RETURN TO EXPO: Part three – Aloha means love.

Just joining us? Be sure to read Part one of our #EXPOWEST adventure.

By Mary Duggan

EXPOWEST is one enormous ongoing conversation. And so we pack throat spray and lozenges and make sure there is comfortable seating for long chats. Really, you are throwing a party – only the food comes from fellow vendors, instead of a caterer or your own kitchen. We were blessed to be kitty-corner from the FEEL GOOD gluten-free egg roll company. The line never let up, the smell was insanely wonderful, and it was the closest we came to lunch breaks for 3 days.

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For my first conversation, I  was delighted to be able to open our chat with “Aloha!” And even more delighted when this enthusiastic group from Honolulu opened 4  accounts with the Duggan Sisters. Folks had been walking into their stores in Hawaii and requesting lifestinks deodorant and they had listened!!! Can you imagine a more perfect beginning to EXPO? And I swear, I have NEVER asked my cousins who live in Hawaii to go into any stores and request our products. I do often ask if they would consider adopting me.

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Remember, Aloha means I love you! And Aloha lifestinks means I love you lifestinks deodorant. Or something like that.

In rapid-fire succession Annie was deep into a conversation with 2 phenomenal women from Norway who want lifestinks in their high-end natural beauty stores – all 114 of them! Holy mole! Or holy fjord!

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Is it true, Kathrine from Parfymelle, that Norwegian men are statistically the most helpful around the house of any men on the planet? I’m curious and I read this in the Chicago Tribune.

On and on the day unfolded, with new friends joining the lifestinks family from around the globe.

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Mary and Michelle from State College Pennsylvania quickly found common ground for discussion. Every health food store is looking for really effective natural deodorant and Michelle said a resounding yes to lifestinks in her store. Thx, Michelle!

Make new friends. Keep the old. One is silver, the other gold. Okay, cornball and very grade school. But oh so true. Nothing is sweeter than friends from Chicago dropping by to say Hi!

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Bob Billow stumbled upon us in our early days at a Farmers’ Market in Wilmette. He remains a loyal supporter and trusted advisor.

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No one ever means more to you than the first store that says YES and then rocks your product for years to come. Nobody compares to Abdul and Rita Qaiyum, owners of Merz Apothecary.

Annie and I are so proud of Clare’s linguistic abilities – yep, she speaks five languages – and they come in handy in today’s global economy. The number of languages spoken in the aisles of EXPO was stunning and exciting. I wonder if international attendees had some sort of radar when it came to Clare, because she connected with so many of them.

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The story behind Jose Hernandez’ stores in Mexico is beautiful. I hope he says yes to the sisters soon.  I can’t wait to share his wonderful story – the true foundation of every business worth owning.

The Duggan Sisters get EXTREMELY emotional when discussions are held about launching our products in stores in Australia – because that is where our people came from – after Ireland, that is. Our mother prided herself on the lifelong epistolary connections she maintained to all her family there. And our Australian cousins are among our absolute favorites. So you can imagine how delighted we were to have the charming Ben Zwarts FROM AUSTRALIA in our booth.

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Whatever you can do Ben, really. I mean my mother in heaven is watching. But no worries, really. Whatever you can do to bring us into your extraordinary chain will be greatly appreciated.

And the wonderful conversations, domestic and international went on and on. Apologies right now to the many of the wonderful smiling faces that will have to  appear in upcoming blogs. There are just too many to share here.

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Jennifer Menna, President of a multi-generational distribution company out of Aurora, Ontario, Canada, was a natural to connect with the sisters.

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Hey, Marilyn and Gary, distributors all the way from New Zealand, Clare’s favorite Green Smoothie is made with celery and kiwis. I’m just sayin – we could be a “natural” fit for you!

You get the picture. EXPO is a gathering of individuals worldwide who are trying to make real inroads on the planet. They work tirelessly day in and day out, in small towns and large, carrying forth a message that there are healthy and effective alternatives to pharmaceuticals and Monsanto in every type of product. It is really a tremendous honor to stand among them and make our small contribution. And when we consider all the voices at EXPOWEST struggling to be heard we are doubly-touched to capture even a few minutes of the attendees’ hectic schedules.

Our fellow exhibitors never fail to delight us with their stories, as well. We rarely have a moment to step away from our own booth – but it is important to at least try. When we do we are thrilled to stumble upon the makers of products we enjoy all the time in our own home. For quite a few weeks now there has been an empty bag of corn chips in the corner of our kitchen counter. A stickler for tidy I got after Clare about it and was told in no uncertain terms to not throw it away. She needed to carry it into our local grocery store to show the buyer there. It was such a remarkable corn chip she felt they should be carrying it. And who does she meet on her way to the Ladies’ Room? The second generation of that very company. It was wonderful to be able to relay to him how much we love his product and hear his family’s amazing story. One of the many gifts of EXPO.

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Until you have tasted Xochitil White Corn Chips you won’t know what you are missing. These non-GMO, organic chips are so thin and crisp and delicious that if you eat just a few you too will be praising Chicomecoatl, the Goddess of Corn. Congrats, John Salinas on a great story and a great product.

We had never met Dr. Bob Martin, a radio personality with a large and dedicated following, who thrilled us with a wonderful shout-out about our products on his show one day. It was a big kick as a small family business to hear our name on the radio. And we got to thank Dr. Bob and his family, in person, when they stopped by the booth to say Hi!

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It’s gratifying to see organizations you have enjoyed for years hit big milestones. One of the very first g-f crackers I ever tasted was given to me as a joke. But the taste was no joke and I have remained a loyal fan. Congratulations to all the good folks at Mary’s Gone Crackers for hitting the ten-year marker.

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How could I not act silly in the Mary’s Gone Crackers booth?

We collapsed at the end of our second day at California’s Z Pizza where we devoured the most wonderful gluten-free pizza and delighted in the amazing and cordial staff at this simple family fast food joint. We were really looking for a softer landing. A sport where we could dissolve into a bottle of wine along with our pizza. But the kindness and helpfulness of the staff made it a perfect spot to wind-down. It always comes down to the people – doesn’t it? I hope this chain makes its way to Chicago SOON.

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If you spot this in your area, STOP IN. The g-f breadsticks alone make it worthwhile. Best. Breadsticks. Ever.

But over dinner, almost too tired to even talk to each other, I had to relate to my sisters nonetheless the beautiful experience I’d had at the very end of the day. It began with me having a nosebleed – at EXPO. Sheesh.
Click to continue to Part four of our RETURN TO EXPO.

 

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About the author:

Mary Duggan

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.

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