Rolling Out

Kim Brown sells sweet scents of success with COCO XO

It started as something to do during the pandemic, but it blossomed into something so much more and now COCO XO’s founder wants to favor the world with her fragrances
Kim Brown, founder of COCO XO. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Kimberly Brown)

Kim Brown is a Prince George’s County, Md., native, a graduate of Virginia State University, and a woman who knows exactly what to do when she has time on her hands.

Stuck in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim began creating body care, using a childhood family recipe. As a result, she decided to bottle her life and HBCU experience into a non-toxic body butter brandished with nostalgic community monikers, aromatherapeutic scents, and hydration (in a non-greasy way!).

Thus was born the rapidly growing lifestyle brand, COCO XO.

“Her friends and family were so in love with their care packages she sent filled with fragrant soaps and later body creams, they encouraged her to continue to share her gifts,” her bio reads. “From there …. well, you see what’s up.”

What’s up is Brown sharing her life experiences with her customers through her products. Made for everyone, each COCO XO scent has notes of confidence and luxury, igniting youthful memories, and the self-assurance to be your fly, dope self!

Some of it might smell like incense, but it’s the insights that hang in the air that we wanted to explore. We’re pleased she took the time to share some of those here with rolling out.

Kim Brown breaks it down — how she got here

I am a brand founder in the area of skin care and wellness. Each area focuses on enhancing or maintaining different aspects of beauty from developing innovative products to creating immersive beauty experiences for customers.

What’s your specialty and what products do you sell?

My specialty is whipped body butters, scented with a performant fusion of clean, hydrating, non-greasy, non-toxic ingredients, with a modern and fresh twist. COCO XO’s best-selling products are available at Target.

What did your career path look like?

Before COCO XO, I worked in finance and procurement. During the pandemic, I later found myself applying my career principles to starting my own business. I was inspired by watching my mother and aunts make soap and other hair and skin products from scratch, which would often include products that they created in the kitchen. This motivated me to create a new chapter in my life to follow my heart and naturally land in the beauty industry as a founder and CEO of my brand, COCO XO.

Describe the skills that will be essential to future entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators.

Knowing and understanding your business data!  Without knowing your data, it can be hard to analyze performance and make critical decisions for your business.  Trends, underperforming areas, where people are purchasing, where they are not.  Numbers don’t lie!

Name your favorite beauty industry role models for success.

My favorite beauty industry role model I would have to say is Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar.  I had a chance to meet Melissa several years ago in Washington, DC, prior to starting my brand.  Melissa was participating in one of the Road to Essence Festival events. Even then, Melissa was truly inspiring.  We share like-minded drives to have been able to start beauty brands in our kitchens!

The price of following the entrepreneurial path

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps career-wise? 

Don’t quit your day job! Well, not until your business generates a sustainable salary. Keeping your day job will allow you to finance your brand and its different stages (which can be high and low), and many expenses that you may not have even considered.

What songs are on your playlist?

Great question!

  • Lucky Daye — That’s You
  • Popcaan — Where we come from
  • CCB — Optimistic
  • Fabolous — Summertime Shootout 3
  • Beyonce — Renaissance
  • Flo Milli — Never Lose Me
  • Doja Cat — Agora Hills
  • J Cole — To Summer from Cole

If you could give advice to your 22-year-old self, what would it be?

Some of the greatest lessons that you may have to learn and keep learning is that nobody is responsible for your happiness. It is a tough lesson to swallow, but a good one. Also, be grateful for what is good in your life – even the simplest things. Make time and effort for people who love you without conditions.

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