Saturday, October 23, 2021

Sweet smell of success: Madison deodorant maker wants to be a household name

The company’s story—the story of a middle school science teacher who decided to start a construction firm on her family’s farm—is also a compelling one.

“I almost made a career out of the fact that middle school boys stink now,” he said.

As a teacher, LaFond said he regularly finds himself headaches. Eventually he found the reason: the “chemical fog” he would walk down the hallway created from canisters of body spray, which students would liberally apply to their lockers.

LaFond, frustrated by the long list of esoteric and artificial ingredients in the products, decided to start a new classroom project: He’d work with students on creating his own deodorant. The experiment proved to be a hit, and turned into an annual event of his classes. Before long, LaFond felt an itch to turn the experiment into a commercial venture, not just one for kids.

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“After doing the research, I had a real personal interest in products I could use myself,” he said. “I struggled to find personal care and wellness products that would satisfy me.”

Five years later, the company has moved out of his grandfather’s old machine shed. Although it was necessary, the move was “heartbreaking,” said Lafond, who claims to draw deep inspiration from his family’s dairy farming history. Still, the company maintains strong ties to its past in other ways — some of its employees are alumni, Lafond said.

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