JCU Welcomes Rocìo Manrique, Founder of Ococo
On Thursday, September 9, John Cabot University hosted Rocìo Manrique, Founder and CEO of Ococo, in the context of Professor Antonella Salvatore‘s course “Principles of Marketing.” Ococo is a company that sells 100% organic products made of coconut water and coconut oil.
Rocìo founded her company in 2011 in Rome. Before starting her business, she traveled around the world with her husband and visited many factories to select her supplier. She decided to have the coconut water bottled in the Philippines, then have the bottles delivered to Genova, Italy, and from there, have them shipped to Ococo’s warehouse in Turin. From there, Rocìo’s products are shipped all around Italy.
In the beginning, her business was a B2B activity, based on a door-to-door selling strategy. She personally delivered her coconut water bottles, taking them around the city in her children’s double-decker stroller. Back then, she communicated with her buyers in person. Rocìo said that now, when she meets with companies to sell her product, she needs to present technical sheets to provide scientific information about nutrients and components, but also about the environmental impact of her business. In fact, lately, companies prioritize healthy lifestyles and environment preservation, something they were not so interested in ten years ago.
Coconut water has always been used in tropical countries and is one of the most popular drinks in Brasil. However, when Rocìo started her business, coconut water was almost unknown in Italy. For this reason, at the beginning, it was very difficult for her to convince buyers to invest in her product. Every time she met with a potential buyer, she explained the value of coconut water and its importance. Depending on her target segment, she would stress a different benefit: if she wanted to sell it to a pharmacy, she would underline the presence of potassium and minerals, whereas, if she sold it to a beach resort, she would stress its energetic power.
Rocìo now sells her products in many grocery shops and in several supermarkets in Italy. She said that having her own business taught her to be autonomous and driven. She is satisfied with how her business has grown, and, for the future, she said that she “would like to keep the product the way it started: 100% natural and made of high-quality raw materials.” Manrique’s experience taught students how difficult it is to develop a product and sell it to the right audience.