LADY MICHELLE MONE, dubbed ‘Baroness Bra’, grew up on the mean streets of Glasgow’s East End, and made her millions through Ultimo lingerie. Now she’s back with a new venture: to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Words Eric Woollard-White Podcast: Rosie Coxshaw
Her official title may be Lady Michelle Mone, Baroness of Mayfair OBE, but the Glasgow-born entrepreneur, who left school at 15 before going on to invent the world’s first gel-filled Ultimo bra, can never forget her roots.
“My parents keep me grounded,” she says. “If I let everything go to my head, they would never forgive me.”
Despite having sold her Ultimo business in 2015, Mone has embraced an even busier schedule since which, as per a recent announcement, includes a brand new venture called EQUI. Despite having carved out such a schedule that would be dizzying to most, she remains her own harshest critic, protesting:
“I don’t think I have made it yet, there’s a lot more in me and I feel I am still ready to take off.”
Happily, thanks to a varied portfolio of business activities – from mentoring, speaking engagements and politics to supporting the business start-up community, especially young women – she channels her innate drive and ambition into a myriad of outlets. As such, Mone’s services to business in
the UK have been duly acknowledged and rewarded; in 2015, former Prime Minister David Cameron made her a life peer in the House of Lords, and prior to that in 2010 she was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen.
Following her elevation to life peer, Mone was tasked as business tsar to lead a government review into business start-ups. The objective of the ‘The Mone Review’ was to provide insight into the obstacles faced by people in the most deprived areas of the UK when it comes to setting up a business.
But while success has opened doors at the highest levels of society – including becoming an internationally renowned speaker sharing global stages with former US President Bill Clinton, former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and motivational guru Tony Robbins – her early
“Rachel Hunter said to me: ‘You are your brand. You’ve got to treat your body like your own brand.’
Then it just clicked that I was Ultimo as well.” years were shaped by hard graft. She explains: “I am from the East End of Glasgow and always had the ambition to start my own business. My first job was when I was 10 years old, doing a paper round. I left school at 15, because my dad became ill at 38, resulting in him becoming wheelchair- bound. I needed to help my parents, and I also needed to contribute financially. “At the age of 19 I got a job with Labatt, the beer company, as an admin girl, and I got promoted all the way up, but at 24 I was made redundant. That’s when I invented Ultimo, the first gel-filled bra in.
You can continue reading Michelle’s Interview in issue One of Modern Woman magazine, available for free online HERE.
You can listen to Lady Michelle Mone’s podcast with Modern Woman HERE
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