The sweet smell of success

Catalyst-apprentice-(93-of-105)What better way to learn about business-life than with an Apprentice-style task? And the task for our staff and residents was to make a Catalyst scent which would ultimately be judged our very own Lord Sugar, Rod Cahill (Catalyst CEO).

Names and leaders

Teams were selected randomly, and then members then got together to decide on a project manager and team name.

Enthusiastic Cecilia Aridegbe, from Friary Park (Acton), put herself forward as project manager with members all agreeing that she should lead them. For the other team, Brent resident John Harrison volunteered himself as project manager.

As in the real-life Apprentice TV programme, picking a team name was more challenging. After some interesting suggestions, Cecilia’s team was called Team Catalead and John’s team was named Team Empowered.

The aides

Carmen Jones (resident involved manager) and Jim Mcfadden (head of asset management) were Rod’s trusted aides. Carmen worked with Team Empowered and Jim was assigned to Team Catalead. Both observed how the teams carried out the task, who made a contribution and how the end product was developed.


Warren and Somayeh from the Perfume Studio then led a session teaching participants about types of fragrance blends that go into making scents. From top notes, to heart notes to base notes, people learned how to make a smell-tastic scent.

The task

Members of both teams consequently tested various combinations to come up with the perfect scent.

Team Catalead decided to name their scent Difference. It had amber tones and echoed Calvin Klein fragrances. The scent was marketed without any packaging so it was eco-friendly and was priced at the upper-end of the market – £45 for 30ml.

Team Empowered named their scent Chameleon – it was an anagram of all things housing-related. The scent was priced affordably at £26 for 30ml so it would appeal to a wider market. As this scent had stronger base tones, it would last the entire day.

Judgement hour

Then it was off to the boardroom… Catalyst CEO, Rod Cahill was joined by expert Warren to decide the winner following Carmen and Jim’s feedback.

Both teams presented their scents and explained the aromas, their target audience, pricing strategy and marketing plan.

Rod’s verdict

Team Catalead: “This team had a great pricing and marketing strategy. But they claimed their scent was unisex, which wasn’t true. It was very sweet and feminine. So it wouldn’t have appealed to all of their target audience.”

Team Empowered: “Although this team’s pricing was too low, they met the brief by creating a  unisex scent. It smelled great and had a housing themed name. The team thought about a wider market and decided to sell the scent to both Catalyst staff and residents.”

Team Empowered was then crowned the winners and treated to afternoon tea at Harrods.

For more information on how you can get involved at Catalyst, visit the resident involvement section of our website.