FORMER Huddersfield man Richard Reed is a smooth-ie operator!
Richard, 32, founded smoothie company Innocent seven years ago with two university friends.
They had no business experience or financial backing, and were told by experts that their product would fail.
But today they have a multi-million pound company and their fairy tale success story is now legendary in the business world.
I spoke to Richard while he was on a fleeting visit to see his parents who live at the house he grew up in on Long Tongue Scrog Lane, in Houses Hill, Kirkheaton.
Richard was in the area to give a business talk at his former school, Batley Grammar School.
Richard explained: "I wanted to get the message across that you can succeed if you are prepared.
"If you start small, but think big, you can get there in the end.
"It doesn't matter whether you leave school at 16 with no GCSEs or decide to start a business at 60.
"It's about being an entrepreneur, about giving it a go and keeping on going.
"It's really important that people keep chipping away at it.
"It's about keeping focused on an idea and having an unstoppable amount of enthusiasm."
Richard, along with friends Adam Balon and Jon Wright, set up the company after realising they hadn't eaten anything healthy for a long time.
Realising this was a common problem, they decided the solution was 100% natural fresh fruit juice drinks.
In the summer of 1998, they bought £500 worth of fruit, created smoothies, and sold them at a jazz festival.
They put up a sign asking: "Do you think we should give up our day jobs to make these?" and put out reply bins labelled 'yes' and 'no'.
At the end of the weekend, the 'yes' bin was full and the trio quit their jobs and set up Innocent.
But it wasn't an easy task for the group, who were initially met with much criticism.
Richard said: "When we started out we got turned down by everyone.
"We broke every rule in the book - we were too young, we had no experience of running a business, and no experience of the sector.
"People were saying that it was not going to work, but rather than accept that we said we would prove them wrong!"
Richard admits he wasn't sure the business would get off the ground.
He said: "I was totally racked with paranoia. I had no expectations of it working at first.
"On the first day we had 25 bottles on sale in a local sandwich shop.
"We were too scared to go back at first in case they didn't sell, but when we did go back we found that only four bottles were left.
"It was then that we thought that this might actually work."
And work it did.
Seven years later, the company has 105 employees, with a turnover of £75m this year.
Over 7,000 retailers stock Innocent products, which today include smoothies for kids and juicy waters.
More than one million smoothies are sold every week.
The company is also moving into a strong position in European domination, with the drinks recently launched in Denmark, France, and Belgium.
Richard said: "I am really chuffed with how well we are doing. It has been a great seven years!
"Smoothies are a big thing at the moment, with the whole Jamie Oliver thing getting the nation thinking about their diet.
"We knew lots of people who found it hard to lead a healthy lifestyle.
"That's why we decided to make something that's totally natural.
"And that's what Innocent stands for: something that is healthy, natural and ethical.
"The product is still unique. There have been 11 different smoothie brands since we started, and all 11 have additives.
"Our products are a bit more expensive, but when it comes to food it is the last thing you should be compromising on."
Today the company's headquarters, aptly named Fruit Towers, is located in London's Shepherds Bush.
Like Innocent's quirky bottles, Fruit Towers reflects a sense of fun, with fake grass walls to bring outside indoors.
Richard said: "It is a very sociable company. It's like going to work with your mates.
"But we do work very hard!
"We're always coming up with new smoothie recipes, and we get to try them all the time. It's like working in a chocolate factory!"
An Innocent product is recognised by its simple, yet striking branding and jokey messages.
Richard admitted: "I have to take responsibility for the terrible jokes I'm afraid!
"It's just boring when you're sitting on a bus reading the back of a package and all you can read is your statutory rights.
"So we thought it would be interesting to put little stories and recipes on the products.
"We've had complaints. On one recipe it said 'add two plump nuns'.
"Trading Standards told us to either take off the plump nuns or put them into the drinks!"
The company has won a huge number of awards over the years.
Richard said: "I am proudest of the ones we have won for products and people.
"We want to make sure we look after the people we work with as well as making good drinks."
Richard reflected on the past seven years.
He said: "I never imagined we would do so well, and I definitely didn't expect how much I would learn.
"It's been a brilliant experience and I am hoping it will continue."