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Richard Reed - Motivational Speaker
Business Speakers, Business Entrepreneurs and Famous Young Entrepreneurs
innocent, an independent start-up, was formed in August 1998 by Adam Balon, Commercial Director; Richard Reed, Marketing Director; and Jonathan Wright, Operations Director. The first smoothies went on sale in May 1999.
So far, innocent has been an unqualified success. innocent can be found throughout the UK in over 4,000 stockists, including selected Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Starbucks as well as illustrious places such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Valvona & Crolla.
The combination of a superb all-natural product and a slightly kooky and anarchic approach to business has worked wonders: innocent has always been quick to receive praise, win awards and gain market share, which has helped the company become highly respected in its field. Tony Blair even invited innocent to 10 Downing Street to help advise on how the government could create an environment that will encourage and help new businesses. The innocent storyAdam, Richard and Jonathan met for the first time at college, whilst studying different degrees. After leaving college, all found employment in different companies and were on track for high-profile careers.
The idea of making pure, unadulterated drinks was prompted by a holiday when the boys realised that they hadn't eaten anything fresh or nutritious for weeks, feeling pretty awful as a result. They knew that they and their friends would appreciate a range of drinks that made it easy to get hold of natural fresh goodness, and was presented in a way that did not overtly preach the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. From this kernel of an idea, the innocent brand and its range of 100% pure fresh smoothies were born.
With £500 worth of fruit turned into smoothies, the boys considered 'Jazz On The Green', a charitable jazz festival that they had set up three years previously and attended by 20,000 people, to be an excellent forum to test the product. Two recycling bins, one labelled YES, one labelled NO, were set up alongside their makeshift stall with a poster that read "Do you think we should give up our day jobs to make smoothies?"
Richard says: "At the end of the day, the YES bin was just about full and the NO bin was practically empty. It gave us the confidence needed and so we went in the next day and resigned from our jobs."
The creation of a detailed business plan followed, as did the securing of capital. A private investor provided enough investment to put them in business, giving innocent the stable platform to proceed without having to cut corners or compromise the quality of the product in any way.
Richard Reed, commented at the time of launch that the year 1999 was a good time to be creating a brand with a mandate to keep things simple and natural.
"Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of, and dissatisfied with, the fact that the mass majority of food products on the shop-shelves today have been tampered with, often to the detriment of the product's taste and nutritional qualities".
To ensure innocent products are completely unadulterated, innocent takes a very firm stance on developing its foodstuffs. Richard says: "The first products we launched under the innocent brand, a range of fresh fruit smoothies, kick against the mass of adulterated products. Always made from fruit, they are the only 100% fruit smoothies on the market that do not use concentrates, and are made with fresh juices. They contain absolutely no artificial additives, preservatives or flavourings.”
As well as making drinks, the company has written two books: the ‘innocent little book of drinks’ and ’stay healthy, be lazy’. innocent has proved to be a company with a bright future built on solid foundations.
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Richard was interviewed for "Growing Business", see the full interview here
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