Reporter’s Notebook: Jessica Rubino predicts ‘strong growth’ for natural personal care


Jessica Rubino

Jessica Rubino is a Deputy Editor at New Hope Natural Media, which monitors the healthy/natural lifestyle industry. For my recent profile of North Cost Organics founder Nathan Morin, I asked her to explain the big gains the natural personal care industry has seen in recent years.

There wasn’t space in the article for all her insights, but if you’re watching this industry, it’s interesting stuff. Here’s an edited version of our email conversation:  Continue reading

Now, let’s talk about your armpits


Over the past week or two, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about deodorant.

You’d think it would be a touchy subject. But friends and strangers haven’t been shy with their opinions when I mentioned that I was writing a story about North Coast Organics, a Chicago-based company that hopes to have the first widely-distributed USDA Organic deodorant on retail shelves.

“My boyfriend’s been looking for a good natural deodorant,” a woman volunteered at a party on Sunday. “They all suck though.”

I heard that lament a lot. According an industry analyst I talked to, the crowd that’s already switched to natural shampoo and soap is taking a second look at the list of ingredients in their deodorant. They want to go natural, but is there an option that doesn’t suck?

The people I talked to who use North Coast say there is. And none of them were shy talking about it.

Read the full story on

Going on the Grid


Belatedly, I’m excited to write that I’ve been contributing reporting to Grid magazine, a new weekly business magazine distributed with Chicago copies of the Sunday Sun-Times.

The magazine launched at the beginning of February, helmed by a very smart, capable editorial team. A few of them I’m lucky to have worked with in the past. This crew knows what they’re doing, and their first four issues have been smartly designed and tightly edited.

I’m going to be writing a regular business travel column, which features a new traveler’s tips about a favorite city each time. (Get in touch if you want to participate.)

Last week’s issue also featured an in-depth sports-biz story that I spent a few months reporting. It details the sponsorship deals that Nike cuts with with high school basketball teams in Chicago Public Schools. Continue reading

Silent Dreaming: Cinema Minima’s “A Night With Maya Deren”


Here’s one thing to recommend the work of Maya Deren, an experimental filmmaker active in the 40s and 50s: you can watch her complete oeuvre in less time than it takes to get through The Godfather: Part II.

A fixture in Greenwich Village of the 40s, Deren mixed with the avant-garde luminaries of the time. Marcel Duchamp, Anaïs Nin, and John Cage appear in her short films, which make amorphous, allegorical explorations of dream life and the body. Continue reading