"He is very trusting"- The Apprentice winner Alana Spencer reveals the softer side of Lord Sugar
Everything you need to know
Where did your business venture begin?
The business began back in school. It actually started as a chocolate business as my mum bought me a book on how to make chocolates. I would spend my evenings playing around with flavours until I was happy with the range then one Christmas I made an order form and started taking orders from friends, family and teachers and on top of this I scored a large order for corporate gifts. I remember I made £2500 that Christmas which felt like a million pounds to 17 year old me. The business then took an organic change to cake as I started doing markets and left school to pursue the business full time.
Tell us about Ridiculously Rich by Alana?
Ridiculously Rich by Alana is the rebrand of my childhood business Narnas. We specialise in luxury handmade tray bakes that we sell at events, festivals and markets but also to the trade.
What products would you recommend to someone who hasn’t tried them before?
In the current range I like to think we have something for everyone. The Peanut Butter Fudge Cake does stand out as a show stopper though. It really is Ridiculously Rich! We are currently developing new monthly specials and the Toffee Pecan Slice in the March box is my new fave and I will be sad once its gone. Its layers of toffee, caramel pecans and crumble and like all the other products it’s my own recipe.
What is your USP?
What makes my products different to all the other cakes on the market is that we bring the market to the consumer. The decadent products you can get from your local Saturday market made by hand. We are scaling up but we won’t loose the homemade look and taste of the cakes. We also have hight brand values using only free range eggs and Belgian chocolate.
Tell us about the monthly special? What kind of goodies can you get?
Well this month the special products are the Toffee Pecan Slice and a Toasted Hazelnut Brownie. Its my favourite bit of the the business as I love baking and coming up with new products. The problem is we now have a lot of cakes to taste!
What was it like being on The Apprentice?
It was more intense than you could ever imagine. They warn you before you go in how tough it is but you take no notice, all you are thinking is this is it, I’m in. It was incredible as well though. Never did I think you could love and hate something so much. It was obviously all worth it in the end though. We are all just so tired all the time and competition does funny things to people.
What did you do as soon as The Apprentice was over?
It was very strange. You leave the final boardroom and they start taking the set down as you are waiting for the cab. I went to see my family but I was a bit of a zombie. They had booked a lovely apartment in Camden and we went out for food and talked about the crazy things I had been up to. It affected me more than I expected. When I got home all I wanted to do was talk to Grainee and Fran. Once I was back to my old self it was back to business.
What is it like working with Lord Sugar?
He is very trusting, he lets me get on with the day to day things and gives me advice when I need it. I couldn’t have asked for a better business mentor.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the business world?
My uncle gave me the best bit of advice a while ago. “Know what you are trying to achieve otherwise there is no point in trying”, I think that’s a really good bit of advice - whether it’s trying to turn over a million pounds a year, grow an international brand or create a comfortable wage for yourself so you don’t have to answer to anyone. Once you know this you will be able to get there a lot quicker.
Where do you do hope the business will go in the future?
In my case, I want Ridiculously Rich by Alana to be a leading player in the luxury cake market. I want people to think of us when they are planning their parties or buying a treat.