You’ve probably seen their signature pink jungle to jars popping up lately in stores around Saigon. The brand’s sleek, minimal packaging and catchy name has gotten on our radar as a seriously good-looking coconut oil.
Maggie Shen, an Australian-Chinese model, designer and entrepreneur, founded Coconut Religion in 2018. She came from an international career in luxury beauty and launched the brand’s first range of raw coconut butters in September after realizing there were no high-quality coconut oil on the market for beauty care. Her research found the best coconuts were found in the jungles of Ben Tre, which led her to moved to Vietnam with a one-way ticket and a mission to find the sweetest coconuts, and so began an eight-month adventure sourcing, designing and creating the products.
She’s developed a creamy coconut butter, which stays in a balm even in hot weather. “You either love coconut oil or you don’t know about it—it’s nature’s best-kept beauty secret, perfect for travel as it’s a do-it-all. But the universal problem was that coconut oil leaks everywhere and so was a real a hassle for travel. I created a raw coconut butter that doesn’t become liquid, and never leaks. It’s been a passion project from day one, as I set out to make something that I wanted and needed, which wasn’t yet available on the market, with the best coconuts from Vietnam,” says Maggie.
“I didn’t know a word of Vietnamese and everyone kept saying ‘troi oi’ to me when I first moved to Vietnam. I thought, well, what I’m making is the Troi Oil—oil smelling so good it’s sent from above. Inspired by the addictive energy and youthful vitality that permeates the pulse of Saigon, I designed the brand with a pink tropical oasis, and an exuberant woman bursting out of the coconut canopies with a lust for life and a love for coconuts singing ‘Troi Oil!’” adds Maggie.
As for the brand’s interesting name, it’s a nod to celebrate her holistic approach to wellness, and to celebrate the abundance of health and beauty benefits that coconut butter has to offer. It also has a literal meaning too, Maggie discovered that the Coconut Religion was actually a religion that existed in the ‘70s in Vietnam, in the same jungles her coconuts are sourced. It’s not pure coincidence that her passion project led her to uncovering and bringing back the Coconut Religion in Vietnam and hopefully, now, with the rest of the world.
Coconut Religion’s full range of products are available at VND280,000 at L’Usine, Kokois (24 Thao Dien, D2) and Zuzu (48A Tran Ngoc Dien, D2). For more info, follow Coconut Religion’s Facebook or www.coconutreligion.com.