After years of struggling with acne Priscilla Tsai decided to take matters into her own hands. Little did she know she was about to create a multi-million dollar business. Well, maybe she did.
When asked if she ever saw Cocokind – her skincare line that is not only certified organic and socially conscious but also based around superfoods – taking off the way it has, Tsai laughed.
“I think I did,” she chuckled. “I always had faith in what we could create and become and the impact we would have on people and women.”
Since its inception in 2014, the San Fransisco-based company has made quite the impact, now selling everything from facial moisturizers to baby care products and makeup both online and in thousands of stores across the U.S. It's even in Michigan’s own Plum Market. So how did it go from Tsai making products for herself to this?
The Bloomfield Hills native, who went to Lahser High School, spent years dealing with skin issues, like hormonal acne and really sensitive skin. While in college she saw a dermatologist, who put her on medications and gave her topical creams. This led to her face becoming so sensitive that she often had to put moisturizer on at night to stop the stinging.
Then she started having some stomach and gut issues due to taking those antibiotics every day for three years. After that, she decided to quit a lot of her acne medication and learned more about plant oils, like avocado oil.
“I started to make my own recipes, and at the time I was in New York, I had just graduated from college and I was working in finance,” Tsai said.
She would stay in finance on Wall Street for about four years before quitting and starting Cocokind. No one in her family was surprised she wanted to start her own company – her mom owns Ebinger Manufacturing in Brighton, so it was in her DNA.
When it came to making it a skin care line though, even she was surprised.
Tsai had confidence in her products, her breakouts were less frequent and her skin felt better, but anyone who has dealt with acne knows that the insecurity of it is always there.
“It’s hard to imagine yourself starting something that you really struggled with your whole life,” Tsai said. “It just never really was something I had seriously considered until the very end when I was like, ‘Ok, this is something I’m obviously really passionate about. I know way more than the average person and it’s really healing my skin, and other people are loving it, too.’”
People also love its very affordable price.
“Having really solid prices was really important to me because beauty is something where people always think that high prices means better,” she said. “That’s definitely something I wanted to prove wrong.”
Now, she’s selling at a lower price point than many and helping others along the way through the Cocokind Impact Foundation, which provides grants between $2,500-$10,000 to female entrepreneurs in the health, wellness, and sustainability industries. The grantees are also matched up with a mentor for one year.
For Tsai, being a first-time entrepreneur has been an insane learning experience but much like before they began, she feels good about their future.
“I don’t have any specific goal that I am trying to meet,” she said. “I’m very happy to kind of keep doing exactly what we’re doing, just in a bigger and better way as every day passes.”