Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Author: Jess Li
Moment’s founders, Aisha Chottani and Faheem Kajee
What is your founding story?
We were both stressed out management consultants. Although we had been meditating for years, we would still feel anxious and “frazzled” during a busy afternoon filled with meetings, deadlines, and interruptions. We were inspired by meditation rituals and healthy beverages from all around the world, and wanted to create something to replace the sugary and caffeinated drinks which are always within reach during the workday.
We initially experimented in their kitchen — mixing literally thousands of different flavor and functional combinations, and testing them during hundreds of focus groups. It was important that they were able to achieve three things: a) functional ingredients that were backed by science; b) flavors that were delicious; and c) nutritional properties that were natural and healthy.
After two years of rigorous testing and refinement, we launched Moment in June 2020. Since then, there has been tremendous momentum. Some of the highlights include:
• Won the beverage industry’s top award (the BevNET New Beverage Showdown)
• Accepted into Amazon Launchpad (less than 3% acceptance rate)
• Sold out twice
Aisha grew up between South Asia and the Middle East. She has over 10 years of supply chain and logistics expertise on four continents. She moved to the US to complete her MBA at Harvard Business School, and was also a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Faheem is a serial entrepreneur from South Africa. He started his first business, selling shirts on the side of the road, at age 10. His last startup was funded by Google and was selected as the best startup in South Africa. Together, they share a passion for helping people bring out their best selves through mindfulness.
What is your advice for effective brand building?
Focus on the feeling.
Too many brands focus on how beautiful their product is or how special their ingredients are. We created videos that highlighted the feeling that customers get when they consume our product.
How did you get your first few customers?
We sent Moment to yoga and nutritionist influencers, who all absolutely loved it. They shared it with their communities.
How do you build effective partnerships? (with suppliers, etc.)
Most of the partnerships that we’re building are with other small businesses. It’s really tough being a small business in most environments — but now more than ever. It’s therefore really important to understand one another’s needs and remember that you’re not just dealing with a business — but you’re dealing with human beings at the end of the day. In this context, empathy and understanding are critical.
What have you learned from your former consulting careers that you have applied to Moment?
We did a lot of work optimizing the supply chains of large consumer companies at McKinsey, and have applied these lessons at Moment. This means shaving off every possible cent from things like our packaging to our fulfilment — all with the aim off making our product easy and affordable for customers all over the US to access.
What are you most excited about moving forward?
We continue to be excited by the individual customer conversations. People are always reaching out talking about how they love Moment, and how it’s a great reminder amidst everything to take a step away for themselves.
This is what energizes us, and we continue to work on growing our community one person at a time.
About the Author:
Jess Li - Harvard Grad | Head of Content @ Elpha (YC S19) & Harvard in Tech | Marketing @ ZAGENO | https://linktr.ee/jessicali You can find more of Jessica's work on Medium