The Betsy Scrivener

Free Reign Farms

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Free Reign Farms

Brilee Culbert, freelance journalist

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In the “AdVentures in Business” class at Elizabethton High School, we are encouraged to choose a certain project to work on individually. I have an interest in agriculture; I’ve lived on a small farm my whole life. I am a member of 4-H, FFA (Future Farmers of America), and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). My teacher, Mr. White, has encouraged me to interview a local agribusiness owner and do a newspaper article about that business and what I’ve learned from them. I’ve now decided to interview several agribusinesses and have a series in the school newspaper. My first thought was, “Who am I going to interview?” I contacted Ms. Kathleen Wilson, the Carter County Agriculture Extension Agent for some ideas. She was gracious enough to make copies of business cards she had so I could easily contact them.
The first one I contacted was Free Reign Farms in the Stoney Creek area. Free Reign is a family-owned business who uses goat milk to make amazing products such as soap, essential oils, and lotion. Why choose Free Reign Farms? They use natural herb colors, pure essential oils, and sustainable oils are used. There are no artificial colors or dyes, synthetic fragrance oils, GMO oils, or harsh chemicals or preservatives. I wanted to learn more about how they make the products, how they manage the business, and how they advertise. Below is my interview with owner, Bethany Banks:
Why are you in business?
When I became a mom, it wasn’t through normal methods. We started Foster Care. My kids came with a bunch of skin and allergy issues, and I started looking for solutions to their issues. When I found them, I realized there were other moms in the same boat who needed affordable natural solutions that work.
What is your background? Education, Work Experience
I finished one year of college in Equine Sciences before being hired to run a large horse ranch breeding and training facility in Texas. I then spent time in the Veterinary Technician Field before becoming a mom. My education is never finished, however. Part of what sets my company apart is that we are always reading and educating ourselves on everything from new research to best business practices.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
We make natural skin care products and natural living alternatives. Our primary products are Goat Milk Soap and Toxin-Free Woodwick Candles, but we also make Deodorant, Laundry Soap, Salves, Lotions, and more.
How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?
I ran my own business training horses starting at the age of 21. I was in that business for 5 years. Free Reign Farm we incorporated in January of 2014.
What type of business form do you have, sole proprietorship (individual entrepreneurship), partnership, corporation (company), or an LLC (private limited company)?
We currently operate as an LLC.
How did you get started in this business?
When we realized there was a demand for the products we made for our family we decided to scale up. We formed the LLC, registered with the state and went into business officially.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
My husband was instrumental in the science necessary to formulate the products as he has a chemistry minor. The rest required a lot of learning, reading, researching and problem solving. Anyone can do anything if they are willing to work hard enough.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
We have benefitted from a social trend desiring simpler, natural products. This means more people are looking for the types of things we offer.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
We use many different streams of marketing. We have a Facebook page, Instagram page, Pinterest page and website. We also attend many local events and trade shows, in addition to some paid advertising.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
We recently purchased and opened our new storefront at 208 W Elk Ave in Elizabethton. Unfortunately the building needed a lot of cosmetic work. We hope to continue that work this year to improve the aesthetics of the place.
Five year goal: We want to develop more online presence a hope to be able to employ more people in Elizabethton to help in the business.
Ten Year goal: Considering that 10 years ago I was homeless and living with friends after losing everything I can’t even begin to speculate. We will go wherever God takes us.

Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
We don’t have plans to. There’s plenty of market in the US, and because we make all our products in-house and by hand, that type of volume output simply isn’t realistic.
Why is your business located at this site?
We started with a converted garage addition to the house, but the business grew and needed more space. We started looking for options, and this building came available. It was in very poor shape, but that helped keep the price at something we could afford. So I guess we are here because it’s what we could afford.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
God first and foremost. Ultimately all of this is His, we just manage it. After that, there’s a wide variety of resources we seek input from, including Small Business Resources and even polling our own customer base.
Do you have employees? How many?
My husband and I work full time. We have 1 other full time employee.
What is your management style?
According to my employee, I tend toward a Democratic management style.
What kind of goats do you raise? How many?
We currently have 35 goats. Our goats are not so much a single breed as they are a performance based mix of breeds. Ultimately, we need a goat that can survive on natural pasture while still producing a surplus of milk. We are also working on making our herd more balanced for size/meat production as well.
Do you have any other animals?
We have raised many, many other animals but currently we have only goats.
How much milk do you produce from your goats to make the soap?
On average about 1 gallon per goat per day.
How many bars of soap is made at one time?
On soap making days we make 1000 bars at a time.

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