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Q&A: Ultimo's Michelle Mone
You're a working-class girl who has done very well, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
When I was younger, I was a bit different to my friends...they all had posters of pop stars whilst I had a small obsession with Richard Branson - the way he approached business really inspired me. I also loved the show 'Dynasty', I remember watching it and just wanting the big house with the grand staircase. I dreamt BIG.
You built Ultimo into a multimillion-pound business, what advice would you give to other women starting out with a great idea they want to develop?
I think passion is one of the most vital things when building a business. You need to be passionate about what you do, because a lot of things can often not go your way on the journey, but having that love for what you do will continue to see you fight your way to success.
What do you think has been your greatest achievement to date?
One of my greatest achievements to date, is without a doubt receiving an OBE. It was such an honour to be recognised for the work I have done for the industry and I will never forget that moment.
As a working mother how important is it to have a good work/life balance?
I think it is so important. You never know what's going to happen in business, so it is essential that you maintain and make time for your personal life. I have a great circle of friends, and my relationship with my children is so important to me. I couldn't do what I do without their support.
You've lost more than six stone and are looking in great shape. What made you lose the weight?
I was once a size 22 - which is nearly 18 stone - and I was so unfit that I couldn't even walk to the end of the road without getting out of breath. It was after my third child, Bethany, was born that it became really stressful and my eating spiralled out of control and I just knew I had to make a change.
How did you do it and what advice can you give to other women who are inspired to do the same?
I started losing weight by taking small steps such as running to the lamp post, then pushing myself further each time. Now I run or go to the gym for an hour each day. Taking that hour for yourself will make you feel much better and think more clearly. I also watch what I eat and control my portion sizes. I also use a natural weight-loss aid, TrimSecrets that helps keep me focused. I have a better body now, age 40, than I had at 17!
You've launched a new self-tan called UTan, what makes it stand out from all the other brands on the market?
UTan came about through my desire to provide women with products that improve their lives and give them unbeatable results. So for the last three years, I created a range that does not streak or rub off, as well as being odour-free, and more than that, the special ingredients such as the wild indigo flower assist in resculpting and reshaping the body's contours ensuring women not only look, but feel more confident as they wear it.
This is Ultimo's debut in the beauty market, will there be more coming up?
Ultimo Beauty is going to be expanding with the second range that has been especially designed to sculpt the body, focusing on all of the key areas that women are known to suffer.
What are your handbag beauty essentials?
I am obsessed with my eyebrows, so I always have La Tweez Illuminating Tweezers on me- so handy with the light to remove any stray hairs.
What are your biggest beauty indulgences?
I have very sensitive skin and I break out if I get nervous, so I spend a lot of money on skincare. I switch between Crème de la Mer and La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream. If my skin is going through a period of being very dry, I opt for the Crème de la Mer, as it is so hydrating. But I also swear by Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser.