LONDON — London-based Tom Oliver is a personal trainer to some of the most high-profile families in the world, including three royal families and a presidential family.
The 34-year-old is coy about naming names, but insists that training the rich and famous though his company Tom Oliver Personal Training only takes up 25% of his time.
The rest is dedicated to the business he has built out of selling a celebrity-favourite fish oil supplement made from caviar.
The Tom Oliver Nutrition Omega-3 Herring Caviar supplement, which costs £22.99 ($28.64) for a pack of 30 capsules, will be in 5,000 retailers around the globe by the end of this year, according to Oliver.
He told Business Insider that the company’s revenues are forecast to hit £1.8 million next year (its fourth year) thanks to deals with British retailer Holland & Barrett, as well as launches in Saudi Arabia, India, China, Qatar, Jordan, and Azerbaijan. Tom Oliver Nutrition’s revenue was £360,000 in the year ending March 2016 and will turnover £450,000 this year.
The supplement has gained celebrity attention since day one. Gwyneth Paltrow has credited the product for her clear complexion, while actress Hllary Swank used it to get in shape for her role in Million Dollar Baby, according to the company.
Daniel Craig, Brad Pitt, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Aniston are also apparently among its fans due to the product’s fat burning properties.
“Omega-3s are well regarded as a good product for your health, and people are increasingly health-aware,” Oliver said. “Celebrities more so — we have people like Cara Delevingne who takes it for her psoriasis. We also have a number of royal clients.”
So how did Oliver manage to strike gold with his big — and incredibly niche — idea?
He was originally a rugby player for Northampton Saints. While playing, he completed a sport finance degree and a degree in commercial property valuation, and worked for a while as a surveyor.
He quit playing rugby at the age of 22 due to injuries. Thanks to his experience working with athletes, however, he set out on a new career path.
“I took a keen interest in rehab, working with other players and sports people,” Oliver said.
He was introduced to a high-profile Russian family who needed someone to help with the knee injuries of their two boys. “In about six weeks I fixed them up,” he said. “I spent time travelling with them and got [introduced] to their friends and the ‘circle of wealth,'” he said. “It went from there.”
Now, he has worked for about 10 years with high net worth individuals and families looking after injuries and fitness. Alongside royals and politicians, he also works with chefs to provide nutritional plans.
“I’ve always had a massive interest in functional foods and sports nutrition, and finding something that’s totally unique,” he said.
After nearly eight years of research, Oliver said he found a scientist in Norway who had done unique studies on the benefits of Omega-3 fish oil — Herring Caviar in particular.
The benefits of fish oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are proven to have a number of health benefits, some of which the company promotes, such as helping burn fat by assisting with metabolism, helping maintain a healthy heart and a healthy brain. Fish oils have also been linked to helping with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and even eye health.
Omega-3 supplements are also often prescribed to help the conditions ADHD, diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, depression and anxiety, skin issues like eczema and psoriasis, arthritis, and even cancer.
A recent study from the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that women with a high Omega-3 status are up to 20% less likely to die from any cause, compared to those with low levels of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Oliver said the company wants to tackle the three main barriers to market that come with Omega-3: The reflux, or fishy aftertaste; the number of capsules you have to take; and the size of the capsules.
“What we have is a product that covers all the bases,” he said. “It’s three times more absorbable than fish oil, there’s no fishy reflux, the capsule size is half the size of normal [ones], and you only have to take one per day.”
He added that since herring are already caught for the Scandinavian food market, the company doesn’t have to do any fishing to gain access to their raw material. “We take off the roe, which is rich in nutrients and highly metabolic, and an embryonic form of Omega-3.”
The supplements originally took off in the UAE, launching into Holland & Barrett after Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Maktoum took interest. The product soon launched into Watsons, the largest health retailer in Asia.
It launched into Whole Foods in the UK in April 2014, and other retailers around the world followed. Some of its most successful markets include Malta, Dubai, and Singapore.
“When one major retailer sees you have a great product, they want to jump on,” he said, “But nobody wants to jump on at the beginning. That’s the issue innovators have.”
The product is now in 300 Holland & Barrett stores in the UK, while Tom Oliver Nutrition also has a line of protein powders.
“We’ll be in 180 Holland & Barrett stores in Holland by the end of April, where the national dish is herring,” Oliver added. Next, the company is looking to conquer China.
While the global appeal of the supplements — as well as Oliver’s training business — is clear, he is tight-lipped about which super-rich clients are actually using his services. It means that as far as which royals have a caviar pill in their daily diet, the secret is safe with Oliver.