer real value. The world is full of crappy widgets that break and fill up landfills. The world doesn’t need more cut-rate junk. It does need real solutions to real problems. I have always tried to offer a gift; to think of my business that way. What is the real value that I have to offer? I’m not interested in wasting my time on anything less. I don’t sell products, I make converts!”
You can hear Shann Jones’s story on the BBC Outlook here.
You can read the interview in Forbes here.
You can visit her website, Chuckling Goat, here.