The story of Coccoon, brand of sustainable and multifunctional eco-cosmetics, is strictly linked to the story of Sara Di Benedetto, face and brain of a project born as a spin off of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and now manifesto of a body care which is responsible and informed.
The degree in molecular biology and the direct experience into international trading of vegetable oils have brought Sara to the awareness of the difficulties in obtaining pure vegetable oils, and of the risks connected with mixing such oils with low-quality, secondary oils. Her answer to this experience is Coccoon, brand that directly connects the local communities in Bali - where coconut oil is produced - with the final consumers, and that educates around an informed and responsible usage of a raw material that is extremely delicate, and therefore challenging to be extracted in its full purity.
Sara, you have a background as a plant biotechnologist, to which you added a business management master’s degree. You frequently say that Cocoon aspires to create the change you want to see in the world. How was your awareness around the properties and the risks of coconut oil usage in cosmetics born, and what made you switch from the study of these oils to action, becoming yourself a businesswoman and creating a brand of your own?
The motivations that pushed me to create a new idea of natural cosmesis are many. The personal desire to use few products that could be safe, essential and multifunctioning to accompany me and my growing family through a green path towards a more conscious and responsible consumption strongly contributed. My scientific education and my passion for nature and the plant kingdom is another fundamental component.
But what made me move the first steps of this adventure was a previous working experience, from which I gained my awareness about the difficulties in pure vegetal oils supply for food and cosmetics industries, and about the serious risks associated with mixing them with secondary low-quality oils in the final products.
Thanks to the link with the international doctorate program in Agrobiodiversity of Pisa’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, it was possible to develop and run the world’s first network of small rural communities for the direct production of pure oils in emerging countries: the same oil that is the extraordinary raw material at the basis of every product of Coccoon.
Coccoon works with local communities in Indonesia, and delivers its products in many countries, mostly thanks to its online store and to a selected network of small retailers spreaded mainly across Italy. How did you approach the e-commerce world? What role did the digital community that grows around Coccoon play in perfectioning and redefining your products?
The idea of turning to the online market with a professional e-commerce was born from the desire to offer Coccoon to as many people as possible across the world, in an easy and safe way. That’s because everyone deserves to know and use high-quality natural cosmetics. Our first online shop was homemade – I built it! – and helped us get known during the company’s first launch phase, but it had many limits, of which I was always aware.
The new website is exactly the e-commerce I had in mind, and with your help we finally managed to build and launch it in record time last june. You were extraordinary in intimately understanding the message of the brand Coccoon and to pass it on in a clean and deep way. A dream come true.
You recently renewed the packaging of some of your products, applying a zero-waste technique and philosophy. Can you tell us how the desire of sustainability affected your choices as a businesswoman, which obstacles you have met in making Coccoon a sustainable brand, and which lessons and successes have you collected along the way?
Our spin-off project was born inside the international doctorate program in Agrobiodiversity of Pisa’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, so Coccoon could only be an eco-sustainability oriented product line. That’s always been our aspiration: creating high-quality products, simple and innovative, in a solid form, preferably avoiding any packaging, fitted to meet the demands of the most green-oriented customers.
Unfortunately, being a zero-waste company and working with full respect of natural resources is still pretty expensive, so our choice to become a 100% biodegradable brand was only possible after a while from the first product’s launch.
You migrated your store on Shopify. during the Coronavirus emergency. Can you tell us how the platform helped you in the renewal of the Coccoon online shop? What are the main challenges you met in balancing out a flowing and simple customer journey with the many informations and the strong narrative that revolves around an extremely adaptable product as coconut oil?
Along with our products growth and evolution, I felt the need to drastically renovate the online platform, with the goal of reaching the people that are looking for Coccoon, many of them even without knowing who we are and what we do.
I wanted to add value to the story and the quality characterizing our line, and to communicate our message in a clear and direct manner.
I also wanted a safe and high-performing online shop, so I didn’t have a doubt about the choice of this platform. Finding out that Nama Studio is committed to working for eco-sustainability oriented, women-lead, story-telling e-commerce projects, conquered me right away. The knowledge, the professionalism and the commitment that I immediately found lead to an excellent outcome and to an ideal solution that plenty satisfied me.
Now Coccoon and its history are truly just a click away. With elegance and simplicity, of course.
You can visit Coccoon and get the chance to discover its new Zero-Waste packaging here.