Who is Alana Spencer?
Alana became a self-taught chocolatier at the age of 16 in her parents small country kitchen in Wales, the luxury handmade cake business now known as Ridiculously Rich by Alana was born. With Delicatessens and Food Festivals nationwide loving her delicious tray bakes, Alana went on to win The Apprentice in 2016 by beating 17 other candidates and became Lord Sugar’s business partner.
Since then Alana has grown a team of over 50 Brand Ambassadors, selling her luxury handmade cakes at Food Festivals and shows, launched a range of luxury Grab & Go Bars, and most recently seen a rise in demand from wholesale customers such as convenience stores and independent retailers following from the launch of her new Self-Serve Retail Units.
Interview with Alana Spencer – Mogul In The Making
Q》What was your most memorable moment from your experience on The Apprentice 2016?
There are honestly so many that it is hard to pick, but I think the first task I was project manager stands out. Until then I had come across as very quiet and hadn’t had a chance to prove myself. It was the first food related task and I really got to show what I had to offer.
Q》 You won The Apprentice 2016 and launched your business Ridiculously Rich by Alana which is an amazing accomplishment but what’s next for Alana Spencer?
It has all been a bit of a whirlwind since winning the show, and recently we have seen a big increase in demand from wholesalers such as independent coffee shops and convenience stores, with national chains like Nisa now stocking our cakes too.
We spotted a gap in the market and created a Self-Serve Retail Unit which has been really well received with almost 15 already scheduled to be installed over the next couple of months. Getting as many of these units installed across the UK is definitely a focus for me at the moment.
Q》What makes Ridiculously Rich by Alana stand out from your competitors and do you have any plans for the future?
The recipes we use are exactly the same as when I was making them myself in my home kitchen, this is because quality is so important to me. We now work with a much larger bakery, but every cake is still made and topped by hand and I have always insisted on still using ingredients like Welsh butter, free range eggs and Belgian chocolate.
People care more and more about where their food comes from and that it is made well. In terms of products, we still offer 2 new limited edition flavors every month and I am always in the kitchen testing for new products, watch this space!
Q》What is Lord Alan Sugar like off camera and what have you learnt from him?
Lord Sugar is exactly the same as you see him on the show! He is very serious when it comes to business and really knowledgeable, he and his amazing team have been a great help and they have all helped guide me on how to manage a rapidly growing business.
Q》Can you give any advice to small business owners on how to take their business to the next level?
Growing a business is tough, but the more you can put yourself and your products or service out there the better. Talk to people, make connections and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
Get your friends and family talking about it too. Social media has become a really powerful marketing tool and you can do it cheaply or for free if you need to, so utilise this.
Q》What key piece of advice would you give to all aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have something you believe in and are passionate about then go for it! Know your products, know your brand and be confident in what you have to offer.
It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of patience, but it is really worth doing so stick to it and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from those around you.
Q》Have you made any big mistakes and what did you learn from them?
I wouldn’t say it was a mistake, but something I learned not to do was probably be trying to do everything myself. I had this business for a long time before The Apprentice and apart from a little help from friends and family it was all me, so I was very protective over my business.
But the bigger it grew the more I had to accept that I needed to let people in to help and some things would be out of my control, but as long as my key values were still there it was all okay, and now it was the best thing I did because I can be fully focused on my role and not worry about the smaller details.
Q》If you could eat dinner with 3 people living or deceased who would it be and why?
Mary Berry, the queen of baking! Jessie J, she is my absolute favourite signer and maybe could provide some after dinner entertainment, and lastly Russel Howard, I think he is hilarious and would be very funny dinner conversation.
Q》Has your upbringing played any part in your success?
I am lucky to have very supportive parents which definitely helped. It also strangely helped that I didn’t get the best grades in my AS Level exams, because at this point I was already so committed to my business, it was the push I needed to work even harder and make sure my business grew.
Q》What is the “Alana Spencer” definition of Success?
Honestly, I am not sure I will ever know what this is personally for me. My celebrations of achievements never last long as I am always looking forward to the next goal!
Q》Who do you consider to be the Most Mogul entrepreneur and why?
My uncle Nik Spencer. He also began his business when he left school and started a business in the waste industry which grew and grew. He works incredibly hard.
He is now focused on giving back and his latest company, Heru, has invented a machine that turns every day items and waste into energy to fuel your home boiler which is truly amazing. He has been a big part of my life growing up and someone that has truly inspired me.
Q》Would you be prepared to share the story of your journey at events and if so what’s the best way for people to reach you?
This is something I love to do, especially with a young audience. I started my business at 17 while I was still in school and I love to encourage others to do the same. Anyone that is interested can contact me using the contact form on my website >> Ridiculouslyrichbyalana.co.uk