FAYETTE — Gina Lynch always wanted to own goats.
So, back in 2015, her boyfriend, John Dickenson, the owner of a Fayette sheep operation, finally gave in. Dickenson owns Stoney Meadows Farm and got Lynch, a Romulus middle school math teacher, two goats.
“I think he thought I was going to buckle from all the responsibilities,” she said with a laugh.
That didn’t happen.
“After he knew I was serious, he built me a barn,” said Lynch, who doubles as the owner of Udderly Simple Goat Milk Soap and Lotions.
She said she learned something pretty quick: It costs a lot of money to take care of farm animals — so Lynch decided to put her goats to work, so to speak.
The Geneva native said she had three choices: sell the milk, make cheese or make soap.
Armed with a biology degree and a lot of drive, Lynch decided on the latter.
“I like challenges,” she said. “I like creativity. I needed an outlet from work.”
Lynch didn’t know how to make soap, so she did what comes naturally to an educator: She studied.
“I ordered a book and did a lot of reading on the internet and just went for it,” she said.
She made her first bar, which she described as “pretty plain, pretty ugly.” From that first bar Lynch spawned a business that includes not just soap, but lotions as well, all featuring goat’s milk, which she said is much gentler on the skin and appears to have medicinal qualities as well.
“It’s good for acne, rosea, eczema and very dry skin,” she said.
Her product lineup includes 10 scented lotions, 10 scented body butters and 13 different soaps, along with seasonal scents.
She said goat milk is naturally high in glycerine, whereas chemically derived glycerin that is found in many skin-care products dries the skin. She’s even got a lotion for topical pain relief with CBD oil in it.
Another product, a natural bug repellent, is on the way this spring, Lynch noted.
She added that she built the brick-and-mortar side of the business old-fashioned way: by knocking on doors.
“I walk in with samples with all the information and they try my stuff,” she said.
You can find Udderly Simple products in a number of area stores, including her first outlet, Muranda Cheese Company in Fayette. Lynch’s products also are available in Waterloo Woolens, Sinicropi Florist in Seneca Falls, Don's Own Flower Shop in Geneva, Farm House Fabulous in Palmyra, and the Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva.
Her products are available online through etsy.com. And, you can catch Lynch with her Udderly Simple soaps and lotions at regional festivals in the summer and fall. You may also have seen her table at the Saturday version of the Geneva Farmers Market at Lakefront Park. She hopes to bring her products to Skaneateles outlets in the future.
While the business is just two years old, Lynch said she’s enjoying high demand for her products, even in the depths of winter.
“I thought I’d get a break after Christmas, but it’s still going strong,” she said.
While Lynch is contracting with a firm to provide online marketing assistance, she pretty much handles the rest. Her home serves as the soap- and lotion-making site.
“It’s cluttered, but it smells good,” she said with a laugh.
Her boyfriend, Dickenson, plans on converting her garage into a worksite.
The Udderly Simple owner said she loves her animals.
“They have the best personalities,” she said. “They are very smart, very loving and they can become very spoiled, like a dog or cat.”
As for where she goes with Udderly Simple, Lynch emphasized that she still loves teaching and is not ready to step away from a 21-year career that has seen her teach a host of grade levels and courses. She has certificates in elementary education, 7-12 math and high school biology.
“I still love the kids,” she said.
However, when she is ready to step down, she knows what she is going to do.
“I would love to retire and take this full-time and take it further,” she said.