Dad Cu and Chrystle at Cocofloss's first office
As we jump into the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on the one that’s passed and to share what we’re looking forward to in 2020. In 2019, Cocofloss turned five! 🎉 It was a year full of challenges and growth (more on that later), and we accomplished so much together as a team (more on that too!).
I’m in awe of how far we’ve come since we first began. Back in the early days, my parents, Chrystle, and I would pack Cocofloss together at the dining room table while binging on “Planet Earth” and “Downton Abbey.” Then we’d nervously head over to the local food truck fair to peddle our wares — pulled pork and floss anyone?
Our pop-up shop at Facebook featuring lucky red envelopes full of Cocofloss
In February, Chrystle flew to the Philippines, where the majority of children don’t make it through elementary school without prematurely losing teeth to decay. She worked with Philos Health to help establish a cavity-free elementary school in Bohol’s coastal community of Jagna. Through Philos’s two dental clinics, children receive palliative, restorative, and preventive care — helping them keep their teeth for life.
Our Rainbow Pride Pack
In spring, we released our first Rainbow Pride Pack (Passion Fruit completed the rainbow), which helped us raise $5000 dollars for AIDS/LifeCycle, the world’s largest HIV/AIDS fundraising event. And, with much excitement, we hopped the pond to release Cocofloss in the U.K.
Summer — a whirlwind of Summer Watermelon Cocofloss and factory meetings over irresistible desserts (sago gula Melaka, anyone?) in far-flung destinations — seemed to fly by. Before we knew it, it was fall. In October, we released our Strawberry Shortcake Set, which supported Bright Pink, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting breast and ovarian cancer through health education and early detection — a mission close to my heart. (A self-exam helped save my life. More on that below.)
Come winter, we worked on fostering a more collaborative and creative culture. We held our first “Creative Salon,” inspired by Gertrude Stein’s art salons in Paris. At the salon, we cooked up the Cocofloss Gelato Shop, featuring our most decadent floss yet — Dark Chocolate — and my all-time favorite combo, our Neapolitan Trio.
WCN protects wildlife like this ridiculously adorable baby tapir!
In November, we had the joy of establishing a partnership with Wildlife Conservation Network, a San Francisco-based organization that supports conservation entrepreneurs around the globe. They’re like venture capitalists for wildlife. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of supporting animals, and so my childhood self is dancing inside about our ongoing relationship with WCN.
Ellen DeGeneres and her winter Be Kind Box, featuring Cocofloss
This December, we launched our new CocoBox subscription page and the highly anticipated and heavily-requested Cocofloss refills! Cocofloss also had the honor of appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” as a part of Ellen’s Be Kind Holiday Box. Cocofloss was handpicked by the host herself!
As we look back on the year, we’re amazed by what our bootstrapped, scrappy team has achieved together. We said yes to new possibilities. We transformed challenges into opportunities, and we learned from our mistakes.
Life got crazy! This is the day before Cat (left) shaved her head.
On the sisters front, 2019 surprised us with challenges and blessings. I received a shocking and scary cancer diagnosis in February. Cocofloss’s “Balance and Bliss” culture was put to the test as my calendar quickly filled up with hundreds of doctors visits and treatments. I made healing my top priority — i.e. slow down! — while continuing to do my best to support all of the initiatives at Cocofloss.
Slowing down was difficult for me. There was always so much I wanted to do — no matter how terribly icky or tired my body felt. As a lifelong go-go-go person and big dreamer, I haven’t allowed myself free time since I was in middle school (I miss those summer vacations).
Cancer put things in perspective. I learned to scale back on work, to better align my mind and body, and to nourish my soul. I doubled down on yoga, meditation, and puppy time, and I escaped to nature whenever I needed a mental reset. The constant demands of running a business also helped keep my health anxieties at bay, as there was always so much to do and to look forward to at Cocofloss.
Cat's dog, Heidi, and nature were essential for healing! (Like the wig?)
It still seems crazy to say that infusions became routine. My dad (and lifelong attaché) accompanied me to every appointment, and Stanford hospital became our second office. With the support of so many — teammates, the medical community, family, friends, and complete strangers — I made it through. I feel so lucky and grateful. I finished my last treatment the day after Christmas — thank you, Santa!
On Chrystle’s front, her new dental practice in San Mateo is flourishing. She kept up with her Spear Faculty Club, joined the American Academy of Clear Aligners, and became the top general practitioner provider of clear aligner orthodontic therapy in our area, all while bouncing around the world for Cocofloss.
Chrystle also found out that she is having a baby girl this spring! While she’s been busy trying to figure out maternity leave from her work babies (the dental practice and Cocofloss), I’m just so excited to be an aunt and to have a new playmate. 😊
Heading into 2020, we look forward to deepening our commitment to sustainability, making Cocofloss more accessible worldwide, and bringing that extra polish to all that we do. We’ve also been cooking up some delightful new products that will make your self-care routine even more cleansing, luxurious, and delightful. We can’t wait to share them with you!
We’ve always dreamed of assembling thought leaders in preventative oral care and wellness to cross-pollinate ideas and to join forces to achieve a world of teeth for life. We’re thrilled to share that we will be hosting our first Cocofloss Oral Care and Wellness Summit in September 2020. Keep your eyes peeled for more details soon!
Life’s challenges in 2019 taught us to slow down, focus on what matters, and live our lives — and build our company — according to our values. With this renewed vision and grounding, and with our amazing team, we are fired up about all that we can achieve together in 2020.
Thank you to the stars for supporting our sister-run business. Your passionate engagement is what keeps us motivated and what brings our brand to life. We wish you a year full of health, balance, and bliss!
Cat & Chrystle