“Mule milk in my body, no way!” When mule-milk soap began to be sold in Jordan, the product was often ridiculed. But a year later, Salma al-Zohbi’s family business is a great success.
The beginning of the adventure in 2020, on a small farm with 12 mules and their milk, was difficult, explains Imad Atiyat, son of Zohbi and one of the partners of the company Atan (mule in Arabic) Donkey Milk Soaps.
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The producers came up with the idea of distributing the soap free of charge for a while. And it worked well. Orders began arriving, reaching 4,500 units per month.
“We received praise like ‘May God bless your efforts’ or ‘Keep it up,'” celebrates 32-year-old Atiyat.
He milks the animals three times a day with electric milking machines. Each animal produces two liters of milk a day. Half is used in chicken feed and the other in soap production.
The milk is frozen and then transferred to the Amman factory. One liter makes 30 soaps. It is the only place in Jordan and the Middle East where soap is produced from mule milk, already known in Turkey and Europe.
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“The idea came when I learned of the importance and usefulness of mule milk, which looks like breast milk“explains Zohbi, dressed in protective suit, gloves and mask, while mixing the ingredients in a large metal bowl.
According to her, “research is ongoing to confirm that mule’s milk helps to regenerate skin cells, to reduce the signs of aging, but also to cure skin conditions such as eczema.”
The 60-year-old woman, who praises its benefits, says it also helps moisturize the skin, soothe blemishes and reduce acne.
A loyal client, Isra Al Turk, a 48-year-old lawyer, is delighted. “As an environmental activist, I love these types of natural products,” he points out.
“Since I started using soap, I’ve become more confident and I leave the house without makeup”, says the woman in the veil.
Nutritionist Susanna Haddad, from the “Reviva” beauty center in Amman, shares her satisfaction. This milk is richer in moisturizing substances and protects the skin from ultraviolet rays, he highlights.
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Next to the barn built with recycled materials, Atiyat proudly evokes his product which also contains almond oil, coconut and shea butter. “All the ingredients are natural and 100% Jordanian”, he guarantees.
Soaps, which are sold on Facebook, are not cheap. An 85 gram unit costs 8 dinars ($11.20) and a 125 gram unit costs 10 dinars ($14.25).
For comparison, in Europe a liter of mule’s milk can be sold for 60 euros ($71) and the most expensive cheeses are made with this milk.
According to Zohbi, the project has also created jobs for several members of his family. “Like my son Imad, who has been unemployed for many years” in a country where 50% of young people cannot find work.
Faced with the “success” of his soap, Atiyat wants to launch new products. “Face creams and hand creams” are the next challenges.