Michelle Mone

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Michelle Mone
Michelle Mone (Ultimo founder) 2013.jpg
Mone in 2013
Born Michelle Georgina Mone
(1971-10-08) 8 October 1971 (age 43)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality British
Occupation Entrepreneur, model
Known for Founder of Ultimo, entrepreneur, businesswoman
Net worth £20 million (2011)
Spouse(s) Michael (separated)

Michelle Georgina Mone (née Allan) OBE[1] (born 8 October 1971) is a Scottish entrepreneur and former model. She is CEO of MJM International Ltd, which owns the Ultimo brand.

Early life and early career[edit]

Mone was born Michelle Georgina Allan in 1971,[2] and grew up in the East End of Glasgow. She left school aged 15 to become a model, but this career came to an end after she became pregnant with her first child and married.[3] She then got a marketing job with brewer Labatt, having entered fictional qualifications on her CV.[3] Within two years, however, she had become their head of marketing in Scotland.[3] After being made redundant by Labatt, Mone set up her own company.[3] She decided, while wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassiere at a dinner dance, that she could create a better design. Her stated aims were to create a brassiere that was both more comfortable, and better looking, creating more cleavage.[4] Mone had read about a new silicone product while on holiday in Florida, and obtained the European licence to make bras from it.[3]

MJM International[edit]

She founded MJM International Ltd in November 1996, and three years of research, design, and development resulted in the patented Ultimo bra. In August 1999, a month after having her third child, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London using hired actors playing Plastic Surgeons to "protest" that her new Bra would put them out of business, accompanied by a few models wearing her lingerie, all outside the store. Selfridges sold the pre-launch estimate of six weeks of stock within 24 hours, which is still[when?] known as the biggest ever bra launch in the UK, with over 50 photographers present and camera crews from all over the world.[citation needed] The business is worth £20 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2011.

In April 2000, Mone won the World Young Business Achiever Award.

MJM International Ltd is now wholly owned by Ultimo Brands International Ltd, in which Mone owns 49% of the issued share capital.[5] MJM lost £231,000 in the three-month period to February 2013[6] and £547,000 in the previous financial year to October 2012.[7]

The most recently filed accounts, show that MJM had a net worth of £493,382.[8] It was exempt from audit[9] and had a reported turnover of £7.4m for the 18 months to October 2012, down from £8.4m for the previous 12 months.[7]

The majority shareholders in the new parent company, Ultimo Brands International, are MAS Holdings, a Sri Lankan conglomerate which employs over 45,000 people globally.

The company was launched in the traditional ship building district of Glasgow, Govan. After she was mugged in 2003, and her prototype samples stolen, Mone moved her company premises elsewhere.[10]


Mone won 'Best Newcomer' at the British Apparel Export Awards.

In 2001 Prince Charles invited Mone to join the board of directors for The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust, and more recently the Board of Main Council; "Michelle Mone is... the first assisted business to be invited to serve on the PSYBT Board." "MJM International Ltd [is] a company she set up... with a £5,000 loan from PSYBT"[11]

In November 2002, Mone was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Paisley University. In January 2010, Mone was awarded an OBE for her contribution to business.[1]

Political views[edit]

Mone was a longstanding supporter of the Labour Party, but withdrew her support in 2009 and pledged to leave the UK if Gordon Brown increased the top rate of income tax to 50p. She accused Gordon Brown of mismanaging the country and said she was "disgusted by the government's inept handling of the economic crisis".[12]

In January 2012, she gave an interview in The Sunday Times where she pledged to move to England if Scotland became an independent country after the referendum in 2014.[13]

The Guardian said in a 2010 profile, Mone "grew up a Scottish, Labour voting Protestant and is now a Conservative voting Catholic whom David Cameron invited to come and address his cabinet."[3]

Personal life[edit]

At 18 years old, she became pregnant with her first child, Rebecca. She then converted to Roman Catholicism and married Michael, an anaesthetist's son from a Catholic family.[3] Mone lives in Thorntonhall with her husband Michael and their three children: Rebecca, Declan, and Bethany.[14][15] On 27 December 2011, lawyers announced the couple's formal separation.[16] Despite their separation the couple continue to share their Thorntonhall mansion, residing in separate sections.[17]



  1. ^ a b "About Michelle, Michelle Mone". Michellemone.com. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Carole Cadwalladr (12 September 2010). "The first lady of lingerie | Fashion | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Michelle Mone Press Information" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  5. ^ http://companycheck.co.uk/company/08362872/ULTIMO-BRANDS-INTERNATIONAL-LIMITED/group-structure#group-structure
  6. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/mjm-profits-warning-follows-mone-split.22684811
  7. ^ a b http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23566054
  8. ^ http://companycheck.co.uk/company/SC169601
  9. ^ https://www.gov.uk/audit-exemptions-for-private-limited-companies
  10. ^ "UK | Scotland | Bra boss robbed at knifepoint". BBC News. 19 February 2003. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "PSYBT Annual Report 2004". 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Lingerie boss drops her support for Labour | The Sunday Times (25 April 2009)
  13. ^ "BBC News – Scottish independence: Michelle Mone threatens to leave Scotland". bbc.co.uk. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Michelle Mone's mansion plans fall foul of elderly neighbour". East Kilbride News. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Richard Kay (1 February 2012). "Michelle Mone still living with her estranged spouse Michael | Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "Bra tycoon Mone in marriage split – Scottish Headlines – Kirkintilloch Herald". kirkintilloch-herald.co.uk. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. [dead link]
  17. ^ Alanah Eriksen (29 January 2012). "Michelle and Michael Mone: Her obsession with success contributed to end of marriage | Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 

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