Michelle Stafford doesn't just play a glamorous entrepreneur on television. She's one in real life. General Hospital's Nina Reeves is the woman behind Coco Luxe, a bold new skin care brand for all women. Recently, Stafford took on a new business partner to expand her budding enterprise. Look for a re-branding and branching out into other ventures for Stafford and her team.
What made the Daytime Emmy winner decide to become a business woman? "I have used natural products for years," said Stafford. "I used coconut oil on just about everything — for years I have. I noticed that so many women where using products that had chemicals in them and carcinogenic materials. I though 'How can we look young and vibrant putting all this crap on our face and body?".
At that point, Stafford began doing her research, guided by a very personal issue. "My research into healthy skin care products, products in general, actually started when my sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I researched carcinogenic materials and found there were so many in our food and in our cleaning materials and in our beauty products! This was insane to me! To put something on your body that has been known to cause cancer and sell it as a beauty aid? I thought this was horribly wrong!"
While researching the benefits of coconut oil, Stafford learned about unexpected health benefits. "I have used coconut oil on my hair and on my skin for years. It's 100 percent organic and 100 percent amazing. They are even starting to give it to Alzheimer's [Disease] patients to ingest with miraculous results. I get a lot of complements on my skin and I have used coconut oil and other natural products only. I thought that I should put it in a jar or bottle for other women and men too! I really wanted to enlighten as well. I wanted this skin care line to be pro-health. Like a new way of life for someone. "
Stafford created Coco Luxe, coming up the concept and developing the product line with am Oregon-based chemist. She recently partnered with a private firm to help take her startup to the next level. "They have had success in Amazon. They have wanted to be a part in organic and natural products for awhile. They knew me as an actress and saw how well the product was selling without any real promoting — just me alone promoting on social media. The costumer feedback has been insane! Remarkable really. Not one person has been dissatisfied with my product! In fact it has received only glowing reviews. That is actually very rare with skin care."
How does running a new skin care company differ from being an actress? Said Stafford, "It's creative in a different way. I mean, I couldn't do it if I wasn't excited about the products. If I didn't believe in the products. I don't really feel I'm just selling cream. I feel I'm enlightening woman on their own well being. That's a really cool thing. If I just wanted to make a few bucks I would have lasted two weeks. I love someone telling me that they have never looked younger after using my products. It makes me feel good. Just like it makes me feel good when someone says they were touched by a scene I played. It's a similar feeling. Also, I'm my own boss. That's incredibly freeing and with that comes, of course, tons more responsibility. But I'm up for it!"
As for her future business plans. Stafford said, "Well, this is the thing with the company — you know I have this hashtag in my Instagram, #doingitasasinglechick. I was noticing so many women respond to this. We, as women, are pretty amazing. We are taking care of the kids, our man, the house and working all day! Women have ceased to really take care of themselves, you know? It's easy to do. I wanted my line of healthy products to aid women in their life, with their busy schedules. I wanted it to be healthy and easy for women. I want them to feel good about it and look beautiful. You can't neglect you. It's easy to do but you can't do it. Also, I was noticing many woman of color asking if my skin care line was right for their skin too. Older women were using it, younger women. I had Asian woman asking if it would be good for them. Of course, these products are great for all women, for all skin types. There is no age or racial divide with my organic and natural products. Organic is organic. My assistant is African-American; she uses them. My cousin is Asian, she uses them. My mother does and my god-daughter does. This sparked in me how we all, as women, really want the same things as far as health and beauty. I wanted my company to be diverse. I wanted products that were great for all woman. I wanted to bring women together. We are a very strong group, us gals. I wanted to have a company that celebrated that. I really wanted to empower women with my company. I want it, my company, to celebrate women and aid women in beauty and health — women. We will be revamping the company, thus shutting down Coco Luxe in the next coming weeks and in a few months launching our new company. Don't worry we will have the same amazing products, only better, more upscale at the same affordable price! It will be a company that celebrates women and health and diversity. I'll have my skincare line and a fitness line. After that, we will get into clothing where I will be designing clothing for women of all shapes. I'll be designing for plus-sized woman too! We have great ideas! I'm really excited! I want women to look and feel their best! "