Ultimo (designer lingerie brand)

----"For other uses, see Ultimo (disambiguation)."

Ultimo is a Scottish designer lingerie brand founded by Michelle Mone.

History

Michelle Mone grew up in the East End of Glasgow, and after an early career as a model ran Labatt's Scottish sales and marketing team. After being made redundant and having her second child, in October 1996 whilst attending a dinner dance with her husband Michael, she decided while wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassiere that she could design something better which was:http://www.mjm-international.com/pdf/MICH_MJM_DOWNLOAD.pdf]
*more comfortable
*better looking
*create more cleavage

MJM International Ltd was set up in November 1996, and three years of research, design and development resulted in the patented Ultimo bra which achieved the aims Mone had set out.

In August 1999 a month after having her third child, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London - Selfridges sold the pre-launch estimate of six weeks of stock within 24 hours. It is still known as the biggest ever bra launch in the UK with over 50 photographers present and camera crews from all over the world.

In April 2000 Mone won the "World Young Business Achiever Award" in the Epcot Centre, Florida. In May 2000 Ultimo was launched in to the United States at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York.

In September 2003 MJM launched their 3rd invention, The Ultimo Miracle Body. Michelle said that shw was given the challenge from her celebrity customers to create a backless and frontless bra. Her technical team said it was impossible...12 months later it was achieved which is why she called the product the 'Miracle Body"!.

In April 2004 MJM launched a new lingerie brand with Asda. This new brand, Michelle for George, delivers designer flair at everyday prices.

In October 2005 Michelle attended a speaking engagement called Leaders in London with Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton

In September 2006 MJM launched Adore Moi for Debenhams with model Jade Jagger.

In May 2007MJM launched Trim Secrets the diet pill that helped Michelle herself lose 5 stone in one year.

In 2007 following huge demand and recognising a gap in the market to offer fuller busted women design led lingerie solutions, MJM launched Ultimo D-G cup to do just that.

Due to the phenomenal growth of Ultimo lingerie and swimwear, MJM International have signed a deal with Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman to open stand alone Ultimo stores within Debenhams. The first ever Ultimo shop opened in Glasgow, Debenhams Silverburn in October 2007.The Ultimo shop in Debenhams Liverpool Lord Street was opened by Spice Girl Mel B when Ultimo brought Mel B to 3 cities in one day. On 4th June 2008 Mel B visited Ultimo at Debenhams London Oxford Street, Liverpool Lord Street and Glasgow Silverburn.The 12th Ultimo shop opened, within Debenhams Henry Street Dublin, on the 26th June 2008. Michelle was delighted to finally bring Ultimo to the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to its jointly owned brands MJM International currently supply Debenhams, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Next, Grattan, Littlewoods, Figleaves and ASOS along with a number of independent lingerie stores.

Her achievements have been recognised by the following:

1. In 2001, Prince Charles asked Michelle to join the Board of Directors for The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust.

2. In November 2002, Michelle was awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of the University, by Paisley University.

3. In May 2003 Management Today voted Michelle one of the top 30 woman entrepreneurs in the UK. Michelle was listed alongside the likes of Martha Lane Fox and Stella McCartney.

4. September 2006 saw Michelle announced as one of the newest professionals selected for inclusion in International WHO'S WHO Historical Society.

5. In 2006 Michelle was voted one of the top 3 women entrepreneurs in the UK.

Marketing

Rod Stewart's girlfriend Penny Lancaster was the first Ultimo girl, replaced a year later by his ex-wife the supermodel Rachel Hunter while the couple were separated/divorcing. Stewart was upset with Mone, as she had approached her fellow Scot to help her business and persuade Lancaster to model the Ultimo range. [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=62742004] Stewart called Mone a "manipulative cow"' and commented that: "I hope she (Mone) chokes on her profits." [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=2292442005] [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20040425/ai_n12588066 Why does everyone hate this woman?; Rod Stewart called her a | Sunday Herald, The | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] Mone responded that she had always wanted Hunter to model the clothes as her original target, and only went for Lancaster at £200,000 because she was cheaper than the £1million it later cost her to sign Hunter. [ [http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/lancaster%20was%20always%20second%20choice%20to%20hunter%20for%20ultimo%20role Penny Lancaster - Lancaster Was Always Second Choice To Hunter For Ultimo Role ] ]

Hunter was replaced by Helena Christensen, who was later replaced by Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding. [ [http://www.ultimodirect.com/about-us/celebrity-endorsement Official Website - About Us] ] In April 2007, Stewart was insulted again when Mone signed his daughter Kimberly as the face and body of Adore Moi for Debenhams. . [ [http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,4-2007160662,00.html Kim: Knickers to you, Dad | The Sun |HomePage|Showbiz|Bizarre ] ] [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=566532007] In October 2007, Ultimo launched their new brand Ultimo D-G cup modelled by formerHollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson. [ [http://www.showbizspy.com/2007/10/26/gemma-atkinson-signed-up-to-be-ultimos-angel/ Gemma Atkinson signed up to be Ultimo’s ‘angel’ | Showbiz Gossip, Showbiz News, Entertainment News - Showbiz Spy ] ] Other "Ultimo" models have included Michelle Heaton, Katie Price, Jennifer Ellison, Samantha Mumba and Ruby Stewart.

Spring Summer 08 saw MJM sign the biggest star yet when they announced Spice Girl Mel B as the new face and body of Ultimo A-D. Michelle said "Not only is Mel B a Worldwide star but she is confident, sexy and outgoing - every attribute needed to become an Ultimo supermodel".

In August 2008, TV Presenter and model "Melinda Messenger" became the face of the new D-G Cup range. Of Melinda, Michelle says "I am delighted to announce Melinda Messenger as the face and body of Ultimo D-G. She is perfect for the brand as she is a busy working mum who demands that her lingerie suits her lifestyle. She looked fantastic in the fashion ranges while genunely getting excited about how the miracle solution garments could transform her wardrobe!"

Controversy

The company was launched in the traditional ship building district of Glasgow, Govan, bringing much needed jobs. But after returning from a trip to Los Angeles in 2003 to visit her then friend Rod Stewart, [ [http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=228222003 Scotland on Sunday ] ] the premises were moved after Mone was car-jacked, [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=213502003] assaulted and prototype samples were stolen from her BMW car in 2003. [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=986912003] Her mobile phone was taken, which included various telephone numbers of notable Scots including then First Minister Jack McConnell. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2779699.stm BBC NEWS | Scotland | Bra boss robbed at knifepoint ] ]

Media appearances

Mone is a regular busniess panelist/commentator on the "" television show, a sub programme of the British version of The Apprentice. She most famously slapped down the contestant Katie Hopkins for her behaviour in business.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.ultimodirect.com Official Ultimo website]
* [http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=509&id=253692002 2002 interview with Mone re her life and Ultimo launch]


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