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Alumna builds baby products business

Renee Pepys Lowe

Renee Pepys Lowe is the founder of CoCaLo Inc., a popular infant bedding company. Photo: Stephanie Hager Photography

Renee Pepys Lowe, founder, president and CEO of CoCaLo Inc., has been in the juvenile retail business since she was a kid. Her mother was a pioneer in the concept of coordinated baby bedding in the early ’70s and included Pepys Lowe and her three siblings in the entrepreneurial endeavors.

But while her mother may have paved the way in children’s room decor, Pepys Lowe (BSBA ’87) is blazing her own trail today.

Pepys Lowe started CoCaLo from scratch in 1998, and it quickly became one of the most prominent infant bedding designers and manufacturers in the industry, with products sold at more than 400 retailers, including JC Penney, Babies ‘R’ Us, Kohl’s and the Burlington Coat Factory.

“Our job at CoCaLo is to make life easier for moms and to give them the tools to create the most beautiful nursery possible for their baby,” says Pepys Lowe, who works closely with her mom-led team (24 of her 27 employees are mothers) to create fashionable room collections.

“It’s all about the way that we apply color, pattern and theme … that’s what sets us apart,” she continues. “When we take 11 different fabrications and textures and prints and colors, our designs become very eclectic, and many buyers would never think of putting that all together.”

After majoring in retail and marketing at DU, Pepys Lowe spent a few years working for Robinsons-May department stores before joining her mother’s business, NoJo. When the company sold in 1996, she received offers from Martix and OshKosh to design and produce children’s bedding lines under their brands.

But, it wasn’t long before she had created her own licensed brand, CoCaLo Baby—named for her two daughters, Courtenay and Catherine.

Pepys Lowe’s entrepreneurial spirit isn’t the only family value she’s continued.

Near her home in Southern California, she is involved with Orangewood Children’s Foundation for abused and neglected children. On a national level, she sits on the board and executive committee of K.I.D.S. (Kids In Distressed Situations)—meeting needs of the 13 million children in the U.S. living below the poverty level.

“I have grown up in a family where it was important to give back,” she says.

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