How did you start your business?
After spending five intense years working at a consultant company in midtown, NY, I was compelled to press pause and take a moment away from all of the noise. Not only did this bring out my most productive, creative self as I was working on something I built from the ground up, but it also allowed me to have a positive impact on others–something that I had wanted all my life.
“My business started as an initiative to help address mental wellness and the concept of taking time for yourself.”
I’ve been meditating for years and find it to be incredible. That’s why I created Moment, so that you can get some of that feeling, without putting in all of the work. It serves to give a sense of calm alertness while boosting alpha brain waves that boost creative thinking. My business started as an initiative to help address mental wellness and the concept of taking time for yourself. That’s why we have created an entire experience from the name, to the visual sensation of the can.
I researched hundreds of different ingredients that have been used for thousands of years. Many of them are inspired by my upbringing in South Asia, are backed by science, and are natural and healthy. I took all that goodness and squeezed it into a drink with a special flavor that embodies this feeling. We started in 2020. Our first production client was in Brooklyn. Today, with four full-time employees, you can find Moment across Brooklyn stores, downtown Manhattan, Westside Market, and Brooklyn Harvest.
Who helped you on your journey to becoming a business owner and how?
This is a product with decades of influence. My dad was a small business entrepreneur (house design and construction) and my mom has always had the attitude of ‘you can conquer anything you set your mind to’. They both help shape my desire to follow my dreams.
I have also always lived my life as an adventurer, taking risks and enjoying jumping into new situations where I have to figure things out for myself.
Lastly, my husband is the most supportive person in my life. If I have a goal, he will make sure he does everything to help me achieve it.
When I came up with the idea and COVID hit, it just felt like a natural next step as opposed to requiring a lot of thinking.
Can you tell us a bit about your business model and product approach?
Firstly, a percentage of all proceeds go to charity since there are so many different ways to assist people in improving their mental health. We really believe in it. We are proud to have charitable partnerships with organizations all over the country.
Secondly, Moment is widely used as an alcohol replacement. In other words, we don’t just address mental health – we also address long term physical health by ensuring the presence of zero preservatives, no added sugar, and no junk. Rather, we use other good-for-you ingredients to support gut health, fight inflammation, and other vitality benefits.
“A percentage of all proceeds go to charity since there are so many different ways to assist people in improving their mental health.”
How do you create these flavors? What inspires you?
I have lived on five different continents throughout my life. That has allowed me to experience the beauty of natural ingredients from around the world. I have taken inspiration from these different cultures to create flavors and bring light to ingredients that might not be well known in the U.S.
What problem were you trying to solve when you launched your product?
We wanted to address mental wellness. The idea was to create a way for people to access a feeling of serenity and begin taking a step toward mental wellness. I also wanted to address physical health by creating a product with dual functionality. Last year, we even did a collaboration with Victoria’s Secret Pink and developed a new flavor. The idea was to bolster mental health awareness in the month of May.
What does your typical work day look like? And what is the ideal workday for you?
I like to wake up naturally as it keeps my mind calm and helps me be productive the whole day. I haven’t used an alarm since I started Moment.
I start the day with a 5–10 minute meditation practice. Weather and location permitting, I do a 30 minute swim or cardio in the first half of the day. Other than that, every day is different. Sometimes I am at a production plant in New Hampshire, other times at a sales meeting or hustling in New York bodegas where we distribute Moment. Then there are days that require focused thinking, working with the team, and solving problems.
I love the fact that I have to do a bit of everything and am constantly learning. Sometimes I get thrown into legal or financial situations as well and I have to figure out how to handle them.
In the evening, I plan out my next few days, my schedule, my meetings, and my priorities. I like to do that so my brain doesn’t start firing first thing when I get up. I also like to carve out some time by myself and with my partner and friends. Both these activities help rejuvenate me in different ways.
What would you say is the biggest challenge for small business owners?
Operating a small business in the beverage industry is complex. On the one hand, the cost of operations continues to rise, and on the other hand, I’m competing with corporate giants which often use cheap ingredients that are bad for you. Our plan is to drive awareness of our mission so we can continue expanding.
“Our plan is to drive awareness of our mission so we can continue expanding.”
What goals do you have for your company?
To conquer the world and continue having an impact on people everywhere. We are currently supplying online nationwide, in stores across New York, and planning to eventually launch globally.
Do you have any trend predictions for your industry?
People are beginning to understand the functionality of natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, the Western world is finally shedding light on the value of health.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What is your ultimate dream as a business owner?
I started Moment because I wanted to have a positive impact on the world. That’s my ultimate dream. I love what I do because not only does it allow me to help people in a small way every day with their health but also because it allows me to impact society over time.
Aisha Chottani is the owner of Drink Moment, located in New York.