Not many business leaders can say they’ve had bullets sent to them through the post, been poisoned by their nanny and arrested on multiple occasions.
We met up with Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers, at her Surrey home to talk business, legacy, resilience and much more.
Daughter of West Ham United chairman David Gold, Jacqueline has blazed a trail of her own in her business career. She took Ann Summers from a small, seedy sex shop with four stores in the 1970s, to one of the UK’s iconic retail brands. Not only is she the face behind Ann Summers, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, Jacqueline Gold is also widely-recognised as one of the UK’s leading businesswomen.
Overcoming adversity and life-changing moments along the way, including losing her son at eight months old and fighting breast cancer, Jacqueline is a fierce champion for female empowerment in the bedroom and boardroom.
Jacqueline is the driving force around #WOW (Women on Wednesday). #WOW offers a place for women to network and celebrate each other’s successes, whilst gaining support and advice to grow their businesses. Every week female entrepreneurs and small business owners can join in through Jacqueline’s Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn by tagging themselves or someone they know, telling them a bit about business, and using #WOW. Winners stand a chance to win a mentoring lunch with Jacqueline and a learning day at Ann Summers Head Office.
Here’s what we covered in our chat with Jacqueline Gold CBE
When did you first realise your father wasn’t somebody ordinary and your future would lie in business? (1:23)
What was the environment like when you first started at Ann Summers? (2:47)
Can you tell us about the Ann Summers party plan and the impact this had? (3:32)
You eventually became CEO and transformed the business – but did you ever find you had to battle against the notion you were given the business and the opportunity? (4:42)
The last few years has seen the rise to prominence of Onlyfans, with the top content creators making high 6-figures per month. Reflecting on the societal attitudes towards sex since you took over Ann Summers, how much do you believe they’ve changed? (6:57)
You have faced a lot of adversity in your life. Do you feel your resilience has been key to your success? (9:22)
How have you found networking throughout your business career? (12:53)
As a leader in retail and someone who’s been in business for many years, take us back to the moment the Prime Minister announced that all retail stores had to close. What went through your mind? (14:10)
If you were 18 and had to start a business again today, what would you follow the same path you have or would you do things differently? (16:39)
Have you had to change Ann Summers to address the ESG agenda? (17:33)
What will Ann Summers look like in 30 years’ time and what would you like its legacy to be? (19:43)
You’ve blazed your own trail as a female business leader. Who has inspired you, whether in business or not? (22:10)
Do you have any business advice for our viewers? (24:13)
What is one fact about you that we can’t find online? (25:50)