I’m often asked about my ‘lightbulb moment’ for creating NEOM and it is a pretty clear memory to be honest. I remember back in 2005 walking to the end of the road where I then worked and literally stopping in my tracks not knowing whether to turn right and stock up with products I knew were full of beneficial, chemical free ingredients at my local Planet Organic, or to turn left and treat myself in Selfridges Beauty hall. I thought at that moment how crazy it was that I had to make that choice and decided I wanted something that was not only 100% natural, organic where possible and minus all those nasties, but perhaps most importantly for me, something that really did smell divine , feel amazing and look fantastic…something to make me feel a million dollars. Like beauty products should do.
I’m always on the hunt for super effective organic products, it’s really hard to find them. Especially those that seriously pamper you or smell amazing. I’m a trained aromatherapist but I always keep myself in a consumers position when we are trialling scents. I drive the NEOM team mad, I might try a scent hundreds of times, tweaking it a little each time, to get a blend perfect. Take our bestselling Real Luxury Scent, it’s made with French Lavender, Geranium and Juniper amongst about 13 other key essential oils. We describe it as ‘the Cashmere Blanket’ of our scent library as it’s such a rich, sophisticated scent, people are always shocked that it’s made from 100% essential oils, or my current favourite, Inspiration, a blend of Violet Chamomile and Cedarwood which is truly beautiful, light and pretty but not overly so and liked by men and women alike.
As the five years have moved on we are constantly pushing the boundaries of working with scents, I am in development with some amazing ways you can extract 100% natural scent from grass, various oils like castor which produces a scent similar to Coconut. I’m really inspired by being at the forefront of organics and in particular their scent, it no longer cuts the mustard to drop a single note lavender into a luxurious body lotion and think that can stand up against synthetic counterparts.
We are also working on finding the best oils and extracts – from Prickly Pear to Icelandic Moss…it’s not about coming up with the new ‘buzz word’ far from it, I hate that kind of pointless marketing, it’s about constantly searching for new and effective ways to work with natural and organics, new ways to present scents and how to do it better than synthetic brands. I always wanted to create a brand where, at every touch you are more and more impressed. So where our now infamous candles are concerned, the box is pretty but you get inside and they are so much larger than you imagine (with no excess box packaging), the scent is so much stronger (10% essential oils in the candles which is like a whopping 4 bottles of 5ml essential oil!), they last longer (55hours plus) and they burn completely cleanly and evenly all the way to the bottom with no wax wastage.
I think when we originally said we were launching with ‘organic candles’ there were a few people who thought ‘whatever next’, but they didn’t realise that 97% of candles were made of paraffin wax and scented with essential oils, and that toluene and benzene were known carcinogens penetrating into their homes. It was only when we pointed out the highly visible black soot that was collecting on their walls, the side of the glass and inevitably what they were breathing in, they started to see the benefits. Add to that the fact that as the air fills with such a huge amount of essential oil and you breathe that in, it works as a treatment to pamper, relax or revive you…I don’t why you would ever go back to something that smells of synthetic chocolate buns sat in a whole load of petroleum wax!
Reed Diffusers have been a huge launch for us this year, people are loving how effective ours are – 25% essential oils and the first organic reed diffusers. Not only do they work as holistic treatments as you inhale the scented air, but they keep your home smelling amazing for around 6 weeks (there are also refills). Nothing will ever take away from the ceremony of lighting a candle when you get in from a hard day, but Reed Diffusers make your hallway smell beautiful the moment you unlock the door, they are perfect for bathrooms and guest rooms and I always keep one on the shelf in my wardrobe so all my clothes smell beautiful.
2012 is set to be our biggest year yet, the Product Development team are going slightly mad right now! We are working with some fantastic chemists to find the most nourishing ways to produce organic hand lotions and indulgent body creams, some incredible new ways to diffuse scents into your home and specialist lines like pregnancy. To say I am excited is an understatement!