Michelle Mone

Michelle Mone grew up in the East End of Glasgow. Entrepreneurial Spirit was prevalent from an early age and whilst her friends had posters of Duran Duran on their wall, she had Richard Branson. When Michelle's father was struck down with an illness that left him confined to a wheelchair, in order to support her Mum & Dad, Michelle left school at age 15 with no qualifications to find full time employment.

At the age of 20 Michelle married Michael and gave birth to her first child.

Following on from her success in modelling, Michelle decided she wanted to gain some business experience so took a job with Labatt Breweries as an office junior. By the age of 22 Michelle was running Labatt's Scottish Sales & Marketing team. Two years on however, just after Michelle had her second child Declan, she was made redundant as Labatt's UK operation was taken over by Whitbread.

In October 1996, whilst attending a dinner dance with Michael, Michelle was wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing bra. This was when she decided that she could invent a bra that was more comfortable, better looking, and would create more cleavage. MJM International Ltd was set up by Michelle and Michael in November 1996.

It took nearly three years of research and development, testing many different methods of cleavage enhancement to come up with the Ultimo bra, a bra which enhances the bust and cleavage without the discomfort normally associated with such products.

In July 1999, Michelle had her third child Bethany yet Ultimo was launched at Selfridges, London, just one month later in August 1999. It is still known as the biggest ever bra launch in the UK as there were over 50 photographers and camera crews from all over the UK, Europe and even the US. Selfridges sold 6 weeks stock of Ultimo within 24 hours.

At the same time, to accommodate the growth in the business, the company moved to a newly built state of the art head office which includes a showroom, office, design studio, and distribution facilities.

In April 2000, at a ceremony in the Epcot Centre, Florida, Michelle won the coveted 'World Young Business Achiever Award' beating off top entrepreneurs from 14 countries.

Ultimo launched in the exclusive Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York in May 2000.

In October 2000, Michelle was the winner of 'Business Woman of the Year' at the Corporate Elite Awards.

Michelle won the Sunday Mail 'Great Scot of the Year Business Aw a r d ' in November 2000.

Michelle appeared in a BBC documentary, filmed over a two year period, covering many aspects of her business and home life. The programme has been aired not only in the UK, but also Wo r l d w i d e . Michelle has also appeared extensively on TV, presenting on business & fashion issues.

In 2001 HRH Prince Charles asked Michelle to join the Board of Directors for The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust. MJM international Ltd won the 'Best Newcomer' at the British Apparel Export Awards which was presented by HRH the Princess Royal at an awards ceremony in London in May 2001.

September 2002 saw MJM International launch it's 2nd invention – the Ultimo backless body, which was Debenhams best selling lingerie garment of 2002.

On 10th September 2002 Penny Lancaster, Rod Stewart's girlfriend, launched the latest Ultimo fashion collection at Debenhams flagship London store. In November 2002 Michelle was awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of the University, by Paisley University.

Management Today voted Michelle one of the top 30 woman entrepreneursin the UK in May 2003. Michelle was listed alongside the likes of Martha Lane Fox and Stella McCartney.

In September 2003 MJM launched their 3rd invention, the Ultimo Miracle body. Michelle said that she was given a challenge from her celebrity customers to create a backless and frontless bra. Her technical team said it was impossible...12 months later it was achieved which is why she called the product the 'Miracle Body'.

MJM International signed supermodel Rachel Hunter in February 2004 to take over from Penny Lancaster as the new international face & body of Ultimo. In April 2004 MJM International Ltd launched a new lingerie brand in partnership with Asda stores. This new brand, Michelle for George, delivers designer flair at everyday prices and continues to go from strength to strength.

In May 2004 MJM International secured the licence to 45 Countries for the Young Attitude brand from New York based company Warnaco.

In 2005 Michelle and Michael were approached by Dunnes Stores, an Irish family owned company with 130 department stores throughout Ireland and the UK, to design and launch an exclusive jointly owned inhouse brand. The Per Amore lingerie brand was created to deliver catwalk trends to the high street at affordable prices. The range was launched in store in September 2005 by Samantha Mumba.

In addition to its jointly owned brands, MJM International Ltd currently supply Debenhams, Selfridges, Next and Figleaves along with a number of independent lingerie stores. MJM International are renowned for the quality of the brands that they design and manufacture. They are also highly regarded for generating positive press and extensive media coverage.

Michelle has achieved a remarkable level of success to date, juggling the demands of her business, together with bringing up 3 young children, but as mentioned at the beginning of this remarkable biography, she doesn't think she has made it yet!