Q & A with Diane van Zwanenberg
1. City of residence: Hong Kong
2. Place of birth: Singapore
3. In under five sentences, define your business: Coconut Matter was founded in 2015 on the simple premise of doing something good, making a difference. Our product offerings range from handcrafted cosmetics and personal care products – all of which are based on the health benefits of coconuts and our passion for making a positive impact. We believe in sourcing sustainably and designing for minimal waste to build a lifestyle that truly matters. Our singular vision is to enable our customers to make healthy and responsible choices easier.
4. What social or environmental impact is your business making? Coconut Matter is making both a social impact through our work with Kokonut Pacific, an organization that works with rural populations in tropical countries to help better their lives by improving their utilization of coconuts, and an environmental impact through the use of our plastic-free packaging.
5. Out of all the products you produce, which is your favorite? Why?
Haha – this is like asking a mother who her favorite child is!
Each of my products played a role in my journey – WILD virgin coconut oil from the Solomon Islands, was the first product I ever sold in 2015, this was the beginning of my journey. Lip balm tested the concept of plastic-free packaging in 2016 and gave me the courage to continue pursuing other plastic-free packaging/product ideas (FYI: In 2017, 50% of all lipstick revenue supported a local Cancer Foundation fund).
In 2018 we tested the concept for a plastic-free natural deodorant — its success enabled us to invest and improve our product and as a result, in May of 2019, I was able to launch Mood, the second generation of the deodorant. Mood’s success is taking us to international markets.
6. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Oops…I am not reading a book at the moment. Researching on a couple of ideas means I am reading technical materials all the time.
7. Quote you (try to) live by?
Courage to change (the) things. (I am selective with this quote :))
8. Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
9. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you?
I learned to swim when I turned 40.