I spent “an evening with Jo Malone” last week – and what an inspiring evening it was too!
Jo Malone was born on a council estate in Bromley, she’s dyslexic, and she left school aged 15 with no qualifications. But she was also born with an innate sixth sense, which enabled her to smell dampness in bricks before pipes burst, or know 30mins in advance that it was going to rain. Her sense of smell created breakthrough new fragrances such as Pomegranate Noir and Lime, Basil & Mandarin, and it’s now being used to build her new business, Jo Loves.
But it was Jo’s views on creativity, start-ups and being a successful entrepreneur that provided the real inspiration. And it’s inspiration that’s well worth sharing – which is all part of her aim, to give self-belief and enthusiasm to other innovators. So here are nine of my key take outs – though in truth, this list could have been a lot longer:
- RESPECT THE CREATIVE PROCESS: listen carefully, because “creativity whispers in your ear”
- FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION: live and create in the moment; Jo never writes a brief, and says she wouldn’t know how to; she creates by listening to music, by “touching” different colours and by using external stimulus
- LEAD DON’T FOLLOW: Jo never follows trends, because she fears what she does might then become a job; her philosophy is not to use the next new ingredient, but to create it
- HAVE PASSION: you have to be as in love with your business as you are with your partner! And your passion should drive what you do – not the money
- BE RESILIENT: this is the single best advice she would give to any new business
- FEAR NOT: you cannot be frightened by failure – it’s the doorstep to success; in the creative process, your best friend is called “naivety”
- CELEBRATE SUCCESS: Jo holds Pink Friday in the office every week, when everyone gets together to drink Pink Prosecco and celebrate the week’s achievements
- PLAY TO YOUR STRENGHTS: or as Jo puts it, “run on the track you run fastest on”
- FOLLOW THE FIVE I’S: innovation, inspiration, instinct, integrity and ignition