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Live webchat TODAY with 'Inventor Tom', winner of The Apprentice series 7, Friday 26 July, 1-2pm

(61 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jul-13 10:45:46

Tom Pellereau, engineer, inventor and everyone's favourite Apprentice winner, is joining us at Mumsnet Towers for a webchat on Friday 26 July between 1 and 2pm.

Since winning The Apprentice in 2011 and gaining investment from Lord Sugar, Tom has been busy creating a host of beauty products that aim to make everyday chores easier.

His 'curved S-file' was the top-selling beauty accessory following its launch last March. Since then, he has gone on to launch six more products, including the S-clipper and, most recently the Nipper Clipper, the world's first baby nail clipper, which allows parents to trim nails safely and correctly. Having read Lottiegarbanzo's contribution to the #TipsforKate discussion thread, perhaps a useful purchase for a certain pair of new parents?

Join Tom tomorrow (Friday 26 July) to quiz him about life after not being fired or post a question to him in advance.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 13:51:54


Hi Tom,

Welcome to Mumsnet. Following your back chair proposal on The Apprentice, how are you finding the chairs in Mumsnet Towers? What would you rate them?

Also - and more seriously, is it a viable policy for the government to encourage more young people to forget traditional jobs and encourage them to start their own businesses?

Hi - nice question, I've already tried out 3 of the chairs here. This one is good. The first, had what i call a negative rake which puts pressure on the lower lumber and L5 S1 disc, so I had to get rid of it ;) Chairs are really important to me.

Your serious question is indeed a serious one. Everyone is different and starting your own business is not for everyone. But young people should know its a viable option. Programs like the Apprentice show what is possible. In many ways when you are young is the best time to start a biz as you can live cheap!

Starting your own biz is incredible difficult, can absorb every second of your time and means you do miss out on other things.

Possibly a crucial thing, we need to encourage is to help people discover, what they want from life and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to get it.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 13:53:30


Sorry to ask another..I know I'm not meant to smile did you keep in touch with any of the other contestants after the Apprentice ended? Was it hard to go back to normality after appearing on a reality TV show?

Yes it was difficult. Especially not having a car waiting for you whenever you walked out of a building. I stay in touch with Helen and Jim, as we spent a lot of time together

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 13:56:41


Hi Tom - you one of favourite Apprentice winners - and congratulations on the birth of Jack smile

My question: the interviews week is always brilliant viewing, and usually, gives the clearest clues to the likely winner - how do you interview when employing new staff & have you learnt any techniques from the fabulous Claude?

The interviews do make for good viewing but are terrifying to go through, especially the one with Claude. I hope that I'm not that scary. When I interview I look for the right qualifications but also how they will fit in with my team.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:00:38


Thanks for answering my questions Tom. Can I also ask, how have you ensured that your 'niceness' in business hasn't been perceived as you being a pushover?

Not a problem! I think its a bit of misconception that you have to be mean to get ahead in business. While it works for some, I prefer to take a more gentle approach, although I am no less passionate about my work because of this.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:01:32


Tom. What's the best way to get an invention patented? I've seen load of web based companies but they all say they will send a pack out and I send my idea back. What's to stop them from stealing it (if its any good)

I'd be interested to talk to you as to how you got started. Could you email me? Thanks

Patents have 4 costs.

1. Writing: a good patent attorney, will charge £1000-2000 to write a patent.

2. Submiting: official patent costs. For a UK only patent this is about £300

3. International costs: After about 30 months, if you want to protect your idea in other countries, like USA, EU ... you have to pay for each region seperately. This costs about £4k for USA, £3k for EU ....

4. Annual fees: after about 3 years you have to pay annual fees to each region. These start small but get bigger.

All in all a world patent will cost min £15,000 !!!

My advice, which is very different to most IP Attorneys, is to learn how to write your own simple patent. Submit this for £250, then start talking to people about your idea. Your patent will not be published for 12 months.

Use this to judge how successful the idea is and then get a professional to write a better patent. Bearing in mind that you could have costs of £15,000 to cover.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:03:51


What made you interested in nails in particular? Or was it something like came to you as an idea out of the blue?

Hi, think I asnwered this in: UnsureOfOutcome Qu. Hope it helps.

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:04:27

Hi - Fingers on fire here. Fortunately I've been given a fan !

PseudoBadger Fri 26-Jul-13 14:05:10

Ah you've got lots of fans wink

TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:06:25


I know it's cheeky to ask another question BUT are there any inventions out there that you wish you invented?

Which inventors inspire you most?

Feel free to act like you've seen my sneaky 3rd question grin

The light bulb, that was a pretty bright idea ! Not to mention the guy who invented the window sill, what a ledge !


TomPellereau Fri 26-Jul-13 14:12:01

Unfortunately I think time's up. I hope my answers have been helpful and I'm sorry to anyone who asked a question that I couldn't get round to.

Do feel free to tweet any additional comments or questions to @inventor_tom and I'll try my best to get back to you.

Every week we do a #FileFriday giveaway on Twitter. Today we're giving away the entire Stylfile range to celebrate the birth of the royal baby.

Visit if you want any more info or to see me on the screen again demo-ing the products.

Thanks for having me Mumsnet Towers!

ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 14:13:10

Thank you to Tom for all his great answers. We wish him all the best with his future inventions and will look out for the Nipper Clipper on the Kentish Town high street.

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