From selling fashions on a market stall in Leeds at 16 to launching, selling and then buying back her international knitwear brand, Honeysuckle, Linda went on to become one of the first women to head up a fashion PLC.
Many may know her better as the ‘Queen of Mean’ for her no-nonsense interviews with the final five in BBC’s The Apprentice advising Lord Sugar for the past five seasons. Linda’s latest venture is aimed at empowering the next generation of business leaders with her recently launched, The Linda Plant Business Academy.
1. What has been your best life project to date?
I would say the project I loved the most was building my knitwear brand Honeysuckle. It was my first and it was the most exciting, the thrills can never be replaced.
2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
I have overcome many challenges having had a long career, but I would say when I started women were not at the forefront of businesses. I was a mother at 19, it was a challenge of guilt, thinking when all the other mums are waiting outside school, I’m on a plane to Hong Kong, will my kids be affected? It was a personal challenge and harder to cope with than a business challenge.
I can and do say this to all mums, don’t worry if you make sure that your love and time is about quality and not necessarily quantity, your kids will be fine. They will probably grow up respecting you as mine have. Your hard work could be laying the foundation for their future.
3. In hindsight…what would you do differently?
I would have invested in Matalan. My £250,000, would now be worth £300,000,000, but that’s another story
4. Next steps?
Easy, launching my business course which I wrote in Lockdown and my members club. Exciting and challenging times ahead at lindaplant.com
5. What lifestyle changes has Lockdown made you consider?
I am spending more time at home and really enjoying my garden. I think that will remain. It’s given me a different appreciation of home time and valuing it in a new way.
6. Kissing frogs …is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
Well I guess I’ve had a lot of the unexpected in my life. I would say the most unexpected was Lord Sugar asking me to audition for The Apprentice. It has not so much helped me, but becoming well known will allow me to help others. So, no frogs, only Lords
7. My inspiration …who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by the fact that I can inspire others with my life talks. I love sharing my ever-evolving journey with people. It’s a great feeling to think you can be inspirational and one I only discovered later in life from The Apprentice. When you go from a market stall to the stock market without a single qualification it’s a good story.
8. How do you relax, or do you struggle to relax?
I can relax more now than in my more hectic business days. I still love business but I really enjoy going off to health spa a couple of times a year. It’s something I never did. I guess pampering myself more.
9. Guilty secret pleasure?
Not so secret, I’ve got two, shopping and chocolate, but only cheap chocolate. The shopping sadly does not fall into the same category.
10. Words of wisdom
Never be afraid to ask for guidance or help.
Dream big, but learn to walk before you.