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Sip a Moment to be Mindful with Aisha Chottani
In this season 2 episode of Back of the Napkin, Aisha Chottani, founder of Moment, a flavored water formulated and packaged to inspire mindful moments, discusses the origins of her company and how she took a dip in the Shark Tank.
Meditation. A word that at one time recalled images of people sitting cross-legged and chanting how they want to teach the world to sing. Fast-forward to 2021 and meditation and mindfulness are mainstream activities with followers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds. Companies across the nation even seek ways to incorporate mindfulness into their culture to improve the overall health and well-being of their employees and, as a result, improve productivity and efficiency.
Calm in a Can
Enter Aisha Chottani, founder of Moment, a flavored water that incorporates elements of the mindfulness lifestyle into the beverage business.
Chottani’s journey to Moment began when she realized the benefits of her meditation practice¾a joyful morning discipline that helped bring her productivity and focus¾waned as the day progressed. Unable to meditate during her bustling workday, Chottani recognized the unmistakable need for a boost. “During the afternoon, I would feel the need to have something more,” said Chottani. That “more” became Moment.
“The idea of Moment is to take a minute away from the chaos and the noise and doing something to help yourself rebalance and destress,” said Chottani. “The two things that we are helping our customers with one, is to have a beverage that allows you to generate the same feeling as meditation does, and by helping give them some other playful, fun meditations that they can do that help them destress.”
Chottani says the secret to Moment is adaptogens, or herbal pharmaceuticals that work to counteract the effects of stress in the body. “It's not something new. In fact, adaptogens have been used in ancient cultures for hundreds of thousands of years for their calming properties,” said Chottani. “The actual functional ingredients (of Moment) are a combination of ashwagandha, L-Theanine, and Tulsi.”
Diving into the “calming” industry with Moment made sense for Chottani, a self-described health nut. She notes people have eight beverages a day, and many of them are unhealthy. “It just made sense to kill two birds with one stone, replace one of the unhealthy beverages with something healthy,” said Chottani.
Take a Moment
In addition to providing "calm in a can," Chottani’s Moment Movement also sends daily text messages with simple meditations to encourage people to take that moment for themselves. “The idea of Moment is to take a minute away from the chaos and the noise and doing something to help yourself rebalance and destress,” said Chottani.
The entire experience is designed to build a habit in the middle of a busy workday, or at any time, to take your “moment.” Even the can, with the gentle fades, is to remind you of empty spaces and get you into a mindfulness mood.
Focus groups indicate that more and more people realize the importance of meditation and mindfulness, but have trouble getting started and then maintaining it as a ritual. “Our approach is to help make it easy for you and get you used to that feeling so that you want more of it,” said Chottani. “You start feeling more productive, more focused, then you start looking for other ways you can get that feeling.”
Surviving the Shark Tank
Moment drew enough early attention that Chottani presented her idea on the reality show Shark Tank. “The entire process was a lot of fun,” said Chottani. “Being grilled on your business (by the Sharks) was really good prep to think about all of the different things you should be thinking of as an entrepreneur.”
Chottani gives credit to Shark Tank for helping the Moment team get their house in order. They ramped up their supply chain and customer service to prepare for their appearance.
And of course, there was the “Shark Tank bump,” which is nice. “Shark Tank was really good in terms of driving awareness, getting a lot of people to know about us,” said Chottani. “In the short term, we saw a huge bump in sales.”
The Next Moment
A portion of proceeds from Moment are shared with other great organizations with similar missions. That includes Calm Classrooms and Mindful Miracles that train kids in mindfulness techniques. For Chottani and her team, it is not just about creating a beverage. “We want to help others be their best selves, and we believe that having a calm and clear mind allows you to do that,” said Chottani. “We want to help the future generations, and everyone else out there, in whatever we can, and this is one way of doing that.”
Going forward, Chottani is partnering with other brands who have similar missions to create overlap in audiences to collaborate to drive awareness. “We are also going to start working with a couple of other nonprofits who are driving mindfulness in other parts of the population,” said Chottani. “So not necessarily children, but maybe young adults and women. Stay tuned on that.”
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