People That Inspire Us: Valerie Chiu, Founder of Cocoparadise

This week we got to meet Valerie from Cocoparadise. Valerie has transformed healthy snacking in Hong Kong, offering guilt-free treats that are grain-free, refined sugar free and dairy free made, all made with coconuts! Not only has her treats encouraged us to live healthier, but her vision as an entrepreneur and passion for achieving her dreams has inspired us be persistent when overcoming challenges and to always have a grateful heart.

1. What made you start Cocoparadise?

I started because of my own health issues of being too overweight and having fatty liver because of my bad eating and living habits. After gaining more awareness and growing to learn more about the benefits of whole foods I fell in love with creating recipes that would satisfy me yet still allowed my body to thrive. I was amazed by how it changed my life. I started this brand in the hopes that I could help more people enjoy food that is also good for the body and mind. Hopefully my work can prove to more people that being healthier doesn't have to be boring.

2. What struggles have you faced when starting up?

The struggles I've encountered are impossible to count. I've learnt so much from all the challenges and failures. From sourcing good ingredients, cooking, improving on the packaging and designs, managing new recipes and projects, making people understand the difficulty and cost of creating these recipes, and finding the right people to grow alongside me. The list goes on.

3. How did you get over them?

The belief in the mission and purpose and lots of perseverance. The encouragement and support of friends and family. And that with each time I fail at something, I remind myself to learn from it and get back up and continue on. I still have so much more to learn and improve, but with each new challenge I face, I believe with the right mindset as well as with the great group of people that I now have working alongside me, I was able to overcome a lot more than I imagined.

4. If there was something you would change in Hong Kong's current wellness scene, would would it be?

I believe more people are already growing to become more aware that health and wellbeing is something extremely important. I don't think I would have to change much as it is slowly happening itself, we are seeing more appreciation in plant based and wholefood eateries, products, and restaurants. I am waiting and excited for the day that healthier choices become a norm within the city.

5. Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Don't give up, especially during the challenging times. When you fail, learn from it, try a different solution, do better the next time, and try to understand how to get back up stronger and better. It's never going to be perfect, but always try to do the best that you can.

6. What’s your daily ritual?

I try to remind myself everyday how lucky I am to be alive and well, how lucky I am to be born into an abundance of food, a home, and have a loving group of family and friends that have always supported me through thick and thin. I remind myself to embrace all the challenges that I've come across with an open heart, as with every challenge I encounter and go through, strength forms. These reminders to myself can put a lot of things into perspective and it keeps me going on the harder days.