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Putting Your Head Above the Parapet in a Man’s World

Pitching a new business idea can be daunting at the best of times, but imagine how Jacqueline Gold felt when she stood in front of an all-male board in the 1970’s to pitch her plan for Tupperware style parties selling lingerie and sex toys rather than plastic tubs?

At the time women in business were rare and particularly in this industry. But, even the initial rejection didn’t put Jacqueline off and through determination and a strong belief in her business idea she managed to secured part of the funding she had pitched for.

With a healthy dose of hard work, Ann Summers home parties were launched and became an almost instant success. Jacqueline changed British sex lives and as her parties became more successful, so did she. In 1993 she became Ann Summers Chief Executive and went on to open the first high street Ann Summers shop. The company now has a gross annual sales turnover of over £150 million, with 138 UK & Ireland stores and over 4,000 parties every week.

Today Jacqueline is a successful businesswomen with many accolades against her name, including the 2012 most Inspirational Celebrity at the Inspirational Women’s Awards. In 2015 she received a CBE in the New Year Honours for services to Entrepreneurship, Women in Business and Social Enterprise.

Jacqueline’s story is a great testament of what can be achieved when you put 100% belief in yourself and are brave enough to put your head above the parapet, even when the odds seem stacked against you.