Maggie Rodriguez


"Perhaps what I am proudest of is that my children have been there to watch me work so hard at building a business... again!"
"I was a teacher with no business experience. But somehow, I succeeded in building a brand!"

“A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink!”

This quote from soul singer and film producer Gina Carey has been the motto of Maggie Rodriguez, founder of Coco La Vie Home Fragrance + Apothecary. Born in Miami, Maggie spent much of her childhood living in South America. Her transition back to the states as she neared her teenage years was smooth and led her to seek a career in education. Though she loved this path and the lessons she learned from it, all it took to bring her to the spa industry was one encounter with a candle.

“I was on vacation in 2004 when I found a candle I loved – but when I saw the price I said, ‘Um, I can make this!’

“At the time, I was a teacher. I’d spent 10 years in the classroom teaching middle school math, which I loved and was proud of. I truly still miss the classroom. While I was teaching, I also ran an online invitation business called ‘Everything but the Stamp,’ sort of as my side hustle. With the lessons I learned from this business combined with my sudden interest in candles, I set out to order what I needed to make soy massage candles. I put in more hours than I can remember, but it was only necessary. My business partner went to small events and local street markets to sell them while I ran everything else – all the operations, marketing, accounting, inventory, artwork and social media.

“I was a teacher with no business experience. But somehow, I succeeded in building a brand! I worked closely with a fragrance house and just went with what my nose liked. I kept it simple.”

“Fast forward to February of 2017. After many years of being the one putting all my sweat and tears into a business, my partner and I ended up in a nasty lawsuit that lasted six months. It ended with me cutting my losses, selling her my half and leaving the business. That year was perhaps the roughest year of my life.

“With my new-found independence, I created the line I’d always wanted: a complete line of home fragrance products as well as a bath and body collection, which now includes amenities for spas, locker rooms and hotels. I got to start over on my terms, moving away from soy-based candles to coconut-based and adding 13 other products. With a new source direction, I was free and clear and excited about the endless possibilities!

“So I started pulling my resources together. I flew to China to meet with suppliers and get my new baby off the ground. Meanwhile back in Miami, I found a source for my proprietary Coconut Wax, a new fragrance house, new everything. Three months later, I found myself setting up at trade shows with production samples! I remember going up to my room and just sitting on my bed and sobbing. I could not believe I had been able to pull it all together. Then came ISPA, and again I was there ready to take orders – afterwards praying for a miracle to fulfill them all in time! But again, I managed.”

If free time is ever to be had for Maggie, she is quick to admit that a full-body massage or a day on the beach gives her the release she needs. A lover of baking and spending the day in her pajamas, her hard work and perseverance is a testament to her upbringing and commitment to her two children.

“I am so proud of what I have accomplished in my life so far. Perhaps what I am proudest of is that my children have been there to watch me work so hard at building a business... again! I’m a single mom and everything I do is for them. Amanda is 13 and the queen of prepping trade show goodie bags, and Andrew is seven and he mostly just watches over us, for now. Another tremendous blessing has been to have my parents as my number one fans. They have invested in this venture and the fact that they back me up makes me realize that they believe in me, which means I’m doing something right!”


"Perhaps what I am proudest of is that my children have been there to watch me work so hard at building a business... again!"