20 QUESTIONS: Santa Claus

The man himself took time out from preparing for the busiest day of his year to talk to MT about why he couldn't be the tooth fairy, working as a reindeer herd and organic growth.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2013

1. If you had done something else, what would it have been?

I always fancied the idea of a career in tooth fairying, but I didn’t have the qualifications to get into dental school.

2. What else would you name your business?

We’ve got a strong brand but I’ve been tempted to go down the tech route and call it something like ‘Santify’.

3. If you could be based in another city, where would it be?

I do miss the sun sometimes, so somewhere in the Caribbean.

4. When you started, how did you raise money?

I started off small and grew organically, so it’s all been funded by me. I did try to raise finance a few years ago but investors didn’t seem to understand my business plan.

5. What has been your most important decision so far?

To work from Lapland. It’s nice and remote, so we’ve got plenty of privacy, and there’s no statutory minimum wage in Finland.

6. What has been your biggest mistake?

Not putting Rudolph in charge of logistics from the very start. Once I asked him to guide my sleigh, the transit side got a lot more straightforward.

7. What idea do you wish you had come up with?

My outfit. If I had started wearing my red suit 100 years before Coca Cola gave me the idea, I think my brand could have been a lot stronger a lot earlier.

8. How do you handle stress?

Mince pies and a glass of sherry help to relax me. I get a lot of them on Christmas eve.

9. What was your first job?

I worked in a reindeer stable when I was about 16. They’re actually quite aggressive animals if you get too close. By the end, I'd had enough of shovelling Reindeer dung.

10. What was your worst job?

Working in a toy factory. I honestly don’t know how the elves do it.

11. What is the best part of your job?

Compiling the list of good and naughty boys and girls. I like to be really thorough when I’m checking their records.

12. If you were on the Apprentice, what would your team name be?

The Beardy Weirdoes. Just to rub it in how poor Sugar’s facial hair is. 

13. Which company would you invest in right now?

Honestly, anything to do with Halloween. It’s getting more and more popular in countries outside the US - I'm feeling seriously under pressure.

14. Apart from property, what is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?

A flying sleigh. It’s made from carbon fibre-infused epoxy resin, like Boeing’s Dreamliner, and it’s powered by moonlight, so it’s completely eco-friendly. Not a leaky battery or a blown-out engine in sight...

15. Suits or jeans?

Suits, obviously. My elves are out on their pointy ears if they look anything other than immaculate.

16. Flexible working or office hours?

I’d like to be more flexible but in truth it’s important to maintain a physical presence in the office.

17. What is the best thing about your office?

Free sweets on tap.

18. What app can’t you live without?

Google Maps on Christmas eve. Candy Crush during the rest of the year.

19. Who is your business idol?

Branson. Great beard and great abilities to keep things offshore...

20. If you were prime minister for the day, what would you change?

Free presents for all, harsher punishments for naughty boys and girls.

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