As a female-founded company, we take pride in celebrating the successes of other women-owned businesses—especially when the women behind the scenes also happen to be moms! That's why we created the "Moms Who Made It" interview series, where we showcase an inspiring mom each month and explore the ups and downs she's faced in creating her own unique brand.
This month, we're featuring Emma Heming Willis, the creator of CocoBaba. In her search for safe, effective, and simple skincare products to ward off stretch marks during pregnancy, the former model and actress reached for a time-honored solution: coconut oil, which was her mom's go-to for moisturizing skin and hair, and even waxing furniture. And sure enough, it helped Emma get through two pregnancies without developing stretch marks—but dipping into the giant vats she bought from the supermarket wasn't the most luxurious experience.
So she set out to create something a bit more special for expecting mamas, working with sustainable suppliers and product experts who uphold the highest cosmetic standards. The result? Her skincare line, CocoBaba, which leverages the natural effectiveness of coconut oil without harmful ingredients, greasiness, or complicated steps.
We're happy to share Emma's story and introduce our Bandita mamas to CocoBaba. Read on for more, plus a special discount code to use on your CocoBaba order!
Tell us a bit about your company and the products you’ve created.
CocoBaba is a consciously formulated, vegan body care line with moms’ needs and concerns in mind. Besides creating a simple yet effective line, I want our consumer to take time to focus on their self-care as they use our products. Moms have a great tendency to put themselves last on the list; I want to help refocus our efforts without guilt.
What was the problem in the marketplace that you set out to solve, and how did you go about finding a solution for it?
I came up with the concept for CocoBaba while I was pregnant with my first baby. I realized that, at the time, I couldn’t find an authentically good-for-you product to fit the needs of my changing body. I turned to a tried-and-true family staple: coconut oil. I used it throughout my pregnancy and came out stretch mark-free. For a person who is stretch mark-prone, that was my “ah-ha” moment, when I knew I needed to create a line using coconut oil as the hero ingredient.
Describe your business philosophy in a few words.
We believe that every body deserves to be mothered, and are committed to providing women everywhere with the affordable luxury and no-fuss products to do just that.
What has kept you motivated throughout the journey of starting your own business?
So many things keep me motivated! But one that stands out is having my children see how much I love my job. Every day is new—I’m constantly learning, and that’s exciting to me. They also see that it is a true grind. I’m wearing so many different hats, since my business is a startup; it’s far from easy, but I enjoy what I do. I think, as a parent, we want to see our kids happy and fulfilled and I hope this example is one that carries with them.
When did you start to think, “OK, this idea might actually work” or “I might be on to something here”?
For me, the proof was in the pudding from the start. I saw firsthand what one ingredient could do for my skin, and then we beefed up the formula with other beautiful supporting organics to create a simple routine that really works. Once we started seeing glowing reviews and comments, I knew we were onto something.
Who is your mentor? If you don’t have one, is there a figure you look up to?
I have a few wonderful women I’ve met in the beauty space—Barbara Sturm, Indie Lee, and Shrankhla Holecek, the founder of Uma Oils. They have always been incredibly helpful and are constantly sharing their knowledge with me. I also have a small team of really smart women around me, and we feed and thrive off of each other. It’s very powerful when women come together and support one another.
What’s your #1 tip for moms interested in starting their own business?
Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Share your ideas with family and friends. You’ll be surprised at who knows who and what can really help in those early days. And ask for help! There’s no shame in not knowing. I came up with an idea and had zero clue how to achieve it. I just started talking to people and the doors started opening.
What does “me” time mean to you?
Me time is exactly that. Tuning it all out for a portion of time every day to do an activity that is all about me. This could be a 40-minute hike or that extra five minutes in the shower where I am unhurried and unbothered with my list of to-dos.
Any favorite books or podcasts that you’ve found particularly motivating?
I love listening to "How it’s Made," "The goop Podcast," and "Life with Marianna Hewitt."
What’s on your bedside table?
Calming essential oil blends, water, CocoBaba Butter Mousse for my hands and feet before bed, and mineral CBD for sleep.
Share your favorite inspirational quote, if you have one!
“Strive for progress, not perfection.” Words I live by, being an only-child perfectionist.
As an exclusive for our readers, use code Bellybandit20 to save 20% on your entire order from CocoBaba!