JACKSON Ky. – What once was an experiment to help alleviate the symptoms of skin eczema for Lori Hall and her siblings has turned into a family business with a national footprint. Lori, 16, with the help of her parents, Brian and Jennifer Hall, opened Rustic Charm Farm in 2013 on their farm located eight miles west of Jackson, Ky., the county seat of Breathitt County.
“It’s been such an incredible journey,” said Jennifer. “We’ve learned so much, and we have grown so much as family taking on this business.”
The farm specializes in Nigerian Dwarf goats and uses their milk to make a variety of products ranging from lotions, creams, sugar scrubs, soap, shampoo bars, and shave soap. For the Hall family, it is much more than a business. It’s their passion.
“We want the very best goat we can get, so we look closely at the bloodline of the goats we purchase,” said Lori, who aspires to be a veterinarian. “We look at the traits of the mother and father and other siblings. We also examine the quality, butter fat, and protein of a goat’s milk. It is important that we provide a great product to our consumers.”
Lori said she was exploring remedies to skin eczema online when they ran across the vast benefits of goat milk.
“We started making some products, and it worked for us,” said Lori. “We shared it with some family, and we quickly realized we were on to something.”
Something has turned into a family business. The Halls attended 40 festivals and shows last year and sell their products online through their website (www.rusticcharmfarm.com) and on Amazon as well as numerous vendors in the region.
At any given time, the Halls can have between 20 and 30 goats. This requires a lot of work from milking, feeding, and cleaning stalls. It’s a family affair that involves everyone, including Lori’s brothers Lane, 15, and Bryce, 4.
“It’s brought so much joy to our family, and a lot of work,” Jennifer said, smiling. “When we work shows, we make sure we have time to make it back to tend to the goats, and our business has grown so much that it seems like we are in production mode all the time.”
What does the future hold?
Brian and Jennifer want to leave a business for their kids to have and build. They would like to grow their farm and expand production. With that comes some challenges in distribution and wholesale.
“Our challenges are nothing we can’t overcome,” said Jennifer. “There are really so many opportunities for us.”
Connectivity is critical for the Halls’ business.
“We have to be connected to track our inventory and fulfill orders,” said Jennifer. “We also have to have connectivity to leverage other aspects of the business such as social media and digital advertising.”
Rustic Charm Farm is a proud Blueprint Partner of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). They plan to use the vast network of SOAR to expand their customer base and learn more from small and thriving businesses throughout Appalachia.
“The network SOAR provides is a tremendous help to small businesses like ours,” said Jennifer. “We can ask questions and learn about programs and resources that are available for us. They believe there is a future in Appalachia, and they know businesses like ours represent that future.”