“You can’t look good if you don’t feel good”. The simple statement comes from Nicola Elliott, Founder of NEOM Organics London. I’m meeting her in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai to talk about the NEOM-Way and get familiar with their new product(s).
But first, let me start with the woman herself. I know, it is almost funny how much I love introducing and understanding the person(s) behind a brand in order to love it, whilst never showing myself to sell the spirit or That Luxurious feeling! A contradiction as good as any, but the bottom line still remains: my interest in the people and visions behind a brand sometimes feels crucial in order for me to endorse the products. It is part of the brand education I guess, and it makes the entire concept of working with beauty less materialistic and more authentic. Don’t get me wrong; I still want you all to go and purchase the products I present!
So who is Nicola Elliott?
What strikes me about her, despite the fact that she looks like a model in a floating green floral dress and chic leopard print shoes – wellbeing personified – is that it takes about a minute into the meeting to see how strong, composed and secure she is when it comes to her brand. Quite the contrast from where she started: a stressed career-woman with anxiety and panic attacks who needed to change her look on life in order to find some kind of balance. After trying multiple forms of treatments (all of them costing her a fortune) and then training to become an Aromatherapist and Nutritionist the organic brand NEOM was born in 2005 and judging by the look of Nicola today (children and a global company later) her remedy for wellbeing seem to work! She is, per definition, her best advertisement. The end result looks pretty darn good!
The second thing that strikes me is her kindness and honesty. It reflects the way I feel that NEOM carries themselves. Back in 2005 when the company was founded, natural beauty was not so hip, it was difficult to source ingredients and to compete with other established brands that used artificial or synthetic ingredients. Whenever I go for a NEOM treatment or use any of their wellness products at home, I can feel the kindness. Not only to the world itself (sustainability is key when they source ingredients) but more so, kindness to myself. NEOM has made it OK to stop for me-time. In fact, instead of being ashamed of it, they let me feel just how important it really is to be kind to yourself. To pamper yourself. “Small steps. Big difference” as they put it.
Nicola explains to me that in her mind, wellbeing is about how you look and feel, simultaneously. They shouldn’t be separated, they go hand in hand and her range is first and foremost a treatment brand where the products all have clear purposes other than to smell good. They are created to make you feel good.
As a huge fan of everything that NEOM stands for, I was thrilled to meet up with the team for the Middle East launch of Energy Burst – the company’s first 100% natural Eau de Parfum. Now, my first thought when I read the press material was “do we need yet another fragrance brand?” so naturally I had to ask where Nicola could see her perfume fitting in on the (quite saturated) Middle Eastern perfume market. The answer?
“We need to educate people to understand that we are not a perfume brand at all”. The Energy Burst is something so delicate as a treatment product. It is not developed to interfere with any other of your signature perfumes. I can sense that Nicola is quite a “harsh” product developer as she states that anything they releases must be brilliant and different to even interest her. In a tough and competitive spa-market one can really notice how the NEOM treatments and philosophy stands out. She says that instead of starting with what notes and fragrances she find desirable, she begin with the question: what can (the fragrance) help/assist with? Seeing all studies that show us how hard it is to feel and look good if you are sleep deprived, stressed out, on the wrong diet for your body and constant lack of ways to calm down in your every day life, NEOM creates products divided into categories with clear missions. The new parfum, part o the ENERGY range is developed to give you a boost of energy and can be used several times a day.
It is scientifically proven that scent provokes our body and mind. When we breathe in fragrance molecules, the Hypothalmus; a gland in our brain releases hormones that control our basic instincts and emotions. Even though happiness is not technically a physical state of being, but a feeling (unlike muscle relaxation) it can still be provoked by the right kinds of fragrances. The energy level you’re experiencing is a physical parameter and the new Energy Burst is supposed to activate it. Filled with Grapefruit, Lemon and Rosemary combined with fourteen other fine, natural essential oils it is designed to be spritzed all over the body as you wake up and need a little boost, or at the end of the day when you need to recharge for in between coming home from work and tackling any nighttime activities.
Made with organic grade sugar cane derived alcohol created in Britain using only ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients it is what I would call a kind product. A treat to use. The light fragrance is designed to use sparingly, it is unisex and once again Nicola emphazises that the fragrance has a treatment purpose and that even though she spritz it while getting ready for a night out, it is perfectly fine to then top it up with your favourite perfume.
If someone would say that NEOMs products sometimes can be a bit light, I think this explains it so well. Personally I adore the fact that the candles or pillow mists are light and far from overpowering. Its all about the end result and I can vouch fore the fact that the zesty mix of fragrances do awake your senses.
When I ask about the bottle design (I think the bottle is really cute) Nicola tells me that she wanted something that resonated with the brand’s focus on a simple, clean, pure and genderfluid style. The rose gold theme runs across the entire brand and the store’s design (I can’t wait to visit the new store at Wimbledon, London). The bottle design has a simplicity that matches all the other products well.
On the Middle East market where the perfume trend tend to lean against heavy, sweet and spicy notes I’m sure it will be a bit of a challenge to educate the consumer about why they should invest in this perfume. It is a challenge I happily accept! I like novelty with a purpose.
Finally, I just had to ask how much Nicola looks at and cares about what happens at large in her industry and what her competitors do. This is where I, once again can see that the woman with stress and anxiety is long dead and before me sits a company owner sure about herself and the NEOM-way. She says that it is 50/50, sure she looks at what her competitors are doing and sometimes can be impressed. Burt more often than not, as even though something fabulous launches on the market, it might not have been the right for her company. Instead of seeing the competition, she claims she appreciate the others as she was quite lonely on the market back at 2005 to get consumers to trust and choose natural beauty. Now, her vision is to inspire people to live and choose more natural solutions without forsaking the luxury and the more companies that produces high quality natural products, the stronger the movement grows. She says that it was a bigger fight to fight back in 2005, now, the movement is getting some real traction which she welcomes.
I left the interview feeling calm and inspired. I find it encouraging when I get to meet business founders that still stand with their feet on the ground and makes people around them feel comfortable. No wonder the brand itself feels exactly this way!
For my global readers I can also finish off with a teaser: NEOM just released their new Overnight Face Oil! Filled with Vitamin A, B, C, E and F paired with Omega 3, 6 and 9, Rosehip, Calendula and Organic Safflower oil I can’t begin to tell you how much I need this! NEOM sure helps me with my sleep-battles and insomnia. Even though I managed to chock Nicola while confessing that I sleep i her happiness mist (and not the sleep range) I’m eager to try the Overnight Face Oil in order to look my best when I wake up in the morning. Fingers crossed it will soon reach our part of the world.
Are you ready to get some Energy Burst and kick off 2018 in style?♥