Michelle Mone OBE

Co-owner of MJM International and Creator of Ultimo

“I had goosebumps as you spoke. In the tough times I will remember what you said about never giving up.”                     (audience member at the Office Depot Conference in Manchester, 2011)

Michelle is most well known for the lingerie brand Ultimo but has since diversified, building a global interior design business and launching the Aston Plaza, a £250 million property development in Dubai.

 

 

Michelle Mone OBE, 40, is the creator of Ultimo, the UK’s leading designer lingerie brand. Listed as one of the top three female entrepreneurs in the UK and recognised by the Queen with an OBE honour for her contribution to the lingerie industry, Michelle has built a hugely successful career on an incredibly simple concept: giving today’s women what they want.

Entrepreneurial spirit was prevalent from an early age in Michelle, who grew up in the east end of Glasgow. Michelle left school at 15 with no qualifications to find full-time employment, after her father was struck down by an illness leaving him confined to a wheelchair. To support her family Michelle took on a job at Labatt Brewers’ and quickly climbed the ranks from office junior to senior manager, running the Sales & Marketing team by the time she was just 20 yrs old.

But it was in 1996 when her idea for Ultimo was born. Whilst attending a dinner dance Michelle was wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage-enhancing bra and as a result had a “light bulb” moment; Michelle decided to invent a bra that was more comfortable and cleavage enhancing than any other bra on the market.

Since launching the business Michelle has established herself as one of Scotland’s biggest exports; in 2000 Michelle won the “World Young Business Achiever Award” at the Epcot Centre, Florida, and then “Business Woman of the Year” at the Corporate Elite Awards in London.

In 2001 Prince Charles invited Michelle to join the Board of Directors for The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust and more recently his Board of Main Council, confirming her status as one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs. Michelle also won “Best Newcomer” at the British Apparel Export Awards, presented by HRH the Princess Royal, adding to her long list of awards, accolades and recognitions.

In October 2005 Michelle attended a speaking engagement with former US president Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, and went on to support the Sultan of Oman in setting up women’s enterprise in the Middle East. Michelle has since become a high-profile guest at speaking engagements and corporate events all over the world.

Over the years Michelle’s business has gone from strength-to-strength, developing beyond the original umbrella of Ultimo to encompass eleven patented “Miracle” inventions and brands including Ultimo Bridal, Ultimo Swimwear, Ultimo Shapewear, Miss Ultimo and partner lines including Bra Queen for Tesco Adore Moi for Debenhams and Michelle’s Innovations for Dunnes.

After three years of intensive research and over £1million spent on development, Michelle recently launched into the world of beauty with two new product ranges. The first being UTan heralded as the best self-tan to hit the market by top beauty buyers from retailers across the UK . The second being USculpt developed by the world’s best beauty experts, the products are a fusion of technology and the finest ingredients to re-shape and re-sculpt the contours of the body, making problem areas a thing of the past. Most exciting is the Boobs Minus product, the first of its kind on the market. Michelle knows women and has made sure there is a solution for everyone’s body concerns. The Ultimo Beauty range is available in Selfridges, Boots, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams stores nationwide.

Over the years Ultimo has established a large and loyal customer base and contracts with a string of high-profile models and celebrities, including Penny Lancaster, Rachel Hunter, Helena Christensen, Sarah Harding, Mel B, Kelly Brook and our current celebrity model Luisana Lopilato. Michelle has achieved over £500 million worth of press coverage in 12 years.

Over recent years Michelle’s success has soared; not only was Ultimo the first UK lingerie brand to debut on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week in 2009, and landed a mammoth deal with Tesco clothing to develop, design and manufacture “Bra Queen” lingerie. Michelle has also become a popular media personality having appeared on BBC’s Comic Relief Does The Apprentice, 71 Degrees North and Celebrity Masterchef.

Crypto currency/ Bitcoin

Interior design

Property development

Tech investment

Motivation

Branding, PR and marketing

Start-ups and entrepreneurship

Female empowerment

“The feedback from the participants has been extremely positive. They felt that you are inspirational and the session was very real and despite the differences between your role and their own there was a lot that could be taken from your presentation and discussion and applied back in their own organisation.” - Staffordshire University Event, Stafford, 10th & 11th May 2012

“Listening to your complete self made success was not only inspirational but a true motivator to prove that anything is possible. It was also pleasant to listen to a speaker who spoke in plain English or Scottish in your case.”

“You are a real inspiration and I'm going to keep you in mind for whenever things get me down.” -British Institute of Innkeepers Event, London, 8th May 2012

“I recently attended the SEMLEP conference in Milton Keynes at which you were a speaker. The reason for dropping you an email is to simply say what an inspiring, open and informative speech you gave. It was really refreshing.”

“Was in the audience today and was in awe of your energy, honesty and achievements a real motivator for someone who was on the fence in terms of stepping onto an ambition path.” - Big Event, Milton Keynes, 22nd March 2012

“I really want to thank Michelle for her presentation at Chris Cardell’s Entrepreneurs Summit on Saturday in London’s Hilton Metropole Hotel. Michelle was thee best, human and inspiring presenter of the entire three days of the Summit!”

“Michelle first of all I wanted to say you did a fantastic presentation at the Chris Cardells conference.”

“I was at the Entrepreneurs event this weekend and saw you speak. As was said at the time, you have a candour and style which is very easy to listen to and clearly a fascinating story.” - Chris Cardells Entrepreneurs Conference, London, June 2011

“Can I just say how much I am inspired by your story, thank you!!!”

“I come from a really poor background too, we have a lot in common and I too have worked and worked for years in the Lingerie business with the dream of creating my own luxury brand. (I used to sell sausages on a weekend to get me through College!!!) ”

“I got quite emotional tonight as you described times when you nearly gave up and fights with ure hubby. I am so glad you didn't and I am so happy to see the success you are having now after these many years of work and striving!!!" - Office Depot Conference, Manchester, February 2011

“On behalf of the delegates the SFHA would like to thank Michelle for her contribution towards the delivery of an excellent event. Michelle delivered a fantastic start to the conference, with several comments being made by delegates about how inspirational she was. I thought the session was excellent, delivered in a informative and light-hearted, funny manner. This has been one of the most successful Finance Conferences in recent years, with an increased attendance from previous years.” - Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Crieff, November 2010

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