Biscuits to Business: 9 Years After The Apprentice

Biscuits to Business: 9 Years After The Apprentice

What happens years after leaving the boardroom? What is it like to be the Apprentice? Let us show you what life has been like for the 2011 winner of The Apprentice, Inventor Tom- now owner of successful beauty business STYLIDEAS.

Nine years on from MyPy pies, Emergency Biscuits and board room bustups, Inventor Tom now has 30+ beauty inventions on international shelves. He now has team of 12, a STYLIDEAS HQ, a filming studio, and has won awards for changing the world of beauty. So, how did it all happen?


What happens when you win?

Well, Tom staged winning for starters. Tom had to record winning without knowing whether he actually had. Finalists Helen and Tom had to record two endings, one where Helen won and one where Tom won. He only found out he had won the day before the transmission of the final programme. So, it was pretty surreal from start to finish.

Then Lord Sugar invested £250,000 into Tom’s business. He signed contracts and sat where the apprentice sits- right outside the boss’ office. Then the planning and investing started, redesigning, and remarketing Tom’s invention of the STYLFILE, the world’s first curved nailfile. Tom was designing packaging and pitching all the sales himself, managing to buy 50,000 pieces after doing a deal with Sainsbury’s. From buying stock Tom was able to start to turn it into money and begin the process of inventing other beauty-busting products.

What's happened since?

Since winning, Tom has invented multiple products that change beauty for the better. In 2015 Tom came up with the world’s fastest makeup brush cleaner and drier, appearing on the market in 2016. Using centrifugal technology, the STYLPRO is the only brush cleaner to both clean, dry and protect brush fibres in less than 30 seconds. The STYLPRO was the invention that really kickstarted the growth of STYLIDEAS. In 2016, Tom and team were working out of the tiniest boxroom office, doing the daily grind from a wooden stool! But the world saw Tom’s genius in the STYLPRO, turning over £2.5 million in the first 18 months of its launch.

The STYLPRO opened so many doors for STYLIDEAS, winning awards such as LOOK Beauty Awards’ Best Make-Up Innovation and 2019’s FMCG’s Health & Beauty Care category. We have worked with some amazing retailers across Europe and Australia, Japan, Thailand, India and Canada, ever expanding our outreach. Tom has gone on to invent ground-breaking blue light sonic toothbrush and PAPTech non-peroxide Teeth Whitening Kits, Reusable Bamboo Makeup Removal, Home Gel Removal Kits, Spy hole NipperClippers and many more innovative products.

Where is Lord Sugar?

He is currently in Australia but continues to check up on Tom every few days. Tom still runs ideas by him for his backing, but the invention process is still very much the fruit of Tom’s engineering inspiration. The business is and always has been, a 50:50 deal.

What is happening now?

In the last financial year, we turned over £5 million, a superbly fruitful and prosperous year for STYLIDEAS. Although this year has been an incredibly challenging one for all, we are fortunate enough to have been able to keep inventing and developing. In this past month we have released our brand new STYLSMILE Teeth Whitening Range, worked with new young creatives, built an in-house filming studio and welcomed some new faces into the business.

A week at STYLSMILE HQ involves continuous product development, brainstorming, bad jokes in team meetings and discovering Tom loves Swedish House Mafia.
We are looking forward to the busiest time of year- Christmas! We have some amazing products ready for the season, including our gorgeous Brush Cleaning Gift Sets, which come in 4 fun styles and always provide instantly clean and dry makeup brushes. Find yours here.


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