Local farm-to-consumer shop for holiday gift ideas

Caitlin Francis, WDBJ7

FRANKLIN CO., Va. (WDBJ7) -- There’s a lot of hustle and bustle around the holiday shopping season. But for some, the push to shop local makes it a little simpler.

Pat Coury started her business, Barnyard Blue, as a small farm while her kids were in 4-H.

“I started making soaps about 10 years ago, giving them as gifts, keeping them around the house, and that became where people where asking me to make them so they could give them as gifts. And that’s where the business got started, and from there it just grew,” Coury said.

Now she makes soap, lotion, and candles, and she’s always trying new things. All of her soaps and lotions are from goats’ milk.

But there are the staples her customers demand she keep in stock.

“My most popular by far is called Winifred, and that soap got its name because the lead goat at the barn, the producer of the product in this soap bar, is named Winifred.”

“I kind of plan out my year according to the holiday sales, the bigger sales times. And then I make, I probably have seven or eight that are mainlines, they are best-sellers, and I always try to keep them available. And then I have other scents and fragrances that seasonal, and they might be available for a month or two, and then they’re gone, and sometimes they’re gone forever. I resign them out,” she said.

But her customers are loyal, and this time of year is extra busy for Coury because so many people buy her soaps and other products to give as gifts.

“Well, it’s a good price point for one. It’s a useful gift. People get it and they can use it. And I think as time goes on, people are wanting more useful items that they can have rather than something they sit on a shelf and in a couple years they get rid of it, they throw it away, etc.,” she said. “Teachers love these gifts, hostesses love these gifts. These are great stocking stuffer sizes. So you know, I sell smaller products in larger amounts, and I have just found that the repetition, the people come back and come back.”

But she says if you want those gifts in time for Christmas, there is a deadline! She shuts down her operation on December 20th so she can then spend the holidays with her family on the farm.

If you’d like to learn more about Barnyard Blue, visit BarnyardBlue.etsy.com or sign up to be on the email list at barnyardblue@gmail.com and follow Barnyard Blue on social media.