#BeautyBosses: Kiana Cabell & Gigi Goldman, Co-Founders of Kopari
Ever since Kopari launched, it became an instant hit in the beauty world with its line of luxurious and clean coconut products. From skin and hair to personal care, all of their products start with 100-percent pure, organic coconut oil that is sustainably sourced from small family farms in the Philippines. Essentially, it’s the ideal line for beach goddesses and mermaids alike!
We recently chatted with the amazing co-founders behind Kopari, Kiana Cabell and Gigi Goldman, who are this week’s #BeautyBosses. They share their journey to success, beauty secrets, best advice, and more:
What inspired Kopari and what does it mean?
Kiana Campbell (KC): As a native to Hawaii, I would use coconut oil for just about everything. I was passionate about maintaining a natural beauty routine. Later, my studies of integrative health and nutrition at New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute further exposed me to the vast versatility and health benefits of a diet rich in coconut oil, the familiar multitasking ingredient I grew up using as a kid. I became a certified organic chef, dedicated to exploring the different ways that coconut benefitted the body, both inside and out, and became fixated on the topical uses of the superfood.
It was then that I realized I wanted to create a line of coconut oil-based beauty products that lent itself to the multitasking benefits of the hero ingredient and enhanced its efficacy by adding in complementary natural ingredients and cutting-edge technology. Upon graduating, I moved to San Diego and teamed up with beauty entrepreneurs and industry veterans, Bryce and Gigi Goldman, and the cofounder of Suja Juice, James Brennan, to create a premium coconut oil-based beauty brand, the first of its kind in the United States. Even the name Kopari celebrates its coconut roots. Kopari is a slimmed-down version of ‘kopparai’, which is an Indian word for coconut.
Gigi Goldman (GG): Just a few years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to three little kids and I barely had any time to devote to my beauty routine. I kept it simple and natural, and discovered coconut oil could be used to give me glowing skin and glossy hair. Soon, I was chasing my kids around the house with this multitasking gem, curing everything from chapped lips to sunburned shoulders. The more I used coconut oil, the more I realized that its beauty benefits were simply too good to ignore.
I brought the idea to my husband, Bryce, who worked in the beauty business, and we got to work sourcing and developing the purest coconut oil on the planet. We connected with our partners, James Brennan and Kiana Cabell, fellow beauty and wellness enthusiasts, and (ta-da!) Kopari was born.
How long have you been in business?
KC: Kopari just turned three-years-old and it has been such a whirlwind. We launched in October 2015 with just one line of multitasking products and since then have expanded into four different product lines: multitaskers, skincare, body care and personal care—available online and in-stores at Sephora, Nordstrom and Ulta.
GG: We actually just celebrated our third birthday! We officially launched Kopari in 2015 with the help of Hawaiian-born naturalist and certified organic chef, Kiana Cabell; health entrepreneur and cofounder of Suja Juice, James Brennan; and my husband, third-generation beauty expert and industry veteran, Bryce Goldman. It’s so crazy to think that in just three years we have expanded from a direct-to-consumer, digitally-native brand to a brand with a thriving brick-and-mortar presence in Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, and internationally as well.
Tell us more about your line. What’s your hero product?
KC: At Kopari, we believe in creating natural beauty from the inside out, with products for every part of your beauty routine that are made as pure as possible. We combine superior quality coconut oil with high performance ingredients to create natural born luxury for gorgeous skin and healthy hair. We make sure to source the purest, most nutrient-rich coconut oil from small family farms in the Philippines. The small-batch coconuts are then handpicked at peak quality, never exposed to extreme temperatures and ever-so-carefully pressed. And of course, everything from Kopari is cruelty-free and free of sulfates, parabens, silicone and phthalates.
Our hero product is our Organic Coconut Melt. It’s made from 100-percent organic coconut oil, and that’s it! You can use it for practically anything on your body, including as a full body moisturizer, deep conditioning hair mask, makeup remover, bath booster, shaving oil, hand treatment and nail nourisher, lip balm, under-eye rescuer, scar soother, massage oil, belly and baby balm, and the list goes on.
GG: For us, it’s important to focus on the quality of the ingredients in delivering that luxury experience to our customers. To that end, our small batch coconuts are from small family farms in the Philippine Islands. They are handpicked at peak quality, never exposed to extreme temperatures or interactive metals. This, along with the incorporation of other innovative natural ingredients that enhance its benefits, creates a truly premium product. It’s a difference you can feel, and we love that! Our hero product is our Organic Coconut Melt, and right behind is our new Coconut Deodorant, which is aluminum-free and actually works!
Where are your products sold?
KC: Kopari products are available online at koparibeauty.com, with select products available online and in-stores at Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom brick-and-mortar locations nationwide.
GG: We also sell customized assortments in Anthropologie and Free People nationwide.
What’s your favorite product from your line?
KC: My favorite product is one and the same with our hero product: the Organic Coconut Melt. I love how it is so versatile and leaves me glowing from head to toe. It was also a huge lifesaver for me when I was pregnant with my daughter, Kennedy, to help prevent pesky stretch marks.
GG: While this is a little like asking me to pick my favorite child, I’d have to say our Coconut Deodorant. We were able to create an aluminum-free, non-toxic, coconut oil-based deodorant that actually works and keeps you smelling like sweet coconut all day long, which is a total win. My mom is such a huge fan of the deodorant as well. At one point, she asked me to send her one because the stores were sold out, but I couldn’t even get one for her. Don’t worry, we are now back in stock! And it’s not just our favorite product, but our fans’ favorite as well. It was awarded an Allure ‘Best of Beauty’ Award this year!
Who inspires you?
KC: Lately, I’ve been really inspired by Jen Atkin, the founder of Ouai, and the brand’s marketing approach. We not only share similar careers—running a beauty brand start-up—but she’s also a fellow Hawaiian!
GG: My partners! The four of us have used our different backgrounds and expertise to launch a lifestyle brand unlike any other on the market. It has allowed us to all learn from each other throughout this journey. We have also learned a lot from our investors at L Catterton and John Heffner, CEO of Drybar, who sits on our board.
Secret to success?
KC: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. I’m lucky to have three incredible partners with unique backgrounds that I am constantly learning from. Don’t have an ego and never stop learning.
GG: I think the secret to our success is multifaceted. We developed a brand with a very distinct personality that is transportive. Our hero ingredient coconut is trending, and our products are made as pure as possible and are free of all those ingredients that are bad for you. And most importantly, our products work! All of these components were part of our brand DNA since the beginning and I think that is why consumers are connecting with Kopari.
Our community is key to our success and they have a strong voice when it comes to our products, content and strategy. We also have a strong omni-channel approach. We have a prevalent digital presence and are available in multiple retail channels so consumers have easy access to our product.
KC: I love mixing our ‘Save Face’ Oil with my foundation for fresh, dewy skin.
GG: Kopari Coconut Oil! OK, beyond that: eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercise, a big smile, and a weekly blowout at Drybar! I use Kopari’s three-step skincare routine day and night. For makeup, I used the following: Charlotte Tillbury’s Healthy Glow, Laura Mercier foundation, NARS Bronzing Powder, Milk Makeup’s Lip + Cheek Tint in Rally (so convenient), Diorshow Mascara and Kopari’s Lip Glossy (obsessed!)
KC: Find something active that you love doing and make it part of your ritual. I try to do yoga a few times a week to get my body moving. I’m also big on intention-setting, so I love to sit down on Sundays and go through my to-do list for the coming week and set my goals.
GG: Starting the day with exercise and meditation. And lots of family time!
KC: Never say never!
GG: Just do it! You will learn along the way. Favorite quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
[Images courtesy of Kopari]