Episode 7

Flip it in Essex

The S-word – strategy – played a key role in this week’s task, in which the candidates had to invest £150 of seed money in products to sell to the unsuspecting populace of Essex, and then reinvest the proceeds into more stock. But project manager Jade should also have paid heed to the B-word – bugs – as she missed the point of the challenge to ‘smell what sells’, stinking up the joint with her lack of focus.

The two project managers had markedly different strategies, insofar that Nick had one and Jade didn’t. Whereas Sterling were disciplined and well-organised, Jade’s Phoenix team spent so long disagreeing about selling locations that they were left with only a few minutes to do a Supermarket Sweep-style trolley dash grabbing a veritable pot pourri of products off the shelves. Only Tom had the presence of mind to keep track the numbers and margins.

However, when it came to selling to the public, they discovered their small toy bugs were scuttling off their stall rapidly. While Azhar repeatedly bugged Jade to clarify her strategy, Tom – smelling what was selling – tried to persuade her to go all in with the bugs, to no avail. That lack of focus, compounded by other errors by Jade, led to Phoenix losing the task as they failed to dazzle in the land of vajazzle.

In the boardroom, Jade struggled to choose who should join her in the final three before eventually settling on Azhar and, unbelievably, Tom. Sugar, however, was far more decisive, quickly telling Tom his position was safe before firing Azhar after Jade’s impassioned self-defence enabled her to escape. Not so much The Only Way Is Essex as The Great Escape.

In the press:
  • Tom Gearing consistently speaks up with common sense in a non-threatening manner. He is one of my favourites.
    Claire Young
    smarta
    26th Apr 2012
  • 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
  • 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
    Forbes
    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...
    Mike
    smarta
    27th Jun 2012
  • Is this man, Tom Gearing really a candidate? He belongs on the pages of omg! He's got that sultry stare perfected already.
    Rebecca
    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

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.

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