Michelle Mone OBE, is the co-owner of Ultimo Brands International and creator of Ultimo, one of the UK’s leading designer lingerie brands. Listed as one of the top three female entrepreneurs in the UK and honored by the Queen with an OBE for her contribution business, Michelle has built a hugely successful career on an incredibly simple concept: helping women look and feel their very best.
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 Director for Scotland, running the Sales & Marketing team by the time she was just 22 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. Ultimo was set up in November 1996.
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 13 patented “Miracle” inventions and brands including Ultimo Bridal, Ultimo Swimwear, Ultimo Shapewear and joint venture lines including Adore Moi for Debenhams.
In addition to its jointly owned brands, Ultimo currently supply Debenhams, Next, Littlewoods, ASOS.com, House of Fraser, Harrods and Bentalls, along with a number of independent lingerie stores throughout Europe.
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