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‘Everything I work on comes from my passion for empowering others to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin’

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By Megan Burns
29th Aug 2023
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‘Everything I work on comes from my passion for empowering others to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin’

As Marissa Carter embarks on a new chapter with her Cocoa Brown brand, she reflects on how looking after herself is integral to her success, in life as well as in business.

Coming out the other side of a challenging period, Marissa Carter is absolutely bursting with new ideas for her iconic tanning brand, Cocoa Brown. “It has been a quiet couple of years for Cocoa Brown in terms of new product development,” Marissa says, “but now that our vision and strategy for moving forward has been aligned, expect to see a plethora of innovative new products and brand activations coming to life.”

It has been over 10 years since the brand launched with the world’s first tan that develops in just an hour, adding many other products since, and Marissa has found the recent pause invigorating in many ways. “I’m sleeping with a notepad on my bedside locker because my mind is so full of ideas.”

We, and her legions of devoted customers, will eagerly anticipate whatever is in store for the brand next. Coming from a businesswoman like Carter, who is so dedicated to her customers, you know that it is bound to deliver. Having first started with her own beauty salon before moving into developing products, whatever she does, she says, comes back to a love of helping others to feel good. 

“Everything I work on comes from my passion for empowering others to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin,” she explains. “Whether it’s creating a new tanning product or mentoring a person who wants to start her own business, I want to help people feel like they can achieve anything they set their minds to. At Cocoa Brown, our mission is to help people radiate confidence, power,  and beauty. I am deeply fulfilled by the knowledge that our products are not just about enhancing physical appearance, but also about boosting self-esteem and promoting a positive self-image.”

She herself is the perfect role model for believing in yourself and finding inner strength, starting off as a young female entrepreneur, finding incredible success (she cites Kylie Jenner posting about Cocoa Brown on her Instagram as a standout moment), and tackling even the toughest challenges that have come her way. “Resilience is something that has been a fundamental part of my journey with Cocoa Brown, and it’s a trait that I believe is essential for anyone looking to achieve success in life,” Marissa says.

However, it’s not as simple as it may appear from the outside. Like any other aspect of a successful business – and life, for that matter – it takes work, and Marissa has been on her own journey to discover how she can recognise challenges but continue on despite them.

“There have been many times when I have felt the opposite of resilient,” she explains. “This fragility manifested itself in different ways, from fear and anxiety to self-doubt and feeling low. During these times, it helped to meditate on the thought that resilience and fragility can co-exist. You can be both fearful and brave going into a meeting. It’s possible to be upset and experience joy on the same day. You can be vulnerable and powerful in the same moment.” 

She also has come to accept the natural ebbs and flows of this inner strength, and learned not to be disheartened if it’s harder to find some days than others. “I try to understand that my capacity for resilience can vary and that this is OK. Some people are naturally more resilient than others, but it is also something that can be developed and strengthened through practice and training.”

For her, it has been a process of recognising what other things in her life she can cultivate, so that her capacity for dealing with challenges when they come along isn’t depleted. Mindfulness, meditation, and taking time for her favourite hobby, gardening, help her to look after herself so she can tackle whatever comes her way in both work and life. “By taking care of my physical and mental health, it definitely increases my resilience,” Marissa says. “I’ve become much more self-aware of what depletes me. For example, I know that sleep and time outdoors are absolutely essential for me to be at my peak. For others, these elements might not be, which is why examining your own needs is so important.”

She is also keen to point out that being defiant in the face of challenges doesn’t mean that you are unaffected by them. “It’s not just about bouncing back from problems, but about experiencing positive emotions and finding joyous moments on days that might be tough,” Marissa says. “For me, being in our garden with my husband Ronan, our two children Charlie and Isabelle, and the newest addition to the family, Milo our kitten, is the perfect antidote to any business-related issues.”

This mindset has also influenced how she works with her team, saying that as founder and CEO, she has realised it is up to her to prioritise where time and energy are spent. 

“In recent years, my team and I have become increasingly deliberate about how we allocate our time, shifting from reactionary to intentional work – planning in advance, setting boundaries, and adhering to our schedules. Flexibility is essential, but by working together to prioritise our daily tasks, my team and I can avoid burnout. For instance, I now allocate specific time slots for checking emails instead of sporadically addressing them throughout the day.”

It’s clearly the mantra of someone who knows what she wants, and how to achieve it without sacrificing her own wellbeing. If anything, taking a pause has only increased her ambition for the future of Cocoa Brown. “In a funny way, it’s possible the brief dormancy I’ve had is a little like daffodils blooming after winter – I’ve been buried and now I’m ready to bloom my head off!”

Shop Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter at stockists nationwide including Penneys, Boots and local pharmacies.