It’s time for home and here you are flapping about on one leg like some frustrated Flamingo, desperately attempting to extricate yourself from a wet swim suit or trunks whilst the family next to you on the beach averts their eyes. It was just this sort of scenario that inspired Charles ‘Chuck’ Russell to the simple, stylish, and ultra-functional Coucon outdoor robe.
“I was trying to change out of my wetsuit in the carpark after a chilly North Coast surfing session in November with my sons Jamie and Carl and just wanted to preserve my modesty. be stress free and warm – to cocoon myself. And so Coucon was born (Coucon being the French word for cocoon).”
So, after some extensive market research, a dash of imagination and a helping of ingenuity, the first prototype Coucon emerged. Suitable for swimmers, surfers, fishermen, climbers, equestrian lovers…well, just about everyone, this multi-purpose robe boasts a water-resistant exterior and cosseting lambskin inner lining. Not surprisingly, the general public love it. “At the start we were manufacturing 25 at a time, now with demand that figure is 350.”
Charles is quick to pay tribute to the role the Causeway Enterprise Agency played in Coucon’s development. “They really helped with a business plan, the general direction we should take, and with technological support. It was much appreciated as we attempted breaking into a new industry we knew very little about. At that point in development any help from professional sources is invaluable.”
It’s big, it’s super-comfy, it comes in a range of sizes (including kids 8-14), and colours – the Coucon has the sort of simplicity of design that makes you wonder why no-one thought of it before. Therein lies Charles’ genius. Forced to look for a new career path by the bank crisis and recession, he has designed and manufactured a successful product with little or no relevant experience. In fact, Coucon is proof that passion and a lot of hard graft can overcome most issues faced by the business start-up.
Of course, the right attitude is also a bonus. “There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”, is just one of the value statements to be found on the Coucon website. It’s just another way of saying: Go For It!. It’s certainly a philosophy that’s worked for Cocoon Outdoor, the chrysalis turned business butterfly.