Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

Coco Sabon. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019

Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

  • Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world”

RIYADH: The healing and relaxing powers of nature are at the heart of Coco Sabon’s philosophy.
Launched by Dr. Cynthia Mosher — an American living in Riyadh — the skincare firm is committed to sourcing high-quality, natural oriental ingredients that provide the skin with gentle care and nourishment.
“I launched Coco Sabon in November 2015 at Alfaisal University’s first bazaar,” she said.
Mosher, who completed a bachelor of science in natural health sciences, said she hoped to do something more than simply diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. She also wanted to have time for other important things and people, so now she is working as an educator, training a new generation of medical students.
She encourages people to make healthy choices when it comes to ingredients they use on their bodies.
“I fell in love with formulating and creating beautiful, natural skincare products. I continued my creative journey while pursuing my medical degree, which deepened my commitment to develop ‘do no harm’ skincare based on natural ingredients,” she said.
“Layered with my admiration of Arabian culture, the rich regional ingredients, and my passion for integrative medicine, I developed a deep sense of holistic self-care that guides my formulations. My love for the fragrances, natural remedies and skincare routines of the Middle East are the heart and soul of Coco Sabon.”
There is a growing demand for Coco Sabon products. “After years of requests from family and friends to make and sell my products, I tested the waters, so to speak. We sold out of everything that day.”
She added: “About six weeks later we were invited to participate at the Gathering in Al-Bujairi in January 2016. We had a crowd of customers nonstop for three days and again sold out of everything. It was a decisive weekend. Coco Sabon was born and we have not looked back since.”
Mosher’s family and friends offered encouragement, but one of her strongest supporters was her best friend, Audrey Wilkinson. She said: “Audrey was my supporter, helper and adviser. She now works with me, formulating and producing our candles, cremes and face care line.”
Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world.”
The brand offers a wide range of products, including soap, bath bombs, scrubs, cremes, face and body oils, perfumes and candles.
“Everything is produced by hand in small batches here in Riyadh using natural, safe and organic ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible,” Mosher said.
Coco Sabon believes in supporting local businesses and in sourcing the best ingredients possible. The store also designs its packaging and hand packages, labels and wraps each item, selling through an online store (cocosabon.com), Instagram, WhatsApp, and local popup shop events.
Mosher has also started offering workshops on making her products.
“Some might think that to be unwise because I could very well teach a future competitor,” she said. “Well, that’s true for the medical students I teach now. Should I withhold my knowledge for fear of them becoming better doctors and doing better? Of course not. The more knowledge we put out there, the better our society will be. The workshops also help build community.
“I connect with people who are curious, who want to learn how to create and how to make good choices for their health. I welcome workshop students young and older (my youngest so far was just 6 years old), and I encourage them to take what they learn and use it to improve their lives and that of others around them. If they make a business out of doing so, then good for them. We all have something to offer the world,” she said.
Mosher is happy that she created a job she loves. “Sometimes I miss practicing clinical medicine, but I remind myself that I am helping people make healthier choices for their bodies, their minds, their souls and the planet,” she said.
“That’s a special kind of medicine that I believe can help heal the world.”


Adrian Grenier: Having an appetite is the key to balance

Updated 32 min 6 sec ago

Adrian Grenier: Having an appetite is the key to balance

  • ‘Find ways that you can participate and then share those ways with your community’

RIYADH: Youmna Naufal, executive director of the Lebanese Student Society, asked Adrian Grenier, actor, filmmaker, social advocate and musician, about how he balances a rich portfolio of mixed roles and projects.

“I have a big appetite,” Grenier said at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. “I have big eyes for the world. I get excited about a lot of different things ... I want to be diversified.”

Grenier talked about how technology is making the world smaller and more connected.

He thinks that it is important to have a depth of knowledge of a particular skill and go very deep on particular things, but at the same time to have casual knowledge about a lot of different things.

“Travel is more easily available to people and you want to be able to have a working knowledge of a lot of different aspects so that you can comment and you can participate meaningfully with all the people you’re going to encounter,” he said.

Grenier has had a hand in many different projects, from working for the environment, being the first social advocate for Dell computers to protecting the ocean. He said that people could do many different things and touch many different lives. “You have to, it’s almost a necessity at this point,” he said.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Grenier has had a hand in many different projects, from working for the environment, being the first social advocate for Dell computers to protecting the ocean.
  • One part of his career involved setting up the Lonely Whale Foundation to educate and raise awareness to inspire change.
  • At Lonely Whale his target is to eliminate 20 billion plastic straws from the waste stream.
  • Grenier also introduced the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, which this year drew 300 young people between the ages of eight and 18 from 30 countries around the world.

One part of his career involved setting up the Lonely Whale Foundation to educate and raise awareness to inspire change, because “today’s children are tomorrow’s environmental leaders.”

Grenier believes that a lot of things can be done to make that change — people need as many solutions as there are humans — “we need 8 billion solutions, and then all the different solutions that each individual comes to.”

He said that everybody knows what is needed in their local community, and what is needed individually and personally. Therefore, it is important that people bring their own creativity to the issue. “Find ways that you can participate and then share those ways with your community. I have a lot of things that I personally do. One thing is starting to reduce plastic straws on all different fronts.”

At Lonely Whale his target is to eliminate 20 billion plastic straws from the waste stream.

Grenier said that 10 billion tons of plastic is going into the ocean every year, which is a huge problem to tackle.

Lonely Whale decided to break the problem down to one single unit of measure, he said. “One single piece of plastic and the plastic straw became that symbolic unit … we could start to actually see a difference.”

He said that this was not easy as 500 million plastic straws are used every day.

Grenier also introduced the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, which this year drew 300 young people between the ages of eight and 18 from 30 countries around the world.

“We bring them together in a bootcamp-style experience over three days so that they can learn about plastics, the ocean, and how they can go back to their communities and start implementing change locally.”

Grenier gave a few pieces of advice throughout the session — especially to millennials. One was that they should take care of themselves, “so that you can stay committed to the task at hand and really accomplish your goals. It can’t be something that you do and then give up … So, take care of your health, take care of your body, your mind, and workout.”

He also advised people to collaborate. “Collaboration is a big part of what I do. I like to consider myself a master collaborator ... looking outside of your own self ... and being compassionate for other ideas.”

“Through new ideas you learn and synthesize both those perspectives into new perspectives. So, let’s do it together,” he said.