Episode 4

Junk shops

In what was literally a rubbish task, The Apprentice met Bargain Hunt as the two teams were presented with the challenge of buying and selling second-hand items to the public from shops in Brick Lane.

It was a tale of two project managers, as Tom’s strategy of minimalist sourcing contrasted with Laura’s Supermarket Sweep-style approach of buying everything she could lay her hands on. Tom’s team, in particular Adam and Katie, were initially dubious. However, by having a focussed purchasing strategy, carefully managing costs and then selectively reinvesting in new inventory as they sold out, his team successfully maximised their profit. Money for old rope.

By contrast, Laura’s team grabbed everything they could, with the apparent aim of creating the EU junk mountain. With no coordinated strategy, they procured more than four times as many items as Tom’s team. In Duane’s own words, they couldn’t look a gift horse in the eye. As a result they created a store which looked haphazard and over-full. What a load of rubbish – literally. They were similarly uncontrolled when it came to buying materials to add value to their stock, pushing up their costs as they forgot one of the golden rules of business: sales is vanity, profit is sanity.

Despite achieving higher sales, Laura’s team found themselves soundly defeated when profits were added up. The project manager found herself under the spotlight for her lack of strategy, while Gabrielle was criticised for her extravagant spending. But ultimately it was Jane who was fired for her ham-fisted and unproductive selling technique. Less sales patter, more trash talk.

In the press:
  • What an enigmatic bloke! He is very quietly spoken with remarkable composure, which means that when he does talk people listen to him. And he is bright, a strategist, thoughtful.
    Nick Hewer
    The Radio Times
    19th May 2012
  • Is this man, Tom Gearing really a candidate? He belongs on the pages of omg! He's got that sultry stare perfected already.
    OMG from Yahoo!
    13th Mar 2012
  • Tom was in control and implemented a risky strategy of quality and desirability of product over quantity. This proved to be a winning strategy and his experience shone through...Tom understood the task and remained confident with the risks he took. Demonstrating drive and determinism as well as competitiveness and knowledge
    Phil Sheridan
    The Telegraph
    12th Apr 2012
  • Tom shot to stardom for being the best dressed man on television (pretty much single handedly bringing back the tie clip in the process), but more poignantly for showing business wisdom and entrepreneurial nous way beyond his years.
    Christopher Warren-Gash
    16th Jul 2012
  • Entrepreneur, wine connoisseur, heartthrob and TV star. The traits of Tom Gearing make the 23-year-old sound more James Bond than Apprentice...
    27th Jun 2012
  • Tom Gearing consistently speaks up with common sense in a non-threatening manner. He is one of my favourites.
    Claire Young
    26th Apr 2012

Latest news:

Tom chats to Joe Forrester

Monday 11 Jun 2012

In this interview, Apprentice 2012 runner-up Tom Gearing chats to Joe Forrester about his time on the hit business show.

More news

Contact me