Just over four years ago, Ball State graduate Nathan Morin, aka the Deodorant King of Chicago, founded North Coast Organics — a brand dedicated to providing customers with an organic, top-shelf deodorant.
In the beginning, it was purely for personal use.
Dissatisfied with retailers, Morin headed to his kitchen to create his own product line of deodorant. After a nudge from friends, he began to produce the product beyond his kitchen.
“The inspiration [first] came from making a deodorant for myself, [then] from a gap in the market,” Morin said. “There was not very many natural, effective deodorants … at the time, there was only a handful of certified organic deodorants in the body care world.”
During that time, body care buyers were really starting to prefer organic products over generic. Because of the demand shift in products among consumers, Morin saw his opportunity.
Morin combined his passion for culinary arts and background in herbalism and aromatherapy and got to work.
After trial and error, Morin was able to create a product for various consumers to enjoy. In 2012, North Coast Organics was born.
North Coast Organics products are available in the Dill Pickle Food Co-Op, Midwest Whole Foods and even the Downtown Farm Stand here in Muncie.
Morin’s products would not be available if it weren’t for his mom, Debbie Morin.
“My mom, she got involved due to a quirk in the city of Chicago’s laws and to me having very little capital to start this business,” Morin said.
After first being denied a business license in Chicago, Morin relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his mom became a key component to his business.
“My thought was I’d come back from Chicago to Fort Wayne, once or twice a month, make a big batch and go back to Chicago,” Morin said. “After the second time, my mom suggested, ‘Hey, why don’t I help you make this?’”
The mother and son team worked in the kitchen to create the products for North Coast Organics.
Morin said he wouldn’t have been able to be successful without his mom.
“What was really instrumental, what allowed us to really grow the way we wanted to was my mom,” he said. “[She] literally did everything.”
In addition to the help he received from his mom, Morin also received help from connections he made during his time at Ball State. He received marketing advice from a fellow alumnus, who helped Morin create the idea behind the logos featured on North Coast’s deodorant sticks. He also received help from an alumnus and friend who paid for North Coast’s beginning logos.
“My connections I made at Ball State were highly instrumental in getting my company off the ground, but more than that it was the education, the opportunities I’ve had through Ball State,” Morin said. “[The] skills I learned at Ball State, I was able to transfer to professional skills and use a lot of those skills to build my business.”
While Ball State gave Morin instrumental connections, it also gave him his current lifestyle, which led Morin to hunt for an effective, organic deodorant, which in turn led to the creation of North Coast Organics.
One of Morin's biggest influences came from a study abroad trip to Jamaica while he was a student at Ball State. In Jamaica, Morin lived with a host family in a three-room shack with no running water and barely any electricity.
Having to live off the land largely impacted his life and opened his eyes up to the natural, organic lifestyle which led to his success with creating North Coast Organics.
“When I came back from that experience, I became vegetarian, started buying organic food … started living a sustainable, green lifestyle and that was directly because of that really impactful Ball State experience in rural Jamaica,” Morin said.