For Molly Jacobson, the creation of her Clinton soap business has involved all kinds of kids.
There are the goat kids that often enliven her small store, Blackberry Moon Market, which sells hand-made soap made from Whidbey Island goat milk.
But there’s also her own human kids, who have all been involved in the family business in some way.
No stranger to the ways of making soap, Molly owned her first soap business when she lived in Sitka, Alaska.
“That was before we had computers and YouTube and the internet,” Molly said. “I just taught myself. I think there was one book out. I’ve never stopped making it since. I just loved it.”
Her oldest son Kieran, then 12 years old, helped run the store and taught himself how to do graphic design for the soap labels.
Kieran said his mother has passed along an “entrepreneurial spirit” to him and his seven siblings. One of his sisters made glitter gel for a period of time to sell, and he made cat toys. His youngest sister, Clara, is currently developing a business model to make “slime,” a sort of Silly Putty.
Nearly 20 years later, Kieran still helps with the graphic design for the business.
“It’s kind of amazing that my mother has this innate sense of business,” he said. “She never formally studied business, but she just has this mind for it. It’s pretty special.”
Molly owned her first herd of goats in Alaska, even bringing them with her when her family moved to Whidbey in 2001.
Selling her soap business in Alaska, she and her family were able to purchase a Clinton farm, where they have lived ever since.
She started making soap again out of her home kitchen, creating a website for Blackberry Moon soap. Her daughters all help with the soap production.
This past December, Molly made the move to a physical storefront in downtown Clinton, and had a soft opening the following month. Blackberry Moon Market now occupies the site of the former Clinton post office.
“Our family photos for the last 28 years pretty much all have soap in the background,” Molly said. “So it is really nice to move it out of the home and into a studio space.”
“And now we have a kitchen table,” 10-year-old Clara added.
Soaps of all colors decorate the surfaces of shelves and tables in the front of the store.
A pair of two-week-old twin kids roam the floor. They are Clara’s, destined to be show goats and eventually one of them will be a milk goat.
“Look, she’s got a mini beard,” Clara announces with delight, holding the baby Nigerian dwarf goat she has christened Princess.
Molly said she plans to have goats, especially kids, in the store more often for people to see. There is even a grassy patch out back for them to feed.
The studio space in the back allows for the soap creation. Using local ingredients produced on the family’s farm—no pre-made bases —Molly and her daughters add goat milk to an oil mixture, which is saponified and poured into molds.
Besides soap, Blackberry Moon Market offers body lotions, bath salts, facial clay masks, beard balm and sugar scrubs. There is even a vegan line of soap made without honey or goat’s milk.
A unique addition to the store, felted soaps are made with 100 percent sheep’s wool wrapped around a soap bar.
“It’s like a washcloth and soap all in one. It’s gently exfoliating, and the wool continues to shrink with the soap,” Molly said.
“We have our own sheep. It was a natural combination for me.”
Products are inspired by Pacific Northwest nature, with names like “Salish Sea,” “Orca” and “Island Berry.” A men’s collection includes a “Lumberjack” scent.
A happy accident, a berry-based, pastel-colored soap has become an online bestseller.
“Clara named it. She said, ‘This will be Unicon Magic soap,’ and it is very popular,” Molly said.
Her business aims to sell “affordable luxury,” with prices ranging from $8 to $20.
With the available studio space, she is hoping to start hosting workshops starting next month.
A tentatively titled “Farm to Shower” class will show participants how to make soaps and lotions using goat milk. They will be able to partake in milking the goats themselves.
“I think that will be really fun for people to have a little bit of the farm experience and see what can be made with the milk,” Molly said.
Groups will be able to book parties, too.
During the summer, there will be a produce stand out front with Eastern Washington fruits, Skagit Valley berries and Whidbey veggies from Blackberry Moon Farm.
Blackberry Moon Market is located at 8898 Highway 525 in Clinton. Molly encourages people to stop by the store for more information about the upcoming workshops in April.