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Fort Wayne-based business producing vegan deodorant line for The Grateful Dead

grateful dead deodorant 2
Nathan and Debbie Morin of North Coast Organics

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - A mother-son duo based out of Fort Wayne is producing a line of vegan deodorant for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band.

Self-proclaimed "Deodorant King of Chicago" North Coast Organics CEO Nathan Morin and his mother Debbie Morin are collaborating with The Grateful Dead in making a line of homemade, small-batch vegan deodorant.

Nathan started North Coast Organics in the summer of 2012 in Chicago when he couldn't find an organic deodorant he liked.

So he made his own.

The "Deodorant King of Chicago" discovered there were only two stick antiperspirants in the main-stream market that were organic, and he saw an opportunity.

When a Chicago law barred him from producing the product out of his home to sell for a profit, Nathan turned to his mom in Fort Wayne.

Debbie started making the deodorant products in her garage. When the business started growing, she moved the production process indoors.

The mother-son duo quickly learned they were running out of space.

"I've been a veg-head since 2000," Nathan said.

"Vegans are a very dedicated crowd. I knew they would show us support."

At the pair's first vegan convention, they sold about $1,000-worth of merchandise, which shocked them both.

Fast forward to 2020, the Fort Wayne-based company is now selling in places like Whole Foods.

"I had never in my wildest dreams thought that we would get to this level," Debbie said.

"I just thought we would to ship to a couple of stores, do it at the farmer's markets and at festivals."

The Certified B Corporation then caught the attention of The Grateful Dead.

"North Coast Organics lives and functions as we do, with an awareness that the future's here, we are it, and we need to take care of the planet and ourselves," the band's manager David Lemiuex said in an interview with CNN.

Deadheads can now smell like rose, lavender or juniper.

The USDA-certified organic, certified-vegan, and plant-based ingredients are even edible, too.

The deodorant's decorated bolts --the band's iconic symbol -- were designed in Fort Wayne as well.

"We didn't use an outside artist from another part of America. We're taking a lot of money from the mainstream and bringing it into Fort Wayne," Nathan said.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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