Jack speaks with Amanda Gestetner, one half of the team that founded Yoomoo – one of the UK’s best known frozen yoghurt brands, and the very possible vanguard of the UK’s increasingly popular froyo movement.
She tells us about the insides of her amazing mind, international expansion plans, breakdancing cows and a friendly T Rex called Neville.
As always, Jack asks Amanda some sensible questions and some not sensible questions…
Name: Amanda Gestetner
Role: Brand & Marketing Director
DOB: 27 February 1974
Birthplace: London.. same unit as the royal baby!
Current Affiliation: Yoomoo
J: What’s the story behind the founding of Yoomoo? Why’d you pick frozen yoghurt? I read that you got inspired on a trip to the USA in 2009 – was there an exact moment when you decided that you’d make yoomoo happen…?
A: Daniel and I saw the froyo phenomena in LA and noticed the significant gap in the UK. We then went to New York to check out frozen yogurt shops in a colder climate which was more comparable to the UK. We did a lot of research which led us to believe in the concept. Trends towards healthier eating were increasing and the wave was rising.
How do you come up with flavour ideas and names?
I wasn’t blessed with a very scientific mind, the creative side of the business is where my strength lies. I listen to the customer feedback, so if there is a particular demand for a flavour or topping then we take it on board. I always make sure there is something for everyone so there will always be a balance of naughty and nice! As for the cows, names and personalities, I truly love thinking them up and laughing whilst doing it. If it wasn’t fun, I couldn’t do it.
Where do you guys manufacture the yoghurt? Could you talk us through the process of how you source your ingredients, assemble everything and bring us the finished product?
Our partner, R&R manufacture the product. They are Europe’s leading ice cream manufacturer. We own the product and each flavour is completely bespoke. The product is naturally fat free with no hidden nasties. Nothing is added or removed to make it the delicious, creamy, fat free yet indulgent treat that it is. That process is extremely key to our ethos and we value our integrity. As for the assembly and bringing the consumer the finished product, R and R have a gigantic factory that can only be compared to Willy Wonka’s. Imagine lots of conveyer belts whizzing around with all sorts of pumps and pipes that plop out the product at the end. Lots of real life Umpa Lumpas are there making sure it is all 100% perfect!
Could you recommend some good (and possibly novel/crazy/unusual) ways to enjoy Yoomoo?
My absolute favourite way to moo at the moment is the yogwhich. You put the yogurt between two scrumptious cookies, leave it in the freezer for a little while to harden and then enjoy it with a perfect cup of builders tea.
What’s a typical ‘day in the life’ like? What’s the frozen yoghurt business like on the inside?
Fast paced, nonstop, high pressure, great team, lots of laughing. To put it in context, within three years exactly of trading we are in every leading supermarket nationwide, as well as France and Germany, we have opened yogurt bars in Greece, Switzerland, Middle East, Ibiza, Cyprus and are about to open in Bangkok amongst many others.
What’s the Great British Public got to know about yoomoo and frozen yoghurt? If you had a megaphone and the entire country’s ear, what would you tell them?
I did that with a breakdancing cow and a megaphone! There was only one message… Moooooooooooo!
On the site you say that you created a UK froyo movement – what’s that like? Have you noticed the growth of froyo in the UK?
Since we have opened, lots of other froyo shops have appeared. There is clearly the demand for a delicious, healthy and permissible treat on the high street. If you look at similar categories, smoothies and juices are also becoming more and more popular. Yoomoo was responsible for creating the UK’s first ever National Froyo Day in July which keeps us at the forefront of the market.
You have a pretty fun irreverent style and design, where did that come from?
It is the inner workings of my mind!
From your personal experience, how hard is it to get your stuff in a supermarket? I’m starting to see Yoomoo everywhere!
Glad you see it everywhere! Our mission is to be the most famous frozen yogurt company that people automatically think of. Yes, it is difficult to get in to supermarkets. Convincing a buyer to remove a product and replace it with yours is a risk and no one wants to lose money. Our partnership with R and R with their relationships and capacities, together with a strong brand that we created helped.
You are also international! UAE, Greece, and more! the company’s expanding pretty quickly, by the looks of things? where next for yoomoo?
Bankok opens in October in Siam Paragon Mall then more in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Watch this space…
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing instead?
Leading a very zen and peaceful life somewhere where everything moves very slowly.
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced, and what have you learnt from it?
The biggest challenge has been having my three children to look after whilst working full time. I am a very hands on mum and I take and collect my children from school most days. This means I end up working late at night but I won’t compromise my children. Working with my husband means we talk about it at night anyway so it works for me. I can’t possibly express what I have learnt from that. Every working mother will understand.
We always ask two ridiculous questions…
… you have acquired a pet T-Rex and are now morally obliged to look after it. It is 13 ft tall at the hips, eats half a ton of raw meat a day, and likes taking long walks. What would you call it and what would you do to keep it entertained and housed?
I would call it Neville. To keep it entertained, I would enrol it on a maths course and get it helping with my children’s homework! It can sleep in the house, we have lots of animals, it’s already a bit of a zoo.
If you had to have one of The Avengers come and work with you at Yoomoo, who would you employ?
It would be The Hulk. I have always had a secret crush on him since I was a child. Then when the pressure gets too much, I wouldn’t look so bad in comparison!
Anything I missed that you’d like to include here?
I would love to know how Yoomoo? Who is your favourite member of the herd?
My favourite is Devilmoo served with a frozen banana, preferably after lifting some heavy things for a bit.
Image Credit: www.yoomoo.com