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Pioneer of the Week: Olly Bolton founder of What a Melon

Community Manager

Pioneer of the Week: Olly Bolton founder of What a Melon

This week we're joined by @ollybolton, founder of What A Melon, and previous host of our #AskAPioneer Q&A. What A Melon won the Crowdfunder Award and launched with VOOM in May 2016.


Untitled design (6).pngOlly's the one in the middle!Introduce you and your business in one sentence.

We produce Europe’s first watermelon water called "What A Melon" which is made from watermelon juice, a splash of spring water and a squeeze of lemon.


Tell us 2 interesting facts about you.

  • I’ve exploded several watermelons in the last year (we should probably find out a bit more about that!)
  • Flown a paramotor solo, which apparently officially makes me a pilot!


What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

I love the freedom I have working for myself and the rollercoaster ride that a new business takes you on. There’s never a dull day and I love the challenges of bringing a new brand to market and successfully growing it.


What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

As the first watermelon water in Europe, finding the right farmers and packing partners took time as it hadn’t been really done by anyone before. As our sales have increased it’s also an on-going challenge finding new high quality sources of watermelon around Europe.


Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward?

Our Chairman Wyndham Carver once said to me it takes twice as long as you think to grow a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business and takes twice as much investment as you think...this is very true!


Where do you work from?

We’re based in a converted mews house behind Royal Oak tube, a few minutes from Paddington train station…we’re next door to Virgin StartUp purely by coincidence!


What do you wish you knew when you first started in business?

The value of having the right advisory team in place from the beginning. Especially at the start when it’s just you or you have a small team. Having experienced people you trust to bounce ideas/challenges from and who can help you steer your business in the right direction is invaluable.


What are your three top tips for your industry?

  1. Have as many unique selling points as possible! This will make listing your product with retailers that much easier and help you stand out on shelf. The FMCG world in the UK is very competitive.
  2. Make sure you are well funded. Over the years I’ve seen some great brands fail due to cash-flow challenges as they’ve grown.
  3. Make your branding and marketing fun….these days people are bored. Make them smile and make them remember your brand. It’s also a lot of fun working on and building a playful brand.


What would you like to ask the Voom Pioneers community?

We’ve seen a huge rise in equity and reward crowdfunding over the last few years… what does the community think is next? Could it be something like the blockchain based Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s)?

Community Manager

Have to ask @ollybolton what did you do to the poor watermelons?

Are there videos?

Well Connected

@EmmaDingle we had to explode a load of melons when we were filming our brand video...check out the clip here

Community Manager


I've embedded the video here for anyone for ease of viewing


Looks like a ridiculous amount of fun, did it take ages to film?