StyleNest take Five Minutes With Jo Malone, MBE, celebrated perfumer, founder of Jo Loves and beauty businesswoman.
Having founded Jo Loves in November 2011, Jo tells StyleNest the secret to finding that perfect fragrance and how she got into the business of beauty. Jo even shared a few of her top tips and secrets of setting up your own business.
You empower women through fragrance, what first introduced you into the world of perfume?
I wasn’t introduced as such but I’m horribly dyslexic so I feel governed by a sense of smell. My dad was an artist and as a child I used to love the smell of the canvas and my memories from then are so intense. I began my career as a facialist where I carried my massage bed from house to house. I used to formulate little bottles of bath oil and I was captivated by it.
The branding of Jo Loves is very different to the first brand you created, Jo Malone, can you explain the thought process behind it?
I always lean towards the colour white; the interior of my house is white so I had to enter Jo Loves with a different feel and come back with something that felt different, but something I loved equally. When I was going through the first stages of branding I realised I had to strip it back to basics and then that’s when everything fell into place. I’m hugely drawn to the colour red. In my home I will often have a statement bowl of apples to add a pop of colour and that’s what I wanted to reflect with the packaging of Jo Loves.
You have come a long way and achieved so much, personally and professionally. What has been your ultimate achievement?
Undoubtedly my family. I have been happily married to same man for 27 years and have a beautiful son. I was diagnosed with cancer and had a very tough year of chemotherapy, as a result I was told I wouldn’t be able to have anymore children. My family are very precious and important to me. I don’t look at myself as successful but I love what I do. I don’t identify with Jo Malone but I can say that I am very proud of it.
You have been awarded an MBE for your services in the beauty industry. That must have been an incredible day?
I thought someone was playing a joke! Prince Charles awarded it to me and I wore one of my oldest and favourite outfits, a dark navy Louise Kennedy lace dress with a new bright pink Philip Treacy hat. En route, I shut the feather of my hat in car door so I had to show up with half a broken feather.
What is the creation process when you design a new fragrance? Do you take inspiration from your personal life, places, people and events?
If I go looking for inspiration I can never find it. I can have the best idea in a work mans café but put me in a beautiful place and it won’t come to me. If I am in a regular coffee shop I will pull all those memories of those beautiful places and that’s where I’m best at finding inspiration. When I create a fragrance, I first create the heart i.e mango and then build upon it. I work similarly to an architect creating whirlwind notes round the heart. That’s my signature, keeping simple hearts and constructing round them.
StyleNest love your new Pink Vetiver fragrance. What was the thought process behind the story?
I was in Paris working with a perfumer with eau de cologne notes from obscure notes. I love cooking and am inspired by the fragrances of food and it’s those moments that stop me in time which help me to create. When I overcomplicate things, it doesn’t work. I love the smell of the simplicity of a tree after it’s just rained and the leaves go really crushed and green, that’s where my creativity runs at its best. It’s the genuine moments in life that inspire me to create.
Can you give StyeNest any exciting inside news on any current or future projects you might be working on?
I want to change the way people look at the industry. I’m so excited about the 2013 opening of the Jo Loves shop as I’ve designed the store from head-to-toe.
You’re such an inspirational business woman and mum, what advice would you give to our readers who want to set up their own business?
You have to look at your life and what you want and then realise you are going to have to sacrifice. It’s tough, there have been moments in time where I have cried myself to sleep, but no guts no glory. You might be that person to build a business, which becomes a global success or build a business which changes your family’s life for the better but the worst thing in life you could say is “I wish I tried”. Make sure you look at the product from 360 degrees and listen to your gut. What does your gut tell you? It’s that voice inside that reasons with you. Things don’t always work out but you have got to be resilient. Right now is the time to build a business as the more choices taken away the easier it is. Ensure you involve your family in your business, teach them the values and talk about it. They will come up with the best ideas as they simplify the ideas. Some people have a hobby that they want to turn into business and you have to be careful about that and ensure to set out boundaries.
Is your bathroom cabinet full of homemade concoctions or do you have a particular favourite scent?
I love anything to do with the orange tree. I smell that and I feel home and security. I love the leaf, the twig and fresh orange blossom. Other fragrances I love are Christian Dior Eau de Sauvage as my dad wore it and Christian Dior Diorella which I wore on my wedding day.
With Christmas approaching, the popular gift of choice is perfume. What advice would you give our readers when choosing a fragrance for someone else?
Buying a fragrance is like buying a piece of art. You need to do your research. Ask what other fragrances they will give you in the category. Ancillary products or scented candles might be an easier option but if not look at the colours they wear, colour of their skin tone to help determine what fragrance to choose. Citrus notes are safer than heavy florals.
When you are not busy working, what do you enjoy doing with the family?
I love cooking, going to the movies and walking the dog. I don’t need anything fancy; I like going out for lunch and having a steak frites or omelette. I enjoy cooking for friends and having people over. I don’t look at what I do as a job or a business – I am constantly doing something to do with work and am never switched off, not even on holiday.
What advice would you give to women when choosing a fragrance?
Fragrance is one of the greatest accessories and has changed a great deal over recent years. Don’t be safe and take your time. Our tastes change as we grow so it’s important to incorporate that with fragrance. Just because you love truffle, doesn’t mean you want to eat it every day. Be diverse, look at what you’re wearing, the place where you’re going to wear that fragrance. I love twists and there is a big movement of people who want something different so be creative with your choice. Pink Vetiver is quirky, and different. Take your time and don’t be in a hurry for choosing your first bottle. I have a strong connection with the Jo Loves fragrance Pomelo, so much so that I even wash my floors with it. I was walking the dog in the park one and spritzed myself with it and someone followed my whole scent round the park because they loved it so much. It’s part of who I am, my identity.
Will you be launching a home range?
I will be doing more scenting for the home. Our candles are layered candles so for example, our Lemongrass, Amber and Tiare Flower starts at lemon grass and then the amber arrives so as they burn through the scents change.
What’s your motto?
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” – André Gide. We have to let go of our security before we discover new heights.