Lord Sugar’s shock penchant for swimwear meant Sian Gabbidon beat Camilla Ainsworth

The final of The Apprentice ended with a surprise winner and an even more shocking future for the man who announced ‘You’re hired!’

Sian Gabbidon’s victory over Camilla Ainsworth and her ‘gourmet nut milk’ proved a blow for thirsty vegetarians but good news for those of us desperate to shout out that Lord Sugar was into ladies’ swimsuits big time without fear of litigation.

The latex enthusiast chose Sian despite describing her company as ‘a cottage industry’, and rightly so given that she had sold only 400 ‘bespoke’ swimsuits during its two years trading.

And the winner is... The final of The Apprentice ended with a surprise winner and an even more shocking future for the man who announced ‘You’re hired!’ Sian Gabbidon’s victory over Camilla Ainsworth and her ‘gourmet nut milk’ proved a blow for thirsty vegetarians

And the winner is... The final of The Apprentice ended with a surprise winner and an even more shocking future for the man who announced ‘You’re hired!’ Sian Gabbidon’s victory over Camilla Ainsworth and her ‘gourmet nut milk’ proved a blow for thirsty vegetarians

And the winner is… The final of The Apprentice ended with a surprise winner and an even more shocking future for the man who announced ‘You’re hired!’ Sian Gabbidon’s victory over Camilla Ainsworth and her ‘gourmet nut milk’ proved a blow for thirsty vegetarians

Not only that, by kicking Camilla in the proverbial gourmet nuts, the multi-millionaire mogul rejected a product perfectly suited to the booming market in ‘non-dairy alternative milk drinks’ – a business already worth £300 million and bound to rise the way vegans appear to be taking over our supermarkets (and the world).

In contrast, making this kind of money seemed impossible for Sian, not least because she specialised in ‘affordable luxury swimwear’ – the worst type of luxury swimwear his Lordship needed given the size of his investment.

Sian charging only £50 meant that, in order for Sugar to recoup his £250, 000, by my calculations, Sian would have to sell…hundreds of bikinis.

Big decision: Lord Sugar chose Sian despite describing her company as ‘a cottage industry’, and rightly so given that she had sold only 400 ‘bespoke’ swimsuits during two years trading

Big decision: Lord Sugar chose Sian despite describing her company as ‘a cottage industry’, and rightly so given that she had sold only 400 ‘bespoke’ swimsuits during two years trading

Big decision: Lord Sugar chose Sian despite describing her company as ‘a cottage industry’, and rightly so given that she had sold only 400 ‘bespoke’ swimsuits during two years trading

Surely there weren’t that many ‘pool parties’ taking place in Britain, as Sian kept suggesting. It felt inevitable Sugar would be paying heavily for his devotion to her (or them).

With everything stacked against her, Sian seemed to have no chance, particularly considering the final straw – and perhaps the most incredible thing about her victory of all: she had Kurran in her side.

The hapless actor’s stint in the early tasks had been so comical he’d done most of them one-handed (with his arm in a sling having fractured a bone). Well actually he hadn’t really done anything.

Nice try: The multi-millionaire mogul rejected a product perfectly suited to the booming market in ‘non-dairy alternative milk drinks’

Nice try: The multi-millionaire mogul rejected a product perfectly suited to the booming market in ‘non-dairy alternative milk drinks’

Nice try: The multi-millionaire mogul rejected a product perfectly suited to the booming market in ‘non-dairy alternative milk drinks’

Teammates: Camilla punched the air and shouted ‘yes!’ when she won the toss and, like football captains in the playground, had first choice (Daniel), adding Jackie, and Kayode to form a veritable dream team even though she had Tom too

Teammates: Camilla punched the air and shouted ‘yes!’ when she won the toss and, like football captains in the playground, had first choice (Daniel), adding Jackie, and Kayode to form a veritable dream team even though she had Tom too

Teammates: Camilla punched the air and shouted ‘yes!’ when she won the toss and, like football captains in the playground, had first choice (Daniel), adding Jackie, and Kayode to form a veritable dream team even though she had Tom too

Sian had not only chosen Kurran voluntarily (rather than Kayode and Sabrina), she even let him direct a commercial for the swimwear that would be part of her crucial presentation to 200 industry experts.

Some viewers might think this type of judgement alone would convince Sugar that Sian was not someone you’d invest a quarter of a million pounds in. Or a fiver…

Even the rest of Sian’s helpers didn’t inspire much confidence.

Pick of the bunch? Sian’s selection of Khadija, Jasmine, Sabrina, and ‘Captain Kurran’ looked relatively weak and potentially as argumentative as cats in a sack

Pick of the bunch? Sian’s selection of Khadija, Jasmine, Sabrina, and ‘Captain Kurran’ looked relatively weak and potentially as argumentative as cats in a sack

Pick of the bunch? Sian’s selection of Khadija, Jasmine, Sabrina, and ‘Captain Kurran’ looked relatively weak and potentially as argumentative as cats in a sack

Here we go! Their finalists’ task was to launch their brand, producing a digital poster and a TV ad, then pitch their product to an intimidating audience at City Hall

Here we go! Their finalists’ task was to launch their brand, producing a digital poster and a TV ad, then pitch their product to an intimidating audience at City Hall

Here we go! Their finalists’ task was to launch their brand, producing a digital poster and a TV ad, then pitch their product to an intimidating audience at City Hall

Camilla punched the air and shouted ‘yes!’ when she won the toss and, like football captains in the playground, had first choice (Daniel), adding Jackie, and Kayode to form a veritable dream team even though she had Tom too.

Sian’s selection of Khadija, Jasmine, Sabrina, and ‘Captain Kurran’ looked relatively weak and potentially as argumentative as cats in a sack.

Their finalists’ task was to launch their brand, producing a digital poster and a TV ad, then pitch their product to an intimidating audience at City Hall.

First task: Most shocking of all was the revelation that even now neither Sian nor Camilla had a name for their product - even after twelve weeks in the series

First task: Most shocking of all was the revelation that even now neither Sian nor Camilla had a name for their product - even after twelve weeks in the series

First task: Most shocking of all was the revelation that even now neither Sian nor Camilla had a name for their product – even after twelve weeks in the series

To be honest both Sian and Camilla were beset by limitations – their own and concerning their target market.

Most shocking of all was the revelation that even now neither Sian nor Camilla had a name for their product – even after twelve weeks in the series and months trading beforehand.

In last week’s interviews, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins, and Lord Sugar himself had criticised Camilla’s penchant for ‘sexualising’ things whenever she got her hands on a brand or a package (as it were).

Incredibly, despite this, she briefed her team that she wanted her gourmet nut milk to have ‘mild sex appeal’, to be ‘not sexy but cheeky’, and be ‘not overly cheeky but still cheeky.’

Cheeky, mildly sexy, nut milk – in a nutshell.

Brainstorming: In last week’s interviews, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins, and Lord Sugar himself had criticised Camilla’s penchant for ‘sexualising’ things

Brainstorming: In last week’s interviews, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins, and Lord Sugar himself had criticised Camilla’s penchant for ‘sexualising’ things

Brainstorming: In last week’s interviews, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins, and Lord Sugar himself had criticised Camilla’s penchant for ‘sexualising’ things

‘What about Love Nuts?!’ Daniel proposed cheekily but too cheekily for Camilla.

When she droned on endlessly about the importance of her product’s supposedly unique ‘grab and go’ feature, every one of her colleagues unsurprisingly clamoured for one name and one name only: Grab My Nuts.

But amazingly Camilla turned down the appeal of Grab My Nuts and went for MLK It – even though ‘it’ wasn’t milk and definitely wasn’t spelt correctly.

Sian meanwhile remained strangely un-swayed by Khadija’s ideas: Swim Style, Swim by Sian, and ‘Swim Reverse It.’ (Maybe stick to cleaning…)

Kurran’s enthusiastically advocated ‘Bikini Hut’, conjuring an image of semi-naked women and pizza: a great name in other words.

Not impressed: Eventually the best brand name Sian could come up with was SYO: Style Your Own. ‘Style Your Own what?!’ demanded Karren Brady

Not impressed: Eventually the best brand name Sian could come up with was SYO: Style Your Own. ‘Style Your Own what?!’ demanded Karren Brady

Not impressed: Eventually the best brand name Sian could come up with was SYO: Style Your Own. ‘Style Your Own what?!’ demanded Karren Brady

Eventually the best brand name Sian could come up with was SYO: Style Your Own.

‘Style Your Own what?!’ demanded Karren Brady. ‘And how do you Style Your Own?! It doesn’t say this is a premium line of swimwear to me.’

Sian and Camilla were both adamant that their products had at least two USPs but never did really explain how they could ensure they remained ‘unqiue’ (if they really were).

‘What sets MLK It apart from the competition is it’s a grab and go drink,’ Camilla kept insisting for instance, as if none of the major companies making Soya or Almond Milk had ever thought of it. Sian meanwhile talked about her swimsuits being not only made-to-measure but reversible as if she had the copyright on both ideas.

Really? Sian had not only chosen Kurran voluntarily (rather than Kayode and Sabrina), she even let him direct a commercial for the swimwear

Really? Sian had not only chosen Kurran voluntarily (rather than Kayode and Sabrina), she even let him direct a commercial for the swimwear

Really? Sian had not only chosen Kurran voluntarily (rather than Kayode and Sabrina), she even let him direct a commercial for the swimwear

‘Did you know 2000 swimwear designers launch each year?’ one industry expert asked Sian, who hadn’t and probably wished she didn’t now.

Camilla heard several multi-national companies had already moved into the lucrative non-dairy milk market – as they would do really.

Admittedly none of these had MLK It’s packaging, which in Tom’s words looked ‘a bit cow-y’ or cost £3 for a small carton.

The final of The Apprentice is invariably the weakest show of the whole series, partly because nothing ever goes seriously wrong (like the other episodes) and because it becomes a tediously earnest competition (rather than a farce).

Design: Camilla heard several multi-national companies had already moved into the lucrative non-dairy milk market – as they would do really. Admittedly none of these had MLK It’s packaging, which in Tom’s words looked ‘a bit cow-y’

Design: Camilla heard several multi-national companies had already moved into the lucrative non-dairy milk market – as they would do really. Admittedly none of these had MLK It’s packaging, which in Tom’s words looked ‘a bit cow-y’

Design: Camilla heard several multi-national companies had already moved into the lucrative non-dairy milk market – as they would do really. Admittedly none of these had MLK It’s packaging, which in Tom’s words looked ‘a bit cow-y’

The truth was, most of the endeavours in the final of Camilla, Sian, and their teams were ultimately irrelevant.

When Camilla defended an aspect of her branding (that an expert criticised) by saying ‘it can always be changed down the line’, it highlighted the fact that none of the adverts, posters, and packaging they produced here, or even the product names, really mattered.

Sugar would change them if he didn’t like them.

This was good news for Sian given her opinion of Kurran’s advert for SYO.

Kurran felt he had found his niche and belonged on the other side of the camera.

‘Ask any of the great directors like Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese,’ he reflected. ‘They will say: if you’ve got a vision go and implement it. And that’s what I did.’

Artistic direction: Kurran felt he had found his niche and belonged on the other side of the camera as he directed the advert for Sian

Artistic direction: Kurran felt he had found his niche and belonged on the other side of the camera as he directed the advert for Sian

Artistic direction: Kurran felt he had found his niche and belonged on the other side of the camera as he directed the advert for Sian

‘It looked absolutely sh*te!’ Sian commented more succinctly.

Camilla’s commercial for MLK It showed Kayode in a boxing gym, wielding a dumbbell, and ‘beating up nuts.’

‘Wait! Is that how you milk a nut?!’ gasped Jackie (in character). No.

When Camilla strode on stage at City Hall to give her presentation, the biggest disappointment was that she didn’t coo ‘Yoo-hoo !’ at the audience – in the manner she’d greeted Claude Littner in her interview.

Predictably, her speech fell apart when she attempted to address the actual facts and figures, or the exact profits from a product that would have a bumper nut content of 15% and tetra packaging.

Catchy: Camilla’s commercial for MLK It showed Kayode in a boxing gym, wielding a dumbbell, and ‘beating up nuts.’

Catchy: Camilla’s commercial for MLK It showed Kayode in a boxing gym, wielding a dumbbell, and ‘beating up nuts.’

Catchy: Camilla’s commercial for MLK It showed Kayode in a boxing gym, wielding a dumbbell, and ‘beating up nuts.’

Later in the boardroom, Lord Sugar growled that the deal she’d envisaged making with the supermarkets was ‘impossible.’

‘What do you imagine selling it to them for?’ he demanded.

When she said ‘£1.85p’ he wailed ‘really?! No, no, no! I’ve had experience of supermarkets. They’re not waiting for Camilla and MLK It.’

‘Well the market I’m in at the minute…’ she began to explain, only to be interrupted by Sugar barking: ‘that’s selling to your auntie and your uncle!’

Pitch: The finalists had to pitch to industry experts in the intimidating surroundings of City Hall

Pitch: The finalists had to pitch to industry experts in the intimidating surroundings of City Hall

Pitch: The finalists had to pitch to industry experts in the intimidating surroundings of City Hall

He had the same problem with Sian who argued ‘the way I work right now works fine!’

‘You’ve only got one machinist and one buyer! Selling about eight pieces a week!’ Sugar protested. ‘Talk about nuts! It’s peanuts!’

All of which was true but did beg the question why he’d put Sian and Camilla through into the final.

Tricky choice: Later in the boardroom Lord Sugar summarised their flaws and it was as if he’d only just realised neither of them represented a great investment

Tricky choice: Later in the boardroom Lord Sugar summarised their flaws and it was as if he’d only just realised neither of them represented a great investment

Tricky choice: Later in the boardroom Lord Sugar summarised their flaws and it was as if he’d only just realised neither of them represented a great investment

When he summarised their flaws it was as if he’d only just realised neither of them represented a great investment.

‘Camilla, only three months in business, that’s your problem. I don’t think you have a handle on your costs…Sian you have a crowded market. That is a concern to me.’

Both sensing blood, the two women took his lead and instead of defending themselves started attacking their opponent.

‘Sian is not on anyone’s radar!’ scoffed Camilla, as if she was. ‘You’ve only sold 400!’

‘Your product could be very easily ripped off Camilla!’ responded Sian with characteristically calm ferocity. ‘And if the big brands are not doing what you are, maybe there’s a reason for it – because the margins are not big enough!’

Fight: Both sensing blood, the two women took his lead and instead of defending themselves started attacking their opponent

Fight: Both sensing blood, the two women took his lead and instead of defending themselves started attacking their opponent

Fight: Both sensing blood, the two women took his lead and instead of defending themselves started attacking their opponent

Ouch: ‘Sian is not on anyone’s radar!’ scoffed Camilla, as if she was. ‘You’ve only sold 400!’

Ouch: ‘Sian is not on anyone’s radar!’ scoffed Camilla, as if she was. ‘You’ve only sold 400!’

Ouch: ‘Sian is not on anyone’s radar!’ scoffed Camilla, as if she was. ‘You’ve only sold 400!’

‘I’ve been going three months,’ Camilla snapped back instantly. ‘I’ve made a lot more progress than you!’

It was the best bit of the episode – like two girls fighting in the playground: shamefully enjoyable.

It was a relief but a surprise that the best candidate won, although Sugar’s decision to reject the chance to enter such a booming market never was clear and still seemed, well, nuts.

Surprise: It was a relief but a surprise that the best candidate won, although Sugar’s decision to reject the chance to enter such a booming market never was clear

Surprise: It was a relief but a surprise that the best candidate won, although Sugar’s decision to reject the chance to enter such a booming market never was clear

Surprise: It was a relief but a surprise that the best candidate won, although Sugar’s decision to reject the chance to enter such a booming market never was clear

Perhaps he was just seduced by the lure of the latex.

Earlier, looking at the new design of the swimwear Sian had drawn for the final, Sugar admitted: ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to this stuff!’

It didn’t seem like a good sign at the time.

But happily at the end of the final the prospect of Lord Sugar in ladies swimwear had become a reality.

In business! Happily at the end of the final the prospect of Lord Sugar in ladies swimwear had become a reality

In business! Happily at the end of the final the prospect of Lord Sugar in ladies swimwear had become a reality

In business! Happily at the end of the final the prospect of Lord Sugar in ladies swimwear had become a reality

 

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