Tuesday, 9 April 2013

344: The Heston Blumenthal Lookalike Delivery Agency

I started the agency because, well because I look like Heston Blumenthal.  At first there was just me and my little Escort van and I delivered for catalogues mainly.  I had a nice little job going, regular work, some regular customers who would chat and ask after the kids, and a manageable round.  And it all started when I shaved my head.

Someone down the pub first mentioned I looked like Heston, and we all had a bit of a laugh about it.  I don't even wear my glasses all the time so it was a bit of a joke really.  Then customers started to comment, especially the ones I didn't know well or saw only once.  Quite often it gave people a bit of a surprise and I like to think sometimes made their day.  Heston fans in particular would ask me if I knew I looked like him and sometimes even if I was him.

The idea for the agency first came when I had the opportunity to deliver some extra locations on the round of a colleague who was on holiday.  A couple were restaurants and one place was very excited at the thought of Heston Blumenthal delivering to him.  He even pointed me out to a couple of diners, although I was trying to nip in and out to get on my way.

And so the idea was born.  I decided I might as well take advantage of it and set up my agency.  I got thicker rimmed glasses and kept my hair completely shaven.  I upgraded the van and had a duck painted on the side, then got some overalls with the initials H B embroidered on.  Then I set about advertising, as a serious delivery service and as a novelty service for businesses, parties and events.

The phone didn't stop and after a few weeks I had to take on staff to help.  As long as they looked like someone famous, could drive and didn't mind lifting stuff, I employed them.  I’ve got six vans now and a range of drivers.  I have a Tommy Walsh and a Craig Phillips who deliver garden and building stuff.  With me I have Jamie Oliver and we do most of the catering and retail deliveries.  A Dara O’ Briain does general and he’s popular for the heavy deliveries.  We’ve tied branching out into film stars and although there was quite a bit of demand, a number of customers were left disappointed by George Clooney and Tom Cruise couldn't reach the top shelf in the warehouse.

Next year I’m hoping to expand further and I think deliveries to swanky places like Heston’s own restaurant by top rival celebrity chefs could be big business.  I’m even looking out for a Charles and Camilla double act, who could really clean up in the West End.

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