Mary Portas refers to a British retail consultant, journalist and TV presenter. She is a leading authority on retail and brand communication and has been dubbed as the "Gordon Ramsa y of the fashion world", a "retail marketing guru" and recognized throughout the retail industry as the "Queen of Shops", being the Creative Director of London's most respected retail branding and communications agency, Yellowdoor.

Yellowdoor Creative Marketing was created and launched in 1997 and is one of London's leading retail and branding agencies, which employs 40 staff and has clients including Thomas Pink, Oasis, French Connection, Clarks and Homebase. Portas launched Yellowdoor when she saw a need for integrated and creative brand communication in the retail, fashion, luxury and beauty sectors. Under Mary's guidance, Yellowdoor has created category challenging campaigns for a brands including Clarks, Louis Vuitton, Oasis, Swarovski, Dunhill, Boden, Thomas Pink, Miss Selfridge, and Patek Philippe.

Aside form being a Creative Director of her own business Yellowdoor, Portas travels regularly and frequently lectures on the theme of branding and retail. She has written two (2) books, Windows - The Art of Retail Display and How to Shop, and she writes a weekly feature in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine reviewing the state of the nation's shops.

She has appeared in two (2) series of Mary Queen of Shops on BBC2, going behind the scenes of the fashion retail world by rescuing a series of ailing boutiques.

As a Visual Merchandiser, Portas transformed London department store Harvey Nichols into a destination fashion outlet. She has since turned her expertise to shops throughout the UK for her Queen of Shops series on BBC2.

Mary Portas was born on May 28, 1960 in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. She has four siblings and she was the 4th among the five. She dreamed of being an actress and at 14 she went on stage.

When her mother died when Portas was 16, she became the homemaker for her father and younger brother. Then two (2) years later when her father died they became homeless. After re-evaluation her future, she went to Watford School of Art and studied graphics and visual display.

Her career started as a "floater" at John Lewis, then joined Harrods in 1982 dressing windows, and then ended up at Topshop's flagship Oxford Street store. In 1990 Portas left for Harvey Nichols and joined its board of directors before the age of 30. The rest is history.

Regarding Portas personal life, she was previously married (for 13 years) to a Chemical Engineer whom she shared two (2) children and is now in a relationship with Melanie Rickey, the fashion features editor of Grazia Magazine with whom she lives in West London with her children.

Author's Note: When researching about Mary Portas, I found this nice "Mary' Golden Rules of Shopping" and I think it is nice to share it with allthe fashionistas in the world:

1. If you don't get good service you are effectively being ripped off. Remember,it's part of the margin built into the ticket price.

2. If you're not being served, walk out. There are few stores selling things that can't be found elsewhere. These shops won't improve their standard of service until their sales figures give them reason to.

3. Never shop on a Saturday. By the afternoon the merchandise can be all over the place and the staff are flagging.

4. Dress the part. Wear flat shoes, jeans and vests so you are as comfortable as possible when you are walking up and down the high street. And go shopping on a good hair day.

5. Demand individual fitting rooms. Who wants to parade in their bra in front of skinny 20-year-olds?

6. Go online first. Use the internet to do your research before you go to the shops. Log on after the major catwalk shows to get ideas.

7. Don't buy in haste. If you've got time and don't mind taking the risk, put everything back - except really exceptional items - until the end of the day before making a choice.

8. Forget January sales. Remember, they may not just be last season's clothes, but the leftovers from previous years - and always remember, however big the discount appears to be, a store almost never sells at a loss. Early February is the best time to buy new outfits because the shops are full of new stock, but there are fewer shoppers.

9. When you find good service, support it. Write and congratulate the store - vote with your purse.

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