This month Elizabeth Eve launched an exciting new range of Luxury Baby Boxes with Kokoso, the incredible coconut oil baby brand. I caught up with founder, Lauren to find out all about Kokoso and how her passion for coconut oil and her idea became a reality. Still a family run business, the successful baby brand is now stocked across the high street and has the backing of a dragon (of the investment kind)!
Lauren lives in Warwickshire with husband Mark and two children, Seren, 5 and Lois 3.
When did you come up with the idea for Kokoso and what made you take the plunge into making that idea a project, and then a reality?
When my eldest daughter was a baby, I discovered the wonders of organic coconut oil for her dry, sensitive, eczema-prone skin. We used it for everything, from baby massage to bottom balm, and I quickly started buying jars for friends with new babies because I wanted to share how amazing it was! That’s when I had my light bulb moment – to source the best organic coconut oil I could find for the specific purpose of caring for babies’ delicate skin.
And so the idea for Kokoso Baby was born but I didn’t initially think I’d do anything with it. I was on maternity leave and had arranged to return to work, but then fate intervened. On my second day back in the office I was told my whole team was being made redundant! This was the catalyst I needed, and I used my redundancy money to start Kokoso. Sometimes life just pushes you in the right direction…
What was your dream for Kokoso?
I set up Kokoso to share the brilliance of coconut oil with parents and babies everywhere. There was a gap in the market for a truly natural, truly effective product for little ones, and my dream is for Kokoso to become a household name – a baby essential you can find in every family home!
What kind of support and financing did you have in setting up the business, how did you tackle this?
After initially using my redundancy package to launch, we then put a large chunk of personal money into the business when we sold our house. In addition, we took out a £10,000 loan with the government-backed Start Up Loans Company. Later on, we appeared on Dragons’ Den and were successful in gaining a £50,000 investment from Touker Suleyman. It all sounds like a lot of money, but in a very competitive market it’s surprising how quickly it goes.
How long was the process from idea to production, what was this time like?
It took around a year to source a coconut oil I was happy with. We say Kokoso is ‘sourced by a very picky mum’ and we’re not kidding! I rejected so many coconut oil samples, much to my husband’s exasperation, either because the smell wasn’t right or because they felt greasy or gritty on my baby’s skin. I’m so glad we took the time to source the best product we could find; I’m certain the amazing quality of Kokoso Baby Coconut Oil is a big part of why it’s been so well-received by our lovely customers.
What kept you motivated during the development and initial sales stages?
I’ve loved the process of building our business from scratch. It’s been a really exciting journey, from sourcing the product, to seeing our first logo ideas, to writing the label, putting a website together and going live on social media. It’s also been extremely stressful and challenging at times, but I’ve stayed motivated because I truly believe in our product and our purpose thanks to my experiences as a new mum.
Do you remember your first sale - what was that like?
Absolutely, it was a lady called Cerys from Wales. It was a big moment! Thank you Cerys.
How has the range grown from the first product you produced?
It all started with our premium organic coconut baby oil and this will always be the magic ingredient in any other products we create. I’m so proud that our gentle baby washes contain a whopping 10% of our very own coconut oil – as much as scientifically possibly whilst still creating an effective baby wash.
How did you go about getting the message out about Kokoso?
We were on Facebook and Twitter for about eight months before creating an Instagram account for Kokoso. This was a real game changer. I love the supportive community of like-minded parents and business owners I’ve met through Instagram. Their recommendations and testimonials have helped us to increase brand awareness without any significant marketing budget.
What is Kokoso like as a brand like today?
We work at home – I have an office in the spare room and Mark has a desk in the kitchen, although I often end up working at the kitchen table. Kokoso has completely taken over and it’s not easy with two small children; our house is more a warehouse than a home. I dream of the day when we have a proper office and I can separate life and work!
Where can we find your products?
I’m delighted to have recently partnered with Elizabeth Eve! On the high street you can find us in Boots and JoJo Maman Bebe. We’re also on Amazon and have a wide range of gorgeous independent stockists, both online and bricks and mortar.
And finally, what can we expect from Kokoso in the next year?
In the next year we’ll hopefully be adding at least two new coconutty skin treats to the range. We formulate all of our products with great care, using only the kindest natural and organic ingredients, so it’s a lengthy and often complex process. Our next two products have already been in development for several months now, so I can’t wait to finally share them!
Shop the Kokoso and Elizabeth Eve range HERE