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From waves to raves! Apprentice winner Sian Gabbidon reveals what she's done with Lord Sugar's £250k as her swimwear brand makes a splash

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 18/04/2019 Angelique Ruzicka For Thisismoney.co.uk
(Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

With summer festivals fast approaching Sian Gabbidon, winner of the last series of BBC television show The Apprentice, is hoping to take a slice out of the poolside party business market with the launch of a new swimwear collection.

Following her victory, in which she beat 15 other candidates, she received £250,000 investment from business mogul Lord Sugar.  

Her brand - Sian Marie - faces stiff competition in the fashion swimwear business with famous celebrities having launched or lent their names to collections, including models Abbey Clancy, Liz Hurley, Heidi Klum and Kendall Jenner.

But this hasn't stopped her from powering ahead to unveil her own SS19 Tropical Goddess collection, now modeled by Hayley Hughes from Love Island and actress Michelle Keegan, who recently wore Sian's 'The Athena' bikini while on holiday in Barbados.

Alan Sugar et al. posing for the camera: Swimmingly: Sian Gabbidon won The Apprentice and £250k backing from Lord Sugar © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Swimmingly: Sian Gabbidon won The Apprentice and £250k backing from Lord Sugar

Since winning The Apprentice, Sian, 26, says she's been busy building her team in Leeds and taking the business structure from small to large scale and into mass production.

She told This is Money: 'Alongside this I also designed, sampled, shot and launched our summer swimwear range - with a huge celebrity party at Sheesh restaurant.'

The swimwear pieces, which can be bought at sianmarie.com, range from £45 to around £65 and come in a large range of colours and prints. 

The price range sits comfortably between some other celebrity backed ranges. 

Abbey Clancy has launched her own collection through retailer Lipsy with prices starting from £38, while swimwear from the Elizabeth Hurley Beach collection, is more expensive with prices starting from £138 and up.  

Sian says her designs are for women aged 25 to 34 who want to make a statement by the pool or at festivals.

a woman sitting in a pool of water: Hayley Hughes from Love Island models costumes from Sian Gabbidon's new Tropical Goddess range © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Hayley Hughes from Love Island models costumes from Sian Gabbidon's new Tropical Goddess range

The Tropical Goddess collection showcases multi-way and reversible styles, and The Athena two piece featured on the final episode of The Apprentice currently retails for £49.

Sian says: 'The Tropical Goddess collection offers girls beautifully fitting swimwear pieces, by allowing customers to select different sizes for the top and bottoms, whilst still being stylish and statement making.

'The collection is perfect for when you want to enhance your curves to make you feel your best. The collection caters to all bodies and will pull you in at all the right places.

a person standing in front of a pool: The swimwear pieces, which can be bought at sianmarie.com , range in price from £45 to around £65 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The swimwear pieces, which can be bought at sianmarie.com , range in price from £45 to around £65

But celebrities won't be her only target audience. 

She said: 'We are working on retailer orders which will be announced and available to purchase very soon, as well as opening our very first three day pop up shop experience at the Trinity in Leeds... and much more.'

Sian says the business now has a full detailed plan in terms of how Lord Sugar's investment will be used. 

She adds: 'Moving into mass production means we have allocated pockets of money to produce our product - but marketing is also key and will be an area that we invest in to get the product in front of our customer.'

a woman posing for a picture: Sian says many of her swimwear pieces are reversible with multi-way styles that allow the customers to 'make it their own' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Sian says many of her swimwear pieces are reversible with multi-way styles that allow the customers to 'make it their own'

She says there are a number of ways that her brand differentiates from others in the market.

'Our designs and prints are completely unique and cannot be found elsewhere - alongside this I also use a lot of reversible and multi-way styles within my collection to allow the customers to 'make it their own' and switch it up when the time is right.

She's putting all her energy and focus on the swimwear business and has revealed to This is Money that she has no plans on doing any other ventures.

a group of people posing for the camera: Lord Sugar poses with 2018 The Apprentice winner Sian Gabbidon and models wearing bikinis from Sian's collection © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Lord Sugar poses with 2018 The Apprentice winner Sian Gabbidon and models wearing bikinis from Sian's collection

Sian admits that moving into mass production was a huge challenge in itself but that she has surrounded herself with the right expertise.

'I have surrounded myself with the right people for the job with key industry knowledge alongside what I already knew.

'We've managed to turn everything around very quickly and within the next week we will have a seamless process in place.'

She advises any budding entrepreneur to just 'go for it' but to be patient. 

(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Universal) © Getty (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Universal)

'Anyone can call themselves an entrepreneur but to be a success takes time. 

'In business you have to be heavily invested in your product or service, it won't happen overnight and you will hit a range of hurdles throughout your journey.

'But if you genuinely want to be successful you will always find a solution and you will make it happen.'

Related: The Apprentice winners, losers and madcap candidates - where are they now? [Cosmopolitan UK]


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