About OEL

All good things come in threes — that’s what Marc, Simo­ne, and Ama­de­us thought when the OEL brand emer­ged in 2015 from an obses­si­on. Sin­ce then, they’ve shown that this obses­si­on was not only youth­ful idea­lism, but that a good por­ti­on of pas­si­on, grit, and the necessa­ry focus have crea­ted a reci­pe for suc­cess. A suc­cess that didn’t come over­night, of cour­se, and yet the ques­ti­on was never “if…”, but always “how…”. One morning the three final­ly woke up and could say: OEL has grown out of its infan­cy, now it’s about “gro­wing up”.

For the three foun­ders, Marc, Simo­ne, and Ama­de­us, it was time to roll up their slee­ves and call in rein­for­ce­ments in order to trans­form the self-made brand OEL into its own per­so­na­li­ty thanks to fresh per­spec­ti­ves from out­si­ders. To do this, they recrui­ted pro­fes­sio­nal rein­for­ce­ments from all sides and star­ted gro­wing their own ranks. That’s becau­se the three of them have lear­ned one thing over the past six years: team work makes the dream work!

It should have long been clear to ever­yo­ne that this dream does not just con­sist of “green gold”. With their focus on inno­va­ti­on, sus­taina­bi­li­ty, and trans­pa­ren­cy, the trio is shaping a zeit­geist that will replace con­ven­tio­nal food pro­duc­tion and fun­da­ment­al­ly chan­ge our con­su­mer beha­vi­or. This means that OEL is not just a pro­duct, but a life­style — back to values that have beco­me rare, for a bet­ter future for everyone!

And sin­ce three is appar­ent­ly a magi­cal num­ber for Marc, Simo­ne, and Ama­de­us, after two lots of three years they have vol­un­ta­ri­ly put them­sel­ves to the test and loo­ked at the cards: was ever­ything real­ly always so rosy, how did they expe­ri­ence the jour­ney of the past six years, and what would they do dif­fer­ent­ly next time?

OEL founder Marc holds a red flag in the breeze.

Marc on OEL and his colleagues.

Portrait of OEL founder Marc in the olive grove.

OEL in three words?

Qua­li­ty, trans­pa­ren­cy, madness.

You in three words?

Crea­ti­ve, ener­ge­tic, headstrong.

The other two in three words?

Ama­de­us — loy­al, balan­ced, sensible.
Simo­ne — crea­ti­ve, uni­que, impulsive.

Back to your first steps — which one do you remem­ber most?

When the flap of the first truck ope­ned and hund­reds of our canis­ters rol­led towards us. Prin­ted with our design — on a dus­ty par­king lot on the out­skirts of Kala­ma­ta, loa­ded by an obvious­ly drunk for­klift dri­ver, two days later than plan­ned. I was com­ple­te­ly exhaus­ted and overjoyed.

How did tho­se around you react when you told them you were get­ting into the oil business?

At that time I tra­v­eled a lot and one evening I was sit­ting with a lar­ger group having a beer and was asked what I was going to do next. My list was: Iran in June, Revo­lu­tio­na­ry Ser­vice in Cuba in Octo­ber, Christ­mas tree sales in Decem­ber, and from Janu­a­ry I would try to import oli­ve oil. I loo­ked into the quiz­zi­cal faces for a very long moment. I think that in retro­spect all tho­se pre­sent belie­ved least of all that I was going to go through with the oli­ve oil.

The best OEL moment in the last six years?

When we acqui­red our first retailer. Knowing that someo­ne could ima­gi­ne put­ting our pro­duct on the shelf of their three stores was incredible.

What expe­ri­ence of the last six years could you have done without?

None. Ever­ything was good for something.

What would you do over and over again?

I would always just start again and not think about what it takes to get to the goal. Other­wi­se, in my opi­ni­on, you never start.

Who you used to be (six years ago) and who you are now (as a sea­so­ned entre­pre­neur) — in three words?

Then — thirsty for action, impa­ti­ent, inexperienced.
Now — thirsty for action, impa­ti­ent, experienced.

OEL then and now?

A shal­low idea tur­ned into mea­ning­ful serious­ness that now feeds 10 peop­le. OEL is the sta­ge of our self-actua­liz­a­ti­ons, which we have all been see­king for many years.

Simo­ne on OEL and his colleagues.

Portrait of OEL founder Simone.

OEL in three words?

One is enough: family!

You in three words?

Dif­fi­cult, bra­ve, passionate.

The other two in three words?

Ama­de­us — deter­mi­ned, loy­al, outspoken.
Marc — char­ming, per­sis­tent, aware.

Back to your first steps — which one do you remem­ber most?

The trip in Marc’s Lada to the Denn­ree cen­tral wareh­ouse — that’s when I unders­tood that this trip would chan­ge my life forever.

How did tho­se around you react when you told them you were get­ting into the oil business?

How did tho­se around you react when you told them you were get­ting into the oil busi­ness? My friends were inte­res­ted but skep­ti­cal becau­se none of them had any expe­ri­ence of self-employ­ment (least of all me) and after 13 years of stu­dies, two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree, my par­ents wan­ted me to pur­sue an aca­de­mic path. But who finds hap­pi­ness doing what their par­ents want? Nevertheless: I would­n’t be here today without their sup­port — they belie­ved in me without belie­ving in me, only par­ents can do that!

The best OEL moment in the last six years?

The­re were many of them, espe­cial­ly during the har­vest. And our eupho­ria when we got the first lis­ting with Bio Com­pa­ny. This fee­ling that only a self-employ­ed per­son can under­stand — when all the work final­ly pays off! We got cham­pa­gne and celebrated!

What expe­ri­ence of the last six years could you have done without?

None. Even the most dif­fi­cult moments have taught us a lot, and we’­ve beco­me an even stron­ger family.

What would you do over and over again?

Learn from mista­kes — keep lear­ning until I die. No mat­ter what, we held out tog­e­ther — one way and no other, time and time again!

Who you used to be (six years ago) and who you are now (as a sea­so­ned entre­pre­neur) — in three words?

Then — angry, impa­ti­ent, committed.
Now — inspi­red, gra­te­ful, more effective.

OEL then and now?

OEL was our baby, now it’s slow­ly gro­wing up…

Ama­de­us on OEL and his colleagues.

Amadeus in front of the tractor with harvest sacks.

OEL in three words?

More than organic!

You in three words?

Ener­ge­tic, loy­al, sociable.

The other two in three words?

Simo­ne — hel­pful, crea­ti­ve, thoughtful.
Marc — impul­si­ve, elo­quent, sensitive.

Back to your first steps — which one do you remem­ber most?

How we acqui­red cus­to­mers with a small black Fiat Sei­cen­to as a com­pa­ny car and sup­plied the first restau­rants in Berlin.

How did tho­se around you react when you told them you were get­ting into the oil business?

I’m not exact­ly sure, but I mean, I never real­ly com­mu­ni­ca­ted it to my friends becau­se I’ve always enjoy­ed doing many things at once. I think anyo­ne who is serious about some­thing should talk less and let actions do the talking.

The best OEL moment in the last six years?

Alt­hough we weren’t even able to pay our own wages at the time, we spon­so­red the shirts for a children’s soc­cer team. The first time I saw the child­ren play­ing soc­cer in our OEL jer­seys, my heart melted.

What expe­ri­ence of the last six years could you have done without?

Repla­cing thousands of incor­rect­ly hand-glued labels from 100 ml sam­ple bot­t­les late into the night (on wee­kends!), even though I was sup­po­sed to be in bed after a shoul­der operation.

What would you do over and over again?

After the har­vest has been com­ple­ted, a toast with fami­ly and friends in a near­by taver­na and dan­cing to live music in rebe­ti­ko style. Yeah!

Who you used to be (six years ago) and who you are now (as a sea­so­ned entre­pre­neur) — in three words?

Then — stubborn, proud, disbelieving.
Now – com­mu­ni­ty-min­ded, hum­ble, believing.

OEL then and now?

What began as an adven­ture beca­me a school of life.

The three OEL founders Amadeus, Marc, and Simone on harvest bags.

In the begin­ning the­re was friendship… How Marc, Simo­ne and Ama­de­us view­ed them­sel­ves and OEL in the begin­ning (and of cour­se still do) can be read here.

About us | Then…

We are two robust young Ber­li­ners, friends sin­ce school, and an incre­a­singly robust midd­le-aged Roman who stumb­led into our lives and then into our hearts. And who now feels real­ly at home the­re. We are united by a pre­fe­rence for tra­ve­ling the world and hop­ping bet­ween jobs and uni­ver­si­ty cour­ses that no one else would think of doing. Wai­ter, Christ­mas tree sales­man, bar­ten­der, water fil­ter repre­sen­ta­ti­ve, baker, envi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­ti­on socie­ty employee, con­struc­tion worker, full-time back­pa­cker, and theo­lo­gi­an are just some of roles lis­ted in the mish­mash that we call a resu­me. For 6 years now, we have been able to suc­cess­ful­ly add the shared tit­le of ‘busi­ness part­ners’. But to start from the beginning:

We spent 13 years obedient­ly going to school whe­re, every day and in every sub­ject, we would learn the ‘who? when? how?’ of peop­le who had said and done ama­zing things in this world. By the end of it, we were total­ly rest­less and drea­ming like cra­zy of how we could do the same.
Our plans for revo­lu­ti­on and world domi­na­ti­on were cal­led off due to bad wea­ther. Then our plans for the Nobel Pri­ze were can­cel­led due to being ter­ri­ble sci­en­tists. Only the most obvious plan remai­ned: beco­me oli­ve oil pro­du­cers. Luck­i­ly, one of us is Greek and had a few oli­ve oil trees lying around, while the other had some free time. So we could test our­sel­ves in tran­qui­li­ty as gro­wers, har­ve­s­ters, and dis­tri­bu­tors. After some sur­pri­se suc­ces­ses, we began to see the pro­ject as more and more fea­si­ble and promising.

Sin­ce then, our pas­si­on for the “green gold” has sky­ro­cke­ted along with our workload. We have foun­ded a com­pa­ny, purcha­sed land, regis­tered trade­marks, acqui­red licen­ses, and paid taxes (lots of taxes, to be pre­cise). Having under­go­ne tho­se admi­nis­tra­ti­ve orde­als, we are now try­ing our best to phy­si­cal­ly imi­ta­te our new sculp­tu­red Greek role models. So we spend our time buil­ding our mus­cles, cur­ling our hair, and redu­cing our clot­hing to tho­se bare neces­si­ties in the loin regi­on that a civi­li­zed socie­ty requires.
And we pro­du­ced oli­ve oil hap­pi­ly ever after.

Who is this lady?

Intro­du­cing: Ant­hou­la Tza­mou­ra­nis. The grand­mo­ther who has made ever­ything pos­si­ble. Thanks to her very own olives and her very own con­ta­cts with even more olives, a joke of an idea has beco­me rea­li­ty in the blink of an eye. When she’s not busy kee­ping the exten­ded fami­ly tog­e­ther and coo­king ever­yo­ne meals fit for royal­ty, this 72-year-young lady spends her spa­re time tea­ching the young whip­pers­nap­pers how to harvest.

By choo­sing her por­trait to be the logo and the heart of our company’s image, we wan­ted to thank, honor, and recall the incre­a­singly rare values that she represents.

Grandmother Anthoula in the olive grove.