SHIMMY SHIMMY COCOVIT: INTERVIEW WITH RIKITA KAPADIA
I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog and social media this past week, but I’m breaking my silence to bring you an interview with an incredible woman who is sure to inspire you to follow your dreams, embrace your heritage, and treat your body with respect by only using products that do good for it!
Honestly Unfiltered: What inspired you to start Cocovít?
Rikita Kapadia: The tradition of using coconut oil, originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Inspired by my Indian heritage and my family’s belief in coconut oil, I wanted to create a multipurpose beauty and skin solution.
The coconut oil I used prior to Cocovít was also from India, and while results were good, I knew it was not 100% raw, nor was it the purest or most potent oil I could have been using. Knowing this I began my search to develop a process which would allow the nutrients and enzymes to stay intact during the extraction process and in the final product. And this how Cocovít was born.
HU: Coconut oil has been trending in the beauty and health industry for quite some time but why you do swear by it?
RK: Yes, you’re absolutely right – coconut oil has been trending, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be stopping any time soon.
The coconut is nature’s most lasting gift to beauty. Potent enzymes and nutrients contained within this miracle fruit have been used for centuries to heal and nourish skin and hair. Inherently antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial, coconut oil is a multipurpose beauty solution, and is suitable for all ages, skin and hair types.
At Cocovít we harvest fresh organic coconuts from a eco-reserve in South India, producing an exquisitely pure and exceptionally potent form of coconut oil. Using a heatless extraction process, we are able to maximize nutrient and enzyme potency by leaving the oil raw & untouched – as nature intended.
Cocovít is USDA Organic + Fair Trade Certified.
HU: I heard there’s an amazing back story to where your coconut oil is sourced. Can you tell us a little more about that and how it came to be?
RK: My family is originally from India and growing up I spent countless summers there visiting my extended family. During a visit about 3 years ago we purchased a farm in a village located in South India.
We purchased this farm for two primary reasons: 1) To ensure we were able to put our proprietary heatless extraction process in place and 2) to provide employment to the local villagers. The farm is located in a village an hour outside of Chennai, where a majority of the residents were previously living in poverty. The farm now provides employment to over 150 villagers and allows their children to attend school.
At Cocovít we utilize the purest quality ingredients, this means you will never find preservatives, parabans and/or fillers of any kind. All of our ingredients are certified organic or Fair Trade, and ethically sourced from small farms.
HU: Every great business owner has a mentor who supported their dreams from the beginning. Who helped guide your way down the entrepreneurial path?
RK: My parents, husband, brother and sister-in-law have been the ultimate supporters and mentors for me. I have learned and continue to learn so much from each of their strengths.
My parents came to the US as immigrants and built everything they have from ground up, showing me that anything is possible. My husband is a doctor turned entrepreneur so he is extremely helpful when it comes to questions regarding science and startups. My brother is a numbers guy and is the one I turn to for my finances (definitely not one of my strengths). And my sister-in-law is the constant reminder to keep balance in my life – I have learned this is actually a very crucial part of growing a successful business. Without balance you will burn out, ultimately hurting your business.
HU: When creating your business where did the your inspiration come from?
RK: Cocovít was inspired by my Indian heritage and specifically my grandmother and mother. Both of them were not only true believers in coconut oil but also in natural beauty. It has been something they shared with all of the women in our family.
HU: What was the most challenging part about starting your own company?
RK: The most challenging part of launching Cocovít was not really having experience on the business side of the beauty/natural beauty industry. However, every challenge I have faced along the way has only helped me learn and grow, to build a better, stronger brand.
HU: What has been the most rewarding part?
RK: The most rewarding part of Cocovít is continuing to share century-old beauty secrets and formulas utilizing Ayurvedic ingredients to our clients. Equally rewarding has been providing employment to our villagers in South India and education opportunities to their children.
HU: During the process of starting Cocovít, was there ever a time you felt like you wanted to give up? If so, how did you overcome that?
RK: Giving up was never a thought or an option as I am a true believer in anything is possible. Were there challenges? Absolutely. But challenges are presented to overcome. Everything has a solution.
HU: Where do you see Cocovít in the next 5 years?
RK: In 5 years I hope Cocovít is better and bigger. We will continue our research and development of new products to add to our collection. We also hope to partner with additional retailers. And finally we hope to grow continue to give back to those in need
Photos By: Samantha Jean Photography
MORE WITH RIKITA KAPADIA: Three beauty products you can’t live without? Cocovít Coconut Oil – it is my face and body moisturizer, make-up remover, shaving oil, deep hair treatment and the list goes on, Rosewater – I use it as my toner, refresher and make-up setter, Black eyeliner – I will never leave the house without it on. Most used app on your phone? Not an app necessarily by my Google Calendar – I would be completely and utterly lost with it. My entire life’s to do’s and appointments are on here. It constantly looks like a Tetris game as priorities and appointments are always being shifted. Guilty pleasure? Bollywood movies are definitely my guilty pleasure. My husband refuses to watch them so I have to enjoy them on my own. Favorite travel destination? Anywhere with my husband. He takes traveling to a whole other level. What do you never leave home without? Phone and my S’well bottle Favorite food? Almost embarrassed to share this but chips, any and all types of chips – Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos. What book are you currently reading? Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple Number 1 travel essential? I have two. 1) Cocovít Coconut Oil (2oz/Mini – available exclusively at Anthroplogie) and 2) My notebook – I love having a place to collect my thoughts and ideas when I am traveling.