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25 Jane Shepherdson

Chief executive, Whistles

By Jane Shepherdson’s own admission, endorsements from actress Keira Knightley, TV presenter Alexa Chung and the Duchess of Cambridge have contributed to a stellar year for Whistles, which is turning a profit for the first time. The Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear Whistles’ spring 11 white silk, embroidered scallop-edged blouse for her official engagement photos, prompting a massive surge in sales. Further royal choices also followed. The result? EBITDA increased to £1.2m for the year to January 31 from a loss of £400,000 the year before, while total sales increased 13% to £38.8m. Since then, Shepherdson says trade has remained strong as the retailer develops a significant international profile.

Last year’s position 18

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