This week we chat to Jodie Evins, Founder of fortified coconut water brand Coco Luxe. After over 15 years in marketing executive roles working with the likes of Audi, Coca-Cola and Nike, Jodie launched Coco Luxe with the aim of bridging the gap between the beverage and supplement markets.
JE: After running another coconut products company, I came to realise that the category had little product or brand differentiations and lacked functionality, whilst the supplement and powder market was booming. I wanted to tackle this gap in a new and exciting way by adding function and a touch of fashionability to the range, making the product look just as good as it tastes.
ISB: What was the biggest challenge in getting Coco Luxe off the ground?
JE: By far my biggest challenge is having to fund raise. I have a great range, which is really resonating with customers in multiple countries, but at some point you have to stop taking on opportunity to concentrate on capital raising to fund your growth. This is the part I struggle with as it is relatively foreign to me and takes up time that I would much prefer to spend on brand building and sales. With so much opportunity ahead, I need to do this now to ensure I grow to our full potential.
ISB: Being an experienced entrepreneur with a number of successful start-ups behind you, how was the experience of starting this particular venture different for you?
JE: This was the first time I was developing a product, not a service as such. I had a Brand Activation agency and also an incentive company however I have not ever made a food or beverage product before so this presents a number of challenges. These challenges include, ensuring you meet regulations in each country, working with customs agents and learning R&D/QC processes to ensure you are meeting not only the highest quality goods you can for your market, but also ensuring you are meeting your own core values. I am lucky that I am a tenacious and rational
ISB: How do you set Coco Luxe apart from other coconut water products in the market?
JE: We are the first coconut water company to tackle consumers’ needs for highly fortified function in their grab and go drinks. We fortify our products with essential vitamins and nutrients that consumers are wanting and giving them the ease of a ready-to-go no need to blend option. Before Coco Luxe, there was little brand or product differentiation in type or tone so we created not only products that are eye catching and merchandisable but functional and flavoursome, too.
ISB: Where do you see the business developing in the next couple of years?
JE: We are launching now in to the US so with China, Australia and the US we have more than enough opportunity to grow our distribution over the coming two years within these countries. We will also release two more SKU’s in 2020. The feedback and uptake thus far has been phenomenal, now we need to find the right investor for us to scale effectively.
ISB: Finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on all your various start-up journeys you’d share with others looking to start their own business?
JE: Probably my best advice is to not rush. You feel as a start-up that you have to run as fast as you can and don’t get me wrong, you do, but a few days or a week to really ponder decisions will not break the opportunity and some things really deserve time to consider, especially partnerships. That is why I have taken the past six months to get to a raise scenario as I want to look for the right, long term partner who would fit with my values and aspirations. These things take time.