The quick-fire round
What’s your golden rule of business?
My golden rule is to work the hardest you can work, play the hardest you can play, and always give something back.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice is always to think of plan B in case plan A fails, and kick in with plan B as soon as you think it’s failing. Don’t be scared of changing your mind – go with your instinct.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started?
When it comes to litigation, there are no winners apart from lawyers! The lawyers are the only ones who get all the cash, so if you can stay away from litigation, you definitely should.
Which entrepreneurial company do you take most inspiration from?
Probably Virgin, because of what Richard has done with them in terms of music, airlines, trains etc. He’s diversified, as I’m trying to do. Ultimo Airlines would be nice one day perhaps!
Where do you go for trusted advice?
I’ve always gone to my mum and dad, and my friends, such as Sir Tom Hunter, who’s a great source of insight and probably the entrepreneur I most admire.
In running your business, which metrics do you need at your fingertips at all time?
I need to know sales for the day before, and also how we’re doing against the key performance indicators (KPIs). Those are the main metrics for me.
What’s your favourite gadget, and why?
I have to pick two. My iPhone, for phoning, internet etc, and my Blackberry, because I wouldn’t be able to travel the way I travel without it. I could do without my make-up bag, but not them!
What has been your proudest moment with Ultimo?
Giving customers what they want, and getting the recognition. Receiving flowers, teddies and champagne from customers, that’s amazing. I always feel that, when I buy a dress, I paid my money and I deserve a good service, so I really appreciate the extra support from our customers.
What’s your favourite entrepreneurial TV programme ever?
I’ve been involved in The Apprentice and You’re Hired, so it has to be those programmes really. They really help to promote enterprise and educate people about business.
What’s your view on this year’s series?
I haven’t been home to watch this year’s series but it’s on Sky Plus so I’ll be Sky Plus-ing it.
Has your gender helped or hindered you in business?
I don’t know, I’ve never been a man! I’ve never let it hold me back though.