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Farmington Hills, Metro Detroit

July 22, 2014

Local sisters dive nose first into natural deodorant business

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Sisters Monica Stakvel, of Farmington Hills, and Kasia Rothe, of White Lake, sit at Stakvel’s house July 17 with their all-natural deodorant.
The sisters pour sticks of deodorant.
 

FARMINGTON HILLS/METRO DETROIT — It is not unusual to find sisters Kasia Rothe and Monica Stakvel doing a sniff test at any given time.

They smell their armpits in the car, at home and even after exercising. They want to make sure their new deodorant line, Pachy, checks out.

“We didn’t have that much available on the market here,” said Rothe, 35, of White Lake. “It is unlimited what this can bring.”

Pachy, pronounced “pahyi,” is Polish for “underarm” and was developed through Rustic Maka, a Michigan-owned company created by the American-Polish sisters. It started out as an idea about seven years ago.

Maka is derived from the sisters and their mother’s names, including Aleksandra Roszczynska, 22, of Sterling Heights, and Anna Seits, 58, of Warren.

Rothe jokingly faults her husband for thinking up the business, because when she was pregnant with their first child, he told her she smelled one night. That changed everything.

“I was just fed up being stinky,” Rothe said. “He said, ‘You stink really bad.’

“That is when it all started,” she said. “I went from prescription stuff to other homemade things, and I figured there are recipes online. There are recipes for anything.”

Two to three months later, the sisters came up with a batch of natural, food-grade ingredients for their deodorant line, including arrowroot powder, organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate, bergamot, essential oil, vanilla extract and candelilla wax.

Pachy is an odor-fighting deodorant created without chemicals commonly found in other deodorants such as parabens, aluminum, gluten, corn, soy and genetically modified organisms, the sisters said.

The 3.5-ounce deodorant comes in five scents: Naughty Butter, Sweet Lemonade, Wild Meadows, Calming Fields and Rough Rivers for women and men. Pachy is also made in sample sizes.

“We’re trying to live healthy lifestyles,” said Stakvel, 33, of Farmington Hills. 

Stakvel said she was sold on the final product after she tested the deodorant on one armpit. After exercising, she passed the sniff test.

Stakvel said naming the deodorant after a Polish word helps the sisters get back to their roots and family.

After growing up under Communism in Warsaw, Poland, and coming here in 1996, the sisters said they were amazed at how much excess American stores had.

“It was like Candyland,” Rothe said. “We didn’t have stores like that in (Poland).”

On the flipside, Stakvel said, many of the products had cheap ingredients.

“They don’t get the job done, or they are bad for you,” she said.

Rothe added that the organic products were also expensive, and she didn’t want their products to be.

“We started talking about how can we minimize that price,” Stakvel said, adding that having fewer ingredients helps reduce cost.

Rothe said that when the organic movement happened, the sisters were already in the process of eliminating chemical-laden products from their homes. They also plan to create other natural, Polish-named products down the line, such as Stopy (feet) treatments, Skora (skin) treatments and Wlosy (hair) treatments.

“We’re ready,” Stakvel said.

On July 15, Stakvel stood in her kitchen — where they run half of the business — with her sister, poring over a fresh batch of light-yellow deodorant cooling on the counter, and discussed what it means to be mothers searching for healthier alternatives for their children and customers.

“I think the health kick started with the kids,” Stakvel said. “You start reading more and more, and I started reading about deodorant and the bad stuff in it. We really researched our ingredients.”

The sisters run the other half of the business from Rothe’s home in White Lake.

Seits said in an emailed statement that she is proud of her daughters’ accomplishments.

“They work very hard on achieving this goal to run their own company and create a product that is truly organic and good for your body,” she said. “I love their entrepreneurial spirit, and I know they will be successful in whatever they set their minds to. I am glad to see how this partnership brought the two of them together and their families. We’ve always been very close-knit family, but seeing them doing something they love together makes me ever more happy.”

Roszczynska, who helps with design elements in the business, including writing press releases, said making time for Maka is “an exceptionally inspiring achievement.”

“I have been using Pachy for a few months now, and I absolutely love it,” Roszczynska said. “I have major sweating problems, and this works for me.”

On July 24, the sisters plan to be at Wixom’s farmers market, Sibley Square Park, 48900 Pontiac Trail, to sell their products.

Pachy deodorants are available at The Purple Door store in Wixom and online at www.rusticmaka.com.

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/pachybyrustic maka or email rusticmaka@gmail.com.

For more information on the farmers market, visit http://www.wixomparksandrec.com/.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at skolade@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.