Skiing Business recently had a Q&A with Gregory Hagguist and Duncan Edwards about turning coconut shells into a leading competitor in the breathable waterproof products.

Here are some highlights:

What makes Cocona “green”?
The activated carbon particles that we use in our products come from recycled coconut shells. The food industry uses the meat and milk of the coconut, then the large particles of the shell are used by water and air companies for filtration, we use the particles that are too small to be used in filtration. So we are essentially using an item that would normally be discarded. We also use a proprietary mineral particle that is a natural micro fiber. That one is used in cosmetics and to take impurities out of soil and other materials. Its active pore structure is very similar to the Coconut carbon micro-porous structure.

What are the benefits of using this technology?
Along with the odor trapping, and rapid drying features, Cocona fabrics provide a natural UV ray protection. Unlike other fabrics that are marketed with UV protection, our particles create a protection that is embedded in the fabrics and won’t wear out or wash out, instead of chemically treated fabrics that tend to wear out.

How does Cocona’s carbon technology differ from any other carbon technology on the market?
We use high-surface-area particles, such as activated carbon, that allow water to spread out leading to higher evaporation rates. Cocona has a patented process that uses a protective layer to maximize the surface area of the active particle when it is incorporated into yarns and membranes.

The protective layer is similar to how M&Ms have candy coatings around the chocolate. For us, the layer is present while the yarn or membrane is processed, and eventually the protective layer is removed exposing the surface area of the active particle. Without using our process the active particle would be buried within the yarn or membrane material.

What are you doing to set yourselves apart from those competitors?
We have the scientific aspect and we frequently test our products. For example we love to test for water vapor transmission, because we are then able to prove scientifically that our products dry faster than anything on the market.

Products made with Cocona fabrics dry 50 percent faster than the nearest competitor, like Nike Dri-Fit and Under Armour, and dry 300 percent faster than Coolmax.

You guys seem to really be growing in terms of the number of companies using your technology. What do you attribute your growth to?
The science behind our products is pretty compelling. More importantly it’s the product use; the athletes really help to tell us how our fabrics are working, and it also proves whether or not it is working scientifically. The products our partners are making demonstrate excellent effectiveness.

Though we were founded in 2001, it wasn’t until 2005 that we got our knit products where they should be. We now have head-to-toe and inner-to-outer applications so partner companies are taking us more seriously.

What is your fastest growing market and why?
Outdoor and ski markets are our fastest growing, particularly with our introduction of a unique waterproof/breathable collection incorporating Cocona technology. Our technology’s ability to increase the moisture capacity of fabrics, coupled with the fastest corresponding dry times in the industry make the product a hit with users.

Source: Transworld Business