With the new series of The Apprentice starting, Rachel Ducker chats to previous winner, Alana Spencer, about her carer since appearing on the show and what she has been up to…
Q1: You won the Apprentice in 2016 – do you have any regrets about being on the show?
I have no regrets. As the old saying goes, everything happens for a reason and I don’t believe in regretting decisions you make. Plus it all worked out pretty ok for me.
Q2: If you have been watching, what do you think of this years contestants?
I have indeed. Every year it becomes less strange watching it. For the first couple of years it was particularly odd but now I just enjoy it for the great TV show it is. I think they seem like a good bunch. You have obviously got your great for TV candidates but also there are some really strong contenders with already great businesses on the outside. It’s too early to call but I do like a lot of the girls this year, it’s a strong year for the girls I think.
Q3: Can you tell us more about how your business benefited since being on the show and what’s happened since?
The Apprentice fully changed my life, as it has many others and I am so grateful to the show and to Lord Sugar and his Team for seeing something in me. Before the show I was a baker and a market trader, baking cakes and going to the local markets and fairs to sell them. Now I have a team of 50 ambassadors that sell my cakes across the country. I have just opened a new bakery here in my home town of Aberystwyth with a shop on the front that we open every Friday and we sell to some of the best retailers in the country from wonderful independents to big nationals. I feel so proud of what me and my little team have achieved in such a short space of time and I’m so excited to see what is next.
Q4: You are no longer working with Lord Sugar, and you’ve bought back your shares, how good does that feel?
I can honestly say it feels amazing. It has been such an incredible experience working on the business with Lord Sugar and his team but to own 100% again so quickly is a dream come true. I have learned so much from my time in business with Lord Sugar and I believe its set me up to go on and grow Ridiculously Rich even further.
Q5: Can you tell us what you have been up to most recently?
Well, actually we have been incredibly busy recently. For the last three years we have been working with a bakery to bake our cakes for us. This has enabled me to fully focus on the business side. However, three months ago we made the decision to open our very own bakery here in Aberystwyth and make all the cakes in house again. We have been busy working hard to hit our deadline for this and somehow have managed to pull it off, we opened last week. We even have a little shop on the front that we open every Friday to try out new flavours.
Q6: What plans do you have in the pipeline?
We are launching with some exciting retailers over the next 6 months and also have plans to expand on our franchise business. It’s all pretty go go go at the moment just getting used to running a bakery on a bigger scale but my ultimate goal is to make Ridiculously Rich a go to in the luxury snacking business.
Q7: What advice would you give to someone else looking to push their business to the next level?
I get asked this all the time and my answer always changes. I have been given so much advice over the years and learned so much that I could talk for hours about all the things I have learned but at this moment in time my advice would be two things. Firstly, you really are only as good as your team so surround yourself with people who are good at what they do and who care about what you are trying to create. That way you are all on the journey together. Secondly, if something isn’t working, change it, don’t flog a dead horse. I have had to adapt and change so much over the last three years. Its difficult when you put a lot of time into an idea to scrap or change it if it isn’t working but its the only thing you can do if you want to keep going.
Q8: How would you sum up your last three years?
A complete whirlwind. How has it been 3 years?!? It doesn’t even feel like one.