« Desert Island Discs

Jacqueline Gold

2018-10-28 | 🔗
Jacqueline Gold is the CEO of the retail brands Ann Summers and Knickerbox. She joined the business at the age of 19 for work experience, and faced resistance because her father, David Gold, was the owner. By the time she was 21, she had persuaded the largely sceptical all-male board to invest in her radical idea: to re-invent the Ann Summers brand by selling lingerie and sex toys at women-only parties held in their homes. Along with the parties, there are now over 100 high street shops, with a multi-million pound turnover. Jacqueline’s childhood was difficult after her parents divorced when she was 12. Although she was a shy child, she worked throughout her teens which brought her a degree of financial independence and resilience. Today she’s a strong advocate of female empowerment, supports women in business and has set up the WOW incentive on Twitter. Jacqueline was awarded a CBE in 2016 and was ranked as the 16th wealthiest female entrepreneur by The Sunday Times in 2017. Happily married for the second time, she and her husband Dan underwent several courses of IVF treatment, and she eventually conceived twins. One of the children, Alfie, only survived for eight months. Their daughter, Scarlett is now aged nine. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wishin' On A Star - Rose Royce BOOK CHOICE: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne LUXURY ITEM: Her own feather pillow Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Bbc sounds music. Radio, podcasts, hello, I'm Lauren laverne- and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guests to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they'd want to take with them. If they were cast away to a desert island. rights reasons. The music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening I The my castaway this week is jacqueline gold. You could be forgiven for associating her with another woman's name before her own back. The early seventies on summers was a small chain of shops. Her father picked up for a song back, then they sold
top shelf magazines and sex toys to an almost exclusively male clientele. Jaclyn describes as the raincoat brigade, her idea to focus the business on women. Only at home sales parties turned it into an. Nationally successful brand? She insists that her way of doing business in powers, women in the boardroom, I'm the bedroom describing her company as a fee. Male institution has shops are familiar. Your presence on british high streets and holding fast in time of uncertainty for retailers ass. She puts it sex cell, even in recession, but if you think she's had a charmed life. The personal story that accompanies her professional success might come as a surprise. She faced traumatic teenagers, ominous threats from opponents to a business, the loss of a child. In infancy and a cancer diagnosis Success she says, is about confidence, but first comes courage. If he faced fears, you
so have courage to move yourself forward and step outside of your comfort zone, I'm convinced that great things will happen. If you do well and to desert island discs jacqueline gold. While it's a great pleasure to be Helen see describe your company as a female institution. How does that manifest? What are you trying to do for women are female, sort of empowerment has always been at the heart of everything we do. When join done. Some, as you know, is a very male dominated business. I made it vision right at the beginning, up though it could be, no men at the parties and the policies tick hitters, just fantastic to see. Women suddenly come up The shells talk to each other about their sex lives in shadow Stories, try on underwear without feeling uncomfortable what we did was a real culture change. How different is the reality of the business people's preconceptions about it, you think we'll. Let know I remember
years and years ago, getting in a taxi and saying or could you take me to an summers head office and he said we drew up. He said you're not going in there. I said yes, I am why, oh you know what goes on in there and I think he has this vision of women working around and saw high pvc boots, and you know it could be nothing further further from the truth. Yes, it's fun. But you know this is a serious business and a business that I'm incredibly passionate about. You wanted the case, most successful business women and your also apparent what do you do in your downtime on the traditional slower lauren? You know I love family time, love taking scholar to the cinema. I've just got to puppies two mounting a love going for come she walks. I love football.
Of course it has to be less time. Yoda David is the coup owner of way. As I love west hand, you know we got such great routes that take us back to green straight, my grandmother lived in full to green story. Could you believe right next to the ground by my opposite, the stadium and she used to sell. So bananas and I'd go into her sweet shop. When my dad used to go to the the fatigue, and help her in the store. Great memories tell me about your first piece of music in my view, chosen it. I have chosen goes just want to have fun by cyndi lauper, really, because It was all about the answer. As party plan, it was empowering and just having all these amazing women going out there doing great things and feeling really comfort It just says everything about how found that time was,
whence girls just want to have fun by cindy loafer, Jaclyn gold. You were born in nineteen sixty two david and barrel gold and your dad was. East end boy made good. Tell us about him. I mean I just have the most amazing relationship with my dad. I'm unless is too weak. We love him. Two bits
I've seen some ways. I think he and I are very similar. His the adults missed an really passionate the strange, about my relationship with my dad is as a child growing up really remember him, my parents too. When I was twelve years old and then, of course, We have this strange relationship for so long. It was difficult. I didn't really steel taught him because he was always working and then, of course, when he left it became even more difficult. Each time you visit did you know which so to sit there and so for him on the other, my sister, who would have been about five at the time you couldn't former, Relationship o o o grow a relationship that talk of environment and there wasn't a kind of speculation as a way of doing that. In those days I was just so different lauren. You know today it's more common children. Go and stay with their fathers or they take them out. For the day We want to nurture that and I just think it was. You know very frosty uncomfortable, it was impossible. Really
and what about you, mother, how would you describe her during the early years of childhood, mama It was a very kind woman but she was also quite timid and I I about who, with sadness. Unfortunately, but when I think back I remember my mom saying me once I wish I could just live in a field with nobody around me. Mom was almost scared of life and was just happier to be in rule on adventure sort of environment that must be not for you. It was because mum, because- If her fear of life she was like with my sister and I we were quite suppressed. We couldn't go to sleepovers. We couldn't go on school trips. We didn't have any friends, it felt quite lonely. So we owe we occasionally played with our cousins. An only child is well until it is just to respond when he was seven. I think that's right. Yes, what kind of girl we you did you anxiety impact on you, and maybe a little bit more.
And shy than you might have been absolutely. I was a spirit of a child to look out of his really tiny. Looked so much younger than my years, and I was really timid, really shy and one thing I've learned in later life, you know you boon shy? Anybody who thinks that so the way they are. You know it is about you environment. That's why us let you know you said at the beginning that I have to spend lisa courage comes before comfort, because you know, if you can have the key wish to put yourself in a situation which is uncomfortable, but pushes you in confidence does come and great things can come out of that jaclyn What about your next piece of music white? A few chosen it well, I've chosen I feel love by on a summer. I mean this is a classic record, but it does remind me of my tea in is, it remained
me of wearing these denham platform dates that I actually had to walk down the stairs on my bottom. They were so high and actually my first boyfriend. So it's quite nostalgic for me. I fell in love. I dont summer jacqueline your parents divorced in nineteen. Seventy two when you were twelve and your team, ages were traumatic it at times you describe being sexually abused from the age of twelve and the person that you
Japan used, you was present in your life in such a way that you couldn't avoid him. What sort of impacted Haven't you. You know sir. It was a neck If period in my life that lasted three years, it was very difficult. I try not to think. But it too much because you know I'm such a plan that person, but I can say is that adversity has helped I hate the person. I am today on very resilient on very strong, and I think that you know everybody those with these things differently. For me, focusing on the the two focusing on the future and I can do to fail in you- know- had a lot saturday, jobs. For example. When I was very young, I worked, addresses. I worked as a waitress. I work road tolls hen and I was at the Ethel. All of these things were great for me because it help to stop build. My confidence
and they help to give me financial independence, which you know was really important? May because it wasn't just about that fish. Will it be issue. There was also what I say two about my mama. Although I loved her, you know she was units that helped me back since the friend of me to movement, has been a lot of debate about what it is that prevents women and girls from speaking up about abuse at the time that happens. What do you think needs to change to help survivors Whilst this has shown a light on people's difficulties, it's important that that happens and I think the me too campaign will go on and on and on, and I think that You know it's understandable that women didn't speak out at the time. First of all, there's a huge fear that nobody's going to believe you and then this affair did. I contribute to this in some way. No, you didn't but I think it sometimes in our nature, to sort of look wooden and sort of take blame,
nothing? That's just the way we brought up, and you know I feel very strongly about how we bring up our children. You know we to empower women from the point a little girls. You know this is about meeting boys and girls exactly the same, not just giving all of the household choice, to the little go, no wonder when the boys do well in me. The board and they expect the wind pull the tea and of a sleeper our boys up to respect women and respect those back Andrews types of me, EC jaclyn tell me about your next piece, I was made loving you, which was my soft look face. It was when I met my first husband tiny. I was only twenty at the time am I right in thinking that you may, at some point, have dressed up as one of actually we ve been cited. Is black and white fancy dress policy on the solon in Southampton, and I love her fancy dress party, so I went for I dressed up as the devils
I'd. My husband, I dressed him up as the lead singer from care esteem sermons yet, and we got on a little fairy that took us to a fault in the middle of the silent, it was pitch black and he said I'll be back one in the morning, so we took great. We can apply the night away. We then walked up these light. Dingy wet dark stepped to the fort, and oh, my god, as we walked in everybody, but everybody was dressed in black My time has to be the worse moment of model at the most embarrassing moment. Certainly
the case and I was made for loving you, Jaclyn gold, you dad's company, bought the two and some as shops and the brand in nineteen seventy than in nine seventy nine you came into the business is a nineteen year old on work experience. What was it like? Do not being the bosses? Daughter was horrible thing. The boss, his daughter, I hated. You know, nobody trusted me the. What was awful was that the people I worked with didn't talk me because
Suppose his daughter not barely knew my father at that time, because we haven't at that point reap under it, and I did everything worked in the wages department. And of course it was while I was there I just by chance, invited to this petty party- yes, it is is a bit like a top aware party only with clothes at about nineteen eighty one. This is right and went to one of these parties and they play this game where they ask everybody at the party to draw a picture of their husbands, meat into verge on a piece of paper on top of their heads. While this was deafening, not how much a micro establishing that's for sure lorry bar. What was interesting was that way The policy is about twelve minutes. This policy sang may lead you out there. Well I'm just doing work experience at the moment and summers dogma intention is dying, is really very merry dominated involved, and these women were saying me: we want to be able to buy
sexy onto where we don't aware, but all that harsh light stuff we by nice sexy under way. That makes us feel good about ourselves and we the spice about sex lives, but we don't want our husbands doing it for us, and I just thought, unlike out that, Is this amazing opportunity here and I've got Why? Some of us myself so I went back to the office- I borrowed some put up from the warehouse which was bitter I think it was very much aimed at men and then I held it quality from a group of friends that lifting beacon here where I lived a time and a notice court, catch. This on radio, but when I passed round the humming bird, which was a model, so the key word. I think you can either be about. Ok, so I put around the humming bird vibrator switched on an the guys who, like eyes, wide open, ray curious, unexcited but nervous at the same time as a sort of bob too
with a hands was obviously it looks as if it is a way of making its own way the way the strangeness she's vibrating from yes to guessed at that level, having one of those sort of games like a time bomb, but you ve gotta get rid of its possible but knew there was something in this, and I knew that to pay for women. Only. I think when you speak to business, people often talk about the better fits of being too young to know all the things that you don't know when you're first starting out- and I wonder if that applies to you back, then we were twenty. One absolutely does apply to me, because what I thought was a great disadvantage not having business, experience or sending experience it actually full speech, malign feedback, my customers, which at the time I thought was a disadvantage. I mean what god today, that's fundamental, but of course it was getting across the line with the food and and getting the investment that was the hard bit. I'm definitely going to ask you about that, but right now, let's have some more music. Tell me about your fourth disc. My fourth disc is
by taylor during tell it to my house and I've chosen. This record because it removes dismay of two things. It reminds me of my sister vanessa. We are best friends joined at the hit. We do everything together and I just remember her singing theirs and dancing in the clubs, It was also a time when business was just taking off and we flew All of these party plan goes out to jersey and a charter jet, and it just reminds me, of the amazing time
taylor day with tell it to my heart, jacqueline gold. You came up with a policy plan idea that would turn your business round in nineteen. Eighty one, you would just twenty one. What was it like? Taking that quite radical concept to the board, who I presume then were much older than you an omen. It was really quite difficult in it. About half a dozen, maybe more gray suited late man sitting round the table- and I remember talking through the idea one man stood up, he thought his pen down on the table. We said this isn't gonna work is that women are even interested in sex. And I remember, wanting to serve cha, who kept the type of my oh, my drink. Thank you, got this says a lot more about your sex life in it about my idea of its couldn't site because I needed the investment. So how did you handling? Well? I can't dawn and I did manage to get the ball to invest nothing. They invest in something like forty thousand pounds and are you
is that money to advertise in the london evening standard who ten? because I know you have to word your neurons quite carefully. I did because he couldn't say things like erotic, then, so I had to put exotic, I then had to do. My filtering once Was there and you know I remember- I didn't I'd, probably be about twenty five, if people in the room, maybe as our starting to talk about my ideas. People would get up and leave other people. I had to ask them to leave because, like lady went right for me, I remain talking to one couple to women, that wanted to work together and they both fifteen chelsea and vague aboard and they said we want to earn money and we want to have fun doing it and at that time I did everything. Was alpha train them, but we like, this point: was you weren't quite there with your full business capabilities, you still pretty young girl, it's true and difficult at the beginning, but a turning point for me.
It was when I thought right will I've got this team of women. I've now got to hold an event, well. I can talk to them and motivate them and inspire them, and I remain but having this event for about one hundred women and then to go out and stage thinking what the hell am. I done you know I can't do this but they re sitting there weight. So I had to just so you know just go out and tell them tell them what you think and that's what I did jack tell me about your next piece of meat, and why have you chosen this shit love. This song, I've. Chosen. My love is your love by whitney houston, because it mine's me of the one period in my life when I was single for three years spit out for my husband. And I'd met somebody else and had a long term relationship there and then felt sorry for my Well, for a while, and then my girlfriends might go to I've rallied around and just hard and wholesome three years
Some men and fashion. And those who asked me what actually spent If I I when the hasten on my love? Is your love jaclyn gold, the first female friendly on someone store opened in ninety ninety three in london and fuel? is one of your products, infamously featured in an episode of sex in the city. How much has the conversation about female sexuality changed since he started out, The whole conversation really will
a different page now we don't rush things under the carpet lot. We did years ago it is healthy for relationships. You know, if you can talk in relation. About. What's important for you what you don't know what you do like: I'm, not making it to taboo unita, able to have those conversations without feeling uncomfortable, he faced some pretty stiff opposition to your business over the years, including ones being sent a bullet in the post. What happened? Well, I to open a store in dublin in iconic straight, but when the double cooperation, this sort of equivalent work, So found out what my plans were, they were immediately on the phone trying to persuade me to but my store in a side street, which I was absolutely not doing. So I decide to invite them down to my head office. Show the mouth stores given the tall and you have a reasonable conversation with them and The two gentlemen came down. They sort of played a good cop, bad cop
scenario. One could even look at me. The other one just wanted to talk about sex life over time and quickly realized that you know up whenever I It wasn't my change their minds, so I set that to them and I am one of them said may well actually that's true, but if you do, I not store, we cannot be held responsible for what might happen to you now that was quite chilling or not, and I did for a minute think god should I go ahead with this, but I don't know I absolutely do when I go ahead with it. I wasn't gonna. Have anybody tell me in any shape or form? I couldn't open this door so it was a week before I opened. I received the letter through the post and then I There was also negative publicity, in ireland at the time, but I was invited to go in the late late show. Some I've never done before, but This is the only way I can get my story across and to see sitting at the fairy front of the stage. These two guys, I felt
got this. Isn't gonna go well and then one of them stood up. You know patenting is you're saying you know this was terrible for island. They should- be allowed and then this woman at the back. She said and she's pointing down affront she's going. How dare you- This way we can and can't shop and then, of course, everybody followed suit some music? What about your six disk, jaclyn wives now. My six disc is a real up song, so called green, and I have chosen this because it will mine me of when I met my second husband, my second and final husband, and who I've been married to for eight years, but we ve been together for eighteen years and is the most lovely husband. I could have I love to tibet. And this one reminds me of him?
spinner and grief judge jacqueline gold, You met your partner done at your fortieth birthday party, I think and be seventeen years younger than you and after a while you two embarked on ivy f. What impact did it have relationship at the time I'm going through. Ivf is one of the most emotional, rollercoaster coaster. Is anybody could experience, and this is
Three ten years ago, now and You know down, as you said, was a lot younger than may. He really struggled with those moments of discipline. I meant when you realize you weren't pregnant. I mean we ve been the eighteen years, but we had a sort of eighteen. Month, two year break with no plans to get back together again, you know we loved each other, but in her we could cope with emotional stress and two years later I bumped into down just by complete chance in a nightclub london I visited friends thirtieth, I called It was about one in the morning and so what you want to join us just a cramp issues be great, and then, if these literally this club full of a thousand feet. Whatever is standing like three feet away from me? I've gone provoke every now and then It was just oh, my god, you know we were meant to be together. It was just one of those of feature film
really, and once you take pressure way. You know that be with you with it? We have children or not. You know it shifts things and changes everything. So you re not with down in two thousand and nine and resumed ivf in the? U s and conceived twins when you're forty eight. How did you feel when you find out that you're pregnant I mean I, I was ecstatic and Now that was carrying twins when you ve been through such a difficult. Journey to then here that you ve got to was just amazing, so alfie and scarlet were born in may two thousand and nine, but alfie was never well enough to come home from hospital. It must have been the most. Horrendous time? How did you get through and how did the two of you get through it? just I mean my husband was amazing. I
drug owed. I really struggled on a number of let levels. First, full I'd been told at about twelve weeks that one of my babies, a fatal abnormality and that he would not survive the birth. So there was an assumption that he would pass naturally, but when you have hey baby inside you, that's you know very high, or to accept understand rationalize and I sort of grieved my baby, while he was in the womb so as we got closer and closer to the first date, I'm thinking you know my baby still here and I was huge by the way and I lived in hospital for two months before the birth. I felt very vulnerable
when everywhere in a wheelchair, and then, of course, when my babies were born, alfie did survive the ban, and he was crying when he was born, but not as babies, do was crying because he was in pain, and You know that no mother should ever have have to go through that an here ever child cry in pain that you, your seventh disk today, tackling so in memory of our fate, If chosen one of my favorite all time, songs was also the song we played at his funeral witches wishing honesty by rose voice, was soon the,
I know the moose what We should start by rolls royce, tackling called you pain that for our fate am and that track that you talk to your daughter scarlet about when you talk alfie. Yes, because you know we talk making about alfie I mean scarlet students between now and she's got, chose beside her bed of him and the reason I chose that code for his funeral was because we always talk about alfie as being the bright star in the sky, and the stories what symbolizes alfie and we could
on holiday and scarlet Gozo. Mommy, look there's some alfie and ass, he lived for eight months. You just wanna keep every. Private during that period. But then, once you get past the first stage of grieving, which I guess he's just about accepting, what's happened We we just wanted to make that we can celebrate his life and to positively about him instead of being saddled the time, so we tried to be as positive as we can. Scarlet is now nine, and I think she first saw you give a presentation at a business meeting when she was five, why Well, I desperately want my daughter to grow up believing she can be were ever. She wants to be, and I want it to have bundles of confidence that I didn't have when I her age, and when I was growing up and I don't know the idea came out of nowhere. I was
just doing this speech and then only predominantly man. At these events and I will it's scarlet to see mummy on stage and think this is normal. This is not just something monday and That's why that's why she came, and I you know, I'm glad really glad I did it and I know she's, out a mummy and boy. She confident Tom fool music. Tell me about your eighth disk today: oh my eighth desk as a real dont seat, number uptown front by martin sun, and it remains dismay of twenty. Dane and actually I've received in twenty sixteen, my c b, a in the new year's honor, which is probably the most admirable time in my career, and it just reminds me of celebration and it was so fun. Because for me of his recognised for all the things, I feel passionate about enterprise. These women in business, social enterprise and entrepreneurship? It makes me very proud.
To hear this must spell out like this, but I'm afraid masterpiece levelled at tat. It gets we got a kiss was so pretty. I am dying on uptown. Funk mark runs in featuring bruno mars, jacqueline I know you love a beach break. How do you think that you will get on on our island? Because this time your girlfriend's won't be present with you her I am very resilient and I would definitely be thinking VI. I don't want to be here on my own, no matter how beautiful and hot it is. What's my strategy for getting off this island so
were you planning your escape totally I'd make a good tom Hanks I'll give you the bible, the complete works of shakespeare, and you can take another book of your own. What will always be a kite? What I'm gonna take the secret by runs a burn simply because cause, I need lots of positive energy and I need to be but to say the vision, the I'm off at the end. As your weaving, your escape raft? That will be what you're reading and the luxury item. Two, I'm very grandpapa, don't have a good night's sleep, so my luxury art, would be a feather pillow, okay and fine If you could only save one of the tracks that you ve chosen today, which would it be ah edward bay, wishing on a star by rose royce: jacqueline gold thanks. Very much indeed for sharing your diana discs with us. Thank you
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jacqueline a whole host of other business women. Currently plotting, then next benches on their desert islands, australian, this woman, JANET holmes, a court was sue, lowliest guest in nineteen. Ninety six kirsty young's.
Jo Malone in twenty fifteen to Hillary dovey in twenty twelve and to Karen Brady in two thousand and eight into any ten kirstie castaway retail consultant extraordinaire Mary portas, kirstie asked Mary about her spectacular window displays at harvey Nichols, including a particularly standout creation, feature an old car bonnets. What I did was I drove out to the weather's caught derelict cars over like a scrap metal yards, and they saw all the all their christmases have come at once cause. I just bought all the scrap, metal and lesson right guys, but I want you to spray it pink, and then I sprayed them with pictures of different stars. One was Michael Cain. One was george best and the george best one. I also piles up footballs and sprayed part of his pitch onto so. I made the sculpture of these composites and one day I came out from from
work, and I saw george best standing in front of the wind is having his picture taken and did you talk to him? I did. I did because best was my father's hero, the man united sixties football. I remember just being stuck in brought the tv, but all of this creativity- that's in you all of this originality, this ability to think beyond the norms of what most people do. Do you not feel it way that you are short changed by channeling into retail. Do you not think you should be their creating an incredible work of art that has a sort of purity in it? tied to in the end earning a buck to send the sheer price apple or whatever else. While you know,
it still do. I do. I worry that it's a commercial, the ada vehicle in the end, no because I genuinely don't even think that way. What turns me on is that I think when someone wants to come to this door, I want them to go. Oh you know this. This inspires me. This is fantastic. I want to be in this place. I call it being and buying. The first thing is create a place where I want to be, and it's a given, people will buy and you know it always worked. Tell me, may portas how it came to be the that you ended up, seeing both muhammad ali and David dimbleby in their pants. That was Herod's. I was working at harrods and I was working on the back windows and, and he did the the wind, as he stepped back onto the men's. Changing rooms- and I came out stepped out and early is just standing there in his boxer, shorts and literally in the cubicles and as he and about two foot by
cubicle, and it was only I mean. What did you say? What did he say? I said I'm so sorry he just burst out laughing and I think he gave a monkeys. I was standing there. He was massive as well. I do remember, and those really big cotton boxer shorts, none of those huggies and what about David dimbleby? I don't remember his pants too well, but I do remember it was him and I think he loved just one question in what was a twenty two year old girl gang going or purple I was with flustered and left everything in the windows and just ran cry cake, you never know what you're going to hear on desert island discs. Do you marry porters speaking to kirsty in twenty ten, there are over two thousand more delightful people in programs, back catalogue, just waiting for you to find them, and you can download and listen to all of them wherever you want next time I'll be casting away the photographer vainly back. I do hope. You'll join us
Hello, it's me may Martin, I hope you enjoyed the podcast you just listen to. Can I recommend another picasso? You might enjoy its called grown up land and it's a podcast for people who find that our world a bit much every week me bill. Kay alley and ned such work and tons of other guests try to get our heads around stuff. It confuses the has like sex, very confused by sacks fear. Food and friendship, I'm running out of time for this ad ned. How would you sum up the podcast as it is like a guidebook for people who don't really know where they're going or whether it be great thanks? Ned, that's grown up land and you can find it on BBC sounds
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.