by LAURIE STONE
LADY Michelle Mone is quite simply a phenomenal woman.
Stylish, sexy and super-cool she built a stunningly successful lingerie brand through sheer hard work, dedication and determination.
I have had the privilege of knowing Michelle for more than ten years and I can testify that her attention to detail is second to none. She is a perfectionist who prides herself on putting every ounce of her entrepreneurial energy into every venture that she sets her mind too.
The proud mother of three split from her former husband and business partner when she discovered he was cheating on her – but in recent weeks she has opened up for the first time about her relationship with billionaire boyfriend Doug Barrowman who makes her feel like she is in a “fairytale, a beautiful dream.”
And so it has ben a busy few months for the 45-year-old Tory peer, now known as Baroness Mone of Mayfair, nurturing her new relationship with the Scottish businessman, and putting the finishing touches to her latest global initiative: Michelle Mone Interiors.
In an exclusive interview in her suite at London’s swanky Dorchester Hotel, Michelle revealed her latest “baby” – designing bespoke immaculate interiors for the world’s most glamorous homes.
“I have always been a designer. Believe me, spending 20 years designing the perfect bra, means that I know a thing or two about design,” laughs Michelle.
Design and interiors have long been a big part of Michelle’s success, from the intricate design process of creating those perfect bras which made the Ultimo brand so successful to her best-selling jewellery range with QVC.
Michelle’s move into the interior sector sees the collaboration with leading designer, Julie Chapman. Together they make a formidable partnership combining Michelle’s business attributes and unique design flair with Julie’s unrivalled talents.
“I have always been a designer. Believe me, spending 20 years designing the perfect bra, means that I know a thing or two about design,”
Michelle explains: “Our aim is to create beautifully crafted interiors that make exceptional homes for discerning clients around the globe. The company’s signature is to deliver British inspired elegance, with a twist of contemporary design and functionality that is created from the highest quality materials and craftsmanship.
“Our team are talented, friendly, skilled and driven with passion and creativity to make every project we work on individual and tailored to the client’s distinctive style. Current projects reflect the experience in creating luxurious, sophisticated and timeless interiors for private clients, property developers, hoteliers and superyacht owners.
“While much of our work is currently focused on private residential and commercial properties in London and the U.K. we also work internationally – with recent commissions in the Caribbean and Middle East.
“Our expertise lies in the clear understanding of how to balance luxurious elegance with intelligent design.”
Michelle’s enthusiasm for her latest pet project is infectious. She is confident that there is a demand for an exclusivity and style to bring an iconic uniqueness to the homes of the rich and famous.
I first met Michelle as she unwaveringly worked to build Ultimo International into the UK’s leading lingerie brand for the last two decades. She set out with a vision of helping women look and feel their very best. It was on that simple concept that she built her career and influence, being honoured with a Life Peerage to the House of Lords and an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for her outstanding contributions to business.
She has come along way from the impoverished East End of Glasgow when, at the age of 15, her father fell ill and was subsequently declared paraplegic and wheelchair-bound for life. It forced Michelle to leave school without any qualifications in search of full-time employment, sparking her instinct for entrepreneurship. At the age of just 22, Michelle excelled herself becoming Head of Sales and Marketing in Scotland for the Glasgow-based Labatts Brewers. Unfortunately, she was made redundant after just two years.
In 1996, after only six weeks out of work, Michelle was at a dinner dance wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage-enhancing bra. It was here that she her her eureka moment on what the lingerie industry was missing and the world-famous Ultimo bra was born.
After the launch of Ultimo, Michelle quickly established herself as one of Scotland’s finest exports, winning the World Young Business Achiever Award in 2000 at the Epcot Centre in Florida, as well as Business Woman of the Year at the Corporate Elite Awards in London. Her status as one of the leading entrepreneurs was confirmed soon after when Prince Charles invited her to join the board of Directors for The Prince’s Trust.
In October 2005, Michelle attended a speaking event with former US President Bill Clinton and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to her involvement in setting up the Women’s Enterprise Project in the Middle East in support of the The Sultan of Oman It was then she began to realise that her experience and wisdom could transform lives and inspire others in the face of adversity.
She then faced her own challenges in her private life. suffering an acrimonious divorce after her husband Michael left her and started a relationship with one of Michelle’s closest family friends and senior Ultimo employees. A bitter divorce followed and it cost Michelle millions of pounds to buy him out of the family business.
Michelle then went on to see Ultimo to global lingerie giants MAS Holdings – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of intimates, with a $1.4billion turnover and 63,000 employees.
It is a truly inspirational story and Michelle went on to reveal all of her struggles and successes in her chart-topping autobiography: My Fight To The Top.
Over the past decade, Michelle has spoken at some of the most prestigious events around the globe. Now the UK’s No. 1 female speaker, she has spoken to audiences totalling over one million.
Michelle’s speeches have the power to motivate, inspire and teach audiences practical ways to improve their lives and businesses.
There is no doubt that Michelle has the ultimate designs on her future.
See more of August issue: www.moa-global.com
For more information visit: www.michellemoneinteriors.com
Photo Credits Dan Kennedy