LP ASKS: Coconut Bowls Founder, Jake Mckeon

Jake – founder of coconut bowls, surfer, wellness guru, & adventure seeker sat down to answer some of our top questions (let’s be honest, we could have spent hours just hanging out and getting to know him more – such a cool guy!) Jake is all about living life to the fullest and having fun along the way – he truly encompasses a live pure lifestyle!

Cubers, meet Jake!

Where are you from?

I’m born and bred in Melbourne, and have lived here my whole life. Last year my fiancé (Renee) and I decided that we’d like a sea change and move to a warmer climate by the ocean. We’re currently building a home in Byron Bay and will be looking to move there later in 2019.

What is your professional background? 

I studied a bachelor of business at university, and landed my first job as a Business Advisor within a financial management company. This was a great “apprenticeship” for becoming self employed as I was able to review multiple businesses and identify what worked and what didn’t. Most of the companies I was working with had seasonal businesses, and high fixed costs, which meant profitably was up and down throughout the year. I think during my two years in this role, I naturally started thinking about what kind of business I would like to run one day, and that led my down the path of thinking online – where you could scale things up and down, without ever getting into a dangerous cash flow position. 

After two years in this corporate role, I was a little unengaged. I couldn’t see a future with a 90 minute commute each way into work, and wearing a suit every day for the next 30 years didn’t really appeal to me either, so I began thinking of where to next and resigned not to long after.

This was 2013, and over the next few years I did many things before starting Coconut Bowls in January 2016. I created a mobile social network called Moodswing, we raised funding and grew a user base to hundreds of thousands of people. This is where I discovered a passion for social media and in particular social media marketing. This business ultimately failed to become a sustainable business, which led me to look to new opportunities. Fortunately, Moodswing received some media for our fast growth and I received recognition within the start up community and I was beginning to be approached for social media marketing consulting gigs. This evolved into an agency, where we focused on helping health and food business grow communities on social media. During this time I also started playing around with eCommerce and began making superfood blends using ingredients like Acai, Cacao, Spirulina etc etc. 

How did you come up with the idea to start Coconut Bowls? 

So I was running both of the businesses mentioned before, and I unintentionally came across Coconut Shell handicrafts while on a surf trip to Bali. I was simply walking through a local market, and saw coconut shells with little holes and engravings which were being sold as tea lights. I loved the sanded appearance of the coconut shell, and naturally through they would look amazing to eat a smoothie bowl out of. I wanted to offer these to the customers of my superfood company, so had 100 bowls made, and that was the beginning for Coconut Bowls. They quickly demanded a business for themselves, and over the next 18 months Coconut Bowls became the priority and I had to move on from the agency and the superfood business to focus entirely on Coconut Bowls.

Where do a majority of the coconut bowls come from? 

We now source all of our Coconut shells from farms in South Vietnam. We transport them to our workshop, where we hire local artisans to craft the shells into the bowls that we sell.

Your IG is huge and we see coconut bowls everywhere! Any quick tips on how you were able to grow? 

We have been very lucky. The timing for introducing a product like Coconut Bowls was perfect, as people were really beginning to share photos of their food on social media. Smoothie bowls and nice cream were new, and Coconut Bowls became the vessel for people to serve these in. Since the beginning we’ve really encouraged our customers to get creative with what they serve in their Coconut Bowls and to snap and share their creations with their friends, and our community. 

In terms of how this has driven the growth of our business, every day hundreds of our customers share photos of Coconut Bowls, which exposes our products and brand to a ever growing amount of new people. This was partly our strategy, but I think the main reason we’ve been fortunate enough to grow so much, is because we share amazing content that provides value to people. Whether that’s education about health or sustainability (our core values), inspiration about recipes people can re-create at home, or community spotlights about other people doing incredible things – everything we share has to provide value to people. My personal philosophy on social media is to share amazing content, engage with people and to have conversations over common interests – selling is what our website is for, and over time people within our community will organically go there to buy.

Where do you see coconut bowls in 5 years? 

In 5 years time, I see us evolving into a broader brand that offers many more beautiful and sustainable products made from natural materials. We will continue to strive to be a brand that makes living a more conscious lifestyle appealing, helping people live a healthier life for themselves, and the planet. 

What’s your morning routine? Any morning rituals?  

I’m usually out of bed by 6am, when I will meditate for 20 minutes before heading to the gym or a class. Then it’s time for a coffee at a cafe before I’m into the office before 8am. If the surf is good, I’ll get up earlier and make my way down the coast, which pushed my work day back a couple of hours.. My work day starts with an hour of emails, before I tackle my to do list.

Favorite work out? 

A two hour surf. I also love body weight circuits outdoors, and yin yoga.

Favorite recipe to share from the book? 

I couldn’t possible choose just one. The ‘Fish’ Tofy by Nathalie Vader is amazing, so is the Coolest Chilli Buddha Bowl by Absofruitly Mel. I also love the Lime and Potato curry by Bettinas Kitchen… all of the bliss balls are amazing too.

One legend with us or not that you would love to dine with?

I would have to say Kelly Slater. I’m a mad surfer and he’s just a super human with what he’s achieved. 

Any tips or advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

Try and learn and do as much as you can yourself without hiring. Keep your start up costs minimum and to be prepared for it to take 5 years before you’re rewarded for your efforts. 

Isn’t Jake extremely lovable? We want to hang out and just gain as much wisdom/advice that we can get from him everyday!

To keep up with Jake you can follow him on instagram:

You also can buy your own LP engraved coconut bowl and more accessories at Coconut Bowls!