Mary Portas (Author, Reader) Known to the nation as Mary, Queen of Shops, from her Award winning series for the BBC Mary Portas has made an indelible mark on British retail. Starting her career with Harrods and then Top Shop she made her name as the Creative Director of Harvey Nichols, transforming the department store into London’s sexiest fashion destination. She has written columns for most national media on retail and consumerism, published two books, advised Government on the future of High Streets, launched her own fashion label, as well as kickstarting the return of British manufacturing with her brand Kinky Knickers. Her proudest achievement to date, she says, is the creation of Mary’s Living and Giving shops for Save The Children. Currently the most profitable charity shops in the UK, she has so far opened 25 and has raised over £13 million and counting. All of this is fuelled by the talent and expertise of the people of Portas, her agency based in London. Working on an international level, the business advises clients from every continent, covering every sector of the industry, from mass market brands to high-end luxury, across fashion, beauty, hotels, airports, Malls and Real Estate Place-making. Distinguished by an unrelenting focus on people and the cultural influences that shape their lives, Mary and her diverse team of strategists, designers and creatives have built made to-measure concepts that marry the key tenets of intelligence, instinct and insight. Westfield, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes, Gap, Liberty, L’Oreal, Sainsburys, Estée Lauder to name but a few have all had the Portas magic. Portas believe that understanding today’s fluid consumers is at the heart of great selling and shopping. That and a bloody great dollop of intuition, creativity, vision and risk. Otherwise, why bother?