Racing driver, entrepreneur and Netflix star – is Seb Melrose now too hot to handle?
IT IS NOT EVERY day you get a chance to chat with a professional racing driver, entrepreneur, social media influencer and reality star…but, Business Management graduate Seb Melrose, has made that possible.
I am sitting in my home office in Edinburgh on a snowy Monday morning; Seb joins our call from Thailand. He finds himself a quite spot in a local bar and the golden sunlight makes for a beautiful backdrop to our afternoon chat.
“I’m actually here for business, but the deal is now done, so I have a day for some down time before heading home to London”, Seb explains. “I messed up at school. I loved the social aspect of it, but hated textbooks, so I didn’t apply myself. I was young and cocky. I left school after just turning 17, didn’t get into uni, so I joined my dad’s waste management business.
“I had a terrible attitude. Even though my dad insisted I started out as a litter picker, I assumed I’d take over the business one day without really having to try. But, after just six-months of working for my dad, he fired me. I deserved it - I was always late.” So, while his other friends were all at university, Seb enrolled in a six-month HNC in Business at Edinburgh College.
“I liked it! I knew business was something I was interested in, so I continued from HNC to HND level. I still thought that I’d missed my chance of going to university, but my tutors explained the possibility of a direct entrant route to QMU.” Seb was able to use his HND to move directly into the 3rd year of the BSc (Hons) Business Management at QMU.
"QMU just felt right, it felt relaxed, and much more practical in focus which kept me interested. I can’t thank QMU enough for supporting me in my final year, when I was juggling studies with my first professional racing contract. I had signed for BMW, which took me to Germany every few weeks."
Seb's passion has always been motor racing, constantly striving to follow in the footsteps of his former racing driver godfather, Dario Franchitti. “It would have been so easy for QMU to say ‘It’s racing or your education’…but they didn’t.’ Instead, they helped me pursue my passion and my education at the same time. I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Seb talks passionately about his time at QMU –making friends, playing football on the pitches at the sports centre and, most importantly, developing people and life skills.
“What a rollercoaster my life has been since graduating. I was lucky to graduate just before COVID. I got the full graduation ceremony and the chance to make my family proud. As I crossed the stage at the Usher Hall to get capped by the Chancellor, we realised I had achieved what we never thought possible.
“I signed to race for Porsche not long after leaving uni, but the pandemic hit, and racing
was cancelled. Over the next few years, I worked with my dad again. He had sold his waste management company and was now building houses.”
This leads on to the question of how Seb got on the Netflix series ‘Too Hot to Handle’.
“I was approached on Instagram. Of course, I thought I was going on ‘Wild Love’, not Too Hot to Handle.” For all you non-Too Hot to Handle Fans, I recommend searching the show tounderstand how it works.
“I loved the show. I learnt loads and I used all my people skills that I mentioned earlier. I knew it would be loads of fun, but I also thought the show could work as a platform to launch my business career.” This is exactly what Seb has done. There was a year between filming the show and its release on Netflix, during which Seb built his first business venture, ready to piggy back on his increased influence as the show released.
"I built ‘Reprimo’, which is a health brand focusing on 100% natural health products. I wanted my brand to be ready for the show coming out and I’ve used my increasing social following to grow my business."
Seb now has 500k followers on Instagram and 300k followers on Tik Tok – easily qualifying him as a social influencer. I am fascinated to hear Seb talk about his own brand. The ‘Seb Melrose’ brand is something he has focused on since he was 16. It’s clear that keeping his brand ‘clean’ is important to him. He’s focused on doing the right thing and understands that being authentic, transparent and genuine will lead to a longer and more successful career.
“I’ve been offered so many opportunities for business and partnership since the Netflix show aired in December 2022. I’m turning down opportunities for big paydays that I’d have bitten your hand off for a year ago. But I’m focused on the long term - the bigger picture is important.”
Seb is clearly a passionate entrepreneur at the beginning of an exciting career in both business and sport. However, the thing that comes across about this young man, is his drive! You can almost hear his internal motor roar as he talks excitedly about ‘what comes next’!
And in a flash, our conversation ends. His taxi arrives to transport him to his next adventure!