Young Entrepreneurs: Rikita Kapadia of Cocovit Coconut Oil
Young Entrepreneurs: Rikita Kapadia of Cocovit Coconut Oil

Rikita Kapadia found a way to make Cocovít Coconut Oil stand out when the product has never been more popular.

In today’s beauty and cosmetic industries, there’s one product that’s consistently flying off the shelves: coconut oil. From hair care to daily skin care routines, coconut oil provides a seemingly endless list of benefits to its millions of users. Because the product is so popular, it can be difficult for brands to differentiate themselves within the marketplace. However, Rikita Kapadia found a way to make her company—Cocovít—stand out.

Kapadia first launched Cocovít back in 2014 after working in marketing and PR for years. Even though she loved her job in corporate America, she wanted to create something that allowed her to bring something from where her family is from in India to the U.S. Having used coconut oil—which originated in India—her entire life, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start her own company.

The majority of coconut oils that are currently on the market are made using an extraction process that eliminates a lot of the nutrients and enzymes that make the product so versatile. In order to correct that problem, Kapadia created her own method. The proprietary Cocovít process doesn’t use any heat or chemicals when extracting coconut oil, making it 100 percent raw.

“Our process might be slower than others, but our nutrient level is so much higher. That commitment to authenticity and quality didn’t exist in the industry before I created Cocovít, which is ultimately why I decided to go through with this passion project,” said Kapadia. “I also launched Cocovít because it gave me the chance to give back to the community in South India. 90 percent of the small town where our coconut farm is located is living in poverty, so being able to help families find jobs or send their kids to school really makes a difference.”

Cocovít now has 150 employees in India, and that number is expected to grow alongside the company. It’s one of Kapadia’s main focal points for the brand— Cocovít’s mission goes beyond its bottom line. However, even though Cocovít has a strong roster of employees in India, Kapadia is a one-woman business here in the U.S. And since every jar of the brand’s coconut oil is handmade, that requires her to wear a lot of different hats.

“I’m not willing to sacrifice quality. I’ve been looking for the right manufacturer and co-packer for months, but I haven’t found anyone that would be a good fit for the Cocovít brand. As a business owner, those are the choices that I have to make that ultimately have the potential to make or break my company,” said Kapadia. “It’s worth it to me to do things the right way. At the end of the day, that’s what will help Cocovít succeed in the long run.”

So far, Kapadia’s strategy appears to be working. Even though her business is only two years old, Cocovít products are sold in 300 retailers. And that number is expected to climb—the brand is currently in talks with two major retailers to get its products on more shelves. Kapadia also recently purchased a second farm in India to continue growing her operations overseas, and the brand is preparing to add new products to its line. Within the next few years, Kapadia’s goal is to keep up with Cocovít’s rapid growth trend.

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that everything is possible. When I first started Cocovít, my dream was to have my products sold in Anthropologie. I signed with them six months after I launched,” said Kapadia. “You can’t get discouraged or look at other companies as threats or enemies. If anything, you should learn from them.”

Kapadia makes it a priority to keep up with the latest trends in coconut oil. But that’s not going to prevent her from paving her own path—Cocovít needs to be in a league of its own. That’s why Kapadia is constantly researching what she should do next to take her brand to the next level.

“The door is wide open in this industry for entrepreneurs like myself. Coconut oil may not be new, but it isn’t going anywhere. People across the U.S. are really starting to incorporate it into their daily routines, and I plan to make the most of that high demand,” said Kapadia. “Starting your own business is absolutely a challenge. But I can honestly say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I live and breathe Cocovít—there’s never a moment when I’m not thinking about the future of the brand. But this is my passion, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”