We Go Gooey Over Oppo Ice Cream and its Founders
By Amanda Morison
You scream, I scream, we all scream...
Thomson & Scott likes a smart brand partner, and is celebrating a new partnership offering perfect healthy hedonism synergy.
Oppo makes healthy ice creams and cheesecakes, and was launched by brothers Charlie and Harry Thuillier. We ask Charlie why he decided the world needed a healthy ice cream, and what it’s like to work so closely with a sibling...
Thomson & Scott founder Amanda Thomson is a foodie (and wine-ie?!) who has always loved the concept of healthy hedonism. Is this the same ethos that led you to launch Oppo?
Definitely. Oppo started at a time when health food was increasingly in the spotlight. I loved this focus on health but wanted to create something more playful and indulgent. So despite knowing nothing about ice cream we decided to give it a go. Sometimes when you don’t know the rules, it’s easier to break them!
We had a Eureka! moment when Amanda Thomson discovered zero dosage champagne produced without added processed sugar. Was there a similar moment for you?
My brother and I were in Brazil trying to break the record for the furthest distance travelled on land by kite. We had next to no experience and the challenge was much tougher than we expected. After a few weeks we were running low on food so started eating the local fruits to keep our strength up. We couldn’t believe how amazing these made us feel, and they gave us the energy to finish the trip. It was a lightbulb moment: why couldn’t all food be delicious and healthy?
Oppo launched with premium ice cream, and you’ve recently introduced cheesecakes. Will you keep looking for “treat” foods to give the Oppo spin?
Absolutely! We have found a way of making the most indulgent desserts better by getting rid of unnecessary sugar and reducing the calories. In a time where there are so many unhealthy options it’s important to give people the choice so they can prioritise health and enjoy something delicious. We have really loyal customers, and as long as they still want delicious deserts, we’ll create all kinds of Oppo goodies!
When you raised money to help launch Oppo you used the Seedrs crowd-funding platform. Why crowdfund?
Crowdfunding is a great way for people to invest in start-ups and companies they think will do something amazing. When it launched on Seedrs Oppo became the fastest food and drink company in the UK to reach its target through crowd-funding. This transformed our business and meant we could reach a much wider audience. Crowdfunding connects like-minded people and allows investors to be a part of brands.
Andy Murray is one of your most famous investors. Does celebrity interest help?
Celebrity interest is always exciting because if someone famous is happy to share their involvement with their followers it gives an organic way to get your name out.
What’s it like working with a sibling?
It can be tough to separate our work and personal lives. Family gatherings are a time to relax and take a break from work, but we often find ourselves talking business. I’m sure the rest of the family finds it a little tiresome.
What are the benefits of working with family?
As brothers we trust each other implicitly and value each other’s opinions even with a part of the company that the other is not directly involved in. We have totally different strengths, so we work well together and come at problems from different angles. And we usually know exactly what the other is thinking! I get the product on the shelf, Harry gets it off. I’m the starter, he’s the finisher.
You’ve gone international. What have been the main challenges with export?
Since expanding into Europe we have had a fantastic response but this does come with new challenges. The demand for our products has almost doubled so making sure our suppliers can cope with this increase is of paramount importance. We communicate with our customers every day on social channels, and this relationship is really important. Having customers in different countries, who speak different languages, makes this difficult.
What are you most proud of achieving?
I had no idea what Oppo would become when I first started making ice cream in my kitchen six years ago. Finally cracking the recipe was a huge moment after thousands of trials, but once it was ready I knew we had something special. I still pinch myself when I think of our office full of people working hard to spread the Oppo word.