Before her 12-year-and-counting marriage to actor Bruce Willis, Emma Heming Willis walked the runway as a model for some of the world’s top fashion houses, including Chanel, Valentino and Ralph Lauren. Needless to say, skincare was important to her work—and she has had access to the very best. That’s why when we heard about her new all-natural line, CocoBaba, we couldn’t wait to hear more. These vegan products for women just launched in the United States and we chatted with Emma about the details of the line, her best entrepreneur advice, her famous blended family, raising resilient children, pandemic silver linings and more.
Congratulations on your US launch! We know from speaking to you almost two years ago that this has been planned for a long time. What are you feeling now that it’s finally here?
I cannot begin to explain how excited I am for CocoBaba to be here. It has been a long time coming, and I’m just thrilled to finally have my third baby here in the US.
For anyone not yet familiar, how do you describe CocoBaba?
CocoBaba is an all-natural, vegan skincare line for women. I came up with the idea after having my second baby and realizing that, at the time, I couldn’t find an authentically good-for-you product to fit the needs of my changing body. I turned to a tried-and-true family staple: coconut oil. Each product in the CocoBaba line is made with pure, certified organic coconut oil – it is our hero ingredient.
My goal for the brand is for women to feel nourished when they use our products. I think that sometimes, as busy women and as mothers, it is easy for us to neglect our body and not see it as an essential part of our self-care routine – but it really is just as important to nurture the skin on our bodies as we do our faces.
Love that. What is your favorite product?
It’s like choosing your favorite child! That said, I have to go with our Coconut Body Oil. That was the first product that I conjured up in my mind. I absolutely love this formula, and I truly believe everyone needs a great body oil. This totally fits the bill of everything I ever wanted in a body oil – it’s silky and soothing but never greasy and really locks in moisture, so your skin stays smooth.
I love that you actually make your own body products and recently showcased some of your DIY recipes on the Today show. Why do you love coconut oil so much – enough to base a whole line around it?
It’s been a family favorite for as long as I can remember – it simply works. I used raw coconut oil on my skin throughout both my pregnancies and came out completely stretch mark free! It was a no-brainer that I would base my entire body care line around it. I will forever be a coconut oil fanatic.
How did the pandemic affect the US launch/growth of CocoBaba?
It had a significant impact on our launch. Manufacturing was difficult during the pandemic, especially in the beginning. But, for the safety of our team, it was essential to take the necessary precautions. Things moved at a slower pace, but we adjusted! We launched early this year, and I am so proud of our team for pivoting as needed and moving through it as we did.
What advice do you give other moms, particularly during these crazy times, who want to launch their own business?
If you have an idea that you are passionate about, go for it! Don’t be afraid to open up and talk to other people and get their feedback. You would be surprised how willing friends or family are to be supportive – they could even have great contacts in the industry, which could help move your idea forward.
What advice has your mom given you about motherhood that has stayed with you?
Trust your gut. Follow your intuition. Don’t let others’ advice and opinions get in your way. One size does not fit all, which means only you know what is best for your family. Let that guide you.
Fantastic advice! Do you have any business mentors who have inspired or guided you?
I have so many. I’ve always been attracted to strong women. I have surrounded myself with smart, savvy women – whether in similar industries or not. When I am having an issue that I cannot seem to figure out, I call on them. It has been instrumental in my continued learning in running a business of my own.
You’re married to Bruce Willis, who has built an incredible career in Hollywood. Have you pivoted as a family or as a couple to allow you to focus on Coco Baba?
Nothing has really changed in our lives. We both focus on our work as normal, but family remains our top priority. Bruce has chosen to slow his workload down, so he is home much more now. I’ve always worked from home so I could be closer and in tune with the kids schedule as well. The juggle is of course constant, but we make it work.
You have a truly admirable “modern” family with Bruce’s ex-wife Demi Moore. Recently, she wrote a beautiful IG tribute, saying “We are mothers united, sisters bonded on this crazy adventure of life.” For other moms going through divorce and seeing this relationship and wanting to create that, what advice would you give?
“When you put your kids first, everything falls into place. That’s what happened here. I know each situation is unique, so I guess we got lucky over here, but I am so grateful for this extended family I have. It’s been one of the greatest blessings in my life.
What has been your silver lining(s) of the pandemic? And challenges?
Slowing down has undoubtedly been the biggest blessing — getting off that hamster wheel! What have I been doing all this time?! There have been so many challenges, but I would say the biggest right now is the girls having that lack of connection to family, friends, and school. That said, there’s light at the end of this tunnel so that will shift at some point.
Can’t wait for that! You moved since the last time we spoke – how did you prepare your daughters and help them adjust?
We have been lucky that the girls were young and very adaptable. They had been to Los Angeles and had family here already, so that was helpful. But there are times my oldest misses New York, her old school, and friends, so I listen to her and validate all those feelings to help her process them. I moved a lot as a child and felt it made me resilient later in life, which has always been beneficial for me. That gives me hope that my kids will be OK.
What an amazing perspective! What do your daughters think of you launching your business?
Mixed reviews! Like I said, trying to juggle it all is difficult and I don’t do it perfectly, so it can wedge into that time they want with me. I do think it’s important for them to see me doing something I love and that energizes me. I pray that they find something in their lives that they love doing and can make a career out of. I’m unapologetic about my work but I do have healthy boundaries around it so I can devote time to my girls too.
What’s next for CocoBaba?
We have a few great new products in the works that I am super excited about. So, stay tuned!
And anything else you want to share?
I see us all burning the candle at both ends, especially during the pandemic and having to handle so much more. Just remember to take some time for yourself. A walk around the block, an extra 5 in the shower, meditate, whatever that can give you a breath and no, it’s not selfish for you to prioritize yourself and your needs too.