PUNTA GORDA — The name Gasparilla Soap Company is appearing in more places in Southwest Florida and has now spread as far as Alaska. Owner and founder Ann Campbell fills us in on the small, but growing company.
How did the company begin?
Well, I had 16 Nubian goats on my five-acre farm on Jones Loop Road and goats produce milk. Two options were open to me: Sell milk or sell soap. I chose soap.
Why did you choose soap?
I have always been health conscious. I wanted to make pure, natural products that would benefit people.
How did you start selling the soap?
At farmers markets around the area. Right now, I am in Englewood at the market on Thursdays and in Punta Gorda’s market on Saturdays. I used to do the North Port market, but had to back off because the company is very small — just me right now.
Have you expanded your product line beyond goat soap?
Yes, we now sell salt scrubs, hand balm and will soon start offering lotions.
Are the farmers’ markets a good place for you to be?
Yes. People now recognize our products and that builds demand. They come to the markets and seek us out.
Are people skeptical about using goat milk products?
That is fading away. Once they see the results on their skin, all skepticism is gone. People will come up and say “my friend uses this and I want to use it, too.”
What is the No. 1 comment you hear from your clients?
That is easy. “My skin is dry.” Our products help with that.
What is your No. 1 challenge?
Meeting demand. Our house was damaged by Hurricane Irma and we are still in recovery. We don’t have tours or visits right now. We are totally focused on getting our product out.
Where do you see Gasparilla Soap Company in the next year?
Moving into the retail and the mail-order markets. Currently, two stores locally sell our products and we hope to have more. The mail order business is really exploding. We have shipped product as far away as Alaska. I’d like for us to do more of that.