Marie Claire @Work meets Michelle Mone

Ultimo boss Michelle Mone shares her invalubale business tips...

You left school at 15, how did your upbringing influence you in pursuing a career as an entrepreneur?
I suppose I was born with the entrepreneurial spirit. I watched too much Dynasty and Dallas and wanted the fast cars and the big house with the sweeping staircase.

At 10 I decided I was old enough to start earning money. From the paper round I went to working in a fruit shop when I was 12 and then a sweet shop when I was 15 and it just went on from there. Always work hard, play hard and give something back.
 
Do you consider yourself successful?
I do think I’ve been successful but I still don’t think I’ve really made it yet, so many more avenues to explore!!
 
What are your top tips for a winning CV?
First a great covering letter is essential. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar on your CV and your letter as you could get binned even if you have the experience. I would try to limit your CV to only a few pages. Remember companies receive hundred of CVs and yours needs to stand out.
 
What are your top tips to acing an interview?
If you are lucky enough to get an interview do your homework. You need to be as prepared as possible and be able to demonstrate that you have done as much research as possible on the company.
 
One invaluable tip for success in business?
FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL!
 
What has been your career lowlight?
Being conned by a distributor who ran off with nearly £1m in cash and stock.
 
How did you pick yourself up?
No point on dwelling on mistakes, you need to pick yourself up and get on with it, you learn by your mistakes. Every day is a school day and we are all human. Successful people never give up!

Tell us about your 50 Shades of Grey collection…

Harrods and Fraser Stores asked me to design a sexy new range and I felt 50 shades inspired me to create the beautiful; Ultimo Black Label Collection available at Harrods and Fraser stores nationwide and also at www.ultimo.co.uk!
 
You went back to work just four days after having your daughter Bethany, do you think there’s too much pressure on women to ‘have it all’?
Depends what you want in life. If you want to start a business you have to be prepared to take risks and make sacrifices.
 
You’ve lost an incredible amount of weight, how important is your appearance to the way you conduct yourself in business?
I think it’s vital to look the part. Being the head of Ultimo and representing the brand it’s important to look your best at all times.
 
How can women gain the edge in business?
Be true to yourself, work hard and do the best job you can.

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