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Small business in the spotlight ... The Coconut Merchant

[ News ] 18/Aug/2016 12:00

Describe the business We provide ethically sourced products that are all natural and competitively priced. We focus on coconut products at the moment, so if it’s coconut and edible hopefully we have it.

Where do your products come from? From around the world – wherever the best are produced and wherever we can work closely with the people who produce them and with farmers. It’s about making sure that the farmers are being looked after. For example, our coconut oil comes from Sri Lanka.

What did you do before The Coconut Merchant? I was working as a project manager in Canary Wharf, although I was originally a lawyer in New Zealand.

That seems quite a change ... I have always had a passion for economic development, and as a lawyer I wasn’t finding my work very fulfilling. So I went to work for the UN and one of the projects I worked on was in microfinance, giving small loans to people so they could develop and start a business. What I wanted to do was pool the people we gave loans to so they could sell more to a broader market. But I wasn’t able to implement it, so I came to the UK to do a master’s degree and, after doing a bit of project management work, this opportunity came up. I realised this was exactly what I wanted to be doing. It was my chance to work with farmers and pool their resources.