Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone of Mayfair

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The Baroness Mone of Mayfair

Michelle Mone (Ultimo founder) 2013.jpg
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
15 October 2015
Life Peerage
Personal details
Michelle Georgina Allan

(1971-10-08) 8 October 1971 (age 49)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyConservative
Other political
Labour (until 2009)
Spouse(s)Michael Mone (1989-2011); Doug Barrowman
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom
OccupationBusinesswoman, parliamentarian
Known forFounder of Ultimo

Michelle Georgina Mone, Baroness Mone of Mayfair, OBE (née Allan; born 8 October 1971 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish entrepreneur and parliamentarian.

In 1996 she and her then-husband founded MJM International Ltd [1] and the lingerie company Ultimo. She sold 100% of Ultimo in 2014.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born on 8 October 1971,[3] Michelle Allan grew up in Glasgow's East End. Mone is an only child after losing her younger brother to spina bifida.[4] She went on to marry Michael Mone aged 19. After 20 years and, after having had three children, the couple divorced in 2011.


Mone obtained a marketing job with the Labatt brewing company and, within two years, had risen to become its head of marketing in Scotland.[5]

She was made redundant by Labatt, prompting her to set up her own business[5] and has since admitted that she exaggerated qualifications on her CV in order to obtain the job.[5]

While wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassière 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.[6] 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.[5]

She was awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to business in 2010 by Her Majesty the Queen.[7]

On 27 August 2015, Downing Street announced her elevation to the peerage,[8] and she was introduced in the House of Lords on 15 October by fellow Conservative peers Lord Freud and Baroness Morris of Bolton.[9][10] She was appointed to conduct a two part government review for the PM David Cameron on business start-ups in deprived areas.

MJM International[edit]

In November 1996 she founded MJM International with her then-husband Michael.[1] In August 1999, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London. The couple built up MJM firm into a £39m business. Mone ranks among the UK's most successful businesswomen and her designs can still be found in department stores worldwide.[citation needed]

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. The business was transferred to a new joint venture company Ultimo Brands International Ltd, in a 49/51% partnership with Sri Lankan-based MAS Holdings.[1] 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 & Tone.[2]

In August 2015, Mone resigned her directorships of both MJM International Ltd and Ultimo Brands International Ltd citing that she had "Hung up her bra and sold 80% of Ultimo". Mone described her 17 years of building up the Ultimo brand as a "roller coaster ride" and that she was looking forward to a "new chapter".[2]

Mone is one of the highest paid business speakers in the UK seeking up to £25,000 per speech within the UK.[11] She speaks around the globe with Success Resources, the speaking company who tour with Tony Robbins.[12]


Mone, previously a long-standing Labour Party supporter like her family, 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 were Scotland to become independent following the 2014 Referendum.[14] The Guardian recorded in a 2015 profile, Mone "grew up a Scottish Labour-voting Protestant and is now a Conservative peer".[15]

On 10 August 2015, Downing Street announced that Mone would lead a 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 announced a list of new creations of life peers, including Mone.[17] Her inclusion drew criticism from other business leaders; however, she was commended on the release of the review by others such as the head of commercial banking for Europe at HSBC, Business secretary, and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid, Ruth Lowbridge MBE, Executive Chair of the SFEDI Group and others.[18][19] Some Conservatives questioned her suitability for the House of Lords.[20][21] Senior Scottish Conservatives also criticised Cameron's action, describing Mone as "a public relations creation, a personal brand rather than a serious businesswoman".[22] Mone was interviewed for YOU Magazine in April 2016 and said that she told peers that she was worried she would not 'fit in' at the Lords but said "every-time they try to bring me down, I fly higher."[citation needed]

Television appearances[edit]

Personal life[edit]

At 18 years old, Michelle Allan became pregnant with her first child. She then converted to Roman Catholicism and married Michael Mone, an anaesthetist's son from a Catholic family.[5] On 27 December 2011, lawyers announced the couple's formal separation;[23] they have three children.

On 26 December 2018 Mone announced her engagement to businessman Douglas Barrowman. They were married on 29 November 2020.



In 2001 Prince Charles invited Mone to join the board of directors of The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust[25] and later as a member of its Council.

On 21 November 2002, Paisley University awarded her an honorary doctorate (Hon DUniv).[26]

Mone was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to the lingerie industry" in the 2010 New Year Honours.[27][28] 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".[29]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c www.mjminternational.com
  2. ^ a b c "Michelle Mone announces Ultimo stake sale". BBC News. 3 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Michelle Mone: The First Lady of Lingerie laid bare - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Carole Cadwallader (12 September 2010). "The first lady of lingerie". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Michelle Mone Ultimo". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  7. ^ "The incredible rags-to-riches story of lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Gov.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Ex-lingerie mogul Michelle takes Lords seat as Baroness Mone of Mayfair". STV News. 15 October 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Ultimo founder Michelle Mone to lead entrepreneurship review". BBC News. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Baroness (Michelle) Mone - Conference Speaker". JLA. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Success In London". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Lingerie boss drops her support for Labour". The Sunday Times. 25 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Scottish independence: Michelle Mone threatens to leave Scotland". BBC News. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Ultimo founder Michelle Mone is 'to be made a Tory peer'". The Independent. 1 August 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  16. ^ "A match made in heaven? Iain Duncan Smith and Michelle Mone join forces". The National. 11 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Bra tycoon Michelle Mone to be made Tory Ppeer, reports claim". STV News. 1 August 2015. Archived from the original on 3 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Baroness Mone publishes 'Be the boss' review - Press releases". Gov.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Business leaders have hit out at Mone peerage". The Herald. 28 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Millionaire businessman calls on UK Government to explain Mone appointment". The Herald. 15 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Major Tory donor latest to question Mone's Government appointment". The Herald. 23 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Scots Tories cringe over Mone appointment". The Scotsman. 16 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Michelle Mone in 'amicable' split from husband Michael". Daily Mirror. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Michelle Mone's mansion plans fall foul of elderly neighbour". East Kilbride News. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  25. ^ "PSYBT Annual Report 2004" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  26. ^ "University of Paisley Honorary Doctors of the University of Paisley". Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  27. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 11.
  28. ^ "New Year Honours 2010". Scottish Government. 31 December 2009.
  29. ^ "notice 2409420". The London Gazette. 2 October 2015.

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