Vana’s View: The Apprentice finalist on Week 10 – Nebula are in the pink after the gin branding task

Vana is happy to see so many women heading towards the final five - but remembers how tough the drinks market is to crack after her own Apprentice experience...

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Greenwich. Two weeks to go. Grainne sings in the car ride over, “Who runs the world? Girls!” Out of the six candidates that remain, five are women! I’m so excited about this.

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Time to create a gin! And Lord Sugar is mixing up the teams. This is going to be interesting. It’s always fun to see new people work together. Last year, after the show, I launched my own low calorie, flavoured wine label called VinobyVana with Virgin Wines. It was tough to sell to the supermarkets! There is so much competition out there, so I can see this being a really difficult market to crack.

Alanna and Courtney both want to be project manager. Courtney wins. I wish Alanna had. But hey – I guess he was more assertive. Love you, Alanna, but you gotta speak up more girl.

Frances is branding on her own. That’s going to be difficult. Courtney is so rude to Alanna saying that he wants someone to “sanity check”. Fruity flavours sell out, according to Alanna. I like that she gives her input.

This is a tough task. They need to build brand identity and then pitch to industry executives.

Orange and brown labelling for Alanna’s product. Sounds good if it’s implemented right. But I don’t know about adding the colouring… the producer mentions that it’s “frowned upon.”

Trishna and Grainne are doing the spicy gin. Alanna is focusing on fruity. I think the fruity is more market friendly.

Jessica and Courtney are having a creative block but I like their concept of “Giin”. This is a drink for sharing with your friends. I like that Alanna goes with her gut and says clear gin is better than pink. In my opinion that’s a good call!

Raspberry, lemon and pink pepper. Love Alanna’s flavour choices. I’m still confused as to what Grainne and Trishna chose. They were too busy enjoying the drinks!

Grainne and Jess are doing consumer research. Those are tough jobs but the pitch will be even harder. If I were Courtney, I would have sent Alanna and Jess to do the pitch. He’s not a very good public speaker and hasn’t been throughout this process!

Colony is a word that people have negative connotations with. That’s what I thought when I heard the choice of name, but I didn’t really dwell on it because I thought Fran’s work was so excellent. She had such a clear vision and executed it so well.

In terms of the Giin branding, there is no pink on it! I expected there to be more of a hint of raspberry on the labelling. The industry experts had the same impression that the raspberry wasn’t shining through.

Fran is pitching with Trishna but Trishna is making a ton of noise during the set up, as opposed to supporting her! It’s a bit distracting, if you ask me, but the tasters don’t seem to mind! They give the taste a stellar review.

Into the second Tesco pitch, I’m cringing a bit when Courtney speaks. And it’s mortifying when the buyer cuts Jessica off.

The second team is up and I think the three of them do a better job. Fran and Trishna seem to disagree in the pitch. I’m a bit concerned about the dynamics in Grainne’s team. The industry experts can sense when there is a unified team in front of them, versus a discombobulated one!

Now, for the BEST part!!! The boardroom.

Grainne’s team is up first. Fran seems to do the best job here, with her design work. It’s well done – detail oriented and focussed. I think Grainne should relax a bit and not mention that Fran was patronising towards her.

Now for Courtney’s team. Lord Sugar calls him out for not using the colour pink in the product labelling. And even better – for not being a very strong public speaker. Claude calls him out. He should NOT be so proud about his pitching abilities. But… 1,200 bottles ordered from the supermarket for Courtney’s team! £71,400 for Nebula. I’m not surprised. In my mind, they were the clear winners.

Nebula – Jess, Alanna and Courtney – all make it into the final five. I am really starting to love Alanna. She’s so funny and witty. Loved her little joke about leaving quickly before Lord Sugar, Karren and Claude change their minds.

At the Bridge cafe, the tone is really different… Grainne is accusing Fran of trying to sabotage her. It’s all a bit crazy and intense. Back in the boardroom, though, Lord Sugar totally calls Grainne out for not being present in the only pitch that generated sales! Uh oh. What a GRIM “bottom 3” boardroom.

I’m impressed that things are staying relatively calm, though. I really think that the ultimate failure of the task was the fact that the whole team was not getting along. This was abundantly clear to the industry professionals. Looks like Trishna is the one to bite the dust! I’m shocked. Utterly flabbergasted. I wish she had stayed!!!!!! I’m going to miss you Trishna. I think you’re spot on and you’re gonna be super successful in your career.

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Now, Final Five time. Can’t wait for the next episode!