Enough With the Pink, Let’s Think

October 7th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Just when I thought the Pink Campaign couldn’t get any worse, it has. Here in Chicago, Advocate Health Care has created a 16-foot tall, 1500 pound, hot pink underwire bra sculpture and they are taking it, and their “Stories of the Girls” campaign, on the road for the month of October. Brace yourself, it may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. If it comes to my neighborhood I will be there to take a selfie with THE BRA and then I will share it with you. I will be in the forefront making a negative hand gesture (no, not that finger) – a thumbs down actually – and posting it to my facebook page. Thumbs down Advocate. I refuse to take the bait. You are not warming my heart; but you are most certainly making my blood boil.

bra chicago

The “Get a Mammogram Every Year” squad will be there to counsel you when you go to see the bra.

Here it is October and like so many women I have my hands full Read the rest of this entry »

An End of Summer Launch

August 22nd, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Today is our summer intern Talie’s last day with the Sisters and Clare is baking a low-sugar/gluten-free coconut and almond cake to mark the occasion. Oh yeah, our Talie is a lucky girl. We do things up big here at the deodorant factory.

Almond Cake with berries

If I remember college at all, I know about six weeks into dorm food Talie will be remembering this healthy treat fondly.

Talie has been a tremendous help to us and has balanced the fine art of packages out the door, with data bank updates and Quick Books input. No matter the strange summer weather, she has carried sunshine in the door each and every morning with her sweet and gentle nature. She is the product of what used to be known as “good home training.” Does anyone even call it that anymore? Those intangibles of yes, please and no, thank you and so much more. She is opinionated and well-spoken and a credit to the superb school she has attended. It’s no surprise that Sarah Lawrence has snagged her for their graduating class of 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

We Need Your Help to Survive

August 21st, 2014
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Chicago, August 21st, 2014
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Dear Loyal Lifestinks Customers,

We have searched our souls. And studied our spreadsheets. And we have made a necessary and long-anticipated correction to sustain our business. We have changed a problem with our refill bag that we have lived with for five years and can’t live with any longer. We need your understanding and support.

Here’s the problem. Our refill bag says it’s a 12-month refill. In fact, it’s an 18-month refill. We realized our miscalculation ages ago – a novice misstep as we transitioned from Farmers Markets to store shelves.  Unfortunately, repairing it required thousands of dollars we simply have not had.  But, we can’t sit on this price disparity any longer. Not if we expect to remain in business.

Plastic tablecloth. Homemade labels. Parking lot of the bank. Summer 2006. Humble beginnings. Great big dreams.

Here’s our best solution. Our lifestinks decanter holds a 9-month fill. It costs $27 or $3/month to get started. Our new refill bag is now a 9-month refill and costs $18 or $2/month to use on a go-forward basis.  We believe that to be a phenomenal price point for this important product. A simple review of the math as you stand in any store, or review any online site, will confirm what we are – a very reasonably priced product – unique in the marketplace but priced to compete.

You have embraced our revolutionary product for many reasons. For some, it is the non-staining factor, for others it is health concerns, for everyone, we hope, it simply works better than all the others. Whatever your reasons, we appreciate your support. Chemical deodorants cost dimes to make – ours cost dollars. But we believe you are fully aware of the differences and value our ability to stay the course.

We hope that you will continue to support our brand and show our retail partners that you understand our dilemma. We never set out to be a bargain basement deodorant. We set out to create the finest deodorant on the planet; and the healthiest deodorant on the planet. And the only environmentally sound refillable deodorant that protects both you and the planet. We are refillable; but without this change we are not sustainable.

The critical change that we have made also addresses another very real threat to our sustainability – product piracy. Folks early on identified what a steal our refill program has been and so they have stolen from us. Pirating is the industry-speak for the problem; not a pretty word for not a pretty practice. How so?

Bargain hunters have bypassed our decanter entirely and dumped our refill into their own receptacles. This has created untold customer service problems for us as a brand. Imagine when someone puts our ultra pure product, which cannot be exposed to light, into glass salt and pepper shakers. Yes, the product and our brand reputation are both damaged. The same goes for low-grade sugar shakers that are aluminum – not stainless steel – again, product contamination and brand degradation not to mention very real health consequences.

Please know that we have altered just this one part of our brand – our first and only price change in five years. All other price and portion structures remain the same. But in making this critical change we have guaranteed our brand’s integrity and future. So please, stop in and visit our retail partners, both brick and mortar, and online, and show them you understand. These folks are in the front line each and every day helping us to pioneer this very young brand. Knowing that they have your approval and support for the changes we have made will go a long, long way.

We trust in your understanding and we ask for your support. We have worked hard to gain your trust and we will continue to work hard to retain it.  The best we have to offer the marketplace and the planet is the ongoing production and sale of lifestinks deodorant, lifestings bug repellent, and the full line of Duggan Sister products. Our commitment remains what it has always been: Healthy People, Healthy Products, and a Healthy Planet.

Thank you.

The Duggan Sisters
Mary, Annie and Clare

 

I like SKINNY POP so much I called and told ‘em so!

August 21st, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

I know you are sick to tears hearing about my new anti-inflammatory diet. But please, bear with me. This is not a tale of me having to let go of my beloved snack – popcorn – but just for awhile. This is a simple and heartfelt congratulations to a fellow Chicagoland start-up.

But first, in addition to sharing with you that I have a leaky gut, I also have to confess another trait- I have a jealous heart. I watch all the rapid-fire growth and big investors and IPOs happening daily in the tech community here and I think, what are we doing wrong with our tortoise of an enterprise? It’s true, I covet their collective success. And I begrudge their youth and all the press they get. I resent their communal digs in the Merchandise Mart and I know its wrong to do so. My sisters always tell me so. But I am not jealous of Skinny Pop.

Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune reported the big news that Skinny Pop, creators of the amazing healthy alternative to Chicago’s famed Garrett’s Popcorn, has garnered big investment bucks. Already in more than 25,000 locations, this can only mean big growth for this special organization. But why you are reading about this in a Duggan Sister blog post? Because the Sisters love enchanting businesses and Skinny Pop has so enchanted us. Here’s the brief back story. Read the rest of this entry »

On Losing My Mind and Losing Robin

August 20th, 2014

Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

Robin William’s death from suicide was announced the morning following my big brain meltdown. One of the dearest hearts and most amazing brains had come undone and the loss left me shaking my fist at the talking heads and the grieving friends and colleagues. It is not, I raged, that suicide needs to be viewed with compassion because it is an expression of mental illness. It is because, I screamed to my tiny little forum of two sisters, it is the final and fatal expression of a sick brain improperly treated by a medical community that just doesn’t get it. It is a brain disease – not a mental illness – and it will continue until we move beyond the psychotropic inadequacies of the pharmaceutical industry and re-connect our brains to our bodies and feed them. Read the rest of this entry »

I Almost Failed Boot Camp

August 19th, 2014

Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

I was 48 hours from the Grand Finale of our Summer Boot Camp – the rigorous Candida Cleanse Diet that had been the centerpiece of our summer experience. Yet I was anything but looking forward to the easing up of the very real discipline we’d adhered to for the last 90 days.

I was not eagerly anticipating what treat would cycle back into our restricted food lives; maybe Clare would approve apricots or peaches being added to our small daily portion of blueberries. Maybe we could really splurge with a gluten-free hard cider. Maybe we could go completely nuts and enjoy some bean soup! I wasn’t the least bit excited about swallowing fewer yeast-and-parasite-killing pills, drinking fewer than the requisite 7 cups of Red Clover and Pau d’Arco tea daily, or finally being able to whiten my tea-stained teeth. I wasn’t proud that each sister was down a clothing size, that we had adhered closely and successfully to a rigorous discipline, or collectively dropped some sixty pounds. Instead I was so deep into one of the scariest brain meltdowns I have ever experienced that all I could do was hold on to the walls of the pit I had fallen into and watch as my sisters reached deep down to pull me out.

blog prayer emoticon

Is this really how we ask for prayer in our brave new world? Yep.

I was in too much pain to pray for a remedy. So Clare reached out in my stead and requested prayers from facebook family and friends for “a very special intention” – ME. I finally had the good sense as Day 3 of the meltdown loomed ahead of me to crawl into a bed, do my umpteenth round of self-healing Reiki and surrender – while Clare’s prayer warriors prayed for her “special intention” who BTW was feeling anything but special. Unlike my slimmer, healthier, happier sisters, all I could think was that the cleanse had wrecked me. Despite my absolute best efforts, I had failed boot camp. Read the rest of this entry »

Eat Choke Love

August 8th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

The summer of 2014 has been distinguished by two forces intersecting. First, we are doing a very significant Candida Dietary Cleanse to address our collective health woes. And secondly, but in no way less importantly, right smack dab in the middle of our huge health endeavor, our dear friend Kathy dies oh-so-unexpectedly from cancer. Those two points of convergence are keeping me awake nights lately as I try to make sense of it all. Yes, I am grieving – terribly. And yes, I am cleansing. And so I have staggered through the painful process without so much as a soothing glass of wine, a coma-inducing brownie, or a gluten-free pizza devoured somewhere in between. I have faced it all stone cold sober- no dairy, no booze, no sugar, no nothin. And it hasn’t been easy.

Through it all work has remained as consuming and demanding as ever. Finally late last week we put on the brakes and made a decision to take some quiet time for ourselves. We added a Friday to the weekend, and made a conscious decision to rest for 3 days. And for the sisters that always means one thing; first and foremost – get me to the chiropractor. Ours is a Master Adjuster who combines a degree in Naprapathic with gentle, precise and skillful Chiropractic adjustments, including cranial sacral, delivered as we lay atop a far infrared pad that is infused with healing amethyst crystals. That kind of doctor. Read the rest of this entry »

Remember, Write, Release

July 3rd, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

The blogging police always recommend a limit of 700, or so, words. A few weeks back I sat down to capture a simple story – intending it to be part-three of a triptych of stories about me, mom and baby sitting – the formative endeavors and experiences of my entrepreneurial youth. I knew I would be hard-pressed to come in anywhere near 700. I never ever come close. But I never expected some 10,000 words!

A simple story that I had long wanted to share proved to be a little richer and more finely layered than I ever imagined. Door upon door opened. Windows were thrown wide with gauzy curtains flapping and gathering dirt and dust. I awoke each morning exhausted from the memories streaming and screaming all night long. Everywhere I turned there was a drawer opening itself in front of me, doink-ing me in the shin and demanding to be sorted through. I spent days in my pajamas, oblivious to the come outside and play summer finally unfolding around me. What is happening here, I implored my sister as she plowed through a first draft of 3,000 words? I am not sure this story will be of interest to anyone. It’s too simple. No one will care. I care, she said, because she is an extraordinary sister. Forget the word count, just tell the story.

mary freshman longwd

I remember 14-year old me.

And so I followed the crumbs. Some 10,000 words later I experienced a fatigue so profound that I could feel my brain shutting down for repairs. And again a reminder from my sisters. This cleanse we are pursuing so diligently this summer is not just the release of physical toxins. It must be a spiritual and emotional cleanse, as well. I am still not sure about the long and leisurely telling of this story.  But it has gotten itself told. As stories are so often prone to do. Fingers crossed that it gets itself read, as well.

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About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

The Mary Kays: Part Five – Fallen Heroes

June 28th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Thanks to a rented power boat provided by my Uncle Les, I had become quite a skilled and daring water skier during our family summer vacations at Powers Lake, Wisconsin. But snow skiing was something else altogether – more terrifying and definitely requiring a social skill set for navigating the lodge that I did not possess. My mother’s cousin, Donna, lent me the proper clothing and Dick and Mary Kay popped for skis and lift fees and everything else I might need. I had taken preparatory classes at the local park district – so I essentially knew how to slow down on the bunny hill. Other than that I was clueless. But Dick and Mary Kay were good for their word and I never had to lift a finger during our one week ski trip. I was not there as the baby sitter – though I felt more than a twinge of guilt as I watched the ski patrol load a small boy in really bad shape onto a stretcher to carry him off the slope and realized it was Dickie! Read the rest of this entry »

The Mary Kays: Part Four – Bears, Musky and Moose, Oh My!

June 26th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Mary Kay entered my world in the Fall of eighth grade, when she pulled her VW bug into our driveway seeking boys to plant bulbs at her brand new complex of condos. My mother assigned my brothers to this one-time task; while I quickly became a regular fixture in the Carlson household. By the summer after eighth grade I had become so helpful to Mary Kay that she approached my mother with a plan for me to join in on the Carlson extended family vacation in the North Woods of Wisconsin. For those two weeks in late August I was to be essentially an au pair, assisting with anything and everything required for a fun family get-together at their cabin in the Chequamegon National Forest just outside Hayward, Wisconsin. More precisely in a custom-designed A-frame cabin perched on a steep hillside overlooking Moose Lake, a 1700 acre water confluence of the Chippewa, Moose and Little Moose Rivers. Yep, Musky country. Read the rest of this entry »