Building a Brand: Renan Fretes Pinto on Oakberry’s Rise in Australia

Today, we’re delighted to have a conversation with Renan Fretes Pinto, the dynamic founder and CEO of RFP Master and Oakberry Australia. Renan’s journey is nothing short of inspiring—after graduating in International Business & Management from Fonty’s University in the Netherlands, he moved to Australia and spotted a golden opportunity in the acai market. Partnering with Oakberry Inc’s founder, Georgios Frangulis, Renan launched Oakberry in Australia in 2018, marking the brand’s first international venture.

Under his leadership, Oakberry has flourished, becoming a beloved name across Australia. But Renan’s entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there—he’s also the founder of Bar Copo and Smoov Australia, bringing his creative flair to the vibrant Bondi Beach scene.

In this interview, Renan shares his journey of bringing a new brand to life in a competitive market, the fun and challenges of those early days, and his advice for aspiring global entrepreneurs.

We’ll also dive into how he balances multiple ventures, keeps his work fresh and exciting, and what exciting developments are on the horizon for Oakberry. Plus, Renan gives us a peek into how he maintains his work-life balance with a daily routine that keeps him grounded and energised.

Renan, you’ve turned Oakberry into a household name in Australia. For our readers who love a good success story, can you share a bit about what it’s like to bring a new brand to life in a competitive market like Australia? 

After finishing International Business and Management at university in the Netherlands, and moving to Australia, I was looking for opportunities within the Australian Market to start a business.

After a year of living in Sydney and working in the hospitality industry, I was on a trip back to Brazil and met with Georgios Franguilis, the founder of Oakberry and also a friend of mine, who had just started the Oakberry project in Brazil.

Knowing that the acai market was growing in Australia without a reference player, I could immediately see how Oakberry could fit perfectly within the Australian lifestyle and food scene, and couldn’t think of a better place to start than Bondi Beach. Fast forward almost a year, and we opened our first shop in Bondi, and started the international expansion of Oakberry world wide. 

Launching Oakberry’s first international venture must have been a whirlwind. What’s one fun or unexpected story from those early days that you think our audience would enjoy hearing? 

It’s crazy to think we actually built the first Oakberry Australia store in Bondi ourselves! None of us had any construction experience, but we were starting the project from scratch, and working on a tight budget.

We roped in anyone we knew with any building experience and paid them back with a case of beer, and attempted our first construction project! At the time, my partner, who is an architect and was working in one of Australia’s top architecture firms, took on the challenge in her free time to develop the first Oakberry Australia concept.

As you could imagine, it was a massive learning curve, but we got there in the end, and it made it all the more exciting when the shop opened. Oakberry Bondi has a special place in our hearts as it was the beginning of this amazing journey.

As someone who’s navigated international business waters successfully, what’s your top piece of advice for anyone dreaming of taking their business global? 

Dream big, trust yourself, believe in your gut feeling and take all the necessary steps to make your dreams turn into reality! I can’t tell you how many people questioned if a venue that sold “only acai” would work.

At that point in time, acai was generally only served on a cafe menu, and mostly thought of as a Saturday brunch food item, and so many people suggested we serve additional items on our menu. Five years on and with 45 plus shops, we have totally changed the acai market in Australia to be integrated into the regular diets of many Australians, and eaten anytime, anywhere. 

You’re not just the CEO of Oakberry; you’ve got Bar Copo and Smoov Australia too. How do you keep things fresh and exciting across these different ventures, and what’s your secret to juggling it all? 

I love new challenges, and developing new business ventures and concepts. I consider myself a creative mind in the business world, and am non-stop thinking of new ideas, or gaps in the market.

Without a great head office of hard working and dedicated members and support from your close ones, this would never be possible! We are so lucky to have such a committed team working with us, many of whom have been with us from the beginning, who became partners for life.

We like to make sure our staff feel valued and part of an exciting workplace, for example, we took the whole office to Bali at the end of last year for the opening of the first Oakberry Bali. In terms of keeping things fresh, creating new challenges and pushing the boundaries for everything we do make us reinvent ourselves daily.

Furthermore, we like to make sure we draw on our own experiences, making sure all of our business ventures are authentic to who we are. We love to give a bit of a Latin flair, bringing our own references, whilst also adapting it to the Australian market to make something new. This makes things exciting and motivating for us, and also for the customer. 

Oakberry has clearly struck a chord in Australia. Looking ahead, what exciting developments or expansions can your fans look forward to? 

We’re excited to be opening in more locations Australia wide, expanding our presence in different areas, as well as throughout Bali and New Zealand. Educating new customers on what Oakberry is, and showing the versatility of the product, is definitely a challenge that we love to take on board.

The Oakberry Tubs is also a big project for us this year, rolling these out throughout supermarkets, hotels, shopping centres and stores throughout the country. Bringing the Oakberry experience to every Australian household is a dream in the making. We want to make sure everyone has their local Oakberry store or product, no matter where you live. 

Given your busy schedule as a CEO and entrepreneur, how do you manage your work-life balance? Do you have any specific routines or hobbies that help you unwind and stay grounded amidst the hustle of the business world? 

Living in Bondi Beach, a morning walk and swim with my family is a daily non-negotiable, followed by a good work-out. There is nothing that better sets the day up for me than being up early, seeing the sun rise, exercising and a rejuvenating dip in the ocean.

Staying in touch with my family in Brazil, exploring this beautiful country, and socialising with family and friends gives that much needed energy reboot as well. We also make sure to keep the office social and buzzing, doing weekly lunches together and Friday night drinks, either at Bar Copo or the office (one of our employees is an Italian who makes a mean pizza in the office pizza oven), to give everyone a chance to wind down before the weekend.

Oakberry has also been participating in some of Australia’s largest sporting events, and being able to experience those as part of the job definitely helps to unwind from the daily hustle of the business world.

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