Archive for the ‘Women in Business’ Category

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…)

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…)

The Mary Kays: Part Five – Fallen Heroes

Saturday, 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! (more…)

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

Thursday, 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. (more…)

The Mary Kays: Part Three – Shalimar

Thursday, 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

Did Mary Kay have a clue how much she meant to me? I guess I will never know. Did she sense that things were sad and confusing at home and that her beautiful happy condo provided not only pocket money but a needed break, as well? I suppose it doesn’t matter in the long run. What matters is that when I really needed a break, she provided one. When I really needed someone to notice me and appreciate me, she did. And when she really needed a young assistant, I stepped in to her life.

And so I did her hair, as needed. I baby sat, as needed. I took her kids to the movies because she just could not stand kids movies. I didn’t much like them either; but for Mary Kay I would do whatever task was needed.  And with each encounter I learned more and more. (more…)

The Mary Kays: Part Two – Curl Up and Dye

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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

 

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

From the vantage point of age sixty, I look back on the summers Mary Kay figured so prominently in my world and I have to marvel. I have met so many interesting people in those years from 16 to 60. I  have worked at more jobs and careers than I like to admit and been shaped and inspired by too many bosses and co-workers. I have lived all over the U.S and traveled all over the world. But my memories of Mary Kay have never dimmed and her importance in my life has never diminished or been taken over by anyone else. I know now that when you are so young and the world is such a terrifying and exciting unknown a person who has gone before and successfully navigated change and is willing to share and open a window into the future for you is a gift. I treasure my simple memories of Mary Kay and wonder if she had any idea what a Godsend she was for me. (more…)

The Mary Kays: Part One – Land Of The Midnight Sun

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Two-name names were popular when I was a kid growing up in the 60s. My mom named me Mary Catherine for all the usual reasons: Mary, she explained, I hope your life will be inspired by St. Catherine of Sienna, the great Saint, who was a Doctor of the Church and a leader of men and a great writer. Really, she said that to me and I was like maybe eight years old. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it; though decades later I found a book about St. Catherine of Sienna in a hotel in Assisi and I did find it so interesting that when I was leaving and hadn’t finished it yet I took it and put it in my purse. Which my sister and traveling companion, Annie, reminded me was stealing though it didn’t feel like it at the time; maybe because I was trying to learn about the path to sainthood, after all. (more…)

It’s Not Just Business; And I Do Take It Personally.

Friday, May 16th, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

My reaction was so swift and painful that it surprised even me – the queen of overreacting. The one with the damaged brain that registers hurt quickly and deeply, despite every effort to get a grip – please.

We’d been thrilled for weeks about being featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, the famed Chicago business publication. We thought we’d done pretty well with the interview. We were all over the topic: Sibling Entrepreneurs. We’d taken the time to discuss our shared experiences before our date with the reporter; and when we did our standard post-mortem, we were okay-ish with the way in which we’d represented ourselves, our family and our business. There’s always this or that you wish you’d expressed differently.

It’s never easy being interviewed. The reporter has an editorial directive – an intent for their piece – and it can be frustrating to try to get your true story out there in the face of the journalist’s assignment. Plus we’re wildly inexperienced, having had very few opportunities to speak to the press during our six-year business history. Coupled with not having a publicist, it can be kind of scary. But generally the decency and enthusiasm and professionalism of the reporter makes the fears go away – and that was most certainly the case with Monica Ginsburg from Crain’s Chicago Business. (more…)

Reality TV came calling and we said …

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

I think shut and up are the two ugliest words in the language – any language – when they are used together. Afforded an opportunity to speak up, I perk up, or so I thought. That is until recent developments found me standing shell-shocked in the middle of some sort of open-talk-portal. Requests to speak began to present themselves so quickly that I found myself scrambling to determine what exactly it is I have to share. Radio, TV, print media – even, God forbid, reality TV have all come a calling. It has all been a bit much. A blessing and if not a curse, then at least a curiosity. (more…)

Auntie Vi and the Wise Guys

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

My Mom was not the tender type. She was more the life is rough so you better toughen up missy type. She came by her stern life guidelines authentically. Orphaned of both parents and half her siblings by the time she was seven and auctioned off to a less than loving new family, she knew of what she spoke. But I resisted her take on life and held tightly to romantic notions of happiness for myself. Turns out, she was right. Did she prepare me for the life I have encountered? Or did she set up a prophecy that I merely fulfilled? I suppose I’ll never know. What I do know is she built me a tool box of entrepreneurial must-haves that I draw upon daily. She pimped me out constantly to needy Moms all over the neighborhood and taught me just how strong I could be. For better or worse, she made me who I am. (more…)