Apprentice Winner Harpreet Kaur: From Banking, To Oh So Yum!
Although she’s now based in West Yorkshire, Harpreet Kaur grew up in Birmingham until the age of 11. She was raised by Indian parents (with a Punjabi heritage).
Surprisingly, as a child, Harpreet was very quiet: “I didn’t speak to anyone,” she said. “I didn’t have much confidence. I was very, very book-focused! My nickname was “bookworm.”
Later on in life, Harpreet started her career at Barclays bank, an experience that helped her to overcome her shyness. “I started to come out of my shell and grow in confidence when I was 18-19 onwards. Then, I got the entrepreneurial spirit, and I thought: “oooooh. I could start something on the side.”
So that’s what she did.
It was around this time that Harpreet identified that there weren’t many ‘recognised’ dessert brands (something that people would instantly turn to, to satisfy their sweet tooth).
So, Harpreet combined her passion for food with this realisation: “I love food. I love cake. I used to love baking, and food is something that we’ll always need. Food for me was something I just understood. I didn’t need a degree in it to be able to get my business going. It was simple to me. It just made sense to me.”
At the young age of just 24, Harpreet opened her dessert business, Barneys. But it didn’t take long for Harpreet to realise that this side hustle couldn’t just be a side hustle. Following this epiphany, Harpreet drove home from her banking job one day, and she quite literally chucked her handbag onto the kitchen counter, and announced this to her mother and her sister: “I quit.”
“I thought to myself: if I don’t take a risk now, it’s going to get harder and harder and harder to take that risk. And if there’s a 1% chance that it doesn’t work out, I can always go back and get myself a job, because I’ve already built that career foundation.”
One concern that Harpreet’s now business partner, Lord Sugar had during the finale of the show was that Harpreet was co-running her business with her sister, Gurvinder. Harpreet filled us in on how this situation has evolved: “We’re making a private arrangement, and Gurvinder is going to stay as a director of the business,” she said.
Fast-forward to now, and after winning the Apprentice, Harpreet rebranded Barneys to Oh So Yum! There’s a store in Huddersfield, and there’s one in Leeds (with another store opening soon). Since winning the Apprentice, Harpreet has found a way to scale Oh So Yum! with nationwide delivery. Now, customers from across the UK can order a box of delicious desserts straight to their doorstep.
“I’ve created my own unique range of desserts: cookie pies and cookie cups. You may find some at your local bakers, but there isn’t a one stop dessert brand that’s able to provide them with nationwide delivery, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“There aren’t many dessert brands that are doing both: a physical shop, AND online delivery, and I really want to become the number one dessert shop, so if you think ‘I want a yummy sweet treat,’ you’re gonna think of Oh So Yum!”
Oh So Yum!’s delicious treats are ambient for five days after delivery, and they’ll be available as a subscription soon, too (for those with an insatiable sweet tooth).
Harpreet reminisced with us on her experience of The Apprentice, before, during, and after winning the show. Despite the “intense stress” she endured, in her own words, it was “the most amazing time of her life.”
“When you run your own business, you don’t get to bounce off other people as much, and there’s no way to really measure your abilities. So for me, it helped with my confidence a lot. Going on the Apprentice properly reignited my spark, my drive, my fire, and it refreshed my life goals, my personal goals, and my professional goals.”
“Going onto post-The Apprentice, it’s been a whirlwind so far. This past week has been madness. Juggling and running a business is hard enough, especially with the attention, the investment, and the pressure, but I believe that I’m going to do an amazing job. I’ve got great support, a great team, and I’ve got loads of good ideas.”
Congratulations, Harpreet (from the entire Gramersi team)!
To discover Harpreet’s awesome new brand, Oh So Yum!, head to: https://ohsoyum.co.uk