Archive for the ‘LifeStinks® deodorant’ Category

Aloha, President Obama!

Monday, 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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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

 

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…)

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…)

Walking ON AIR: Adventures in Radio

Friday, April 11th, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Let’s start with the complaining. When the request came in for an on-air interview from WGN Radio at midnight I immediately went to that place of ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I haven’t been awake and coherent at midnight for years. But the girls, as they are so often called upon to do, did an intervention with me. Translation: they explained RedEye Remix to me and gave me some background on hostess Amy Guth: social media professional, novelist, journalist, funny person, pop culture mover and shaker. I stopped them there. I reminded them that I am technically in adrenal distress (per an actual physician) and should always be in bed when the streetlights go on and then I relented and said, let’s go for it. Thank God for that or I would have missed out on some really big fun. Hence this post and my message for the day. We have to make sure that little girls know how fun work really is – at least some of the time – when you get really lucky and the warm and funny and smart people reach out to you.

WGN_IMG_7479 green smoothie jammies

Fresh flowers, birthday cards, and pedicures – all left over from Annie’s birthday just days before. The green smoothie was fresh.

A bit of Saturday evening napping, followed by the Duggan Sister make everything possible elixir of life – a Green Smoothie with whey powder stirred in – and we were good to go for some Late Night Fun! That and the selection of our most pajama-like outfits, more commonly referred to as our IKEA ensemble, for obvious blue and yellow reasons. Fortified and almost in-bed-cozy, we were off to the city lights. And that’s when the iconic city at night, skulking in the bowels of the metropolis, fun of it all began.

WGN_IMG_7485 lower Michigan

Yes, I felt like Bat Girl (more…)

All wrapped up in love.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Mary Duggan

By Mary Duggan

If I had known six years ago how rough and tumble the deodorant business was going to be, I would probably not have jumped into the fray. Good thing I didn’t know. I stand here now bruised and banged up and sucker-punched in ways I could never have imagined. Business can be a tough experience. If you make the brave choice to launch a brand, you need to expect to get lied to and lied about. You will most certainly work too much, lose all sense of  balance, damage your health, gain incredible amounts of weight and discover that all sorts of people you thought were on your side in life plain and simply aren’t. If you aren’t careful you might even get to a place where you wonder if your dream is worth all the worry and disappointments. That’s when you need to get all wrapped up in love.

OOAK14_CORNER_IMG_1301

Chicago’s One of a Kind Show and Sale, Merchandise Mart, December, 2013, the wall of love prototype. HUMANS OF LIFESTINKS. Few got the New York reference. But it worked.

At least that’s what we did when we decided (more…)

RETURN TO EXPO: Part five – Head home to eat dirt.

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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

By Mary Duggan

It’s almost time to talk about the French food. It’s our favorite end of show blow-out food ALWAYS, no matter what the city, and made wonderfully simple and delicious by the folks at Bistro Bleu. Technically, it was only the end of Day Two, but that is typically the roughest day of all.

rest_IMG_1597_bistro bleu

I know. This is hardly Parisian fashion. We call these our IKEA outfits. So we won’t get confused with Michigan fans.

rest_IMG_7179_bistro bleu

And it’s probably time to say no to the dairy-rich delights of creme brulee. For us g-f types, it messes us up pretty much the same way. But Lord have mercy.

rest_IMG_7180

And ooh la la, we have worked so hard. Don’t tell anyone it’s Lent. For us Irish Catholic types, this is what’s known as a dispensation, or to non-Catholics, heavenly chocolate mousse.

And it’s almost time to savor our final and few moments (more…)

RETURN TO EXPO: Part four – Shoji makes my day.

Friday, March 21st, 2014

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

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Truth be told, this was my sixth nosebleed in about a month. The stress of the show, no doubt, and the insanely dry winter air in Chicago, were major contributors. The drought-like conditions in California had offered no respite. But still I had never had a nosebleed in my life when they started up a few weeks earlier and they scared the bejeebers out of me. What horrible harbinger of forthcoming illness were they? A physician friend had guided me through the necessary steps to take; but I had dreaded having one at EXPO. And now here I was having a nosebleed – and a real gusher – in the final moments of the second day. My sisters sat me down, got me the necessary supplies and headed back to sell, sell, sell – as the booth was still hopping – even though our floor had technically been closed for close to an hour.

It was not just the nosebleed that was so embarrassing. It was that – per doctors orders – I had to jam a tampon up my nose to get the bleeding to stop. Okay? (more…)