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Falling in love - with coconut oil

Interview with Emma Heming Willis, CEO of CocoBaba

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European Business: Ms. Heming Willis, what inspired you to create your own beauty label “CocoBaba”?

Emma Heming Willis: The idea came to me in a very organic way. I was pregnant with my first child and looking for beauty products designed especially for moms-to-be that used safe, natural ingredients. I wanted something that would help stave off stretch marks as much as possible. I realized that most products didn’t meet my needs. I became acutely aware of what I was putting in and on my body and how it could affect my unborn child as well as myself. I decided to create my own skin line whose ingredients I would oversee and make certain met my criteria. There needed to be a product on the market that was safe and simple for moms-to-be who are conscious about their health and beauty routine and products they use.

Emma Heming Willis
“There needed to be a product on the market that was safe and simple for moms-to-be.” Emma Heming Willis

European Business: Why did you choose coconut oil as a base for your products and what is so special about it?

Emma Heming Willis: Coconut oil was always a part of my childhood. My mom was a big proponent because of its healing and soothing effects. My grandmother cooked with it, then I’d see her using it as a hair mask. I talked to a lot of experts about its use, efficacy and safety – the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Coconut oil has essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, and is therefore particularly effective for the skin. In combination with minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, which are absorbed by the roots of the coconut palms from the salt water, this ensures that coconut oil is particularly moisturizing and a nourishing, natural ingredient. Once I got into the technical side of it and discovered all its amazing benefits, I fell in love with coconut oil all over again!

“Coconut oil was always a part of my childhood. My mom was a big proponent because of its healing and soothing effects.” Emma Heming Willis
Emma Heming Willis

European Business: You currently have three body-care products in your line. Do you have any plans to introduce additional products in the future?

Emma Heming Willis: My main focus right now is getting CocoBaba distributed and recognized as a natural skincare line – and not only for moms and moms-to-be. So, we’re working on extending the product range, experimenting with a few innovative ideas, and also gauging how best to introduce the line into new markets. Right now, I’m just happy to see how CocoBaba is growing!

European Business: Surprisingly, your production site is based in Germany and not in the U.S. – what is the reason for that?

Emma Heming Willis: It was very important to me to be able to offer my customers the very best products of the highest quality. I also have contacts in Germany whom I trust, and the standards there are known to be very high. Given that I’m not a chemist, I felt more comfortable working with professionals I already know and trust to help me put together a product that I knew would be safe and effective.

European Business: You are the producer of a documentary about your husband Bruce Willis. What will we learn about him and what is it you love most about him?

Emma Heming Willis: I think what you’ll learn about Bruce is he’s a family man. His family comes first before anything else, and I obviously love and respect that quality in him very much.

Emma Heming Willis
“I think what you’ll learn about Bruce is he’s a family man.” Emma Heming Willis

European Business: Your husband Bruce is known from his many movies as an action hero. As a husband of a working mum and with two daughters, how much action does his private life require?

Emma Heming Willis: You will undoubtedly see Bruce in a completely different way once you watch the documentary. I know my husband is hugely popular because of his he-man, action hero film persona. He is, in fact, quite the opposite. He’s a very softly-spoken, gentle man and very much a pacifist. John McClane he definitely is not. It just goes to show what a great actor he is, because the characters he portrays on screen are the complete opposite of who he really is.

Interview: Andreas Detert | Photos: Emma Heming Willis / CocoBaba GmbH