In an effort to help people combat autoimmune and skin diseases, Oklahoma Christian University alumna Saundra Traywick founded the company, Dulce de Donké, which uses donkey milk in their products.
Dulce de Donké incorporates American Mammoth donkey milk in their soaps and moisturizers, as they are rich in probiotics, vitamins, phospholipids and ceramides. According to Traywick, her family started raising donkeys after her daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at six years old.
“We did a lot of praying and a lot of crying,” Traywick said. “We tried everything. We did homeopathy with a guy in New York, we tried an herbal practitioner, we tried a paleo diet. She was doing a lot better, but she still wasn’t back to a hundred percent. I called the natural path. She said, ‘You need to try donkey milk.’ So we tried it, and within twenty-four hours, my daughter said, ‘I love you, Daddy.’ She had not been able to say that since onset three months before. We went to Texas and bought some American Mammoth Jackstock and started with three of them.”
Although Traywick said many people started contacting her for donkey milk after hearing her story, she was unable to ship it due to FDA regulations. Instead, she started selling moisturizers and soaps made from the raw milk so her family would be able to continue raising the donkeys.
“I had customers that contacted me saying, ‘I am telling everybody about your soap because it helped clear up my son’s eczema,’ or ‘Somebody told me I needed to get your soap because I am on this medication and it is not helping,’” Traywick said. “I have given it to a kid that had asthma and her mom said, ‘When she drinks the milk, it works faster than her inhaler or her nebulizer to stop her asthma attack.’ It has been around for centuries, and it is one of those things that has been forgotten by our culture in lieu of modern medicating.”
Traywick was an interior design major when she attended Oklahoma Christian, and although she said she never imagined her career taking the path it has, her degree has assisted her business in other ways.
“If someone had told me we would be milking donkeys, I would have laughed in their face,” Traywick said. “My knowledge in design and interior design has definitely helped me with our box design. I hand drew the whole thing. One of the things that stores have said really helps sell our products is that it is hand drawn. They say people will buy it because it is a unique gift and it has cute packaging, but then they will come back because it is a great product. All of that design stuff definitely plays a role in being able to market your product.”
According to Traywick, all of her products contain organic herbs and oils, and she avoids fragrance oils, which can irritate the skin.
“Skin is the largest organ of your body and it absorbs things instantly, so you are definitely getting a healthy dose of whatever you put on,” Traywick said. “Just because it is being sold on the shelf and just because the FDA approved it, does not mean it is something you should put on your skin.”
Traywick said she hopes she can continue to educate people on donkey milk for their health and skin, and help those who are looking for natural alternatives to treat skin conditions and other diseases.
“I know you are supposed to have goals, but ten years ago, I would have never imagined we would be doing this,” Traywick said. “I think God’s plan is often a lot better than our plan. What we went through was horrific and I would not wish it on anyone or their child, but at the same time, it is giving me a platform to be able to share our faith with others and share how God led us down this path.”