07 Sep 2017By John Gatimu
Multimillionaire entrepreneur, parliamentarian and reality TV star-turned-designer, The Baroness of Mayfair, Lady Michelle Mone OBE talks to Angela Sara West about her glamorous and booming business empire.
Multi-talented and multi-award-winning Michelle Mone is one of the UK’s most successful self-made women. She founded the country’s leading designer lingerie line, Ultimo Brands International, and created a highly-successful jewellery collection for QVC.
Now, the Celebrity Apprentice star is set to conquer the world of interiors with her immaculate interior designs.
Baroness Mone of Mayfair is among the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. Despite growing up in an impoverished part of Glasgow and leaving school at 15 with no qualifications after her father became ill, she enjoys an ever-expanding, multi-million-pound business empire spanning multiple industries.
Her rise to fame and fortune began with Ultimo, the ultra-successful lingerie brand she launched in London’s Selfridges in 1999. She’s since created the award-winning fake tanning range, UTan, and a best-selling jewellery range for QVC. She now has a new string to her business bow, her latest venture, Michelle Mone Interiors, is a truly international one, offering high-end, bespoke interior design services around the world.
A business baroness
Michelle’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at a very early age. “I’ve always had the drive, from just ten years old. Failure drives me and I always keep going as I never will go there!”
What’s her ethos and what’s at the heart of all her businesses? “Hard work, innovative design, originality and personality. Those attributes run through all of my businesses.”
“Everything I do has my own personal and professional stamp on it… no-one can rival that as no-one else is me! We are constantly pushing to be bigger and better than our competitors. Business is a really exciting thing and my passion to launch new ventures motivates me. Personally, my parents inspire me while professionally, my business icon is my partner, Doug Barrowman.”
But business hasn’t always been booming for the Baroness. “In the beginning, finance was my biggest challenge… having a great idea and vision but not having the finance to take it to the next level is often the case with businesses. A distributor ran off with £1.4m of my money! However, that was also my biggest lesson. In business, you learn a lot from the low moments.”
A govt biz czar! Accolades from the Queen & Parliament
Perseverance paid off and Michelle carved out a glittering career. In 2010, she was voted one of the UK’s top three female entrepreneurs and the Queen awarded her an OBE for her outstanding contribution to business. “I felt very honoured, and to be recognised on this level, considering my humble Glaswegian background, is such a special achievement, meaning a lot to me and my family. It was an incredible moment for us. For me, though, this is for all of the young children and young adults who don’t have hope. Dream, work hard, never give up and you will get there in the end.”
In 2015, she was awarded a Life Peerage to the House of Lords. “Receiving my OBE was one of my proudest moments and becoming Lady Michelle Mone of Mayfair and a member of the House of Lords were also huge honours for me.”
She subsequently set up The Mone Review, focusing on helping start-up businesses. Her top tips for entrepreneurs? “To succeed in business, you need determination like no other. It may sound cliché, but never give up. Always deliver for your customers and team, no matter what. Be unique and passionate and never stop! Business isn’t easy, and success is even harder. It can be a long journey, so you need to be hard-working, different and determined… that really is the secret.”
Sell-out success for Diamonique
Michelle frequently swaps the benches of the House of Lords for the sofas of QVC, where her phenomenally-successful jewellery collection, Michelle Mone for Diamonique, has proved so popular that one of her necklace ranges sold out in just 92 seconds!
“My range for Diamonique is incredible and I’m so thrilled with its sell-out success on QVC! I was so proud.”
Comprising timeless pieces, perfect for both formal and casual occasions, her collection offers an affordable range of stylish jewellery, ranging from beautiful rings and earrings, to bracelets and necklaces. “I’ve always loved jewellery, so this was a natural collaboration for me with my interest in the subject, my business mind and my design-led attitude.”
How did the collaboration with QVC come about? “It really is the perfect brand match for both of us, plus I have years of experience when it comes to presenting a product and dealing with media, so it’s the dream link-up. There are always challenges in a design-led fashion business but, overall, it’s such a wonderful collaboration.”
The chic jewellery designer has just launched a new collection, featuring perfect pink diamonds. “It’s going very well. We’re consistently extending the range, launching new designs and acquiring new customers. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Grand international designs
Michelle’s new move into the interiors sector already sees success on the horizon. “My latest venture for 2017, and a huge passion of mine, is Michelle Mone Interiors, for which I collaborate with the fantastic leading designer, Julie Chapman. This partnership allows me to combine my business attributes and unique design flair with Julie’s unrivalled experience and expertise as Head Designer for my company.”
With offices in London’s Chelsea, Monaco, Dubai and the Isle of Man, Michelle’s new global business delivers a high-end, very personal and bespoke interiors service that balances luxurious elegance with intelligent design and creative infusion, promising to turn clients’ homes and businesses into places of inspiration.
The company’s signature is British-inspired elegance with a contemporary design twist and functionality, created from the highest-quality materials and outstanding craftsmanship, resulting in beautifully-crafted bespoke interiors of distinction and creating exceptional homes.
Michelle’s jewellery range, Michelle Mone for Diamonique, is sold exclusively on QVC: www.qvcuk.com
For information on Michelle Mone Interiors, visit www.michellemoneinteriors.com
To find out more, visit Michelle’s website: http://michellemone.com