Archive for August, 2014

An End of Summer Launch

Friday, 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. (more…)

We Need Your Help to Survive

Thursday, 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!

Thursday, 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. (more…)

On Losing My Mind and Losing Robin

Wednesday, 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. (more…)

I Almost Failed Boot Camp

Tuesday, 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. (more…)

Eat Choke Love

Friday, 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. (more…)