For our latest Homegrown Business profile we spoke with NIUCOCO founder James La to find out more about his botanical-inspired line of hair care products.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Our business is called NIUCOCO, a botanical-inspired line of hair care products. Our hero ingredient is an exclusive, raw, unrefined, pure, extra virgin coconut oil. (NIU actually means coconut in aboriginal Hawaiian). Our goal is to simply make products that deliver results. We are now extending our brand into personal care products, such as hand creams and body lotions.
What made you want to do this work?
We are passionate people who wanted to leave a significant mark in their careers, changing the status quo. Coconut oil was what brought us all together. Hair care was a by-product of that mission.
What problem does this solve?
The hair care industry has long provided a temporary solution that involved coating hydration problems instead of fixing them. On the other end of the spectrum, natural products are not as effective as we would like for them to be.
Our in-house chief scientist Yasmine Ishmael (and co-founder) set some lofty goals. She rolled up her sleeves to create products that use best-in-class approaches from both worlds and managed to deliver on that elusive industry promise to help restore the hydration needed by actually fixing the problem and not masking it.
Subsequently, we’ve had customers write to us saying that our products have helped alleviate some other significant problems such as itchiness, dandruff as well as toning down their eczema.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Every single person who has dry, damaged hair, especially from colour and heat treatments or simply from using aggressively drying hair styling products. Mostly, people who are also looking for effective products that do not have any lingering carcinogenic ingredients in them.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
For the first few years, we barely made any money. However, seeing a regular rate of returning customers have helped us grow. We are practically exclusively sold online which helps us interact with customers directly, especially for any Q&A.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
We are sold almost exclusively online. Find us on NIUCOCO.com.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
What are the actual components in the ingredient list that help to restore moisture in hair care products?
What is the best part about what you do?
Getting returning customers!
What is the worst part?
As an entrepreneur, there is no job that’s too small. Everything needs to be done. So when there is an accumulation of small tasks, it can get time-consuming.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
Every single meme about hair care products. They are simple, witty and oh so creative!
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
I love the founder Jamie Cook from Libretto Pizza/Rosalinda. The food and beverage industry isn’t an easy one but he’s making it work with great and innovative cooking.