Jo Malone talks entrepreneurship at Image Magazine's Women's Networking Breakfast
“Life teaches you resilience, and that’s how you become an entrepreneur” - Jo Malone
Expert perfumer and creator of her eponymous fragrance line (now owned by Estee Lauder), Jo Malone has a new company, Jo Loves… which she’s brought to market as a fragrance “tapas” bar in Elizabeth Street in London, borrowing from the culinary idea of trying various small plates of food. Customers are invited to choose and experience fragrances in new ways, some even being painted on and layered with a paintbrush. She hopes to bring the brand global next year.
At Image Magazine’s women’s networking breakfast at the Marker Hotel in Dublin last week, Jo gave an audience of around 200 women (and a few men!) an overview of her life and her life’s work creating fragrance, along with relevant business advice for today.
Jo is an overcomer - leaving school at an early age to care for her mother, living with dyslexia and fighting breast cancer soon after selling her first business. She said every time something came at her, she found strength and humor within herself to press on. Though she is private about her personal faith, she met her husband and co-owner Gary while working in a church youth group, and says her faith is her “compass when things get bad.”
However, it’s these difficult experiences that have taught Jo to be resilient, to “gain strength and build muscle,” and in these tough times Jo stresses “we need resilient entrepreneurs”. Jo listed her own business tenets: Inspiration, Innovation, Ignition, Integrity and Instinct, adding later “when creativity comes, you have to run with it”. “Business is so about relationships”, she continued, and “I love doing business on a hand-shake”. But, she’s not interested in working with people who aren’t nice: “I walk away from people…negative thoughts are not good for human beings.”
Being an entrepreneur is not always easy, and Jo warns: “expect those dark days and surround yourself with people who support you,” but also encourages those starting out with little, that you can do a lot by being focused and “unconventional”.
Jo doesn’t “get involved in trends…I don’t want to follow the crowd”. She says creating fragrance is “what makes me a whole person” and “I’m not going to tweak who I am.” By all accounts, she doesn't need to.
See past events and look out for the next networking breakfast at Image daily’s Business Events page.
Follow Jo Malone @mejomalone