Coconut water seems to be the craze these days, especially in healthy Vancouver. There are numerous companies all around the world who are hopping on board the coconut water train. Spotting this trend, two local entrepreneurs started Cocos~Pure® – it now has distribution in North America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Russia.
1. Who are you? Tell us about your business/core idea and what inspired you to create it.
Cocos~Pure® is a Vancouver based coconut water company that was founded by Tiffin Clark and Aron Tegenfeldt in 2011. We fell in love with coconut water during university exchanges and surfing trips to Asia, and after discovering its endless list of health benefits, we felt determined to share this refreshing drink with our friends and family back home and around the world.
2. How do you compare with all the other coconut water companies out there and what makes you special? Please talk about recent traction and global expansion.
Our product is 100% coconut water, it has no added sugar and is not produced from concentrate. Our premium coconuts are sourced from a single location in Thailand which offers consistency and superior taste. We have built a solid brand in North America which has allowed us to expand into new global territories such as Asia, Africa, Europe and Russia.
3. How has Vancouver’s rising startup and business community played a role in the development of Cocos Pure?
As a Vancouver-based company, we are proud to be involved with local charitable organizations like A Loving Spoonful, a society that provides free, nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, motionball, who raise funds and awareness for The Special Olympics Canada Foundation and events like Camp of Champions, which provide snowboard, skiing and mountain biking instruction for youth in Whistler, BC. All of these opportunities have helped to augment our brand’s exposure, support and growth tremendously and we feel lucky to have participated in their causes.
4. What kind of challenges has your team had to face and how have you mitigated them?
We have been able to navigate our challenges with a grassroots approach to solid communication and creative thinking. To start, we built a team of like-minded individuals that shared our core ideology and overall goals. The beverage category is dominated by large, well established brands and companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi who have enormous budgets and far reaching resources, so we have to find inventive ways to compete. We support lesser known individuals and groups that are on the road to reaching their goals, as opposed to major celebrities or athletes. We get involved with the communities that we sell in by way of charitable, social, media and music events. We actively listen to our consumers in an organic medium and craft our trade to incorporate their needs, as well as our goals. We look forward to the challenges ahead as we grow our brand internationally.
5. Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Cocos~Pure® is driven to continue to provide healthy, natural alternatives to the sugar laden, chemically enhanced products that currently exist in the marketplace. We are developing product lines that will make use of every aspect of the coconut, making our program more environmentally, socially, and economically sound. From using the coconut fibre to make clothing for charitable use, to a new and exciting green technology that uses our coconut husk, mixed with rice husk to create anything from coffee cups to disposable chop sticks. We feel that as long as our company maintains a close and conscious connection to the health and green movements, the future will be bright.
6. What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
Growing up in Vancouver, we have a built-in sensitivity to the natural world. David Suzuki and his Foundation inspire us to engage with communities and operate our business in sustainable harmony with the environment. Another organization, Hope International Development Agency, also founded in BC, exists to improve the supply of basic human necessities. We admire their efforts to assist and educate the world’s neediest people through self-help activities. As we expand our outreach, Cocos~Pure® strives to continue to make a positive impact on the health and lives of others, locally and internationally.
7. What Vancouver celebrity would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Seth Rogan! We love that guy, he’s hilarious. Laughter is the greatest gift and a key aspect of natural health, so we’re already on the same page. Although celebrity endorsement would be great for Cocos~Pure®, we also find huge value in supporting passionate underdogs who work hard and train hard to succeed.
8. What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Follow your passions and conscience. Some of the best ideas manifest from the simple pleasure of enjoying life and what it has to offer. We highly recommend launching a business in your hometown. Our family, friends and connections all provided valuable support when we launched Cocos~Pure®. Do not fear failure, every setback is an opportunity for education and growth.
*End of interview*
It’s a pretty amazing story how a coconut water company could explode so quickly in what is an extremely difficult industry to crack. The key is distribution and whether their strategy can take down the Coca-Colas and Pepsi’s is something that only time will tell.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to paul(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit*