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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Jacqueline Gold

I didn’t have the greatest of childhoods.

I went to work for Ann Summers as work experience for forty five pounds a week. I was earning less than the tea lady.

I remember going to this Tupperware party in a council flat in South East London full of women giggling, crammed together on sofas. They knew I worked at Ann Summers and they said to me, we would like to be able to buy sexy underwear. This was thirty three years ago.

Ann Summers played a huge part in the whole sexual revolution of the last thirty years.

I made the decision at the beginning that I wanted this to be for women only which is probably one of the best decisions I ever made.

I remember one board member standing up and saying, look, you know this isn’t going to work; women aren’t even interested in sex.

I’ve been arrested, I’ve had a bullet through the post and I’ve taken the Government to court. All of these things most business people wouldn’t have to endure and why? All because I wanted to empower women in the bedroom.

I think that’s what makes me a successful entrepreneur, having that desire to get up in the morning, the passion about my business, facing new challenges and seeing what you can do with them.

I have a four and a half year old daughter and the best gift I could give her would be her self-esteem.  

There are certain industries where business leaders are not recognising the female talent in front of them.

I think that naming and shaming would be appropriate for companies that don’t give equal pay where men and women are doing exactly the same job.

I have definitely empowered women in the bedroom. I would like to empower women in the Boardroom next.

About Jacqueline Gold
Jacqueline Gold is Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox and is renowned for managing a company run by women, for women.

She began her career at 21 when she started working for her father’s company, Ann Summers. As she learnt more about the Ann Summers of the 1970’s she saw the potential to change the focus of the business and create a business and brand which focused on women and would allow women to browse and shop for lingerie and sex toys in a safe, female friendly environment.

After attending an at home Tupperware party, Jacqueline saw the potential to use a similar concept to introduce sex toys and lingerie to women in the home environment.

Jacqueline took the concept of at home parties and developed the idea of Ann Summers Party Plan. With no formal training, Jacqueline presented her concept to the all-male board. After initially meeting resistance from the board, Jacqueline demonstrated how the party plan concept was a viable one and was eventually given the go ahead to launch the concept.

Jacqueline’s belief in the potential for party plan was proven almost instantly, with hundreds of women keen to become party organisers and even more wanting to attend the party’s. The success of party plan was the first stage in the development of the Ann Summers brand that we know today, changing forever the sex lives of women (and men) in the UK.

In 1993 Jacqueline was appointed Chief Executive of Ann Summers, and shortly after launched the first Ann Summers store on the high street, forever changing the face of retail and now being known as the woman who brought sex to the British High Street.

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