Coco Business Inspiration : Kokoso

Kokoso is the new baby skincare brand started by a #Girlboss and Mum whose little girl was having a tough time with her dry skin. She spent a long time searching for the perfect coconut oil for baby skincare. 

She found one that’s loaded with amazing natural nutrients, with nothing stripped away through processing or added to dilute its purity. It’s the highest quality natural organic raw virgin coconut oil and nothing else. Just how we like it here at House of Coco

As coconut oil fans, we had to spend some time with the founder Lauren to find out more…

Tell us a bit about Kokoso and your journey to getting where you are today?
Kokoso Baby is the premium organic coconut oil specially selected for head-to-toe infant skincare – by a very picky mum!

It all started because, like a lot of new mums, I was concerned about the nasties in mainstream baby toiletries. So when my little girl developed dry skin and cradle cap I wanted to find something natural and organic to treat it.

I was a total coconut oil novice at this stage – but was literally blown away by how it made her skin feel and the amazing multitude of uses! It magically cleared up her cradle cap, dry skin and even baby acne, and we continued using it as a baby massage oil, naturally antibacterial bottom balm and daily moisturiser.

I started buying jars of raw virgin coconut oil as new baby gifts and found myself giving a sales pitch about all the benefits and uses to justify why I’d bought something that looked more at home in the pantry than the nursery. Thankfully my friends loved it too and it suddenly struck me that ALL parents should ditch the chemicals and replace the many baby lotions and potions we buy with the all-mighty coconut oil. And so the idea for Kokoso was born…

I knew that for the business to work I had to source the very highest grade of coconut oil – because only the best will do for baby skin. You see, depending on how they’re made and the quality of the coconuts used, there can be a real difference in the fragrance, texture and feel of different coconut oils on the skin. The last thing you want is a greasy baby that smells of sickly sweet desiccated coconut!

So I set about searching for a premium, lightweight, raw virgin organic coconut oil that absorbed well into baby skin and smelt AMAZING. I’m proud to say we have found an ethical, family-run supplier in Thailand who produces the purest fresh-pressed organic coconut oil with a beautifully subtle fragrance that complements the natural smell of your baby rather than overpowering it.

That was three years ago and a lot of coconut oil, sweat and tears have gone into being where we are today. But it’s been worth it. Since launching we’ve received some great industry awards and get messages every day from parents telling us how much they love Kokoso.

What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
Seeing Kokoso Baby on the shelves of Boots within a year of launching. When the business was only three months old I pitched to Boots through ‘Inspired by Baby’, a Dragons’ Den style competition for parents with ideas for baby products that make life easier for other mums and dads. Out of hundreds of entries, Kokoso was one of only three products to make it onto the shelves.

Kokoso was inspired by you becoming a Mum, how do you juggle business and family life?
I’ve found starting the business around two small people to be amazingly empowering and exciting. It’s taken our lives in a completely new direction but at the same time it can be hugely exhausting and stressful.

On the upside we get to work from home and work our own hours – but that’s often late into the evening when the children have finally gone to sleep! Crucially, we’ve been able to spend more time with our children than if we were going out to our old office jobs every day. But even when you’re with the kids it’s really hard to switch off – because starting a business is all-consuming and unfortunately there’s no one to delegate to at this stage in the game, so it feels like you’re constantly juggling different roles in the business and parenthood. It can leave you feeling guilty and pretty frazzled. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Mummy love_

Describe the brand in 3 words?
Honest coconutty skincare.

Who is involved in the brand?
In the early days it was just me but thankfully my husband has come on board full-time now.

Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
A typical day involves getting the children off to nursery or their grandparents, maybe squeezing in a run if I have time and then anything and everything to do with helping the brand to reach more people. Normally I’ll start by replying to customer emails or creating some social media posts before writing a new blog or newsletter. I’ll then pack our website orders and take them to the post office before picking up the girls at lunchtime and spending the afternoon with them. Work resumes in the evening when they’ve gone to bed. Alongside me my husband deals with the accounts and all aspects of importing and distributing the product to our retailers, including Boots.

Before the company launched, what did you do on the work front?
Before Kokoso I was a copywriter in advertising and marketing. I was on maternity leave when I had the idea for the business but I’d arranged to go back to work three days a week and this seemed like the most sensible option now that I was responsible for a tiny human.

Then, as fate would have it, my whole team was made redundant soon after I returned to work. And as awful as this period of time was, my redundancy package gave me some cash to help kick start my little coconut oil empire. And things grew from there…

How has your life changed since having children?
Starting our family more or less coincided with starting the business – so life has changed immeasurably. During this period we also moved from London back to Warwickshire. So even the scenery is different!

Who/what inspires you?
My children. It was wanting the best for their skin that inspired the business in the first place. My husband also inspires me every day. He has given up a lot for Kokoso and works so hard to make it a success. I wouldn’t have got this far without him.

Kokoso pot with awards

Are there any sources you go to for support with running your business?
We secured a £10,000 loan from the Start Up Loans Company to help us grow quickly once we knew we’d got into Boots. Alongside this they provided business mentoring, which was invaluable at a particularly daunting time. There are also lots of networks out there that we’ve plugged into – everything from Chambers of Commerce to Mothers Meeting.

What are your plans for the brand in 2016?
We’re excited to be working on new products, with our premium organic coconut oil and the highest quality natural ingredients at the heart of everything we create.

Did you always know that one day you would be a #Girlboss?
Starting my own business DEFINITELY wasn’t part of the plan; it came about through circumstance and seeing that there was a gap in the market that desperately needed filling. But I don’t think you need to have started a business to be a girlboss. There are plenty of amazing women and mums out there doing their thing magnificently, whether that’s raising a family full-time or acing it in their careers. We’re all working hard to better our lives for our families and that’s what counts.

For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Sourcing the best product has been central to our success so if you’re thinking of starting a business then I’d advise taking the time to ensure your service or product is the absolute best it can be. There’s always room in any market for a quality product – and if you’ve got something great then people will keep coming back for more.

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