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Daniel Whitehead

29 June, 2015

Q&A:What are you like?

29 June, 2015

magazing image

This is it, the big one!  I, Daniel Whitehead, founder of The Organic Protein Company, reveal the real Dan beneath the leopard print lounge pants.  Enjoy this rare glimpse into my personal life, and apologies in advance if this sullies your opinion of me.

If reading from the image is too much for you to handle, here's the text version for you:

1. What is your dream job?
I'd love to manage a big wildlife reserve. Taking care of a big slice of the countryside and helping the animals, bees and birds thrive would be the most satisfying job in the world for me.
2. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I used to be a kennel cleaner when I was 13, which wasn’t ideal but I got to walk the dogs which was enjoyable enough.  No, the worst would be the 6 months spent collecting trolleys at Waitrose when I was 17. Spending every Saturday lugging trolleys around the arse end of Godalming was truly the pits.
3. How did you get into the natural and organic sector?
Having been a fitness mad organic obsessed vegetarian in the past I was always on the lookout for organic protein powders to try out, but 10-15 years ago you weren’t exactly spoilt for choice. Fast forward to 2011 I was looking for a career change and thought I’d have a go at bringing an organic whey protein powder to the UK for the first time, so I finally went for it having pondered over the idea for over a year. I quit my job and went full time on making it a reality, thinking it would be 2-3 months max until launch. Fast forward nearly three years to April 2014 and it finally happened. A lot of factors were out of my control, an extreme shortage of producers and lack of international organic equivalence guidelines being the big two at the time, but building a strong brand and all the rest of it, as I learned the hard way, is not something that happens overnight.
4. What has been your funniest industry moment?
"Frankly I don't see anyone buying it". These were the words of my first producer, not much more than a year ago! I found it funny enough at the time, but as sales have taken off and continue to grow this quote gets more and more priceless.
5. Tell us your nickname?
Danny boy is the only one that’s still used to this day.
8. If you could go back to the beginning of your career what advice would you give the young you?
Get a business mentor. Had I done this at the start there would have been a great deal less wasted time indeed.
9. What is your most treasured possession?
My teapot, with built-in stainless steel strainer.  Having a constant stream of tea on hand is essential to my working day.
10. What is your favourite karaoke song?
Africa by Toto.  Of course.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching Netflix with nothing on but my leopard print lounge pants.
13. What was the first record you bought?
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath, from a dusty old record shop in Glastonbury when I was 12. Healthy listening for a developing mind.
14. Where would be your ideal place to spend a long holiday?
North Korea, I hear the tour guides are very hands-on. Oh a long holiday? I really haven’t got a clue, I’ll start thinking about that if I ever have time for one.
15. Who would be your perfect dinner companion?
16. What is your favourite book and/or film?
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. The main character finds his marriage falling apart as the wife he loves eventually leaves him for another man. A compelling story that ultimately ends in tragedy. “Hard cheese on Tony”. Poor Tony indeed. I love a depressing read.
17. What is your idea of a perfect meal?
18. What is your motto in life?
19. If you could change one thing in the natural and organic world what would it be?
Perhaps a tad idealistic, but if at least a few of the key organic principles were mandatory for inclusion in the natural products world then I’d like to think the industry would be better for it. In reality there would probably be fewer exciting product releases and overall higher prices, neither of which would be good for the industry.
20. What animal best reflects your personality?
A bedraggled ally cat.
21. It’s my round – what are you drinking?
Gin and tonic please.

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