Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Belzer, the President at Coconu!
Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I kind of laugh that I’m in the lube business, but health and wellness and human connection have always been really important to me as a woman, wife and mother. I’m the mom forcing family hikes and introducing new vegetables. Sex is a big part of overall health and wellness! My brother and sister in law started the company in 2012 when they developed the first USDA certified organic coconut oil lube. I have a background in sales and marketing, and after being home full time to focus on raising my three boys, I joined Coconu to help with marketing and product development. I’ve always been on a constant quest of self improvement. I’ve focused on a clean healthy eating, going organic, and swapping out cleaning supplies and beauty care products for healthier versions. An organic lube fit perfectly in my approach to clean personal care products and I love helping to bring more natural and safe products to market to help women and couples be their best selves.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
After I came on board, we wanted a big focus of the company to give back to organizations that support women’s health. Coconu is a family business that I run with my brother and sister in law and we wanted to support ovarian cancer research. I know the impact of this disease firsthand as it took the life of my mother when she was just 58 and only one year after diagnosis. This was despite her commitment to personal health and her work in the medical field. We believe the way to make progress against Ovarian Cancer is through supporting research in this area, so the company chooses to give back by donating a portion of all purchases of it’s organic personal lubricants to OCRA in the name of Kathy Warnick, a woman who gave tirelessly to her community.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the biggest challenges we face at Coconu is that we are a fully organic, all-natural product which means we don’t have a “forever” shelf life like some products that include preservatives. That means you better get busy and use it! We hate the notion of our customers having the expired product on their hands so we’ve embraced a campaign around scheduling time for intimacy. It’s help you stay close to your partner and assures that your Coconu will never go bad!
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We are working on some additional products that will combine the all the goodness of USDA certified organic coconut oil and CBD. We are huge believers that CBD helps our customers in innumerable ways.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My husband has been incredibly supportive throughout our 22 years of marriage (and counting!). I spent several years focused on our family before transitioning back into the corporate world with Coconu. In addition to supporting the move, his experience in business has been extremely helpful as I look to bounce ideas or approaches off him or just want another set of eyes on a problem! His years in leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies gives me a resource to gain perspective on opportunities and challenges.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
There’s no question that Social Media has become a critical element of any marketing plan. As you think about your customer journey you need to understand where you can intersect with your customers in a way that feels genuine and organic and allows them to best understand the value you’re trying to bring to the market. Coconu isn’t here to fool anyone. We believe in better sex naturally and we believe that being respectful and honest about our message through multiple social media platforms has allowed us to reach our customers in a way that feels genuine to them.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
For us, we believe that the CBD space is full of potential. It fits our message of prioritizing organic products and looking for holistic ways to help our bodies. Given the relative “newness” of the space from a commercialization perspective our excitement is really around understanding the full potential of CBD. Our real concern is that until we have clear, direct messaging from the federal government, there will be risk from a legal perspective. We hope that we can have clear messaging from the government about their support of CBD and other versions of cannabis.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Getting to know your customer and zeroing in on who that is. I read a book that changed my business and it actually wasn’t about business or marketing. It was about the female experience of sex! It is the book “Come as You Are:” by Emily Nagoski and reading it really helped me understand the nature of and challenges to feminine sexuality. Even though I am a woman with my own experience, understanding the science behind it and the variety of experience was a game-changer for focusing on my customer and aligning my company’s mission. The book really informed our goal to empower women and make it easier for them to be self-directed in their intimate relationships. Coconu sells all natural, safe and effective personal lubricants, but our business is really about helping women increase their confidence and capacity for connection, intimacy and pleasure.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I think my influence is limited but I think ALL of our influence is important. We are all citizens of the greatest political experiment ever, the US Democracy. It’s not a finished product and any time we think we can take our foot off the gas we get stark reminders that’s not an option for us. We need to continue to fight for racial and gender equality and we can’t stop until we find real solutions for real problems. These are the important issues of our time and every day I work to make sure my children understand their role in joining, and eventually leading, this movement.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@coconu on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook