Through lessons learned the hard way, Chris Birchby was steeled in his perseverance and belief in bringing his organic sunscreen to market. Working toward this vision led him to discover an empowering partnership with Stephen Gould — a collaboration which has given rise to Coola’s expanded product lines being sold in 39 countries and counting.
During his graduate school days in sunny Southern California, while studying fine art and learning about healthy consumer choices, Chris received news of both his parents being diagnosed with melanoma. Concern for their lives, both of whom recovered completely, still left the sobering fact that just one blistering sunburn before the age of 18 can double one’s chances of skin cancer later in life. Chris was determined to be in good health and to be able to enjoy the beach for as long as possible. His mission eventually grew to help others do the same. He began seeking vendors, laboratories, and partners, to develop the most natural, organic, sustainable and locally sourced sunscreen available.
Having an idea that benefits consumers and the environment doesn’t guarantee that the entrepreneurial journey will be smooth. Chris struggled to find like-minded partners, churning through three consecutive vendors unable to satisfy Coola’s needs and complete jobs properly. When Chris found Michael Allen, Project Director at Stephen Gould, he gained a team of dependable and strategic minds who consistently have his company’s back and fully support Coola’s visionary goals.
“As a younger company, having someone experienced step up and say ‘We’ve got you and we will take care of this,’ is invaluable… It really propelled us forward at a time when we desperately needed that type of partnership.”
Chris Birchby, CEO, Coola
From Coola’s beginnings in Chris’ garage space to their current 45,000 square-foot office and warehouse, Stephen Gould has proven its value as a high-level partner and currently handles 85–90% of all their packaging. With each growing project, Michael’s team has established best practices, ensured quality, and continued to innovate for Coola while exceeding goals. With every detail — product design of primary tubes and bottles, to prototyping, production, distribution and marketing worldwide — Michael’s team helps deliver Coola’s quest to provide luxurious suncare products that are better for people and the planet.
“Stephen Gould can really help companies navigate all these pitfalls and challenges that I experienced firsthand,” says Chris Birchby, CEO of San Diego-based Coola. “Because of the depth of their relationships and their process, not only do they manage everything, but if something goes wrong, and mistakes do happen, Stephen Gould is there to take care of it and always make it right. We really appreciate that.”
Expert at streamlining a complex process, Stephen Gould provides comprehensive, customized support at any point in a company’s evolution. As Coola’s products have expanded from the core Coola classic and Mineral lines to the new Beauty and Tanning offerings, Michael’s team continues to instill confidence at launching full product lines globally. Stephen Gould understands the broader landscape, mitigates business risk, and provides the financial strength and established networks to get startups up, running…and thriving.
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