ARTICLE

All Out Natural brand building took a while

Entrepreneur's mother 'had no fear'

Jane Merten with some All Out Naturals organic deodorants that she sells as she sits in City Square Park in Marion, Iowa on Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Jane Merten with some All Out Naturals organic deodorants that she sells as she sits in City Square Park in Marion, Iowa on Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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With an entrepreneurial spirit, an MBA from the University of Iowa and a background in the natural products industry, Jane Merten has launched her own brand of organic deodorants.

Today, Merten operates All Out Naturals from her North Liberty home while working full time as vice president of sales and marketing for Eco Lips.

“It’s totally fun for me,” she said of using her skills to build her own brand. “People get overwhelmed with the thought of opening their own business. They may have an idea but don’t know where to start.”

In Merten’s case, starting her own business came almost naturally.

Merten grew up on a dairy farm near St. Ansgar, where she was inspired by her stay-at-home mother’s work ethic.

“She was always making income in some fashion — at the farmers market, decorating cakes, making caramel candy,” Merten said. “It was fun to see her go through that. She had no fear.”

After obtaining an accounting degree from the University of Iowa, Merten worked for Best Buy, where she supported the corporate marketing group.

Deciding she preferred marketing to accounting, she went back to school for her MBA and then went to work as a brand manager for Meredith Corp.

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In 2009, Merten made her first foray into the natural products industry when she took a position as senior brand manager with Frontier Co-op.

“I learned the most there about the industry, the products and the ingredients,” she said. “It was good training ground.”

After nearly five years at Frontier and another four years at Eco Lips, Merten relocated to Nebraska in late 2017.

“I had been wanting to do my own brand in the organic space, and the move was the perfect time,” she said.

At the time, Merten had been searching for an effective natural deodorant for her own use. Not satisfied with the options available to her, she decided to bring her own brand of natural, organic deodorant to market.

“It took me a while to build the brand,” she said. “Part of the process was huge learning for me because I didn’t have a team to put it all together.”

She located a manufacturer in Indiana who makes deodorant using organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. She tried several formulas and picked a stick deodorant format that worked best for her.

The deodorant, which comes in three scents as well as unscented, is vegan, contains all natural ingredients and carries the USDA organic seal, meaning at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic.

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“Finding a formula that worked for me and was certified organic were my top two key priorities,” Merten said.

She worked with a graphic designer to develop the logo and packaging and built a website herself. She also established an account with Amazon.com, which warehouses her inventory and fulfills all website orders.

Merten launched All Out Naturals on her birthday in September and, through her marketing efforts, has seen sales grow. Earlier this year, she returned to Eastern Iowa and her old job at Eco Lips, bringing All Out Naturals with her.

Going forward, Merten said she would like to expand the All Out Naturals brand to include physical and digital products that help customers live more green lifestyles, get rid of toxins and improve their overall health.

“There’s so much more life in the brand beyond this product,” she said.

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At a Glance

• Owner: Jane Merten

• Business: All Out Naturals

• Email: info.alloutnaturals@gmail.com

• Website: alloutnaturals.com

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