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Cranberry couple's Stinkbug Naturals getting a whiff at local stores

| Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, 10:45 a.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Benjamin and Jade Bower of Cranberry have been making homemade, all-natural and organic deodorant out of their home since 2011 under the name Stinkbug Naturals. The Whole Foods in Wexford was the first retail location they had their deodorant in. They’ve since gotten their deodorants in 23 different Whole Foods locations in the mid-Atlantic region, several other co-ops across the state and in the Giant Eagle in Cranberry.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Benjamin and Jade Bower of Cranberry have been making homemade, all-natural and organic deodorant out of their home since 2011 under the name Stinkbug Naturals. The Whole Foods in Wexford was the first retail location they had their deodorant in. They’ve since gotten their deodorants in 23 different Whole Foods locations in the mid-Atlantic region, several other co-ops across the state and in the Giant Eagle in Cranberry.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Benjamin and Jade Bower of Cranberry have been making homemade, all-natural and organic deodorant out of their home since 2011 under the name Stinkbug Naturals. The Whole Foods in Wexford was the first retail location they had their deodorant in. They’ve since gotten their deodorants in 23 different Whole Foods locations in the mid-Atlantic region, several other co-ops across the state and in the Giant Eagle in Cranberry.

A stink bug is the last thing one would imagine when thinking of things that smell good. But when Jade Bower began her all-natural deodorant business, that was the name she adopted.

“I thought it would be funny to put a goofy, quirky name on it,” she said.

Husband and wife team Ben and Jade Bower, both 34, of Cranberry started Stinkbug Naturals in 2011 to sell their organic, nongenetically modified and aluminum-free deodorants and lip balms.

Jade Bower became interested in natural deodorants after she became pregnant with her first child in 2010.

The Bowers said they tried other natural deodorants but they were either ineffective or expensive.

“I was pregnant and I just want to go all natural, so I started making my own deodorant,” she said.

“You want to be able to sweat naturally,” Ben Bower said.

She began by making deodorants for her husband, then family members, then friends of family and so on until it became clear they had stumbled onto a sought-after product, Jade Bower said.

They formed Stinkbug Naturals to begin selling their deodorants to people who were looking for an affordable and natural alternative to standard personal care products.

As business began to pick up at home, Ben Bower approached natural and organic food retailer Whole Foods in Wexford about carrying Stinkbug Naturals.

Annie Nelson, marketing team leader at the Wexford Whole Foods said the company tries to source products as locally as possible, so carrying Stinkbug Naturals was a good fit.

“It reflects the community that we're a part of and it's a great way to support small businesses,” Nelson said.

Stinkbug Naturals can be found in 23 Whole Foods stores across the mid-Atlantic region, Ben Bower said. The Giant Eagle in Cranberry began carrying the products in November.

The Bowers run operations from their basement, making each stick of deodorant. The ingredients are simple: organic beeswax, baking soda, corn starch, tea tree oil, cocoa butter and organic oils such as vanilla, peppermint, patchouli and lavender.

The couple take pride in their natural deodorants, which sell for $5.99 a stick. The business is still a side project for the busy parents of two young boys, ages 1 and 3, but it's growing slowly and steadily.

“It definitely fills up our free time,” Ben Bower said. “But we're passionate about it.”

For more information on Stinkbug Naturals, visit www.stinkbug organics.com.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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