Behind the Business: Hayat Rachi, Neon Moon
What exactly do you do for work?
I’m the CEO & Founder of Neon Moon, feminist underwear for women of all shapes and sizes.
When did you find the work you love?
After I graduated from university I had a string of jobs, and realised I have a knack for getting fired. So I decided to never get fired again and set up my own business, Neon Moon. I created Neon Moon with the values of empowerment, body positivity and feminism, and working in a brand that makes women feel amazing is definitely work worth doing.
How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?
I created Neon Moon in January 2014, and got onto The Prince’s Trust enterprise programme where I learnt how to build a viable business. I was down to my last £3 when I launched Neon Moon’s Kickstarter campaign in 2015, and it raised just under £10,000 in two weeks. And Neon Moon has grown organically without outside investment ever since. We even threw a stand alone event at The Shard earlier this year, and it was packed. That was amazing for me to see.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?
Don’t get caught up with the hype. Neon Moon went viral so many times nationally and internationally that I kept pursuing the marketing side of the business, which is my favourite bit, and didn’t bring out new products for a year. Now I don’t know if that would have made a difference, but this year we’re bringing out more and more products, and seeing more sales.
How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?
I remind myself of why I created Neon Moon - to make women feel amazing, represented and appreciated every time they buy underwear. It inspires me to keep going.
What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?
This is where I struggle, my work-life balance isn’t great. My daily schedule makes time for work and in the evening for networking and speaking events I talk at, and my social life is usually left for some weekends if I’m not busy catching up with life admin. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m ok with sacrificing my free time for work and not pleasure. That’s ok with me right now.
How does being a woman affect your work?
Sexism is rife. I get a lot of lude questions from some men who think having an underwear brand is sexual, for example being asked “do you wear your own stuff” in professional settings, and even asked to make the tea for a man in a previous co-working office. I tell people they’re wrong for saying those things but in a professional manner. Otherwise being a woman helps so much in business, and we’re such adaptable, observant and amazing people that the sky is literally the limit. Also the women I’ve met have really selflessly helped me out in one way or another, and I appreciate that.
How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?
Sometimes I battle with depression, so I force myself out of bed and my flat. I focus on meditating and working out. I set myself little tasks to do, like take a shower today, and when I accomplish it I congratulate myself. And when times are extremely tough I reach out to friends for solid advice and a therapist for my mental wellbeing.
How do you ensure you practise self care?
I do yoga and meditate most days. I have a bath every night before bed which is super important to me. I make sure to remember my health and wellbeing is important, especially when a million people are pulling me in all different kinds of directions.
What does money mean to you?
Freedom and endless opportunities. Being financially independent is crucial as a woman, as it allows me the freedom to be in or exit situations I might not want to entertain. Money is a good thing, because you can do whatever you want with it. I use it via Neon Moon to promote a positive message and promote representation and diversity I never had growing up. Money is awesome and abundant, there is no limit to it and it’s super important to have a positive outlook on it when those around you may not.
What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?
Spending money is much easier than making money. I spent a lot of money on stupid sh*t when I was growing up as I worked so many jobs from the age of 16 alongside school. If I saved it or even better invested it, I’d be closer to my financial goal. But hey, you live and you learn.
What’s next for you?
Growing Neon Moon! I want every woman in the UK and world to know about Neon Moon. Expanding the team and diversifying our products is super important to me right now as I believe us providing amazing quality bras and knickers, and representing our brand proudly with body positivity will help so many women feel included and appreciated. That’s all we want.
Find out more over at www.neonmoon.co