I've been a big fan of Neom Organics for a while now - I was lucky enough to visit the Leeds store when it opened and talk to the founder, Nicola Elliot. She is such an inspirational person I knew she'd be perfect to interview for my kick-ass careers section....
Introduce yourself and what you do..
My name is Nicola Elliott, I am the Creative Director and Founder of Neom Organics. Myself and business partner Oli have had the business for 11 years and we specialise in creating 100% natural fragrances for the mind and the body, whilst inspiring busy people to lead naturally healthy lives.
What steps did you take to secure your dream career?
My first dream career choice was actually to be a journalist, so after leaving University I secured a number of placements at magazines such as Minx, Marie Claire Australia, Heat, Glamour and Instyle. I worked my way up over the course of 7 years and when I got to the age of 26 I realised that myself and my colleagues were all burnt out and our health was really suffering! I started studying aromatherapy and nutrition at night school and that’s when my passion for wellbeing really began. I started creating little tinctures of essential oil blends and they really worked, so I started experimenting more!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue the same career?
If you’re not happy in your role, or with your current situation, take things into your own hands and be a self-starter. As I said, when I first had the idea for Neom, I began taking night school classes in aromatherapy so I could learn everything I needed to know about essential oils. At the same time, my business partner Oliver was uploading the latest version of Illustrator onto his laptop to design the packaging. We knew we had a great idea but initially, we had to do a lot of things for ourselves. Also, keep it simple.
Our first five treatment candles - blended with 100% natural wax and pure essential oils - were the first of their kind, we had taken the idea of a fragrance candle but introduced a whole new organic side to it and discovered the therapeutic benefits they offered. If your idea or concept isn’t brand new, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, just make sure you do it better than anyone else has before.
What has been your proudest moment at work to date? (It could be past or present job)
There have been lots of proud moments that we all share as a team, the opening of our first store in Wimbledon, our second store in Leeds Victoria Gate at the end of last year. But what still makes me proud is when I hear people talking about Neom, I still feel surprised that people know who Neom are, let alone buy our products!
Who or what inspires you?
I really look to our customer for inspiration when it comes to Neom, every treatment blend and product we create is from a need that already exists amongst people juggling busy, modern-day life. Also, people like Arianna Huffington are very admirable role models in today’s society as we are all guilty of wanting to ‘have it all’ at the expense of our health and true happiness. I recently read her latest book ‘Thrive’ where she discusses the importance of slowing down and unplugging from our 24 hour world. I love this idea and try to emulate this where I can.