Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness Mone
Michelle Mone (Ultimo founder) 2013.jpg
Personal details
Born Michelle Georgina Allan
(1971-10-08) 8 October 1971 (age 44)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality  United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Michael Mone (separated)
Residence London
Occupation Businesswomen, parliamentarian
Known for Founder of Ultimo

Michelle Georgina Mone, Baroness Mone, OBE (née Allan; 8 October 1971, Glasgow, Scotland) is a British entrepreneur and parliamentarian.[1]

Through MJM International,[2] Mone founded the lingerie company Ultimo, in which she retains a 20% stake.[3] She is 100% owner of fake-tanning brand UTan.[4]

On 27 August 2015, Downing Street announced her elevation to the peerage.[5] She was introduced to the House of Lords on 15 October by fellow Conservatives Lord Freud and Baroness Morris of Bolton.[6]

Early life[edit]

Mone was born in 1971,[7] and grew up in Glasgow's East End. She left school aged 15 to become a model,[8] but this career came to an end after she became pregnant with her first child and married.[9]


Mone strived to return to employment and obtained a marketing job with the Labatt brewing company. Within two years she had risen to become its head of marketing in Scotland.[9][9] After revealing that she had embellished the qualifications on her CV in order to get the job, she was made redundant by Labatt prompting Mone to set up her own business.[9]

While wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassiere at a dinner dance, Mone realised she could improve the design. Her stated aims were to create a brassière that was both more comfortable and better looking, whilst enhancing more cleavage.[10] Mone had read about a new silicone product while on holiday in Florida, and approached the company to obtain its European licence to produce bras.[9]

MJM International[edit]

In November 1996 with her husband Michael she founded MJM International,[2] and three years of research, design, and development resulted in the Ultimo bra. In August 1999, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London.[11]

Following the breakdown of her relationship with her husband, Mone left the company briefly in 2013. She then bought her husband out of MJM International, leaving both Mone and MJM International with considerable debts. The Ultimo business was transferred to a new joint venture company Ultimo Brands International Ltd, in a 49/51% partnership with Sri Lankan-based MAS Holdings.[2] MJM International was then wound up. In November 2014, Mone sold down her stake in Ultimo Brands International to 20% to partner MAS Holdings, and established fake-tan company UTan.[12]

In August 2015, Mone resigned her directorships of both MJM International Ltd and Ultimo Brands International Ltd, for avoidance of any conflict of interest in her new parliamentary role.


Mone, previously a long-standing Labour Party supporter, withdrew her support in 2009 pledging to leave the UK were Gordon Brown to increase the top income tax rate to 50%: she accused Prime Minister Brown of mismanaging the United Kingdom's finances stating that she was "disgusted by the Government's inept handling of the economic crisis".[13]

In January 2012, she gave an interview to The Sunday Times stating her intention to move to England if Scotland were to become independent following the 2014 Referendum.[14] The Guardian records 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".[9]

During the London riots in 2011 Mone tweeted a call for the army to support the police: "People who riot, steal, cover face deserve zero tolerance", she stated.[15]

On 10 August 2015, Downing Street announced that Mone is to lead a government review into entrepreneurship and small businesses, particularly focusing upon setting up small businesses in deprived areas under the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP.[16] On 27 August 2015, Prime Minister Cameron confirmed Mone's creation as a Life Peer, reports of which had been circulating since 1 August[17] and drew criticism from other business leaders.[18] Assorted rivals in Scottish public life were quick to question her suitability for membership of the House of Lords.[15][19][20] The appointment by the Prime Minister of Mone also drew criticism from senior Scottish Conservatives who described Mone as: "a public relations creation, a personal brand rather than a serious businesswoman".[21]

Lady Mone voted in favor of working tax credit cuts in October 2015.


In 2001 Prince Charles invited Mone to join the board of directors of The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust, and recently its Board of Main Council; "Michelle Mone is... the first assisted businesswoman 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".[22]

On 21 November 2002, Mone received an honorary doctorate (Hon DUniv) from Paisley University.[23]

Mone was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to the lingerie industry" in the 2010 New Year Honours.[24][25] After consultation with the College of Arms, on 30 September 2015, she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Mone, of Mayfair in the City of Westminster.[26]

Public relations[edit]

Mone's public relations have on numerous occasions been commented on favourably including by her detractors.[9][15][19] Her PR has also attracted derogatory coverage with the MJM claims that one of their enhanced bras was worn by Julia Roberts in the Hollywood movie, Erin Brockovich, being dismissed by the film's creators.[27]

Mone threatened to sue her critics when it was revealed her company MJM International had paid a substantial sum of money into a controversial tax avoidance scheme, criticised by UK Chancellor George Osborne as "morally repugnant".[28]

Following a test case brought by HMRC against Glasgow Rangers football club, EBTs (the type of tax avoidance scheme used by MJM International) were ruled illegal in November 2015; Michelle Mone in an interview stated: "I have not done anything wrong" and blamed her ex-husband.[29]

In 2014, the former operations director of her company won a claim for unfair dismissal after discovering that Mone had electronically bugged his office.[30]

Personal life[edit]

At 18 years old, Michelle Allan became pregnant with her first child, Rebecca. She then converted to Roman Catholicism and married Michael Mone, an anaesthetist's son from a Catholic family.[9] On 27 December 2011, lawyers announced the couple's formal separation;[31] they have three children: Rebecca, Declan, and Bethany.[32][33] In August 2014, Mone helped to raise awareness of the disease ALS by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.[2]

Lady Mone lives in Mayfair and is a member of the Reform Club in London.

Television appearances[edit]

OBE insignia


  • 1971 – 1989: Miss Michelle Allan
  • 1989 – 2010: Mrs Michelle Mone
  • 2010 – 2011: Mrs Michelle Mone OBE
  • 2011 – 2015: Ms Michelle Mone OBE
  • 2015–present: The Right Honourable The Baroness Mone OBE


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Michelle, Michelle Mone". Michellemone.com. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c www.mjminternational.com
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ www.utanshop.com
  5. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Gov.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  6. ^ www.news.stv.tv
  7. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Entertain9jar
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Carole Cadwalladr (12 September 2010). "The first lady of lingerie | Fashion | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Michelle Mone Ultimo". Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  11. ^ www.dailymail.co.uk
  12. ^ "Michelle Mone announces Ultimo stake sale". BBC News. 
  13. ^ "Lingerie boss drops her support for Labour - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. 
  14. ^ "BBC News – Scottish independence: Michelle Mone threatens to leave Scotland". bbc.co.uk. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c "Background: Is Michelle Mone the right person to help poor Britons start up businesses?". Herald Scotland. 
  16. ^ "A match made in heaven? Iain Duncan Smith and Michelle Mone join forces". thenational.scot. 
  17. ^ "Bra tycoon Michelle Mone to be made Tory Peer, reports claim". STV News. 
  18. ^ www.heraldscotland.com
  19. ^ a b "Millionaire businessman calls on UK Government to explain Mone appointment". Herald Scotland. 
  20. ^ "Major Tory donor latest to question Mone's Government appointment". Herald Scotland. 
  21. ^ The Scotsman newspaper, "Scots Tories cringe over Mone appointment", August 2015
  22. ^ "PSYBT Annual Report 2004" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "University of Paisley Honorary Doctors of the University of Paisley" (PDF). Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59282. p. 11. 31 December 2009.
  25. ^ "New Year Honours 2010". gov.scot. 
  26. ^ "notice 2409420". The London Gazette. 
  27. ^ "Michelle Mone's office guilty of 'Wiki Washing' her online biography". Herald Scotland. 
  28. ^ "Michelle Mone threatens to sue critics". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  29. ^ "Michelle Mone denies wrongdoing over EBTs". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  30. ^ "Mone's firm forced to pay compensation after bugging pot plant". The Mirror. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  31. ^ "Ultimo lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone splits from husband after posing in underwear - Telegraph". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  32. ^ "Michelle Mone's mansion plans fall foul of elderly neighbour". East Kilbride News. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  33. ^ Michelle Mone showcases her incredible figure on beach with lookalike daughter Bethany Entertain9jar

External links[edit]