5 minutes with NEOM Organics founder Nicola Elliot

We sat down with Nicola, founder of wellbeing brand NEOM Organics, to find out more about her story - including the very personal inspiration behind Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist, as featured in our limited edition Female Founders Edit.

“My sister was having trouble sleeping and I wanted to help her so I created the Perfect Night’s Sleep essential oil blend,” Nicola explains. “It was actually the first ever official NEOM blend and is one of our most popular to this day. The pillow mist was a natural progression from the essential oil as it is such a lovely and accessible way for anyone to incorporate it into their nighttime routine.!”

I set out on this journey because.. I was a journalist working 60 hour weeks, and I started suffering from anxiety. I decided that I needed to look after myself better, and as part of that, I bought essential oils and began creating little blends to help me, depending on how I felt at the end of each day. ‘Self-care’ wasn’t in our common vernacular then, but that's what I did. 

I was inspired to set up my business by… looking around and thinking, ‘Gosh, it’s not just me who’s stressed, my friends are having problems with stress, sleep, energy or mood too.’  Those are the four pillars for keeping your wellbeing in check, and I trained as an aromatherapist to try to help us.

Five words I’d use to describe myself are… genuine, no-nonsense, fun, friendly and creative

The best thing about being the boss is…  you get to shape the business. I also like doing things my way! The worst thing is sometimes it's harder to feel like part of the team because they see you as the boss. Sometimes I'm like, ‘Why am I not being invited out on the 20-year-olds’ crazy nights?’ Oh, it’s because a) you're not 20 and b) you're the boss.

I’m very proud of… the way we've become a big content hub, with loads of expert advice. Wellbeing is a huge topic, and I'm really mindful that we have a responsibility if we're talking to people about these issues. We crack open a bigger conversation and offer them other help, because there is no one silver bullet. 

The secret to the brand’s success is.. helping people to feel better in small, very easy ways. They don't have to do yoga on the beach at 6am with a green smoothie. Neom is more about getting into people’s blah moments and giving them a boost. That resonates with me because I'm not a natural wellbeing bunny at all.

If I’m having a confidence wobble I… use our Real Luxury De-Stress essential oil blend, I still get panic attacks sometimes. Being away from the children can be a trigger for me, or if I have a big meeting and I’m like ‘god this is going to be a real mess if I don't perform now’. I always have the oil with me for those times. 

The thing I’d do differently would be… everything but nothing. We've made every mistake in the book. We’ve been that unprepared, it’s been like walking up Mount Everest in flip flops. But the only reason I feel like I know so much now is because I have done so many things wrong.

The advice I’d give anyone thinking of setting up their own business… go for it. Done is better than perfect. You can iterate when it's live. And don’t wait for THE idea. If you're trying to think of something that people have never had, you're going to spend half your time selling a completely new concept and explaining why you need it. Whereas if it’s something that already exists, you can do that - just do it better.

My handbag essentials are.. my phone with loads of great podcasts on, and a Lark bottle which filters tap water with a blue-light technology. That’s bloody good in London because the water is foul. Make-up wise, I love Jones Road, especially the lipsticks and the Miracle Balm.

My daytime skincare must-haves are.. rosehip face oil and Ultra Violette SPF.

My favourite treatments are… a NEOM massage and microdermabrasion

My exercise regime is.. HIT training 3-4 times a week, and I always try to get out and have a 20-minute walk in the morning, whatever the weather. 

My secret for balance is… living in two places. I’m half in London, and half in Yorkshire. When I'm in Yorkshire, we are literally in a field with a horse, while London is much more work, friends, culture. People always ask ‘how can you live half and half?’ and I’m like ‘How can you commit to living in one place?”

NEOM Perfect Night's Sleep Pillow Mist

Want to read more about the NEOM Perfect Night's Sleep Pillow Mist? Click here to see the full reveal >