The Apprentice: A failed hope to pull it out the bag

the apprentice

5:45am. Candidates picked their best suits and shined their shoes before leaving to visit Drapers Hall in London, where they were inevitably greeted by Lord Sugar, Karren and Claude. The location is the home to the guild of wool and cloth merchants and has seen the industry’s value progressively rise.

The task proposed to the teams was to choose a department to run in Liberty’s, as well as offering a personal shopping experience in competition with one another to gain the most sales.

As the teams went off to discuss ideas, elect project managers and get along with the task, Nebula had an unexpected announcement – Aleksandra was going to leave the process after “not enjoying it”. First of all, I can’t quite seem to get my head round the fact that she waited until the moment the teams began to collaborate before mentioning her thoughts to leave – at least say it before the task and get a lay in!

Discussions broke loose and after not so much deliberation, Sofiane took the role of project manager for Titans and Grainne for Nebula.

After exploring the long list of different departments that Liberty has to offer, both teams seemed fairly keen on the scarves as a logical option to undertake, for their renowned trademark of the Liberty brand. However, Nebula’s project manager, Grainne, was swayed to prioritise handbags for Mukai’s confident offering of his experience and expertise in the fashion sector was something that he wasn’t prepared to go unnoticed.

So, after Titans chose animal themed scarves to sell, Nebula opted for classic handbags. The teams were sent off for a crash course in window selling and designed the structures and layouts of their displays, taking into account the information gained from the experts.

Not forgetting the personal shopping aspect, Frances carried out such thorough research into her client who she was meeting the next day, that it put Alana to shame, all Karren could say regarding the matter was “not a great start” and I couldn’t have agreed more.

7am the next day.

The window displays were revealed and it was laughably clear who had taken on the advice from the experts. Titans had an interactive and enticing display of scarves whilst Nebula attempted to create a New York skyline opposing a tropical paradise – a customer would just mistakenly take for a confusing and off-putting display.

After Alana’s poor research into the personal shopper arriving, Dillon had to shop broadly in hope to cope for the needs and wants of the shopper. But, even though Frances did in-depth research about her customer, they were still very fussy with her picks however, surprisingly the customer still welcomed Karthik’s advice.

Jessica was proving to be a real stand-out in team Titans where she balanced her shop window displaying with her sales and still managed to come out as the top seller.

Paul was doing well in Nebula, link selling the sales of the handbags to the personal shopping experience they were also offering.

Sofiane pushing himself forward as a ‘natural born leader’ and amazing salesman struggled to sell at all – maybe a slight push over the line of confidence? This was also reflected in team Nebula as Mukai’s claims for having such expertise in the sector was failing to prove through the number of sales he was processing. Finally, his first sale, calculating to £795.

As 6pm struck, trading was over and back to the boardroom they go, to discuss the task.

Hearing that Dillon’s personal shopping customer had an unknown budget of £5000 was gutting for him after only selling him £1000 worth of items, especially when in comparison to Frances’ customer, who spent nearly double their budget – a mere example demonstrating the importance of knowing your customer.

After much discussion, the figures were revealed and the Titans were victorious, going off to enjoy an afternoon of playing crochet and having drinks on the lawn.

Although the win was narrow, even a handbag’s difference for team Nebula, they were still defeated and the visit to Bridge café had to arise some of the reasons as to why they failed the task.

Returning to the boardroom, much of the blame to the failure of the task is pointed at Mukai for his perseverance of pushing his department of the handbags forward. The window display accounts for reason for the failure of the task too, as the lack of interactivity could have potentially lost them 30 – 40 per cent of footfall they could have earned if they had it. Karthik also complained about where he was placed in the task and felt he should have been more on the frontline, selling.

Once considering everything discussed, Grainne finally after a couple of changed decisions brought back Mukai and Karthik to the boardroom.

As the three bickered like school children, I urged for Lord Sugar to not fire Karthik – although being a loose cannon and slightly annoying at times, these are prime reasons why, as a viewer, he is great for the process.

Lord Sugar pulled the finger out, leaving Mukai fired and rightly so.

Karthik was left with few words from Lord Sugar – “I have my eyes on you.”