From Vision to Expansion: Insights from our Founder, Thomas Lommel | Olive Tree People

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From Vision to Expansion: Insights from our Founder, Thomas Lommel

From Vision to Expansion: Insights from our Founder, Thomas Lommel

Q: You launched OLIVE TREE PEOPLE in the U.S. just over one year ago and the company has already grown exponentially. What do you believe are the most significant contributing factors?

A: It's true, we are the fastest-growing waterless beauty brand in the U.S. From January to February 2024, we saw 100 percent growth. From February to March 2024, we saw 100 percent growth. How is this possible? I believe, first of all, besides the great people we have, the product is working.

People understand the simplicity of what we are doing. Everyone understands, when you look at a bottle, the first ingredient is Aqua (water). However, when people understand that water is 70% of the product, most do not want to pay a lot of money for water. They understand the importance of replacing the 70% water with an active ingredient, which is the elixir of our olive leaves and hydroxytyrosol.

Most people also understand that it makes no sense to make a skincare product with up to 25% refined (or in other words, dead) oils. In fact, when you add up 70% distilled water and preservatives with 25% refined oils, you will find that most conventional creams and products are comprised of up to 95% filler!

people understand that what’s best for your insides should be best for your outside too. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ.

So, one of the reasons we’re growing so fast is because it makes sense what we are doing, people understand, and the product works! And we have great people who support that! Strong growth comes from people understanding, and the product really working for them. We also have a 365-day return policy. If the product didn’t work, we would not make that promise because everyone would be sending the product back. 

Another key factor which I believe has led to rapid growth in the U.S. is our direct-to-consumer business model, which is very different from retail. In Germany, we have more than 20 years of experience in retail, but I feel the product is best for direct-to-consumer because when someone explains it, even in one sentence – that 70% of water is replaced with bio-active ingredients – it makes sense and it sells. It’s that simple.

Q: Many people think OLIVE TREE PEOPLE is just a skincare brand. Can you explain what sets your company apart and what has fueled its accelerated growth?

A: First, you have to look at our foundation. There are many brands in the beauty industry, particularly ones developed by influencers or famous people that were born because someone thought, I already have 100K followers, so why not launch my own product? That is surely one way to go about it, but there is a huge difference between those brands and my company.

The difference is, I am truly and fully invested in what I do, and others can feel it in our product. For me, it is important that people feel the soul – not just from nature – but of the person who creates the products. I believe you have to really love what you do, otherwise people will not feel it.

You don’t have to find 10M people who love your product. It’s enough to build something beautiful that 50K or 100K people love. Especially if they understand it.

Next, is the quality of our products. In the beauty industry, you will see that one of the most challenging areas to treat is not the body… it’s the face. You need a lot of energy to convince someone to change the product they’ve been using for 10 years or more. Sometimes it may take 10 friends to convince them, or nonstop advertising by a multi-billion-dollar company. In order to be truly successful, the product just has to be better.

Lastly – It’s true, waterless is growing 7x faster than conventional skincare, so we see major potential in this market. However, OLIVE TREE PEOPLE is much more than just skincare and we are much more than just a beauty brand. Did you know, when I first began exploring olive trees and experimenting with the ways they could heal me, I started by ingesting the powerful molecule extracted from their leaves? This is also what led to our very first product.

In case you didn’t know, the very first OLIVEDA product was the IO1 Orac & Camu Camu Olive Leaf Concentrate, a pint-sized, drinkable cure, which I created before any of our serums, creams or cleansers. In addition to this powerful immunity booster, I am proud to offer a full collection of beauty-enhancing ingestibles made for everyday consumption, including I66 The Beauty FountainI70 The Beauty Molecule, and I56 Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We also offer powerful mouth pulling oils and delicious olive matcha teas.

But that’s not all. In 2023, I expanded the business again when I saw new gaps in the market and more opportunities to infuse our holistic Mediterranean Ayurveda.

Do you know how many people have switched to caffeine alternatives because of the anxiety they feel from coffee? For this reason, I created OliveMush, a coffee alternative consisting of 100% olive leaf/hydroxytyrosol, organic cacao, mediterranean herbs and functional mushrooms. OliveMush provides a gentle boost of energy and a rich, satisfying flavor without the jitters, crash or poor sleep from regular coffee.

Do you know, also, how many people practice meditation to overcome challenges in their life like stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, etc.? Meditation is wonderful, but I believe in order to find your true uniqueness and your true center, you must understand your connection with nature and the trees.

After years of living with my olive trees and studying their unique frequencies, I created our one-of-a-kind Olive Tree Sound Bath Meditation, which we now make accessible to everyone on our website 24 hours a day. Connect with our olive tree frequencies LIVE, or sign up for a monthly subscription to access guided sound bath meditation classes whenever is convenient for you. 

It is in large part our incredible skincare products that make OLIVE TREE PEOPLE successful. However, it is also our unique blend of ingestibles and holistic practices that set us apart from other brands on the market, and what I believe have led to very fast growth here in the U.S. 

Q: How do you maintain quality and customer satisfaction while experiencing rapid expansion?

A: Our 365-day return guarantee is what really reinforces the quality of our product and what we’re doing. We’ve had this same policy in Europe for many years and have had great experiences. If you send out 1,000 products and tell people they can return it whenever they want for 365 days, and you only get 1% or 2% back, that means it is very high quality.

But you know, it’s not just our return policy. I like to go a step higher. I believe, not only will our product work, but you will fall in love with it. If you use a product every day, it shouldn’t just work, you should LOVE the product.

Q: Can you share any challenges, obstacles, or lessons you’ve learned during this period of growth, and how you plan to leverage them moving forward?

A: You know, I’m a foreigner here in the United States. To jump into another continent and another culture, and build something from scratch, is already a big challenge. Then, to be able to scale for growth. If you produce 1000% more, you also have to be able to ship 1000% more.

Scaling the business for rapid growth has been challenging because what we sell is a physical product, sourced straight from ancient mountain olive trees. It is not digital, and it is not easy to transport. In fact, it is an even stronger testament to the quality of our product that it only comes from our olive grove in Spain and cannot be synthetically created elsewhere.

I always listen to signs. The signs, for me, are amazing. To me, I feel I’m going in the right direction because with this growth, it shows the signs are working and that is very important.

One of the lessons I’ve learned during this growth period is that it is important to find the right people, and to create the right type of culture for the people who work with our product. This is also a huge deal.

From not understanding and not knowing what to do with the trees, to creating the first product in the tree house, was one of the most pivotal moments for me to bring the product from ingestibles to creams and more.

Q: As the company continues to grow exponentially, how do you balance innovation and staying true to the brand's core values?

A: Well, we only can sell what we can produce. At the moment, we have around 30,000 trees. This year, we will have another 20,000. We can experiment with new marketing ideas and expand our message, but we will always remain connected to the roots of our olive trees and to nature.