Just two weeks ago, Olly Bolton was preparing to launch his watermelon water What A Melon, and waiting to find out if he had won the Crowdfunder Award at the Virgin Media Business VOOM live finale.
Now, his products are on display in the window of Whole Foods on High Street Kensington, he owns a bus that’s covered in What A Melon branding and he’s got an extra £50,000 in the bank thanks to Crowdfunder.
“I was really excited, really happy,” Bolton says about the moment he was announced as the winner of the Crowdfunder Award. “But I was also a bit relieved because we’d put a lot of time and effort into the competition. I was pretty gutted when we didn’t get into the final of the pitches but I understand, there were some great companies in the semi-finals. I was just really happy and quite proud – and also relieved that all our hard work had been recognised.”
And there was a lot of hard work involved for the team behind What A Melon. Their launch coincided with the VOOM competition, meaning not only were they putting all their efforts into getting the public behind them, perfecting their pitch and pushing their crowdfunding campaign but they were also preparing to launch a brand new drink and trying to get retailers on board.
But Bolton didn’t see it as a hindrance. “The whole VOOM campaign has amplified and complemented all the other stuff that we’ve done,” he says. “The Crowdfunder component has also led to all these exciting bits of marketing to support the brand launch, which has helped combat one of the most challenging things about launching a new brand – getting awareness.”
Winning the Crowdfunder Award has been about more than just getting an extra £50,000 for the What A Melon team though, they’ve also received a huge advertising package from JC Decaux, which Bolton says has been a ‘big help’. He explains: “We’re now speaking to the supermarkets. Our strategy is rather than going into the ambient aisles in the supermarkets, we want to go into the front of store chillers and now as part of our listing proposal we can include all the info about that.”
As well as specifically discussing their advertising details though, Bolton says that the competition has really helped to boost the brand generally. “Getting through to the semi-finals and then winning the Crowdfunder Award gave buyers more confidence to believe in our products,” he says. “So it’s helped us to secure Itsu, where we’re launching next week.”
But aside from supermarket meetings, what’s next for What A Melon? A summer of festivals and parties, by the sounds of things.
As well as winning the Crowdfunder Award, What A Melon raised £60,000 through crowdfunding during the VOOM competition and have used that money to buy a bus that they’ve covered in branding and is now travelling around London and going to various events.
But once the summer’s over, Bolton says that they’ll move to focus on launching more flavours and promoting more of the benefits of watermelon water. “We’re going to be focusing more on the fitness side of things,” he explains. “The great thing about our product is that comparing it to coconut water, it’s much better suited to recovery after exercise because of the Citrulline that it contains, which is really good for muscle recovery.”