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By Fi or Becs, Jan 15 2018 02:41PM

What better way to start the year... than with the launch of an exciting new video project!


In the middle of last year we started working with British youth charity Rathbone Training and social enterprise GetMyFirstJob on a number of projects focusing on apprenticeships.


After Becs' stint on BBC One's The Apprentice, it's been fascinating to find out more about the growing apprenticeship opportunities that exist in the UK and how brilliant they are!


Taking along a mini microphone, a clip-board and the wonderful camera skills of Ailsa Bee Photography, Becs hit the streets of Manchester city centre to ask the general public what they think about apprenticeships.


Take a look at the video!



Here's some more info from the press release!


"Ex-BBC ‘The Apprentice” contestant takes to the streets to ask people what they know about apprenticeships


There has always been a stigma attached to apprenticeships, but with advanced and degree apprenticeships in more industries than every before, that stigma is no longer true. Apprenticeships are for anyone in many industries. Rebecca Jeffery, a candidate from the BBC Apprentice Series in 2016, took to the streets of Manchester to ask people what they know about apprenticeships.


Together, GetMyFirstJob and Rathbone Training want to challenge the misconceptions attached to apprenticeships and with the help of Rebecca Jeffery have created a Vox-Pop video to see what people’s views and knowledge is up to date, with mixed results.


James Bridgman, Marketing Director at GetMyFirstJob said “It was great to work with Rebecca again to create a video that will help inform people about apprenticeships and promote some great opportunities with our partner Rathbone Training.”


What a fab project!



By Fi or Becs, Sep 26 2017 03:21PM


<Written by Becs>


Ahh The Apprentice is back next week! Hoorah for a shiny new batch of candidates in freshly bought suits, Lord Sugar's classic expressions in THE BOARDROOM (the room of dooooom!) and being able to watch this year without hiding behind a cushion and dying inside.


Whether you're an Apprentice groupie or you simply HATE the show, The Apprentice is known as the programme that people love to hate. It is sculpted (trust me - I’ve seen how they do it) to make viewers squirm, the tasks appear straightforward yet the candidates defy logic (hmmm I wonder why?) and we all sit on our sofas eating Dorritos shouting "WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING?!" every time they deliver an excruciatingly bad pitch to a 'well known supermarket'.



Twelve months after my own adventure into the crazy land of The Apprentice I am still fascinated by the love-hate relationship that people seem to have with the show.


I've genuinely had strangers recognise me from the other side of the street and dodge through MOVING traffic to tell me how much they hate the programme... before excitedly requesting a selfie. People have adamantly denied watching the 2016 series... before telling me in detail exactly what I did wrong in each episode (eh?) and a man once heckled me on a train by shouting "EY LOVE - YOU'RE FIRED!.... WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT" before politely requesting that I record a video for his daughter because she loved me on the show.


Strangely this love-hate viewing relationship with The Apprentice appears to fuel the popularity of the show, which has dropped in viewing figures but still pulls in a whopping 6 million people. In truth we love despising the candidates, we enjoy rolling our eyes at the same tasks EVERY year and we like to hate Lord Sugar. We are British and we love to hate things.


For a normal human suddenly entering the powerful machine of The Apprentice last September I was blown away by how many people recognised my face. I expected around 4/10 people to vaguely notice I that was a girl on telly but it was more like an explosion of 9/10 people asking me for selfies, grinning excitedly as I walked by, surreptitiously taking photos of me (UMM I CAN SEE YOU) and wanting to talk to me... all the time... ANYWHERE. Groups of teenagers with Snapchat were the craziest ones.


Although the prolific selfie requests have calmed down now (thank god) they have lately evolved into a bizarre conversation I experience 2 - 3 times a day when strangers declare that they know me and did I used to work at James & Son Solicitors / do my kids go to Harrowmouth Primary School / did I go to a Pacha after-party last month in Ibiza / am I a presenter on CBeebies.



Notwithstanding my power to befuddle people with my recognisable face, The Apprentice experience has been absolutely amazing for our little business Fi & Becs. Imagine a HUGE FREE ADVERT for your tiny little business on prime time television. Although I was essentially useless on the programme (cringe), I didn't come across as aggressive, back-stabbing or horrible to work with (phewf) so we have been inundated with new work. Exciting doors have opened leading to university lecturing, guest speaking and presenting jobs plus new clients have flocked to us in unexpected abundance. Boom!


Having recently met a batch of the new candidates (who are all competent, lovely and successful - do not believe what you see on TV), one of them asked if The Apprentice had changed my life. I hesitated before answering "ummm not really, I'm still a mum, I still work at home drinking too much tea whilst chatting to my sister... we're incredibly busy and I get to do some fun radio and filming stuff but otherwise... my life is exactly the same."


The Apprentice is an absolutely awesome experience... if you know exactly what you want to get out of it.


Some candidates may want fame (both Jessica and Karthik from my batch impressively went on Celebrity Big Brother!), but I wanted a huge chunk of free PR for my business. Considering our website got 13,000 hits on the week I was fired, my LinkedIn connections went bananas and we now have over 200 clients I'd say my small mission was achieved. It was also pretty cool when Lord Sugar tweeted about the copywriting work we did for Alana's winning business Ridiculously Rich! (Alana is also absolutely lovely by the way - you definitely don't need to be a twat to win The Apprentice.)

Alongside our Fi & Becs business stuff, the last 12 months have also been super fun for me as a human. I've lectured at six universities (plus becoming a regular lecturer at The University of Liverpool), become a frequent panellist on BBC Radio Manchester, adored being a Business Angel for three school enterprise projects, written columns for a local paper and recently presented for a series of exciting business films that are launching at The Business Show this November in London. Yay!


Soooo, this year I'm looking forward to watching the brave new candidates experience the public's love-hate relationship with The Apprentice. I can't wait to see them running around in London completing inane tasks set in impossible timescales by the production team. I'm grateful that I won't have to watch this series from behind a cushion but I have no doubt that I'll still be cringing and writhing in sympathy as I see the poor things set up to fail... repeatedly.


Whilst balancing a plate of Doritos on my ever-growing bump (I'm 5 months pregnant) I shall raise a glass of elderflower spritz (wine replacement) and salute the excellent machine of The Apprentice which made our last 12 months exciting, adventurous and (thankfully) successful.


The Apprentice 2017 starts on Wednesday the 4th October on BBC One. Make sure you also watch You're Fired on BBC Two afterwards as that's the BEST BIT where you get to see what the candidates are like in real life!




By Fi or Becs, Jun 27 2017 02:00PM

We are proud to be a family business (obvs) and we're also proud to work with loads of family businesses, so when Becs was asked to speak at the Greater Manchester Family Business Event this July we were chuffed about it.


Alongside chattering to people all about Fi & Becs (and The Apprentice) at the event, Becs was also interviewed by Paul Andrews founder of Family Business United, a global family business community and an invaluable source of insight into the sector.


You can read the full interview here, but we've also popped some of our favourite bits below:


Rebecca Jeffery is full of life, energy and passion for what she does as she shares her insight into her life in business with her sister Fi which they set up over three years ago, aptly named Fi and Becs Design and Marketing.


Life for Becs began in the corporate world in the worlds of funerals and telecommunications. As she explains, "I loved what I did and had a real passion for the marketing side of things which was great. I worked long hours and loved what I did and for me it was like a childhood dream fulfilled as I loved writing as a child and dreamt of becoming an author so the world of marketing and copywriting is probably as close as I could get. I do feel very fortunate to have had the roles that I had!"


Much has been written over the years about siblings starting out in business together but Fi and Becs are certainly bucking any negative trends. "It took about six months of working together to set the parameters and framework for the way we work today," continues Becs, adding "After six months we really respected each other and we are wired the same way too which really helps and in meetings it is like we can read each others minds - we certainly know what the other is going to say even before they have said it!"


Fi and Becs both have young children - Becs has Olly who is now 4 and Fi has two children under the age of 9. "Family is integral to who we both are and has been right from the start," continues Becs. "Our business is built around us meeting the needs of our clients whilst being Mums too. We make no attempt to hide from our parental roles and embrace being Mums, flexibly working to get things done and our clients all know that we work later but are not around much from 3-7pm and that is OK!"


Ah, some of Becs' comments even made Fi feel all emotional - what a softie.



By Fi or Becs, May 16 2017 06:00AM

If you watched The Apprentice last year, you may remember that Becs was as useful as a chocolate teapot on the programme... (mmm chocolate, mmmm tea).


We are the first people to admit that Becs was NOT in her element in the cut-throat, hard-nosed environment of The Apprentice... however, she was lucky enough to meet some genuinely lovely people whilst filming in Lord Sugar's boardroom, one of whom actually WON the show!


So... Becs was VERY excited when back in January Alana (the winner!) asked her to write the wording for her new website launching Ridiculously Rich by Alana (a 50-50 partnership with Lord Sugar himself).


Armed with cake (copious product testing was required during the writing of this copy) and tea (obvs) Becs set to work crafting some cake-related copy to bring Alana's devourable cakes, awesome business and lovely personality to life.


This copy was SO MUCH FUN to write.


Alana wanted her wording to be cute, young, fun and distinctive... music to our ears. One of Becs' favourite moments was an afternoon WhatsApp chat with Alana which went:


Becs: "Do you like the words 'our sticky toffee flapjack is an oaterly indulgent treat...' It made me smirk... But I wasn't sure if it was too random?"


Alana: "Oaterly indulgent is the best thing I have heard all day."


Hehehe. It only got better from there.


Here's some of the website copy:


"Brownie lover - you have met your match. Our Crème Brûlée Brownies begin with a gooey chocolate brownie base, get smothered in a vanilla and white chocolate topping and are finished with a sprinkle of homemade butterscotch. Utterly unique and marvellously melty."


"No description can adequately explain the ludicrously awesome taste of our Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road slices. Imagine a mouth-watering combination of crunchy biscuit complementing sweet, gooey GIANT marshmallows and decadent Belgian chocolate."


"Our cake subscriptions are perfect for people committed to trying amazing cake. Whether you're a flapjack fanatic, a caramel connoisseur or you're devoted to devouring brownies - there is something for everyone."


Here are some of our favourite headlines on the website:



Let's just take a moment to drool over how amazing Alana's cakes are:


Here are some nice words from Alana!


"I didn’t realise the power of wording until Becs at Fi & Becs helped me with my website. The wonderful thing is that she totally got my personality but pushed it to the max to get the most out of all the website pages. She made it fun and personal (exactly as I asked) I couldn’t be more happy - thank you Apprentice buddy!”


So, if you LOVE cake and you want to try the most utterly delicious cake-based treats (you can even sign up to a monthly subscription!) get on over to Alana's website and order yourself some moreish morsels of amazingness!


Visit the website: www.ridiculouslyrichbyalana.co.uk



By Fi or Becs, Apr 3 2017 07:00AM


Ah we love it when a national business magazine uses a swear word (albeit censored) in their article headline...


We LOVE it even more when the article is about us - heh heh.


Earlier this year Becs met with Maria McGeoghan, an Editor from BQ Magazine for an interview (aka chatter) and cup of tea in Manchester city centre. Followed by a brilliantly random photo shoot which included an unexpected space hopper (!) - we have been waiting eagerly for the feature to appear in printed format.


We have not been disappointed. Complete with laptops, notepads, mugs, hysterical bouncing and loads of honesty the interview was published this week. Hooray!




Here's a quick taster of the interview in case you're interested:


"Apprentice candidates come and go – but you’ll remember Rebecca Jeffery. As she departed Lord Sugar’s HQ in a taxi after being fired in week six of the BBC reality show, her musings on why her adventure was at an end were frank and funny."


“At the end, I think I went because I’m not a tw*t,” she told the camera in the taxi. “I think that’s my downfall. Haven’t been enough of a tw*t.”


“I don’t even remember saying it,” admits Jeffery, 32, one half of Fi & Becs, a successful copywriting and design company she runs with her sister, Fiona. “It was just one of those throwaway remarks that I never, ever thought would be used.”


Warm, friendly and fizzing with energy, Jeffery applied for one of the toughest TV challenges on a whim. “I always used to shout at the telly when The Apprentice was on – I love it,” she explains. “My brother-in-law is a brain surgeon and one New Year’s Eve we were egging each other on to apply – ‘You do it’, ‘No, you do it’.


“The application was relatively easy and then I went to the first lot of auditions in Manchester with around 3,000 other people. It was fun but exhausting. You have one minute to sell yourself and I think I said nice people get on in business."


You can read the full article using the link below. We think it's excellent but we're biased... obvs.


http://www.bqlive.co.uk/north-west/2017/04/03/news/im-not-a-tw-t-25399/



By Fi or Becs, Feb 2 2017 10:00AM



Chatter from Becs:


When I was a kid I adored visits to Maryport. Growing up in Asby (a tiny hamlet near Lamplugh) I thought my Nan’s house in Maryport was the bees-knees. We could WALK into town to do some shopping, I could rollerblade along the endless pavements and Allonby was only 10 minutes away for ice-cream and paddling in the Solway Firth. To my seven-year-old self, Maryport was a huge place.


Once I got older and I ventured further afield, I realised that Maryport was actually pretty small compared to cities like Manchester. When I found myself in The Apprentice house last year with a chap who actually manufactured his sausages in Maryport I was pretty flabbergasted! The world really is a small place.


Oliver Nohl-Oser, or ‘Sausage Man’ as the press affectionately nicknamed him, grew up near Penrith. His company The Cumbrian Sausage Company has been producing sausages in Maryport since 2009. Bonding over our Cumbrian connection, our preference for sausages served with chips and egg (NOT mash and gravy) and the immensely random coincidence that we both own sausage dogs (!) – Oliver and I became firm friends. When he suggested that I visited him in Maryport to see his sausage manufacturing in progress I was FRANKLY delighted (get it?).


So, last week my thirty-two-year-old self was back in Maryport to learn about Cumberland sausages from Oliver the Sausage Man. I was educated about all things sausage related (did you know that Traditional Cumberland Sausage HAS to be made in Cumbria? It is the UK’s 44th protected food product under EU law!), then we popped to my parent’s house in Seaton for a cuppa and some of Ollie’s delicious sausages for tea (of course). It just goes to show that Maryport actually IS the bees-knees, particularly from a superior sausage point of view – my Nan would have definitely approved.



By Fi or Becs, Dec 7 2016 04:21PM

Who doesn't love some naughty novelty items during the season of silliness...


Following on from the popularity of our Fi & Becs client lollies last Christmas, this year we decided to order some slightly different lollipop designs. Amusing ourselves by deciding to print 'NOT A TWAT' onto 100 lollies (and 100 less offensive 'Merry Christmas' designs too) we were delighted to suddenly get flooded by tweets, emails and messages from people asking to buy our NOT A TWAT lollies online!


So... on Sunday afternoon Fi sat with a cup of tea and we launched an online shop on our website! (closed now!) Alongside the tasty, apple flavoured NOT A TWAT lollies she added some splendid novelty mugs and her wonderful series of children's books (obvs). Online shop - ta da!


NOT A TWAT Lollipops


PRICE: 1 Lollipop £3.50 / 5 Lollipops £15.00


Delight your twat-free friends, family or colleagues with these exceptionally tasty NOT A TWAT lollies.


Each lolly is 5cm in diameter, apple flavoured and handmade in the UK. Available as a single lolly or in a collection of five, every lolly is individually wrapped and presented with a bow. Enjoy 5cm of deliciously tasty, apple flavoured non-twattish delight.


NOT A TWAT Mugs

PRICE: £9.50


Prove to your family, friends and colleagues that you're NOT A TWAT by drinking your cuppa from one of these amusing mugs. These mugs make a great gift (especially for those annoying work-based Secret Santas) or you can treat yourself for amusing brew moments all day long. Perfect for boring board meetings or conversation starters over a cuppa.



By Fi or Becs, Dec 1 2016 04:28PM

Becs' old university (the lovely University of Nottingham) asked her to put together a 'Day in the Life' vlog for them... and here it is!


Becs did a degree in American and Canadian Studies at Nottingham University and she bloody loved it. She spent four years studying American history, US politics and reading fascinating novels. She even got to spend a year studying at Toronto University in Canada which was pretty amazing - although very very cold.


Becs firmly believes that all the researching, reading and writing she did during her degree led to her copywriting career... so sod all of those people who think arts degrees don't lead to jobs in business!


Enjoy watching the video!




By Fi or Becs, Nov 21 2016 05:26PM

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that Becs has just been fired on The Apprentice. Drat.


Becs lost every task, her performance was pretty useless, she got fired in week six and then (much to our amusement) in the famous apprentice black cab she managed to say the word 'twat' twice... on the BBC.


We've mentioned the 'twat thing' a couple of times (okay, maybe a few dozen times...) on our social media, she's been on TV and radio chattering about it and there have been some pretty good articles about twattishness in the press.


One of our favourite t-word articles so far is this one written by Loaded.co.uk. We loved it so much that we thought we would post it onto our website...



Twats. We’ve all met them and, in some unfortunate cases, we’ve even ended up working alongside them.


But have you ever wondered what makes a co-worker a twat and how best to avoid the same dreaded four-letter label? The Apprentice’s Rebecca Jeffery has.


The latest casualty in Lord Sugar’s search for a business partner, the freelance copywriter and co-founder of Fi & Becs Design & Marketing signed off from the show with the admission that she probably would have got further “if she had been a twat”.


Now a little less flustered and, as she admits, “slightly relieved” to be out of the process (“it shows people at their worst,” Rebecca reflects) the marketing maestro tried to explain to loaded what makes someone a twat in the modern business world.


“When I think of the word twat, I think of the word obnoxious. Someone that is a bit argumentative and a little bit grumpy,” she explains.


“I was never specifically calling anyone on the show a twat – I’m aware a lot of people will have sat on their sofas and called people on the show twats before – but I did leave feeling like I might have got further if I had been one.”


So how do you avoid being a twat in the workplace? Well, Jeffery offered a few helpful pointers actually…


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 1 - Don’t Shout

“I’m not a shouter and behaving like that will only get you so far in the Apprentice and in life.”


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 2 - Stay Calm

"Lord Sugar likes people who are level headed. That’s probably stayed in the process as long as I did. Try to remember that it’s work and not life or death.”


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 3 - Don't Take It Personally

“In The Apprentice, as in the workplace, you are trying to make friends and develop relationships. The problem is that in the boardroom you have to pull each other apart.The key on the show was to leave those arguments at the door. Don’t harbor bad feelings and try to support each other.”


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 4 - Be Nice

“Remember that people like you if you are nice. We as humans, in life, like people that are nice. We’re British. We like politeness, we like queues and we like niceness.”


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 5 - Avoid Buzzwords

“Never use terms like ‘thinking outside the box’ or ‘I’d like to touch base’ and avoid that ‘important’ tag on your email – that big red tag at says something is very important – it’s annoying.”


Twat Avoidance Tip Number 6 - Client Care

“Never refer to a person or potential client as a “Warm” lead or a “hot” lead they are not a ‘lead’ they are a client or a person.”



By Fi or Becs, Nov 15 2016 09:00PM


Chatter from Becs:


Last week Alan Sugar fired me on national TV. I guess there aren’t many people in the UK who are able to say that. The whole experience has been incredible, but the truth is - I applied to The Apprentice on a whim.


Last New Year’s Eve, I was chatting to my brother in law (who is a brain surgeon and would probably be amazing on the show) and in our wine induced wisdom we decided that I would be an excellent candidate on the programme… famous last words. So in January, on the day before the applications closed I casually applied. Four months, three auditions, a screen test, a psychological interview and 40,000 candidates later I was offered a place on the show. Flabbergasted is the word.


I got the call from the production team on a Wednesday afternoon whilst looking after my three-year-old son. My phone rang, I promptly bribed Ollie to stay quiet with a DVD and a packet of Quavers (standard parent tactics) and I danced around the room in excitement and genuine amazement. In the auditions I wasn’t the typical Apprentice buffoon. Rather than spouting insane Trump-esque declarations like “one day the whole world will chant my name” I was smiling sweetly and chirping “I would describe my business style as like a bouncing puppy”. Yet somehow the almighty powers at The Apprentice chose me as one of their final 18 candidates. Wow.


I was chucked out in week six - drat. I didn’t have very good luck, my team lost every single week and my own performance was essentially useless. Not too surprising when in real life I don’t like confrontation, I can’t haggle and I make nerdy jokes to put people at ease… <puts her head in her hands>. But I’ve got to say, I loved it all. Including the people on Twitter comparing me to a plastic spoon or as weak as a kitten with polio. I’m certainly the accidental apprentice candidate for 2016, but at least I managed to leave with what’s been hailed as ‘the best taxi interview ever’ – I’ve got my straight-talking Cumbrian roots to blame for that.


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