'She empowered women in the bedroom and the boardroom'

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Jacqueline GoldImage source, Ann Summers

By Lucy Hooker

Business reporter, BBC News

Jacqueline Gold famously brought the vibrator into the beforehand rooms of mediate England, helping to spark a societal gyration for the famously prudish British.

But arsenic the tributes that poured successful aft her death, astatine the property of 62, person highlighted, she besides launched an overhaul successful attitudes much broadly, inspiring a procreation of women entrepreneurs and bringing enactment onto the High Street.

Her penetration was 1 shared by fractional of the colonisation already - that women had intersexual appetites excessively - and that that represented a immense untapped market. She arrived astatine Ann Summers, the household business, crashing done societal taboos, and refashioned it aft her ain purpose.

"She perfectly paved the mode for women to consciousness empowered successful the chamber and the boardroom and truly brought pistillate sexuality into the mainstream," says Lucy Litwack, main enforcement of Coco de Mer, different British enactment artifact and lingerie retailer, that followed successful Ann Summers' wake.

"It was her imaginativeness and championing of women, that I recovered truthful inspiring, that I deliberation volition beryllium her legacy," she says.

Jacqueline Gold often spoke astir the archetypal scepticism she faced astatine Ann Summers, past a tiny concatenation oriented towards antheral customers. She suggested they scope retired to women, inviting them to big Tupperware-style parties to merchantability lingerie and enactment toys successful their homes. The committee took immoderate convincing.

But she had different stories to archer too, that illustrated the hurdles she faced.

Charlotte Hardie, Editor of Retail Week, wherever Jacqueline Gold was a impermanent contributor, recalls the arguable motorboat of an Ann Summers store successful Dublin successful 1999.

"It came up against a batch of disapproval from spiritual groups," says Ms Hardie. "They they did not privation her to unfastened this store and determination was tons of atrocious PR."

There were petitions and protests. Jacqueline was adjacent sent a slug done the post.

But says Ms Hardie: "She hated the thought that she was going to beryllium bullied into not opening a store, truthful she ploughed connected regardless.

"She was hugely resilient, hugely determined, and she ever did what she acceptable retired to do."

Another example: erstwhile the authorities said Ann Summers couldn't advertise for unit successful Jobcentres, she took them to tribunal and won.

But though she was determined, friends accidental she ne'er tried to beryllium she was much ruthless than the men astir her, oregon alteration her behaviour successful an effort to acceptable their mould.

"She was ever kind, welcoming, empathetic, she displayed each those enactment qualities that are truthful admired today," says Ms Hardie.

She adjacent accepted successful bully humour the clip astatine a Retail Week league erstwhile she was waiting backstage to articulation a sheet and a well-known main enforcement from different steadfast took her to beryllium a subordinate of staff.

"He said: 'Dear, would you caput conscionable just getting maine a solid of water?'," says Ms Hardie.

While Jacqueline was incensed astatine the time, she did fetch him a drink, and was capable to laughter astir it afterwards.

Jacqueline Gold besides had immense hurdles to flooded successful her backstage life, which she shared successful her autobiography. She was sexually abused by her step-father and suffered from depression.

As an adult, she struggled to conceive, went done IVF attraction but mislaid her babe lad Alfie astatine the property of 8 months. Later the nanny to her girl attempted to poison Jacqueline with screenwash.

Yet, contempt these challenges, she ever seemed to person a twinkle successful her eye, according to her person Jacqueline Hurst, a beingness coach.

"She conscionable had this lust for life," says Ms Hurst.

She loved breaking taboos, particularly the thought of the small pistillate astatine home, cooking, without overmuch much to their lives, she recalls.

And she was a "powerhouse of determination" erstwhile it came to supporting different women, says Ms Hurst, organising breakfasts and different get togethers truthful women could talk. taking portion successful groups that supported women concern and moving mentoring programmes. She launched her ain strategy connected societal media to assistance women moving their ain businesses.

And she was ever perfectly turned out, dressed elegantly, successful heels, says Ms Hurst, due to the fact that underneath it each her doctrine was arsenic overmuch astir having amusive arsenic making money.

"I deliberation that's the biggest happening I'd instrumentality distant from her, is to ever retrieve to person fun." she says. And also: "Don't fto anyone archer you you can't".

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