Jacqueline Gold, who made the lingerie and sex toys chain “Ann Summers” into a household name, passed away at the age of 62 on Thursday. The businesswoman has been battling breast cancer for the past seven years.
Gold’s company, Ann Summers, started out as a four-backstreet shop, and she transformed it into a multimillion-pound business. She had remained active throughout her cancer battle, and even during her final hours on Wednesday, she had led a regular Twitter chat to promote female entrepreneurs.
Gold’s family confirmed her demise in a statement. “It is with unspeakable sadness that we confirm the passing away of Jacqueline Gold. Her spouse Dan, daughter Scarlett, sister Vanessa, and brother-in-law Nick were beside her when she breathed her last.
The statement also added that Gold was a champion female entrepreneur who advocated for more women in business and worked towards creating a better workplace environment for women.
Who Was Jacqueline Gold?
- Gold was the executive chairman of Ann Summers. Her retail company aimed to make sex shops a safe haven for women while also celebrating sexual liberation. She has been an advocate for women entrepreneurs.
- Less than three months ago, Gold’s father, David Gold, the joint chairman of Ann Summers, passed away at the age of 86.
- Jacqueline opened the first Ann Summers shop in 1971. The following year, the business was bought by her father, David Gold, and brother, Ralph.
- Gold began as an intern at the family business, but it was she who transformed it into a female-friendly environment.
- In a 2015 interview with BBC Gold, she shared that initially, this approach wasn’t well received by the all-male board directors. She then set up a Tupperware-style party service, bringing vibrators into the living room of middle England and giving women a chance to make their own money which became a huge hit.
- Her approach generated an increase in sales and led to the expansion of Ann Summers into high-street stores. Currently, the company has 88 shops across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
- While running the business, Gold also served as a mentor to many female entrepreneurs. In 2015, Gold said, “I set out to empower women in the bedroom, and now I aim to empower them in the boardroom.”
- In 2016, Gold was recognised with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her service in entrepreneurship, empowering women in business, and social enterprise.
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