MY BEST ... deciding that only women should be allowed to attend the Ann Summers parties. When I started organising them 20 years ago, I let a few men attend, but then decided against it. Women have a much more lighthearted and, at the same time, more adult approach to sex, and the parties worked better when it was just women around. It's been a big contributing factor to the success of Ann Summers as a whole, because we've retained that female-friendly ethos. We wanted to create an environment where women felt comfortable buying sexy underwear, and there was no other venue for that sort of thing back then.
MY WORST ... was not pulling out of a failed publishing venture much earlier. In 1993 I launched a women's magazine called Bite, which got great reviews. But people still had very preconceived ideas about Ann Summers, and some newsagents positioned the magazine on the top shelf, so of course women didn't buy it. I let my passion for the project cloud my judgment and I didn't pull the plug on the magazine for a whole year, by which time I'd lost pounds 1 million. It was a very expensive mistake. You have to take risks if you want to make progress, but the risks should be realistic and you shouldn't let your passion get the better of you.