The Apprentice candidate Tom Gearing tells us what he
has been up to since making it to the final of Lord Sugar's show
and how he's using his experience to achieve his goal of being a
Entrepreneur, wine connoisseur, heartthrob and TV star. The
traits of Tom Gearing make the 23-year-old sound more
James Bond than Apprentice candidate, but after half an hour in the
company of the latest bright spark to have come through Lord
Sugar's boardroom, one thing's for sure. Here is a man with the
world at his feet.
"As soon as the show was over I went on holiday with my
girlfriend," he says (sorry ladies, thought we'd let you know early
on). "It was nice to get away from all the furore. It started
slowly, but as the series went on, I'd get more people asking for
pictures and recognising me. It's all fun, I'm enjoying it as it's
only going to happen once and I'll be forgotten about in a few
With this in the back of his mind, Gearing is doing all he can
to make the most of his time in the spotlight now. He has moved his
Wines plus its eight members of staff into a new office in
Richmond and is working hard to expand the business.
"Since the show I've had a lot of people in the financial and
wine industries contacting me. It's been brilliant. I have a lot of
options on the table and I have a lot of people to meet and discuss
these options with," he says. "The Apprentice has given us
a fantastic launch pad and I'm looking forward to exploring all
these new avenues."
Gearing's optimism isn't surprising. Even though Lord Sugar
opted for rival Ricky Martin's recruitment business idea over the
wine hedge fund that Gearing proposed. The Amstrad tycoon didn't
tear Gearing's business plan apart, he agreed it was a decent idea;
he just opted for a tried and tested business, rather than a new
"I am going to make a success of it and it's not to prove Lord
Sugar wrong or anything, he liked my idea and Nick Hewer said my
plan was fast paced and exciting," he says. "I was just speaking to
a guy based in Luxembourg about the hedge fund. That's an
opportunity that's arisen from The Apprentice. Stuff like
that is happening all the time." He pauses for a moment before
adding, "Perhaps I'm better off without Lord Sugar's
And after coming through the boardroom unscathed to make it all
the way to the final, Gearing will be able to handle anything the
business world has to throw at him. "It's difficult to compare the
boardroom to anything else," he says. "I guess the closest thing
would be if you were going for a job interview, but Lord Sugar is
the interviewer, you've got eight cameras pointing at your face and
all your rivals are sitting beside you. It's really nerve-racking
and you have to be prepared."
"You get held outside for about three hours before you go into
the boardroom. I just used to think about every way that someone
could point the finger at me and work out my comebacks."
But with his own business already booming why did Gearing decide
to put himself through the anxiety of appearing in Lord Sugar's
"I've always been a massive fan of the show but I would never
have considered applying for it until they changed the prize to
investment rather than a job," explains Gearing. "If you go down
the normal routes of looking for investment you don't get exposure.
At the moment Cult Wines and myself are getting opportunities we
never would have had otherwise."
Despite getting to the final, Gearing confesses that he had a
pretty simple game plan. "All everyone's thinking is, I do not want
to be the first person to go home. It doesn't matter who you are.
All I wanted to do was win that first task."
Fortunately he did make it through that first task and a shed
load more after that. There were highs and lows. "My funniest
moment was when we pitched the groove train to Virgin Active. It
wasn't shown, but Azhar said we had to pitch our idea at them while
doing the 'groove train' exercise. We were there trying to come off
as serious professionals while doing a Michael Jackson moonwalk,"
he says. "But the worst moment was during the art task when I
didn't get the artist I wanted. They kept the news from me until
the end of a really long day and at 10pm they stuck a camera in my
face and gave me some news that could've ruined the task for me,
before pressuring me to pick someone else."
Gearing has no regrets about appearing on the show. His business
is on the up and he has Lord Sugar's business card tucked away in
his wallet. But what's his focus now that the show's over and his
time in the limelight may soon be over, as he admits?
"The one thing I want to do is keep my name out there in the
business world," says Gearing. "I hope this is the launch pad to
get my name in the newspaper pages about business and the fine wine
For more information about Tom Gearing's businesses,
www.wineinvestment.org, www.cultwinesltd.com, www.tomgearing.co.uk