Our Organic Deodorant Story
tl;dr: Nathan launched North Coast Organics with Debbie, his mom, to sell his organic deodorant made by hand in small batches from only 100% natural, edible ingredients.
After not wearing deodorant for 12 years, Nathan realized he better start wearing deodorant if we was going to continue to commute by bike across the hot, humid Chicago summer; especially to go to work or meet a date for dinner!. His local food co-op did not carry a USDA organic deodorant so Nathan decided to make his own from organic, natural ingredients.
Nathan tested his first batch on a 50-mile bike ride on a late August day in 2011. He was shocked to discover that a deodorant made from edible ingredients actually worked. Nathan at some point told his friends about this deodorant and they were keen to try it.
The response was overwhelming positive and a friend of a friends suggested that he sell the deodorant. Nathan spent the next year developing the original product and forming a company to market and sell the deodorant. Just prior to launch, Nathan’s Chicago business license application was rejected.
The City of Chicago does not allow one to make commercial products for sale from a residentially zoned property. Nathan had intended to make the deodorant in his Chicago apartment kitchen. Luckily his mother, Debbie, was an empty nester in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Fort Wayne has a home workshop law that allows one to produce a product for retail sale from one’s residence. So Nathan moved manufacturing to Debbie’s house. The plan was to come back once or twice a month to make a big batch to distribute to stores and sell through the internet. North Coast Organics obtained a business license with this new arrangement and launched at September 2012 at Vegan Mania – Chicago’s premier vegan festival.
While Debbie was amused at first, she realized that Nathan was onto something because he traveled back to Fort Wayne every weekend for a month in order to meet the overwhelming demand. Debbie volunteered to make the deodorant and ship it to Nathan in Chicago. In this instance, North Coast Organics was truly born.
Today, North Coast Organics is still owned and operated by the mother and son team. The business moved out of Debbie’s house in May 2013 to artist studio in a refurb industrial building in Fort Wayne, IN. The business twice expanded to adjacent studios as they became available to form a total of about 3400 sq feet. North Coast Organics moved to a stand alone 7000 sq ft building in November 2016. Debbie got the big office with the view.