Sleep matters – it’s what all the experts are saying. Arianna Huffington reframed the idea of ‘sleeping your way to the top’ with an insistence on early nights to build a successful business and career. But how can we get better sleep, with such crazy busy lives? Jo Foster, founder of Kiss the Moon, led a fast-faced life in a high profile corporate job, and was in search of the answer to that very question.
So, in the latest of our Founder interviews, we asked Jo how her new wellness brand – Kiss the Moon – is embracing the proven benefits of natural essential oils and helping us to calm down, love our snooze time, dream more deeply and wake feeling calm and refreshed.
Jo, can you explain the concept behind Kiss the Moon?
Kiss the Moon is a new 100% natural health and wellness brand dedicated to helping people get in to the right frame of mind for sleep and to nourish skin while it repairs itself overnight. We launched at the end of 2014 with a range of After Dark Bath & Face Oils. Our range is based around four different signature blends of essential oils – LOVE, GLOW, DREAM & CALM – each one offering a different solution for your sleep and your skin needs. We’ve recently launched our After Dark Balms (sleep-inducing pulse point balms to keep by your bedside for when you need an extra something to lull you to sleep) and have two new products about to hit the market in time for this Christmas – all with the promise of helping you to sleep beautifully.
What was your background before founding the business?
I started my career working in advertising – helping clients to work out their target audience and decide how best to spend their media budgets. It led me to move from my native North East to work in the hubbub of London and then took me around the world and gave me the chance to live in Sydney as Media Director of Saatchi & Saatchi out there. On my return, I shifted focus slightly and took a role as Director for a big global innovation agency. My job was to help some of the biggest companies in the world to develop their brands and come up with new product ideas. I was living in London and zipping around the world like a mad thing. It was non-stop and great fun but also came with wall-to-wall deadlines and constant jetlag. I realised that this lifestyle and particular the impact it was having on my ability to get a good night’s sleep was impacting on my health and wellbeing. That’s where the idea for Kiss the Moon first stemmed from.
How does working in the wellness industry change your approach to sales and marketing?
We realised form the start how important it is that the whole story adds up. Little touches speak volumes about your real intentions and beliefs as a brand. For us, things like being 100% natural, being against all animal testing and being made in the UK with the best ingredients we can get our hands on are all vital. We know these things are what makes the difference in terms of product performance and that our brand ethos is important to our customers who really think about the big picture before they buy.
We’ve also understood the power of finding like-minded allies in the world who share a similar philosophy and who we can create mutually beneficial relationships with for both consumers and for our businesses. For example – we’ve worked with yoga studio Stretch London to develop some pre-bedtime stretches to do before bed; and alongside Madeleine Shaw to talk about how sleep and a healthy diet are inter-related. Sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle so it makes sense to hold hands with other people who are creating a living out of helping people to look and feel their best.
What have been the biggest challenges so far in establishing your brand?
Having time to think about the big stuff when there is so much going on day to day. It’s so easy to spend all week head down in the detail when you’re a small team and there is so much to do. We’ve realised how important it is to stand back and think about our overall direction on a regular basis – otherwise we’re just in react mode and never able to get on to the front foot. I’ve learnt to use time away from my desk for that – on a train, walking the dogs, flicking thorough a magazine – getting away from things for a bit gives your brain chance to make sense and see the big picture.
What makes your products so special and unique?
As well as being 100% natural and made in the UK, we’re the only company that specialises in products that are specifically designed to help improve your night time wellness – both in terms of sleep and skin repair. We come to life after dark and that’s where we want to focus because we feel people are not paying enough attention to sleep.
I found a photo that said ‘Dream Audaciously’ and it has really stuck in my mind. My business partner Anna and I do a bit of an ‘audacity check’ every month. It helps us avoid putting limits on ourselves and make sure we’re aiming big and bold enough. We’re still in our launch year so this works well for us right now. As we grow I can imagine our philosophy might develop over time but I think the desire to be a little audacious when we need to be will remain intact.
What are your plans for the brand over the next 2-3 years?
Our goal is to become a leading voice to put night-time wellness on the health agenda. We want to help more people to take charge of their night-time routines and sleep more beautifully. From a product point of view, 2016 is about continuing to growing our fan club and expand our repertoire. In the future we can imagine a path that takes us beyond skincare, in to home fragrance and right through to gorgeous nightwear and bedding that helps you to sleep beautifully.
What do you see as the key drivers for the wellness industry in the UK?
As people continue to take charge of their own wellness, we can imagine that technology and self-monitoring will become the norm rather than the exception. We see it already in the world of sleep with gadgets such as Jawbone allowing people start to know not just the quantity of sleep they are getting, but also the quality.
We also think a continued respect for the natural order and a ‘nature knows best’ philosophy will prevail. At the end of the day, so many of the things that compromise our health and wellness come from ignoring ancient wisdoms and so many of the solutions come from tuning back in to the natural world.
Lastly, we’re excited by all the research that is going on at the moment in to sleep – in particular to understanding its role and its importance to staying healthy. I predict that will uncover some important breakthroughs that will force a rethink on how we think about sleep and the amount of attention we give it. We believe that night-time wellness is a hot health topic of the future. Guess we’ll have to watch this space to see if we’re right…
Yearning for a good night’s sleep? Check out the full range of Kiss the Moon goodies at www.kissthemoon.com
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