Michelle Mone

Tags business event, entrepreneur, small business, SME

Headline speaker

Michelle Mone
founder & CEO
MJM International Ltd

Michelle Mone is the CEO of MJM 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 honoured by the Queen with an OBE for her contribution to business, Michelle has built a hugely successful career on an incredibly simple concept: helping women look and feel their very best.

Growing 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 that left 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.

The idea for Ultimo was born in 1996. Whilst attending a dinner dance Michelle was wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage-enhancing bra and had a "light bulb" moment; she decided to invent a bra that was more comfortable and cleavage-enhancing than any other bra on the market.

MJM has since 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 supplies Debenhams, Next, Littlewoods, ASOS.com, House of Fraser, Harrods and Bentalls, along with a number of independent lingerie stores throughout Europe.

Ultimo became 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. Over the years, it has established contracts with a string of high-profile models and celebrities including Penny Lancaster, Rachel Hunter, Helena Christensen, Sarah Harding, Mel B, Kelly Brook and its current celebrity model Luisana Lopilato, the wife of global music star Michael Buble.

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, UTan and USculpt, both of which has been well-received by retailers and beauty buyers alike.

Since launching MJM, Michelle has established herself as one of Scotland's biggest exports. In 2000 Michelle won the World Young Business Achiever Award before being named Business Woman of the Year at the Corporate Elite Awards in London.

Following a divorce from husband and business partner Michael Mone in 2011, Michelle bought him out of the business in February 2013. She has since forged a partnership with global lingerie giant MAS Holdings, one of the world's biggest producers of intimates.