Monday, 8 November 2010

Apprentice Week 5 - The Dark Side of Poloma

Week 5 of the apprentice see’s the candidates heading up to Trafford Centre in Manchester. Both teams were given their own store in one of the busiest shopping centres in Europe, bringing in a total of 500,000 customers per week. However Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs idea of fashion was: “Fashion is the most boring thing in the world… Selling £2 of cotton for a hundred pounds – that’s like selling magic beans.” Quite rightly when one group was selling used clothes, one item being used ties to make a Ball gown sold for £300.

Team leaders this week were chosen by Lord Sugar, Liz for Synergy, Poloma for Apollo.

Alex was branded as an ‘irritant’ by Poloma, although this is correct, Alex did manage to secure a advertisement that played throughout the day on the Trafford Centre TV. Whilst also securing £500 of sales, and having plenty of ideas on the layout of the Store. He did however mess up by not thinking through his decision to grab a promotion area which turned out to be about an hour's brisk walk from the store. He was reduced to wearing a sandwich board, frightening off passers by and suggesting the team lie about celebrity guests in store.

Poloma put all the blame on Alex throughout the task and later on in the boardroom revealing her more manipulative side and prone to playground antics. Yet the day goes on and once the shops finally open the real selling can get started. Stella, waving from the display window, to Nicks bemused expression, and saying it was “Behind me you can see Stella wearing a very short sequined emerald green dress waving at people from a window. Amsterdam, maybe – but not in Manchester.” So although both teams were evenly matched it was Poloma who was to be shown the dreaded finger.

So where did the teams go wrong
Take the blame or be quiet
Poloma was quick to be on the attack in the boardroom, pointing the blame at everyone but herself. She also point blank criticised Sandeesh’s overall performance by saying, “Everybody really did pull their weight on the day, so I can only base this decision on, as a candidate overall, who I think is going to come in with me, and I’ve chosen Sandeesh.” She then goes on to criticise Alex’s and Sandeesh’s business acumen, noting that neither have achieved anything in their business careers. Leaving Lord Sugar to respond: “I don’t like your last outbursts. And for my 40 years of business and my gut feeling, I don’t like what I’ve seen across the table here today. You’ve talked yourself out of this. If you’d have shut up a while back it may be someone else going. Paloma, you’re fired”.

With both stores being set up new, there was a distinct lack of marketing and planning involved. Stella was seen to be waving from a window with just a sofa strewn with clothes, looking similar to a teenager’s bedroom. With stock being short in store there was also a lot of free space making the look and feel of the store to be empty. Synergy meanwhile secured a promotional area a brisk hours walk from their store, rendering the whole thing practically useless. Yet this was improved by the constant advert running every 15 minutes on The Trafford Centre TV.

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