Deodorant for Love Cats

January 31st, 2019

Dr.-Zhivago-ice-palace-interior-VarykinoTwo movies and one great book have come to mind as we’ve been coping with this Polar Vortex; the first is Dr. Zhivago and the scene where he and Lara and have sought temporary safety in an ice castle. With starving wolves howling in the frozen landscape, and the Bolsheviks on their heels, we know the lovers will not have a happy ending. Okay? My sisters have always accused me of being too dramatic; but really this record-breaking cold is scary as the snug little cottage we call home and work has begun to flutter and dim and buzz and melt and worry us.

Normally a nifty space heater warms this charming work station. Oh well.

Normally a nifty space heater warms this charming work station. Oh well.

The electrician due to arrive early today has succumbed to sickness and truly the roads aren’t safe yet – so our electric healing has been postponed for one more day. But while we wait and try not to worry, especially about Annie who is sleeping in a room where she can see her breath and ice has formed on the inside of the walls, we remain busy and that keeps us warmer. Annie claims to have slept well and proceeded early this morning to head to the basement where she worked wrapped in a blanket held on with an apron. Her night cap is cashmere and her work cap is polar fleece and we think she rocks both looks. But back to the movies.

 

Today, for the three of us, was transformational as we abandoned chilling thoughts of Dr. Zhivago and embraced a full-on George Bailey moment here at the cottage. You know the scene – George has come back from the edge of darkness and despair, and been eharry bailey toastmbraced and saved from ruin by the loving members of his community. His brother Harry, the war hero, sweeps in, and proposes a toast to his big brother George, the richest man in town.  Today, that’s what we feel like – the richest gals in town. And that transformation is because of all of you and the support you are showering us with, even as I write you now.

 

Your response to our SOS has been overwhelming and we are deeply touched and very grateful. We worked last night until 1 am processing the orders and letters of encouragement that arrived from all over the world – and that despite our still very sporadic internet connection. You’ve offered us your warm winter homes, your sunny vacation condos, your internet, and your good old-fashioned willingness to lend a hand. We’d tried hard to be ready for the cold snap; but when our dear neighbor and loyal customer Sam offered to help in any way he could, Clare accepted.

“I hate to ask in this terrible cold, but if you’re out running errands, could you please drop off some toilet paper?” she asked. Because for real, that humble but critical purchase had fallen off the shopping list.

killer_app_cover-664x1024Yes, you’ve restored our faith in our own wonderful life and in so doing you’ve brought to mind a lesson from one of our all-time favorite business classics – Tim Sanders’ LOVE IS THE KILLER APP. If you haven’t read it yet, treat yourself. You don’t have to be involved in business for his message to resonate. Sanders’ small and beautiful little book asserts that in business, as in the rest of life, it’s love that makes the world go ’round. Sanders calls the folks that understand that truth, and practice it in their lives, love cats.

We’re in the process here at the cottage of updating our website and we’ve been toying with new tag lines. My current favorite is THE DEODORANT OF THE FUTURE IS AVAILABLE TODAY.  But after this latest episode in the lives of the Deodorant Sisters of Beverly Hills, I think a more appropriate slogan might be:

THE DUGGAN SISTERS. WE MAKE DEODORANT FOR LOVE CATS.

Because we clearly do.

I remain hopeful that over the next few days our shared life will return to normal. My morning ritual of turning on the space heater that sits beside my favorite chair, in an always drafty corner of the living room, will be restored. The Chicago Tribune will resume normal delivery. I’ll be able to draw enough electricity to make my morning coffee. I’ll sit and sip my hot coffee and read all about how my fellow Chicagoans survived the Polar Vortex. And I’ll be remembering how all of you helped us to survive it, as well. I’ll be warm, my coffee will be hot – and oh Lord, I better check to make sure Sam has fulfilled on his promise.

 

We’ll keep you posted as our situation clarifies.

 

Until then, from the bottom of our very warm hearts, we thank you.

 

Mary and the Sisters

Mary Duggan

About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters, creators of lifestinks® natural deodorant that actually works and lifestings® DEET-free bug repellent. 

Spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com and experience the Sisters’ spirited approach to wellness; discover their award-winning natural products; and read their stories of victory against the odds. They make lifestinks is their home and HQ in Beverly Hills, Chicago.  Connect with the Duggan Sisters today!

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Part 3: Wrap Up The Flu And The Coughing Too

December 16th, 2017

We were all on a powerful deadline when our early December bout with the flu landed. Chicago’s One of A Kind Show and Sale was days away and it’s a biggie for us. It’s a massive investment in time and resources and we have to be able to sell, sell, sell to the crowd of 75,000 attendees over a period of four days to recoup our dollars. And selling means on our feet 10 hours a day and talking, talking, talking.

Katie S - in store display w annie

 

It was time to call in Katie Speh from our local Southtown Health Food Store. We love our doctors: integrative, chiropractic and TCM – but when it comes to OTC remedies and the smarts to know what to grab, we always turn to Katie Mahler Speh for the best there is. Read the rest of this entry »

Part 2: The Flu Is A Miserable Experience, But This Helps

December 16th, 2017

If you see Oscillococcinum on the shelf at a pharmacy or your local drug store, grab a box or two. It addresses flu symptoms, which you’ll have plenty of, and it eases things up a great deal.

oscillococcinum

Though I hadn’t had the flu in forever, I knew enough to jump on Ocillococinum as soon as I felt the first tickle in my nose and body ache in early December. The tiny little glass vials of homeopathic pellets work wonders. If you take them fast enough. When you can find them. Read the rest of this entry »

Part 1: Ideally, Don’t Get The Flu

December 16th, 2017

Okay, I thought I was invincible. The great thing about using functional medicine to stop autoimmune disease in its tracks is you rarely get sick. Really, I haven’t had the flu or a head cold or an upper respiratory infection or even a sore throat is so many years that I didn’t remember what to do. When I got all of the above. All at the same time. This year.

Grain free, sugar free, soy free, dairy free. You know how we roll here at the Rose Cottage. That’s why you never invite us to your home for dinner. Right? Well, this year that many years-long discipline failed us. When the flu rolled in. And we hadn’t made a plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Owasippe

June 30th, 2017

 

by Mary Duggan

 

I’ve been thinking lately about boy scouts; or should I say I’ve been reminiscing lately about boy scouts. A few weeks ago, while attending an event at a local church, I stumbled into a small room designated for boy scout meetings. It was banged up and dingy in the way you’d expect the scouting room to be. And there on the wall was a photo of Chief Owasippe admonishing scouts to join him at summer camp in Wisconsin.
caption goes here

Politically so very incorrect. But what a memory!

Owasippe? I hadn’t heard that word in decades. Owasippe. That mysterious, magical summer place that drew in my brothers each summer. Boom. I was a grade schooler again, helping my mother prepare 4 of my 6 brothers for their summer boy scout camp experience. Mom and I sewed on endless pieces of cotton tape with the name Duggan printed on it; carefully stitching our family name inside dozens of briefs, cotton jammies, tube socks and swim trunks. As the years passed, the stitch on tape became iron-on tape, and then finally Magic Marker written directly onto waistbands.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ruthie’s Favorite Words

February 19th, 2017

by Mary Duggan

ruthie mary annie kitchen

Annie and I were crying through tears as this picture was taken. Our final moments with Ruthie in her kitchen, moments before her move to Florida.

If you’ve been following along with the story behind our little business for awhile now, then you probably remember reading about our dear friend and neighbor, Ruth McNeill-Opyt.

We grew up in a big old corner farmhouse on one end of a long block in a tree-lined historic district on the South Side of Chicago. Ruthie lived in her tidy little dollhouse Georgian at the other end of that same long street. The very street where we, as sisters, still live and work to this day. Ruthie raised her 3 children at one end of the block; our mom raised her eleven at the other end. And while their lives did not cross often, they both held each other in very high esteem. Ruthie, a Protestant, used to say that she upheld one end of the block while our mother, a Catholic, upheld the other. Each of them referenced the other as always waving and having such a wonderful smile as they zipped past each other in cars filled with kids. A passing that lasted for decades.

When Clare was a little girl, she used to stop at Ruthie’s Read the rest of this entry »

Aloha, President Obama!

January 16th, 2017

 

Chicago, January 15, 2017.  We have decided to share with you a note that we, as business women, wrote to PRESIDENT OBAMA.

 

Dear President Obama:

I know it’s more than a bit audacious for 3 home-based, natural-deodorant-making sisters on the South Side of Chicago, to compare the modest achievements of their 8-year-old business to the historic 8-year presidency of Barack Obama, but with all due respect, here goes:

  • President Obama, like you, we are grounded in the South Side, in its people, its problems, its crime, its culture, its cadences, and its resilience.
  • Your roots are in community organizing in the neighborhoods of Chicago’s South Side. And from those humble and honest roots you worked your heart out and earned the privileges and responsibilities of the highest job in the nation – that of being our President and the Leader of the Free World.
  • The Duggan Sisters pivoted from a home-based healing center, to manufacturers of natural deodorant that has sold in every state in the Union, to every branch of the U.S. Military, and 25+ foreign nations. We did it by joining forces, living simply and collectively above the shop, pooling all of our financial resources, and working hours that ruined our social life and damn near our actual lives. We’ve advanced from selling our lifestinks deodorant in farmers markets to launching our brand in health food stores, medical clinics, spas and prestigious department stores. We’ve developed from one simple can of deodorant to 25 SKUs.
  • Perhaps most importantly,  have joined you in making a very real commitment to addressing climate change head-on and preserving as much planetary beauty and health as possible.
  • Your milestones are enormous and the future thanks you. Ours are more modest; but, we’re proud nonetheless. Because our lifestinks deodorant is sold in a refillable stainless steel decanter (not a traditional plastic stick or roll-on) we have, during the last eight years, eliminated the creation, use and disposal of 509,547 deodorant containers! That is carbon foot printing that we and our customers can be immensely proud of – a real and measurable gift to the planet.

 

Burr Ridge Farmers Market, Summer 2009

Burr Ridge Farmers Market, Summer 2009

It is not, sir, that we compare ourselves to you; it is that we were inspired by you. And when the chips were down, really down, we were more than once saved by you.

  • When a major chain of stores recruited us and then bullied and betrayed us, we lost, overnight, not only the bulk of our business but almost our home, as well.
  • Fortunately, you had put in place the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and so with tremendous amounts of due diligence and not a few tears we saved our home and held on to our business, as well.
  • We learned what we know about wellness from addressing and finally conquering very real and scary health issues of our own. That expertise became our business; but when our sister Annie stumbled on the stairs one bitter winter evening, on her way ironically to a charity event, she broke her leg, foot and ankle. Because she was not insured she was able to get only the most rudimentary, painful and horrible of care. All that we knew of preventive medicine and the responsible and healthy lifestyle we led mattered little after that terrible fall. What mattered is that we were not insured. The jeopardy we were living in and our sister’s suffering haunts us still.
  • But now, despite very serious pre-existing conditions, paired with our very meager entrepreneurial incomes, we’ve been insured for almost 3 years. Thank you, President Obama for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – a cherished, critical, imperfect and indispensable part of our lives, and the lives of 20 million other Americans. There because OBAMACARED!
As I said, we got our start in the farmers markets, standing for hours outside, often in the worst possible weather. But shoulder-to-shoulder and tent-to-tent with farmers, cheesemakers, and nuns who baked bread, we launched our brand. We didn’t know or care if we were addressing Democrats and Republicans. We just wanted to get folks excited about taking responsibility for their own health with the switch to natural deodorant being a critical first step.
Bloomingdale's Launch, NYC, Spring 2016

Bloomingdale’s Launch, NYC, Spring 2016

 

Everywhere we turned people were discouraged: losing jobs, homes and confidence in themselves. And so we preached a bit too as we sold our deodorant, reminding anyone that stepped under our tent, that we were all Americans, all in this together and all going to come through this deep recession intact. We tried to infuse them with the deep and real enthusiasm we felt from your historic Presidency. We were inspired  to make and take to market the finest deodorant in the world. And we wanted them to take some of that enthusiasm home with them into their own lives and challenges. Every day we would tell whomever would listen, that we were in alignment for success because we’d entered the B.O. business at the very same time as a man bearing the initials B.O. had become President of the United States.  Our stars were in alignment! Miracles were happening! And we were a part of a great rebirth. Americans are such good people that they even chuckled and said okay, as we hooked our modest dream to one of the biggest ever American success stories – your Presidency.

Eight years later, Mr. President, more than a bit banged up, and definitely a lot more grey, we still believe in your message and your mission. You’ve withstood bitter and unfair criticism; but more importantly you have won the world’s highest accolades and maintained your grace under fire. We’ve won a few accolades, as well. Taken a Best in Show or gotten a shiny piece of press coverage. But the praise that we heard, on many occasions, that matters the most to us is this: at the end of listening patiently to our sales pitch about lymphatic wellness, chemical overload, and the importance of natural deodorant in maintaining a vigorous immune system, men and women from all over this country have smiled at us and said, and I quote, “You girls are really something. Does the President know about you girls yet? And what you’re up to? He’ll be so proud when he does!”

When life gives you lemons, make...

When life gives you lemons, make…

 

And that comment, Mr. President, heard repeatedly, does indeed place us historically right where we are so proud to be – among the legion of weary and worried Americans who picked themselves up and dusted themselves off and followed your lead into a new era for our nation. So today, President Obama, I say Mahalo to you, for all you have done for our nation and all you have done for our small family and business. With respect and gratitude I look forward to watching your influence in the years ahead, as a citizen of this great and beautiful nation. And I hope and pray that out of the corner of your eye you will see a little deodorant company, built by 3 sisters on the South Side of Chicago, who will never ever give up on our audacious dream of creating a world class product that we can offer to heal both people and planet. Our motto remains: From The City That Works Comes A Natural Deodorant That Actually Works. Not exactly Chicago: The City That Gave Us A President; but it works for us.

 

So from 3 fellow Chicagoans, and 3 fans forever, Mr. President, we say Aloha to you and your beautiful family. We’ve got some stores in Hawaii selling our products so we know that Aloha means love. And that Mr. President is what we extend to all of you. Aloha and Mahalo. Love, respect, and gratitude.

 

The Duggan Sisters

 

Mary, Annie and Clare

 


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Dissing DEET Part Two: Keep your sunblock separate.

July 22nd, 2016

 

Peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Ginger, tea and sympathy – okay, some things go really well together. Bug repellent and sun block? Not so smart. We know it sounds convenient and maybe more comfortable when you’re fighting the summer stickies; but really – don’t do it.

 

For critically different reasons, the CDC and the Sisters both say keep ’em separate. In essence, the CDC’s advice against combination products is actually advice against DEET, and here’s why.

 

no-deet

 

The CDC is opposed to combination products because they are recommending the use of bug repellent products containing DEET. They know that DEET is dangerous so they want it applied rarely (once or max twice a day) and sparingly (e.g. never on the face) – the complete opposite of sunblock which calls for heavy application and frequent reapplication and for sure, it needs to go on your face.

 

The CDC and other reputable scientists are very concerned that when using a DEET-based combination product the DEET interacts with the sunblock formulation, making the DEET even more toxic at the same time that it reduces the effectiveness of the sunblock! See what we mean about it sounds great; but it really isn’t.

 

stings 5 on rock in woods - 1

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Dissing DEET is easy and important.

July 8th, 2016

by Mary Duggan

ZIKA has everyone scared. And hopefully/probably heeding advice from the CDC. Most certainly women who are pregnant, women who might get pregnant, parents of kids and anyone who is in any way immune compromised. (My personal at-risk category.)

Michael Beach, deputy incident manager for the CDC’s Zika response team, advises:

“If you are going outside, wear mosquito repellent. It needs to be the same as putting on sunscreen or brushing your teeth.”

Great advice, I think. Because the Aedes aegypti means business. In fact, additional CDC directives even advise wearing bug repellent indoors all day long because this mosquito is as likely to be hanging out underneath your bed as in your yard. So saying yes to hours and hours of wearing bug repellent is our new reality. And important for protecting the health of you, your unborn child or your children.

But not if your bug repellent contains DEET. Not when healthy alternatives exist. And not when those alternatives are even more effective than DEET. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »