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Business Skin in the game: Family lotion maker finds formula for success

Skin in the game: Family lotion maker finds formula for success

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Two Old Goats LLC

4117 Murray Ave.

Haltom City 76117

817-520-4230

The Official Two Old Goats Essential Oils & Lotions

When Rich and Karen Snyder bought a small, locally owned business in 2008, they never imagined that modest cottage industry would become one of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Their family firm – bearing the funny but memorable moniker Two Old Goats – blends, bottles and distributes an herbal essential oil lotion. The business, based in Haltom City, also produces an herbal balm, bar soap and body wash. The products moisturize dry, chapped skin and, say some aficionados, can soothe aches and pains.

In 2009, the Snyders generated $156,000 in sales. Then, business boomed. From 2011 to 2014, the company grew 532 percent. Last year, Two Old Goats garnered $3.7 million in revenue, making the business No. 830 on Inc. magazine’s 2015 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private U.S. companies. The company is on track to soak up $4 million in revenue this year, according to Rich Snyder.

“We just ran into this. We saw this as a really good opportunity to maybe make a living from it. We had no idea it would get as big as it has,” he said. “We still have not scratched the surface. We’ve done no marketing. It’s been almost all word-of-mouth advertising.”

Two Old Goats is not the couple’s first entrepreneurial venture. Rich is a former military pilot and a commercial pilot for Delta Air Lines Inc., and Karen is a graphic artist. They had owned and operated a couple of small businesses before stumbling across Two Old Goats. They tried and liked the essential oil lotion so much they began selling it for its owner and creator, Karen Pharr.

Pharr, a professional quilter and fabric artist, suffered from dry, rough hands as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. She tried various lotions with essential oils but did not like their chemicals and perfumes. They also left stains on her fabrics. Over seven years, Pharr experimented at home to create a non-greasy lotion made of a vegetable glycerin base with goat milk – a key ingredient – and a blend of six essential oils: lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and birch bark. This lotion penetrated the skin quickly, did not stain her fabrics and left her hands soft, supple and refreshed. She began bottling Two Old Goats Essential Oil Lotion and selling it in her quilt shop.

“How the company got its name, Two Old Goats, is a cute story,” Rich said. “When Karen Pharr was a teenager, she was voted Miss Teen Goat Queen at the county fair. As she got older her friends began calling her an old goat as a joke. Her husband wore a goatee so they became the two old goats.”

“Now, some family and friends call us the two old goats,” Karen Snyder added. “You’d be surprised how many people call and ask if we sell goats or goat milk.”

Pharr was selling 400 bottles of the lotion a month but the increasing demand for it started interfering with her quilt and fabric business. So she offered Two Old Goats to the Snyders, who jumped at the chance to buy it.

“We turned it around just right away,” Karen Snyder said. “We started out like Karen in our kitchen, mixing the lotion and bottling it and sticking on paper labels by hand. We bought one bottling machine, then another and then a third one. We just keep growing.”

At first, the new owners tried to tackle all the operations of the business, from production to distribution and marketing. As demand for the lotion continued to grow, the Snyders moved Two Old Goats four times, finally to its present larger location, a facility they bought, and evolved it into a true family business. They brought on Karen’s son, Corey Moore, to run the bottling line (he also makes the balm), and then hired her daughter, Gina Carreon, to oversee marketing. Carreon also developed the line of hand soap and body wash. Jared Snyder, Rich’s son, takes care of shipping and production. Rounding out the family business is Moore’s fiancee, three of Moore’s friends and Shari Guyette, a friend of Karen’s since the first grade.

Pharr’s original formula remains unchanged. The balm contains the same essential oils as the lotion and has refined shea butter added for a smooth feeling.

“It’s the same formula. We’ve just made the batches bigger,” Karen Snyder said.

Today, the company sells 50,000 to 60,000 bottles of the lotion a month. The lotion still comes in three sizes, a 2-ounce for $5.95, a 4-ounce for $9.95 and an 8-ounce for $17.95. The balm sells for $9.95, while the soap bar is $4.75 and the body wash is $12.95. Two Old Goats also offers a hand cleaner made from powdered corn cobs.

“We’ve done well because we’ve grown organically. We didn’t borrow any money,” Rich said. “We now have the capability to grow and manufacture much more than we are now.”

Two Old Goats products are available on the company’s website, via Amazon.com and through several distributors. The company sells directly nationwide to a variety of retailers, including farm, ranch and feed stores; hardware stores; independent pharmacies; beauty shops and vitamin stores.

“We think the reason we’ve been successful in the farm, ranch and feed market and the hardware market – all Ace Hardware stores have access to our products – is because it fits our demographic. They’re working people who are looking for a product like ours,” Rich said. “Plus, we have no competition. There’s no product like ours on the market.”

Snyder said the focus will remain on the lotion, which makes up about 85 percent of the business. Interest in the lotion has piqued thanks to Inc. 5000. Snyder said the company is looking for some strategic partners to grow both in the United States and internationally.

Early next year, Two Old Goats will be featured on the television show Modern Living with kathy ireland, and the company is in talks to make an infomercial with Kevin Harrington, an original shark on Shark Tank.

“I’m proud that we’ve built this up because we didn’t know anything about running a business like this. I knew my design work. He flew planes,” Karen said. “We’ve done really well.”

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