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Dave Goodman needed to get his act together. He was out of shape, unhealthy, and sick of it.
He decided to dive right in and drastically alter his lifestyle, adopting a raw diet. After a ton of work (and coconuts), Goodman said goodbye to over 100 pounds.
Eating raw isn’t easy, especially considering how coconuts—which are a pain to open—are such a large part of the raw diet. “I would eat half a dozen coconuts a day,” says Goodman. While he was experimenting with this new lifestyle, Goodman’s Renegade Orchestra—that he started himself—was touring the Northeast, giving him a taste of the entrepreneurial adventure.
“And once you get a taste of it, it’s hard to work for anyone else,” adds Goodman.
Goodman soon burned out from all the travel, and needed to walk away from the orchestra. He dabbled in a few things, but knew deep down it was time to start something else from scratch.
Within a year, Coco Jack was born.
“I had a lot of business ideas, but Coco Jack was the easiest to make happen,” says Goodman.
But Goodman had to be an inventor before he could be an entrepreneur. He was trying to create something that had literally never existed before: a mallet-and-jack set of tools that anyone could use to open a coconut. Goodman envisioned a product that was easy to use, totally effective, and aesthetically pleasing.
“I took my idea to a blacksmith and we did all sorts of prototypes, but it just wasn’t working. Then I talked to engineers, and nothing really clicked,” says Goodman.
When you’re looking to make something from nothing, it adds extra strain to the already strenuous journey of an entrepreneur.
“I finally hit a wall and had to pause to let my mind reorient. I realized that I’d been trying to make the Coco Jack more complicated than it needed to be. When we finally figured it out, it was shockingly simple.”
In 2013, Coco Jack launched.
With a successful prototype in hand, Goodman was ready to make a business out of Coco Jack. However, when Goodman started manufacturing the product, he immediately ran into a problem many entrepreneurs know too well: inventory management.
“We sell them faster than we can make them,” remarks Goodman. In fact, there have been times when Coco Jack was out of product, waiting on production, and had to surpass opportunities or events because they knew they couldn’t meet the demand.
Part of the struggle with inventory management isn’t just keeping up with demand—it’s financing the demand. “Of course I wish we could just stockpile our inventory, but the lending environment right now is terrible,” adds Goodman.
Luckily, Goodman stumbled upon an ad for Fundera on Facebook. “Lenders don’t get us. Banks are useless for companies like ours. SBA loans are a ton of work and you don’t know what the results will be. Fundera connected us with people who understand us… Who are forward-thinking.”
Coco Jack needed funds so they wouldn’t just react to inventory demands—they would predict them. And thanks to Fundera, they got them. “It helps to work with someone like Annie, our Account Manager, who understands who we are, what we need, and makes great recommendations for who we should work with. She’s been a big advocate for us. It’s just nice to have someone in your corner.”
After securing business loans through Fundera a few times, Coco Jack has been able to place nice “juicy” orders with their manufacturers, allowing them not to be caught off guard when inventory moves faster than they’ve forecasted.
Coco Jack is no ordinary business. For starters, their market is almost everyone but mainstream middle America. “We have the health market, Asian and Latino cuisines, foodies, vegans, rawists, bartenders, mixologists, and more,” says Goodman.
Plus, Coco Jack is run virtually—every bit of it. Goodman sells the product primarily online and lives full time on the road in his RV. “It’s amazing how, with the way the world is today, you can do that,” laughs Goodman.
So what’s next for this unconventional crew?
“We’re expanding into Asia, Europe, and selling on Amazon and QVC soon. Lots of big PR pushes, focused on the Today show and things like that. But we’ve got to have 10,000 units in the warehouse before they’ll air us. We’re selling too fast to meet that right now, but will get there soon.”
You heard it here first: Coco Jack is coming to a TV—and hopefully a kitchen—near you soon.