Koko Designs is a Tongan company based in Longolongo on the main island of Tongatapu. Back in 2018, owner Linda ‘Oto took over an existing business that handmade products out of pure Tongan coconut oil. She revamped the brand, changed the name to KoKo Design and added her own personal touch.  Her previous background as a soft furnishing designer was good experience for the business.

“Koko designs have grown in strength by putting my own stamp on it and adding exciting new products,” Ms ‘Oto said.

Her main products are soaps — both plain and fragrance-added. Lip balm, oil and body butter. She also supplies the local duty-free stores along with resorts on the main island and outer Islands.

KoKo Designs gift boxes, packaging, labelling and handy product sizes all help to enhance the prettiness of the products. KoKo uses cold pressed coconut oil and offers a ‘Pure’ range aimed at people with sensitive skin.  The Koko Luxury range is scented.

Visitors to Tonga will recognise the dainty products with their distinctive label and return home with handmade gifts from the kingdom.

Customer service is important to the company and they offer gift wrapping services and party favours.

Developing her export business Ms ‘Oto has seen her products taken to North Korea and Japan as gifts.

But Ms ‘Oto is now looking to progress toward exporting to overseas markets in the next stage of her export journey. Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ had held a Path to Market workshop in Tonga last year.  Path to Market is a multi-staged programme starting with an in-country workshop run by PTI NZ’s Trade Development team in association with the country’s main Economic Development Agency. Businesses are identified as potential exporters and move on to the next step of the programme and attend a trade show in New Zealand. This year PTI NZ is hosting more than Pacific businesses to attend the programme in New Zealand which includes a one-day sales event called Path to the Pacific Trade Show at The Cloud on Auckland’s waterfront on April 6.

Koko Designs buys its organic coconut oil from a processing plant employing 12 youth through the Tongan Youth Congress (TYC). TYC offers programmes that promote community service, leadership, responsibility and citizenship.

Koko Designs also buys locally grown organic vanilla. Tongan grown coffee grounds are bought from a local coffee plantation to produce coffee soap scrubs.

“Koko designs are looking forward to showcasing what a small Pacific Island can do with their natural grown produce. Koko designs is looking forward to starting a business relationship to promote pure products and help the youth of Tonga who produce coconut oil,” she said.

For more information email Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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