Baroness (Michelle) Mone OBE

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Armed with a good idea, limited contacts but lots of drive, Michelle progressed from making the tea at a brewery to creating the cleavage-enhancing Ultimo bra. She’s now sold the lingerie business and written an emotional autobiography – My Fight To The Top. In speeches she tells a tale of setbacks and publicity coups, and what can happen “if you have fire in your belly.”


Michelle Mone is the creator of the bust-boosting Ultimo bra. After leaving school at fifteen with no qualifications, she took a job making tea at a brewery, progressed into sales and went on to become one of Scotland’s most successful and influential entrepreneurs.

Michelle launched her own company after seeing a gap in the lingerie market. At the end of three years’ development, the Ultimo was launched at Selfridges amidst huge media interest. The store sold out within 24 hours. When it was then worn by Julia Roberts in a movie, it became the fastest growing ‘intimate apparel’ brand in Europe.

Success led to an expanding collection, licences for some of the biggest lingerie brands and a constant stream of publicity. Michelle opened Ultimo concessions within Debenhams, launched a range for Tesco and expanded the brand internationally. She also diversified into beauty with UTan and registered 17 patented inventions in the swimwear, bridalwear and beauty markets.

Having sold Ultimo to one of the world’s largest underwear manufacturers, Michelle has gone on to a range of projects, advising businesses, mentoring individuals, launching a jewellery line, and writing her autobiography. She was appointed to the House of Lords and commissioned by the Government to lead a review on how to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas.

Michelle’s inspiring presentation tells how she initially struggled to get her idea off the ground - armed with a practical idea and limited contacts, but no money. She shows how persistence and determination paid off, how one success often led to another, how she overcame personal and professional difficulties, and how she still retains the hunger to develop and take on new challenges.

Michelle is a board member of The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust and Save the Children. She has been The Sun’s Business Doctor and appeared alongside David Cameron on the ITV panel show The Agenda. She has also appeared on The Apprentice: You’ve Been Fired, Celebrity Masterchef and 71 Degrees North.

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Michelle Mone on turning ideas into reality

JLA Speakers Breakfast