Aloha, President Obama!


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


Meet the Duggan SistersDuggan Sisters photo5The Duggan Sisters needed natural and highly effective solutions to life’s most basic problems: stink and stings. Not satisfied with the natural products on the market and too sick to wear chemically-based brands, they took to their own basement and created lifestinks deodorant and lifestings bug repellent.

Resilient survivors of their own serious health challenges, the sisters combined their training in Lymphatic Wellness, their love of the great outdoors and pure entrepreneurial spunk to bring their one-of-a-kind brand to market.

The Duggan Sisters pooled their resources, created a factory on the first floor of their small cottage and live happily together above it. They are determined to make getting healthy and staying healthy
easy, fun and affordable for everyone.

Learn more about the Duggan Sisters’ inspiring story.

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25 Responses to “Aloha, President Obama!”

  1. CH says:

    Your ill timed, ill informed, ill reaserched lecture-propaganda diatribe about outgoing President Obama just lost you a very loyal customer. Hope it was worth it. Seems like you south side Chicago girls don’t really understand how to keep customers happy and coming back. You make and sell a good product, and stop short of lecturing your customers with false and misleading political talking points. I will be researching and looking for another company that makes natural deodorant without interjecting devisive political speeches into their business model. But hey, thanks for showing your true colors, I really don’t want to support or lend my hard earned money to your nonsense. I’m too busy paying for my outrageously expensive health care premiums. Thank you President Obama. Thank you Duggan sisters for ruining a perfectly fine business relationship. If you see 50% of your sales drop off, you may want to rethink how not to offend and alienate half the population. We are not the hapless ignorant masses who need to be force fed a pack of lies about the last 8 years. I lived through it, your falsehoods can’t persuade me to do anything but rejoice that the Obama reign is finally over. Sicker, drastically more unsafe, divided, and wounded from the endless identity politics, we go into the next 8 years with hope for a quick and mighty change back to a great and loving nation. We are not who you think we are, and we are large in numbers. You have every right to express your views about our president, although doing so while attempting to sell deodorant seems ill advised, and I have every right to shop elsewhere. I am happy I read your love letter to Obama before I placed my next order. No more orders from me. Bye Bye.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Dear Cyndi,

      Our thank you note to outgoing President Obama has been moved to our blog. Our customer reactions are running 92% in favor of our public thank you to our fellow Chicagoan and former President. And our sales have remained stable. However, we value the opinions of the dissenting 8% who are angry that we would thank the President of the United States for his service to our nation. I hope 4 years from now that I am again inspired to thank the next President for many and meaningful achievements and for dignified and inspired service to our country. It would be good manners, as well, and something I would most certainly do. Just as so many corporations, both large and small, have been doing – just like us – in these final days of the historic Obama administration. It’s just civic and classy and something my stickler for good manners parents would have expected of me.

      All the best to you and yours,


      Mary Duggan
      Duggan Sisters, Inc.

      • CH says:

        Thank you Mary for your thoughtful reply to my email. I must admit I was being a little thin skinned in the email I sent. After some thought and a conversation with my husband I find myself re-reading your note to President Obama with a different filter. My husband and I were discussing your note and my email and he, who is decidedly more conservative than I in most instances, was questioning my willingness to give up my favorite deodorant ever for a perceived offense. I conclude there was no offense intended from the Duggan Sisters. I was propelled into an emotional state of mind when I read the note, a place of wondering if our nation will ever be one and united and I thought I was witnessing yet another polarizing event. I am so weary of the name calling and generalizations, I want to be walking side by side with my fellow Americans, even when our politics are opposite ends of the spectrum. I try to understand and walk a mile in another’s shoes, but it’s sometimes really hard to find commonality. We all see life from different perspectives. And sometimes our filters skew the vision. Thank you again for your reply. Thank you for the forum, and thank you for reaching back to pull me forward into the conversation. I find myself freed up to continue our “trade agreement”. I send you my hard earned money, you send me your wonderful, natural, and very effective deodorant. I also find I am somewhat surprised by my own turn around, maybe emotions were running fast and hard and my hot, passionate, reactive self ran away with my reasonable, contemplative, inclusive self. One is never too old to reign it in, step back and find common ground. May the next 4 years include many common ground moments for us all.

        • Mary Duggan says:

          Hi Cyndi,

          Well if you wanted to make the day/week/month of 3 deodorant making sisters in Chicago, you surely did. Truly, we were so touched by your latest note that we cried. We all said immediately, THIS IS A MIRACLE. Because in our family, the definition of a miracle is a change in perception. And your note was that and more. Thanks as well to your husband as well for the role he played. He sounds like someone really special.

          Indeed emotions are running high all over the place; and we all need to take more than a few breaths and really listen to each other. Just like you, we can be hot, passionate, and reactive – despite our best efforts to be reasonable, contemplative and inclusive. I am so glad that we found our common ground. You and the hubby sound like really special people to me – and that connects me to you both – whatever our politics.

          Thank you for staying the course with the Sisters. It means more to us than you can ever know. Our “journey” with you (and the hubs) will most certainly be the most interesting exchange of all. Now if I could just get people to read our blog.

          All the best,


  2. Aimee says:

    I Love this letter to our wonderful president, and I LOve your
    products! I gave your soaps and deodorants as holiday gifts this year
    for the first time! I’m determined to spread the good news about you
    gals and your ecology minded company. Keep doing what you do and
    Happy New Year to you!

    Aimee B.

  3. Liz M. says:

    I want to post this on my Facebook. I can’t see the screen very well at this moment because the waterworks are going, but you ladies rock. You are an inspiration!

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Thanks for the kind words. And do please share. We think it’s important for our nation that a civil and accurate portrayal of the President be in the public record. We’re just one small deodorant-making business sharing our story of living a parallel life to the leader of the free world – one whose initials just happen to be B.O. It’s been quite a ride and we thought our story and our gratitude, regardless of how anyone voted, should be able be be told and shared. Thanks for following along.

  4. John S. says:

    Extremely well written and articulated. Congratulations on your 8 years!

  5. Eva says:

    Thank you…what a well written letter. Indeed President Obama will be missed, as will our First Lady, Michelle. I am afraid for our country now; it is so sad how divided we have become.
    Thank you for all you do!

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Dear Eva,

      Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and to comment, as well.

      Thank you again for your kind words and your ongoing support for the work we do.


  6. Barbara says:

    Ladies: thank you so much for speaking for millions of Americans who appreciate and applaud President Obama’s 8 years in office. I for one have been sick of hearing the complaints and false accusations leveled at him. Your letter is spot on, he has been an exceptional president. No one seems to remember how he healed the rifts with other countries after the “shock and awe” debacle in Iraq. And the continued finger pointing which we all know is based in racism has gone beyond human dignity. His intellect, his dedication and his amazing cool under fire are all proof of his greatness.

    Best regards and continued success from a customer who views your product as life changing.

    Barbara K
    Bellevue WA

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Barbara. We always love hearing that our deodorant is life changing for folks. We give it everything we’ve got and to hear that it really matters fuels our endeavor in a really big way. Thanks, as well, for supporting us in telling our own business story and how it relates in some small way to the amazing ride of a fellow South Sider. We agree; he is extraordinary in so many ways. And we remain grateful for all he accomplished – no matter the naysayers.

  7. Dorthea says:


    Your letter is beautiful and perfect, as are each of you. I so appreciate all of your hard work, and hard won victories and your success.

    Thank you!

    Dorthea Martin

    p.s. When I even put deodorant on, being a semi-retired 71 year old breast cancer survivor, I only use Life Stinks.

  8. Gaby says:

    Very Touching and Eloquent. I hope you all meet him soon!

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Hi Gaby!

      Aren’t you wonderful for following along with our newsletters. That means boatloads to us.

      MEET THE PRESIDENT ONE DAY?!?!?! Wow, what an exciting event that would be! Are you having a psychic premonition perchance? And what a blog entry that would be – no doubt about it.

      Happy and healthy 2017 to you and yours. And girl, let’s get together soon. I lost yet another very dear friend at Christmas – unexpected, sudden and 5 years younger than me. Of course, it reopened so many thoughts about our Dear Heenan.

      Hugs to you,


  9. DJ says:

    Thank you! More than “well said”. You are awesome!!! Continued success and good health and a profitable new year to you all.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Hi DJ!

      Thank you for your kind words and your ongoing support.

      A happy and healthy and prosperous new year to you and yours. And thanks again for always taking the time to be such a super fan. We really appreciate it.


  10. Jan says:

    Dear Duggan’s: I am so glad to hear that you are continuing to make great strides in your company and product line!! Your sacrifices are immense and remarkable. Talk about ‘strong women’…you embody that statement.

    Age seems to have dried up my body order, along with many other things!! I don’t need deodorant any longer, showers seem to do the trick. My daughter, however, is still happily hooked and continues to be amazed that she ‘doesn’t smell anymore’!

    Thank you for your perseverance and ingenuity!! It’s hard to imagine that one of these days, you will be more successful than even you could imagine! Wishing you continued success in 2017.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Hi Jan,

      It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words of support – they mean the world to us.

      Congrats, I guess, on having dried up (!?!?); and many thanks to your daughter for continuing to choose lifestinks deodorant. We do miss having the time to do the One Of A Kind Show and seeing so many of our wonderful friends and followers – folks just like you. We are seriously considering doing the spring show; but we will see what the calendar permits.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to check in with us.

      Wishing your family a healthy and happy New Year,


  11. Colette Hughes says:

    Well said, ladies! Congratulations on your first two terms in business. Best wishes for continued success. Sincerely, Colette

  12. Coleen says:

    Couldn’t help but responding to this beautiful letter to our President.

    Thank you for sharing. Without getting too political or melodramatic, this letter brought some much needed comfort.

    Your wisdom and perspective were touching.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Hi Coleen,

      Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and reaching out to us. As you can imagine, we got quite a bit of response – most, but not all of it, positive.

      Your note, in particular meant a lot to me as I truly struggled to keep the focus on the gratitude and off the angst. But we’re all about story here at our little deodorant company. So, the amazing connection between our small endeavor and the real-life story of President Obama was just too special to us to not share.

      We are very privileged to know a close personal friend and associate of the President who has assured us he will get our thank you note to the President. How exciting is that?

      Thanks again for support and kind words.

      Wishing you every happiness in the new year,


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