Gifts Today magazine

Sweet smell of success

Contestants from BBC1’s The Apprentice turned their talents to candle making at Heyland & Whittle

Accompanied by The Apprentice gurus Karren Brady and Nick Hewer, members of Team Tenacity and Team Summit spent time at Heyland & Whittle, in Crompton Way, Crawley, to make scented candles and diffusers.
The programme was filmed in the summer but, although they were dying to shout it from the rooftops, staff had to keep quiet about their special visitors.

Company director Ursula Heyland said the BBC called out of the blue following a recommendation from retail giant John Lewis, a Heyland & Whittle customer.

She added: “It was so secretive. We had to sign a confidentiality agreement before they would even tell us what the programme was.
“When we found out it was The Apprentice we were very excited because we love it and watch it anyway.”

Once the visit was organised, the teams were assigned one member of staff each to guide them through the process.
Padraig McEnerney took charge of Team Tenacity while Dan Shaw was with Team Summit.

And the secrecy continued even after the eight candidates had started work to create what they hoped would be the perfect candles and diffusers.
Ursula said: “They were in the same building but in each section every window was blocked. We just stayed behind the screens and peaked through the windows and the cracks in the doors.”

While the final edit of The Apprentice often paints the candidates in a less than flattering light when it comes to competence and ability, Ursula said both teams worked very hard – though not without the odd hiccup along the way.

Regarding the work of team Tenacity, she said: “Some of the candles they made came out a bit fluorescent yellow and they had to throw them away – that didn’t get mentioned on the show.”

Ursula added: “They did a great job. They definitely did. They did work hard and they got through the problems. I think these people are very brave. They seemed like very ordinary people. One of the teams was singing and enjoying what they were doing.”

With the teams gone and their products packed and delivered at 5.30 the next morning, all that remained for Ursula and her husband Paddy was to keep their secret and wait for all to be revealed on Wednesday (October 22).

Once it was, Heyland & Whittle found themselves inundated with calls. Ursula said: “The phones and emails have been hot!”

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