Apprentice winner's product feels familiar

Tom Pellereau, the winner of last year's Apprentice, has revealed the fruits of his labour: an s-shaped nail file. Hang on - haven't we heard of that before?

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 03 Aug 2012
Tom Pellereau, the winner of Lord Sugar’s £250,000 business investment at the end of last year’s Apprentice, has finally revealed the fruits of his labour over the past year. And the result is – well, it’s rather disappointing, actually.

For those who had something to do last year other than taking mild pleasure from Sugar’s put-downs, Pellereau was cast as the wacky inventor in the series. When it came down to it, though, his business plan wasn’t quite as innovative as one might have hoped from someone who spent much of the series proclaiming his inventing credentials – some kind of back pain relief chair, as we recall. At the time, Sugar let him down gently, with words to the effect that while he liked his enthusiasm, he might have to find something else to do.

Pellereau, as we discovered, had had a business before (more of which later). But a spokesperson for his new company, Aventom (tagline ‘Inventing a better tomorrow’), which is 50% owned by Sugar, said he was concentrating on his new project: ‘Tom's focus has been completely on the new venture... and a range of exciting new products will be launched very soon.’

So what’s this magnificent new venture? The ‘Stylfile Collection’ – the ‘S-file’, an s-shaped nail file; the ‘S-buffer’, an s-shaped nail buffer; and the ‘emergency’ S-file. You get the picture. Pellereau says he’s been working ‘night and day’ to create the collection, which ‘allows for easier filing and creates a smoother, curved finish’. And after a year of working with Lord Sugar, he doesn’t seem to have lost any enthusiasm: ‘it has been the experience of a lifetime, and seeing my product on a shelf is a dream come true,’ he gushed. Quite.

What’s slightly puzzling is that the Stylfile isn’t exactly a brand new product. The curved nailfile was actually available before, from Pellereau’s old business, Foxifile. The company’s actually still around – according to The Telegraph, it’s due to be wound up at the end of April. Although its accounts show the curved nail-file was less than a success: at the end of the year, it had just £282 in the bank.

Sugar, though, seems to think things will be different this time around. ‘Tom has worked diligently this past year… he’s done extremely well at turning a very good concept into three excellent products.’ If you say so…

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