Earlier this year we invited disruptive wellness startups and entrepreneurs to take part in our Pitch Up competition and be in with a chance of winning a prize package worth £8k+, including the opportunity to showcase their brand live at Balance Festival 2020 in London.
We whittled down hundreds of entries to compile a shortlist of ten applicants whose game-changing business ideas are positively impacting the multi-trillion-dollar industry. And after sharing their products and services with our expert panel of judges, organic skincare brand NESSA Organics was crowned our winner.
Founded in 2019, with a mission to disrupt the wellness industry, the award-winning brand — designed with mothers in mind — is empowering women to take control of their bodies by offering clean, organic and effective skincare solutions for some of life’s biggest changes.
From monthly hormones to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, all the way through to menopause, NESSA aims to plug a gap in the market for functional and effective products that support women’s evolving needs. The brand’s Scar Saviour balm, Nipple SOS balm and Vagina Victory oil, all of which are 100% natural, organic and vegan, have attracted a cult following of women who felt let down by existing products that didn’t align with their values. And won numerous awards, thanks to their ability to specifically target and address real pain-points.
Here we catch up with founder Fiona Toomey to find out more about how NESSA is catering to the modern wellness consumer, what it really took to bring the brand to life and her long term vision for the business………
What first inspired you to launch NESSA?
I created NESSA after the birth of my second baby. It was born out of pure frustration of not being able to find products specifically for recovery post-childbirth.
Women’s bodies go through so many changes, from monthly hormones, pregnancy and childbirth to menopause, so I wanted to create a range that would ease those transitions, empower women to embrace changes and make them feel good about themselves.
NESSA addresses all of the changes we go through, via targeted skincare solutions, and it celebrates them.
How did you bring your idea to life?
The whole process took around 18 months. With beauty and cosmetics, there is a lot of testing and legal requirements that need to be in place in order to launch in the EU. However, before anything else, I conducted market research.
For about six months I conducted surveys, spoke to industry experts and read up on available research in the beauty, personal care and wellness industries.
Next, I needed to find key people to bring my vision to life, from my cosmetic scientist to my branding and marketing team, to my manufacturer and suppliers.
Then after that, it was all about just going for it and launching even if things weren’t perfect — we’ve made so many pivots and changes since launching and we are still learning.
How about brand building – what did that consist of?
It was so important for us to have a strong brand message. We wanted NESSA to have a big personality, and being a sustainable more eco-friendly brand it was important we built that into our strategy — I think consumers expect this as standard from businesses now.
We work hard at building our community, we want women to have a safe place to go to for information and education, and to make women feel good about their bodies and the changes they go through. We started building this via our social channels, and now we are cultivating our community through events….or virtual events these days.
How does NESSA tap into the behaviour of the modern wellness consumer?
The modern wellness consumer has evolved into a much more informed, educated and empowered consumer over the years. People are much more in tune with their own health and wellbeing than ever before.
Things like mental health, fitness, stress, lifestyle-related diseases and personal care are now all blended, and people are viewing their wellness more holistically.
I think the beauty industry is having a real moment, consumers are educated and know exactly what they want. They want products to be vegan, organic, cruelty-free, recyclable, zero waste etc. and I think over time this will become the standard.
We believe modern women want and need product offerings than are different from those currently available. We know they are looking for more sustainable brands, and we believe NESSA has tapped into this.
What does winning the Welltodo Pitch-Up competition mean for NESSA?
We are honoured and humbled to be crowned the winner, it was a great experience and we enjoyed every minute of it — it makes all the hard work, long hours and sleepless nights worth it.
We want to take our business to the next level in terms of growth and development, and we are looking to build up our network of experts, mentors and industry insiders. It’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd these days — all brands want to be seen and heard — and we know winning this amazing competition will help us achieve that on many levels.
What are your future plans for NESSA?
Long term, we want everyone to know about NESSA. We have lots of product launches coming up this year and next, we want to expand our team and expand globally.
Short term, our goal is to increase our digital presence, take advantage of the powerful online community and build up our online content. These are all things we should be doing, but COVID-19 has given us the kick we need to finish.