Last night, Lord Sugar‘s search for a new business partner finally ended, and Sian Gabiddon was told “you’re hired!” Meanwhile, her rival, Camilla Ainsworth, was on the receiving end of the classic The Apprentice bellow: “you’re fired!”.
Viewers saw Gabiddon pitch her reversible made-to-measure swimwear and Ainsworth pitch her gourmet-flavoured high-nut-content vegan “milk” in a showdown that led Sugar to go with the slightly surprising choice of the colourful bikini brand.
Sugar said: “I think that yours is a growing market [Camilla], and yours is a massive market [Sian], it’s very tough for me to make a decision.
“But on reflection, Sian, you have a great aptitude and a talent for design – you’re going to be my business partner.”
However, eagle-eyed fans noticed that both women’s brands changed names when the products appeared in the Apprentice.
Ainsworth initially presented her brand as MYLKPLUS, but in last night’s show it was changed to MLK IT. Gabiddon’s swimwear company was called Sian Marie Fashion, but she presented it as SYO.
Why the name change?
It was all part of the task, according to Ainsworth, who believes Sugar wanted to see how they could cope with a rebranding exercise.
She told RadioTimes.com: “It was really bizarre. I was like, ‘I feel a bit disconnected because even though it’s my business, it’s not my business,’ if that makes sense. It’s obviously different branding and we couldn’t have had any of the same names – nothing!”
She added: “I think that was done on purpose to really test us.”
Ainsworth also claimed that she wasn’t allowed to use her original chosen colour for the brand – pink – and was given orange instead.
“You’re presented with choices and you have to choose certain things,” she said. “You don’t have free rein on the colours [in the final]. Obviously, I wanted pink and that wasn’t an option, so I was quite restricted. So when people are watching and saying, ‘Why have they done that?’ it’s sometimes because it’s out of our hands.”
There were several comments made in the final about the “cow pat” design of Ainsworth’s packaging, and they picked up on the fact that vegans drinking non-dairy milk aren’t going to want to associate it with animals and their milk.
She added: “It is a bit frustrating because people are going to be commenting on the branding and stuff like that and it’s difficult. I just want to scream at the top of a building, ‘This isn’t my brand! This is my brand!’.”
The official line
A spokesperson for The Apprentice said: “During the final, the candidates are asked to present their business plan and come up with a hypothetical brand name to show their skills in branding. The intention is not necessarily to trade with this name. The final decision of the branding of the new business will be made by the candidate and Lord Sugar, and at this point all necessary trademark checks will be made.”
Where can I buy their products?
Now the show is finished, both Apprentice finalists are trading under their original names again.
Sian Marie Fashion’s brand Swim by Sian is available from here, and the exact bikini on last night’s show is available to buy, and called the reversible Athena (pre-order price: £49). The website already boasts “as seen on BBC’s The Apprentice” and offers a money-off code, APPRENTICEWINNER. That’s some proper business acumen there, already.
Ainsworth’s gourmet vegan nut “milk” website and brand MYLKPLUS is here, and a pack of four salted honeycomb hazelnut bottles is £11. You can also buy a t-shirt with a cartoon cow showing its udders saying “leave my tits alone,” if you so desire (£20). There’s no mention of appearing on The Apprentice.
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