Magazine article Management Today

You Live and You Learn: Jacqueline Gold, CEO, Ann Summers

Magazine article Management Today

You Live and You Learn: Jacqueline Gold, CEO, Ann Summers

Article excerpt

School didn't suit me. I couldn't wait to get a job and be financially independent. Back then, women weren't encouraged to be ambitious. I was mad about design so I figured I'd be a window dresser.

I've always had an entrepreneurial streak. At 13, I was designing crossword puzzles and selling them to a publisher for 50p each. My father had left, my stepfather sexually abused me and my mother had her head stuck in the sand. I could either crawl into a corner or I could create things and earn money.

I started at Ann Summers as an intern when I was 21. When I proposed my party idea to the all-male board, one man said: 'This isn't going to work. Women aren't interested in sex.' That says more about his sex life than my idea. Our forecast turnover for this year is more than pounds 140m.

I've made tons of mistakes. I started a magazine called Bite and had to close it after a year. It cost me pounds 1m. If you're passionate about something but the numbers don't add up, you have to be brave and cut the cord.

I've been arrested twice. I've been poisoned. I've been taken to court numerous times. I was sent a bullet in the post when we opened a store in Dublin. I've had some horrendous experiences but nothing beats losing my son at eight months old. …

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