Lark Terry has a clean grasp on her business, which is making soap and other skin care products for both women and men.
Terry is the owner of Arrows and Oaks, a business that she operates completely from her small five acre ranch in Early, where she and her husband Aaron raise Nubian goats which provide the milk for her specialty soaps and other products. Terry makes a variety of soaps in the shop located in the back of her property. Each morning, she and Aaron get up and milk the goats, five of which are milking now, to obtain the main ingredient for most of her soaps.
The Terrys’ first foray into farming happened when some friends asked them to babysit their goat over the weekend. They were able to milk her and then they were hooked. They then purchased the first of their now 20 goats and started using the milk.
“We made mozzarella and Chevre, which is a spreadable goat cheese,” Terry explained.
Then, it was time to start making soap.
“It had always been something I wanted to try,” Terry said. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Each week, she makes about 240 bars of soap which she offers for sale at the Artisan Market, which is running every two weeks at 700 Main Street in Brownwood. The next market will be Saturday, Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon.
First they milk the goats, then the milk is frozen, then she adds the other ingredients such as essential oils like tallow, olive oil, caster oil, coconut oil and shea butter.
And she gets the shea butter straight from the villages in Ghana, Africa, delivered from her mother and father Sue and Danny Jaynes who also live in Early, when they return from Globelink mission trips there.
“It is so wonderful that we get the shea butter from Ghana,” Terry said. “It adds so much richness to our products.”
Sue Jaynes, Terry’s mother, helps with the soap making too and she swears by the shea butter.
“It is very moisturizing and healing,” Jaynes said, adding that globally, Ghana is the number one producer of shea butter.
“It truly is some of the freshest shea butter available and when combined with our raw goat milk from the farm, we are able to produce incredibly luxurious and nutrient rich skin care options,” Terry said.
The soaps are delicious in their variety - meaning they smell good enough to eat in some cases - like Vanilla Sugar, Cinnamon Swirl, Pumpkin Spice, Apple Spice and Cafe Latte. Then there are those varieties that are all about skin care, like Charcoal Cheeks Botanical Face Bar, Nakid Oats and Nakid Shea soaps. She has also started making soaps from beer and wine.
“The wine is from the Spirit of Texas Winery in Early,” she said.
But soaps are not all Lark creates in her home studio. She also makes candles and skincare products. The skincare items are all natural and use rose water and argan oil. And then there are the gift sets - which offer a combination of all the products she makes.
How did the Terrys come to this part of the world? It has been about five years since they moved to their little “fixer upper” on Longhorn Drive. The couple married in 2007 after meeting at Indiana Wesleyan University. They had the first of their children a year later, followed by two more children before they moved to Texas. But first Lark, who had been raised in missions all over the world with her family, had to walk across the stage to graduate with her business degree - and she did. Her parents who were on a mission in Ghana, were able to Skype the event and watch her get her Bachelor’s degree in business.
“I was eight months pregnant, but I did it,” she recalled.
They moved to Early in 2012 and shortly after, Aaron got a job teaching music at Woodland Heights Elementary. Meanwhile, he still wanted to get a farm started.
“I always wanted to do that,” he said. “I was reading books about it and everything before we ever did it.”
And now they have goats, chickens and Guinea pigs on the property. The Terrys, who have four children, ranging in age from 3 to 9 years old, say their small farm is a work in progress.
And the dream is coming true and Lark is continuing to expand her business.
She not only sells products at the Artisan Market in Brownwood but also at the Artisan Guild in Goldthwaite.
“This whole thing grew out of my husband’s desire to have a farm,” Lark said.