Our journey into Boots
From tiny spare room startup to being on the shelves of Boots, it’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Kokoso Baby. I still can’t quite believe it. We’ve only gone and won the Boots Inspired by Baby competition. And you can now find our premium organic coconut baby oil on the shelves of Boots stores nationwide and on Boots.com – hooray!
How it all began
We first launched Kokoso on our website in June 2014 after discovering the amazing benefits of coconut oil for our baby’s sensitive, eczema-prone skin. Before that we’d spent a year planning, researching and sourcing the purest, highest grade of organic coconut oil that was perfect for infant skincare.
In the first few weeks of business we’d made a few sales and were just about getting to grips with Twitter. Then an old friend contacted me to see if I knew about the Boots Inspired by Baby competition. Did I know they were looking for entrepreneurial parents with ideas for baby products? Errr, no I didn’t. But it sounded like it was made for me… and it turns out it was!
The application process
I filled out the forms late one night when our little ones were asleep. They were 8 months and 2 years old at the time; when else does the paperwork get done if not at the end of an exhausting day of weaning and potty training?!
Boots wanted to know how my baby had inspired my business idea. What made my product special? What had been my lightbulb moment? So I waxed lyrical about why I thought EVERYONE should be using Kokoso Baby Coconut Oil to care for their little one’s skin. It had worked wonders for my little girl and now I was passionate about helping other parents benefit from this natural miracle oil.
A week later, I nearly fell off my chair when I received the email inviting me to present Kokoso Baby to Boots. Dragons’ Den style! Along with a host of other parentpreneurs, I would be pitching my product to the Baby Buying Team.
With the help of my husband and close friends at daugther studio, who’d helped us develop the Kokoso brand, we put together a pretty PowerPoint presentation and practiced our socks off – after the babies had gone to bed, of course.
September 5th 2014 quickly rolled round. Pitch Day. And there I was in the small-to-medium-sized town that is Boots HQ outside of Nottingham. The place is vast and pretty daunting for a small business owner.
Hats off to Boots. It was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to pitch to key Buyers (a dream come true for a tiny company (and person) like me with very little trading experience) but I also had the opportunity to meet other more established brands, who’d been invited along to give advice to us new kids on the block. Thanks for all the wise words Belt Up Kidz, Tum Tum Tots and Totseat.
Our 15 minutes in front of the Buyers went amazingly well. They were engaged with the product and had plenty of questions. And – most importantly – I didn’t say anything too daft. Always a bonus!
Five minutes later I was back in the main room when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was one of the Buyers we’d pitched to; she wanted a word. We went out to the corridor to hear it: ‘CONGRATULATIONS’.
She said some other words too, like ‘testing’, ‘paperwork’, ‘technical team’ and ‘feedback’. But to be honest, I didn’t take it all in. I was too busy concentrating on keeping my cool when all I wanted to do was cartwheel out of the building and open a bottle of bubbly. Yeah right, I had to get back to pick up my children!
A few days passed and I began to think I’d dreamt it all. But sure enough, an email soon pinged into my inbox.
“Congratulations, we would like to take your product further. The team was really pleased with the Kokoso Baby product and the presentation.”
Since that moment it’s been all systems go. Who knew there was so much involved in running your own baby skincare business?
Huge thanks to Boots for all their help through this complex process. It’s so exciting to be working with them. Their support gives Kokoso the stamp of approval we are all looking for when choosing a product for our baby’s precious skin.
Throughout, my husband has been a tower of strength and has done the lion’s share of the work to make it a success. It’s been really hard going and we’ve learned an awful lot along the way, and there’s still so much to do. But we feel extremely privileged to have come this far in only a year, and have many people to thank for their help in getting us here – you know who you are!
We’re still working out of the spare room. But instead of storing our special pots of skincare goodness in the garage, they’re on the shelves of Boots. Right where they belong.
Lauren with her daughter who inspired the business.