This couple bootstrapped their way to a multimillion-dollar business. Here are their top tips for success

Coco & Eve is a company that is growing rapidly, with co-founders saying they are close to reaching $100 million in annual revenue, just five years after the company's launch.

This couple bootstrapped their way to a multimillion-dollar business. Here are their top tips for success

It is not easy to run a business.

Emily Hamilton and Alexander Ostrowski consider themselves "very fortunate" not only because they are married, but also because they are "complementary business partners".

Ostrowski said to CNBC Make It that his expertise was in managing finances and operations.

Emily's product knowledge is something I admire. We complement each other in terms of our abilities, experience and responsibilities.

The couple from Singapore runs Coco & Eve, a Bali beauty brand that is behind the "Like a Virgin Hair Masque" -- a product with a cult following on TikTok.

The Covid-19 pandemic, like many other businesses, presented challenges, such as supply-chain issues. However, it was also a period of opportunity.

The couple switched from a direct-to consumer strategy to one that is "omnichannel," as more and more people are shopping online.

Ostrowski said that they partnered with online markets such as Shopee, Amazon and expanded their presence in physical shops such as Sephora.

Hamilton continued: "This is what helped us survive Covid."

Coco & Eve says that they have grown 240% between 2020 and 2022. Founded five years ago, with just $220,000 in funding, the founders claim they are "well-on-the way" to a $100 million annual revenue.

The two shared with CNBC Make It three tips on how to run your business successfully -- both in good times and bad.

Customers are always first

Hamilton's guiding principle for building a successful company is to create products people will love.

She created the hair masque when she realized that there was a gap in hair care products for a mid-tier, which had not yet been filled. The products were of salon quality but affordable.

"I saw a huge market opportunity in that area." Hamilton said that vegan beauty was on everyone's radar when we launched.

Identifying problems early and fixing them is the best way to go.

"It's important to us to be cruelty-free and vegan -- to be conscious of our ingredients... that really resonated to our customers."

The work does not stop with the creation of a successful product. Hamilton said that she continues to look at feedback from customers everywhere, including social media and emails.

She added, "It is a great source of feedback from customers, what they love to what issues they face."

The best thing to do is to identify and fix problems as soon as possible.


As inflation rises, consumers will also be rethinking their spending habits.

The self-funded business has been profitable ever since the end 2019.

Hamilton said that "every retailer, every product, and every new initiative we undertake -- we make a business case" for each.

We look at the logistics, marketing and any other costs involved in the project. Then we break them down.

She added that this is important for the company even if they have to "annoyingly" measure everything in the business.

From 'product' love to 'brand' love

Hamilton finds the most exciting part of being a business owner is taking risks.

She added, "I love the creativity of building something. You can work for two years on a product and not know who will buy it. That's what I like."

When it's a success, that is amazing. If not, then you just accept it as a few bumps on the road.

You can turn product love into brand love when people love a product.

Hamilton has expanded its range of Coco & Eve haircare products and now also offers skin, body and sun care.

Ostrowski said that "when people love a product, they can be converted to love a brand."

Since the pandemic, the company has increased its R&D investments by 300 percent. It is their commitment to innovation which has helped them cultivate a loyal clientele.

She added, "I have been having fun with innovation - we aim to launch 10 new products per year."

We want to continue that and expand all categories as the brand grows.