Crazy for Coconuts

Crazy for Coconuts

And just like that we bought 100,000 cans of coconut water
— Thames Wangpatravanich, Founder of gre3n

Coconut water has grown in popularity all over China, but especially in Shanghai. However, one of the most iconic names in the city currently is gre3n Coconut Water. Launched in 2014 by Thames Wangpatravanich-- who is also the CEO-- the story of how it started can be considered somewhat reckless.

 

When Thames first arrived in China from Thailand, he began to study the culture, learn the language, and make friends. However, he found himself studying so much that he never branched out to find what he was passionate about. So, he found something to help clear his mind from his studies: yoga. He executed his yoga practices for a year before a yoga friend of his approached him and simply said he wanted to start a coconut water business. His friend really loved the product and believed in the health benefits of the drink, and he wanted to bring those benefits and that love to the city of Shanghai.

So, two weeks later they were on a plane to Thailand to scout out farms and production sites, and by the time they came back they had 100,000 cans of purchased product. They brought all this product back without having any legitimate website or distribution plan, but they still managed to sell out of their product. When they returned with this bulk product, they took on eight different employees to help them get started.

However, this impulsive thinking lead to a significant downfall in the first year. Because of their lack of planning, financial prowess, and even the lack of a website, people began to leave. They suddenly went from eight employees to two, and then Thames left the company as well. All of a sudden, he found himself having to sink or swim.

For a little while, he was toggling between redoing everything and simply quitting. So, he buckled down and told himself he would do his best and simply see how far he could get.

After a crucial restructuring period of about six months and years of slowly building up the brand, Thames continued to navigate gre3n towards growth. Now, Thames is going into his third year with a ship on the right path and a goal he is headed towards.

His goal? To be a health and wellness brand.

Is Thames still doing yoga? Well, yes. Positivity and a healthy outlook on life is something he preaches a great deal about. Yoga gave him the positive outlook in life he needed and released stress from his shoulders that enabled him to take on this journey. Later on, he added meditative practices as well in order to contemplate his purpose in life as well as for his company, and the moment he started to do that these opportunities began to present themselves. Today, Thames shares these life hacks with his followers through WeChat posts and tips through brand events. 

Wangpatravanich’s biggest belief is that if you are going to do something, aim big. But, make sure you can break that big dream down into achievable goals. Reaching those milestones will not only help keep your spirits high, but it will keep you pushing forward.

Another foundational element of his core beliefs is the idea of how you pursue happiness. True happiness comes in different forms for every individual. However, Thames does not believe you can truly seek what makes you happy until you have a clear mind. But, in order to get a truly clear mind, you need a healthy body. He is passionate about educating the masses on coconut water, but he is also passionate about helping people find what makes them happy.

In the beginning, the Chinese people as a whole did not really understand what coconut water was. Now, with the help of Thames educative material through Wechat, he is beginning to take his customer base and not only make them smarter but make them healthier.

And of course, spreading the gre3n lifestyle from drink to food in China.

 

Rebecca Travis

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