Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone

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The Baroness Mone

Michelle Mone (Ultimo founder) 2013.jpg
Personal details
Michelle Georgina Allan

(1971-10-08) 8 October 1971 (age 48)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Doug Barrowman
ResidenceIsle of Man
OccupationBusinesswoman, parliamentarian
Known forFounder of Ultimo

Michelle Georgina Mone, Baroness Mone, OBE (née Allan; born 8 October 1971 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish entrepreneur, global speaker,[1] designer, innovator[2] and parliamentarian.[3]

Through MJM International,[4] she founded the lingerie company Ultimo. She sold 100% of Ultimo in 2014.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born on 8 October 1971,[6] Michelle Allan grew up in Glasgow's East End. Mone is an only child after losing her younger brother to spina bifida.[7] She went on to marry Michael Mone aged 19. After 20 years and having three children the couple divorced in Scotland.


Mone strove 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.[8] She was made redundant by Labatt, prompting her to set up her own business.[8] She has since admitted that she exaggerated qualifications on her CV in order to get the job.[8]

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.[9] 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.[8]

She was awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to business in 2010 by Her Majesty the Queen.[10]

On 27 August 2015, Downing Street announced her elevation to the peerage,[11] and she was introduced in the House of Lords on 15 October by fellow Conservative peers Lord Freud and Baroness Morris of Bolton.[12][13] 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 husband Michael,[4] 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. 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.[4] 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.[14]

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".[15]

Mone is one of the highest paid business speakers in the UK seeking up to £25,000 per speech within the UK.[16] She speaks around the globe with Success Resources, the speaking company who tour with Tony Robbins.[17]


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".[18]

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.[19] The Guardian records in a 2010 profile, Mone "grew up a Scottish Labour-voting Protestant and is now a Conservative peer".[20]

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.[21] On 27 August 2015, Prime Minister Cameron announced a list of new creations of Life Peers, including Mone.[22] 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.[23][24] Some Conservatives questioned her suitability for the House of Lords.[25][26] Senior Scottish Conservatives also criticised Cameron's action, describing Mone as "a public relations creation, a personal brand rather than a serious businesswoman".[27] 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 20 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.[8] On 27 December 2011, lawyers announced the couple's formal separation;[28] they have three children: Rebecca, Declan, and Bethany.[29][30]


In 2001 Prince Charles invited Mone to join the board of directors of The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust: "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",[31] and later as a member of its Council.

On 21 November 2002, Paisley University awarded her an honorary doctorate (Hon DUniv).[32]

Mone was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to the lingerie industry" in the 2010 New Year Honours.[33][34] 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.[35] In 2016 Mone won the HSBC special lifetime Achievement award.[36]

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. ^ "Michelle Mone OBE - Motivational Speaker & Entrepreneur". www.raisethebar.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. ^ "How Michelle Mone made £39m from building better bras". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  3. ^ "About Michelle, Michelle Mone". Michellemone.com. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b c www.mjminternational.com
  5. ^ www.bbc.co.uk
  6. ^ "Michelle Mone, the Bra Queen". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Michelle Mone: The First Lady of Lingerie laid bare - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e Carole Cadwallader (12 September 2010). "The first lady of lingerie | Fashion | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Michelle Mone Ultimo". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  10. ^ "The incredible rags-to-riches story of lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Gov.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  12. ^ www.news.stv.tv
  13. ^ "Ultimo founder Michelle Mone to lead entrepreneurship review". BBC News. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Michelle Mone announces Ultimo stake sale". BBC News.
  15. ^ "Michelle Mone announces Ultimo stake sale". BBC News. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  16. ^ "BookBaroness (Michelle) Mone - Conference Speaker - JLA". www.jla.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Success In London". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Lingerie boss drops her support for Labour - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk.
  19. ^ "Scottish independence: Michelle Mone threatens to leave Scotland". BBC News. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Ultimo founder Michelle Mone is 'to be made a Tory peer'". The Independent. 1 August 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  21. ^ "A match made in heaven? Iain Duncan Smith and Michelle Mone join forces". thenational.scot.
  22. ^ "Bra tycoon Michelle Mone to be made Tory Peer, reports claim". STV News.
  23. ^ "Baroness Mone publishes 'Be the boss' review - Press releases - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  24. ^ www.heraldscotland.com
  25. ^ "Millionaire businessman calls on UK Government to explain Mone appointment". Herald Scotland.
  26. ^ "Major Tory donor latest to question Mone's Government appointment". Herald Scotland.
  27. ^ "Scots Tories cringe over Mone appointment", The Scotsman, August 2015
  28. ^ "Michelle Mone in 'amicable' split from husband Michael". Daily Mirror. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  29. ^ "Michelle Mone's mansion plans fall foul of elderly neighbour". East Kilbride News. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  30. ^ Michelle Mone showcases her incredible figure on beach with lookalike daughter Bethany Entertain9jar
  31. ^ "PSYBT Annual Report 2004" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  32. ^ "University of Paisley Honorary Doctors of the University of Paisley". Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  33. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 11.
  34. ^ "New Year Honours 2010". gov.scot.
  35. ^ "notice 2409420". The London Gazette.
  36. ^ "National WIBA 2015 Grand Final: And The Winners Are …". Forwardladies.com. Retrieved 8 September 2016.

External links[edit]