Nicola Elliott, founder of organic beauty brand Neom, on why we all need some time just for us
00:00 11 January 2017
Neom opens new store in Leeds
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m the creative director of wellbeing fragrance brand Neom Organics, which I founded 11 years ago. I live in Harrogate with my two children, Harry the dog and my husband. I lead a (relatively) balanced life, following the 80/20 rule which means I get to enjoy a glass of wine with friends at the weekend, but I eat healthily most of the time, and run a few times a week.
… and your lovely new store in Leeds.
After the opening of our first store in London, where the Neom brand was born, the second site was clear to me – Leeds, where I was born. I’m proud to have grown up in such a buzzing northern city; the people are real and grounded but they understand new trends too. This is perfect for Neom. We’ve spent months pouring over all the details of this store, so you get the full Neom Wellbeing experience. It’s an oasis of calm, packed with wellbeing ideas and tips.
You started your career as a magazine journalist – what prompted your move into organic beauty and home fragrances?
I was in the glossy magazine industry for seven years, working mainly on the entertainment side with celebrities. It was great fun, but towards the end I was crying out for a ‘normal’ job, where I wasn’t being called in the middle of the night to change a celebrity’s nail appointment or something similar. I was burnt out at the age of 26. It was then I knew I had to take stock and look at taking a different angle.
I was surrounded by women who were really stressed; they were either having problems with lack of energy or sleeping badly, or were just generally in need of a mood boost. I had been training as an aromatherapist and nutritionist after work and started creating little essential oil blends and tinctures for them.
I knew there was a gap in the market for products that were 100 per cent natural and, where possible, organic. At the same time, my sister was having trouble sleeping. She is a staunch ‘greeny’ and was working for Friends of the Earth. She only ever uses organic products. So, I made her a blend and called it ‘Tranquillity’ and it really helped her.
When did you realise that your vision would actually sell (and sell and sell)?
I had a lightbulb moment when I was looking for some organic pampering gifts, again for my very green-minded but glamorous sister. Eleven years ago, what was available to buy in the shops was pretty uninspiring. I had to either choose something glam that was full of synthetic chemicals or head to a health food shop, buy something with great organic credentials but stuffed in a brown paper bag. It was really obvious to me that my products had to be 100% natural and, where possible, organic to actually work. It’s all about the purity of the essential oils, the complexity of the blends and the highest level of inclusion, and no one else was doing that back then.
Who is the typical Neom customer?
The busy life-juggler who’s trying to cram everything in to their day and needs to take five minutes for themselves once in a while.
What do they expect from your brand?
Luxurious natural products that provide wellbeing benefits anytime, anywhere.
‘Wellbeing’ is one of your watchwords. What does it mean to you?
It’s about finding a little bit of balance and the 80/20 rule. Not everyone has two hours to practice yoga or meditate every morning, but taking five minutes out of your day for a relaxing bath or lighting a gorgeous candle is achievable. And why shouldn’t we have a glass of wine if we fancy one?
Can you share a few of your own beauty secrets with us – the products, treatments, tips and strategies that make you feel good?
I like to run in the morning; it really clears my head and gets me ready for a busy day. We have specialist Neom treatments I adore, like the Balance Me Cleanser or anything with rosehip oil in it – it’s so soothing for my skin.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to our festively frazzled readers, what would it be?
At Neom, we’ve got a mantra: ‘Look after yourself before you look after anyone else’. Christmas is always demanding, so you’ve got to remember to enjoy some time to yourself. When you feel relaxed and re-energised, you’re ready to take on the world.