Empowering women in finance

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Famous Women

Delia Smith

Delia Smith OBE

A brief history

Born in June 1941, in England,  Delia Smith left school at 16 with no qualifications. At the age of 21 she took a job washing dishes in a small restaurant in Paddington, London. This position she credits with her first real introduction to cooking. 

In 1969 she began writing for the Daily Mirror magazine on cookery, where she first met David Wynn-Jones, who was at the time the deputy editor. This meeting is now described as the beginning of one of the most influential partnerships in food media.

In 1971 Delia started to make her first television appearances on the BBC. At that point cookery was considered a public information service rather than entertainment. Her fame began to rise consistently over the coming years.

Her best selling Frugal Food could not have been better timed in 1976-7, as UK wealth started to decline for the first time since the end of the war. In what was described as the winter of discontent in 1978, Delia Smith approached the BBC with a suggestion to launch an educational cookery show to support her book. Her aim was to teach people how to cook: to take them back to basics and cover all the classic techniques. Accompanying books were needed to explain not only how, but why things happen. This began her phenomenal rise to success.

Delia Smith continued to predict trends and lead them

In 1986, following the success of her cookery course she turned her mind to single people with a television series Delia Smith's One is Fun.  Her endorsement can send sales of a product rocketing, such is the influence of brand Delia! 

The Delia Effect sparked a national cranberry shortage after one BBC show featured them in a recipe.  Thousands of fans immediately went out and bought saucepans made by a little known manufacturer SKK after she mentioned them in her show in 2000. She is also credited with boosting egg sales by 10% after showing viewers how to cook them properly. 

How much has she made from her cookery empire?

After  30 years in the business and with book sales of over 11 million, Delia Smith's fortune has been   estimated at over £30 million. In 2003, Delia Smith was named Britain's 91st-richest woman with a £22m fortune. This figure rose in 2005 when she sold New Crane, a publishing business she had set up in 1993 to produce a magazine for Sainsbury's for £5m-£10m. 

Her website was expected to be valued at over £60 million even before it was launched. She was described by the BBC as a women, whose empire would make her one of the richest women in Britian today. So secure is the brand Delia Smith, that even the BBC chiefs for the first time in history  considered whether to acquire a stake in the independent internet venture.

A BBC executive in 2000 said "The BBC played a key role in her success as a household name and we want to carry on and build on this success".

What has her love of football cost her?

In 1996, Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones, stepped in to rescue Norwich City football club from financial troubles with a £1 m investment.  A few years later they raised their stake to £3.5m. Smith is now thought to have spent more than £10m on the team!

"What goes around comes around. After a period of affluence we are now once again, as in the Seventies, facing cutbacks and shortages." - Delia Smith

What can we learn from Delia Smith?

Delia Smith and her back to basics methods, have taught us the flaw in assuming that, because we already perform an activity, we would not benefit from learning how to do it better. Mortgages serve as an excellent example of the need to provide back to basics content and resources. 

A mortgage is one of the single largest sources of debt and long term commitment that most people ever enter into. However; most people would own up to the fact that they do not really understand much about the  mortgage they have. If women take the time to go back to basics and either learn from scratch or fill in the gaps in their knowledge, they will be able to actively participate in their own outcomes.

They will be able to recognise the jargon that masks poor value for money. When women can ask questions from an informed perspective, this will serve to force a rise in standards across the financial sector.

Many women who have either suffered in the recession or narrowly escaped disaster,  will be more eager in the future to go into any financial transactions with their eyes wide open. Doctors were cloaked in mystery in the past and it was commonly accepted that they could not be questioned or challenged. This same attitude has continued on in the financial sector for longer than is healthy. Now is the perfect time to ring the changes.

Pink Investments will help to lift the cloak of mystery surrounding financial matters by providing comprehensive resources in plain language.  

Disclaimer: All the information above is provided as a service for individuals and institutions. It should in no way be construed as a recommendation as an investment. Investment decisions should be based on the risk tolerance and planning horizon of the investor. Market participants must understand that past performance is also not a guarantee or predictor of future results.
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