Meet the leader Jo Malone

The sweet smell of success: how Jo Malone grew a business empire from scratch

Jo Malone left school with no qualifications and went on to build a multimillion-pound global fragrance brand. In 1999, five years after she started Jo Malone from her kitchen table, she sold the company to Estée Lauder for “undisclosed millions”.

She left the beauty industry in 2006, having successfully battled breast cancer, and vowed never to launch another fragrance. That all changed in 2011 when she returned with Jo Loves, a new beauty brand, and a shop in Belgravia, London.

Hard work is second nature to Malone, who admits to feeling all at sea when she severed links with the world of fragrance. “Everyone assumes you’ve got fairy dust if you have a global success under your belt – you haven’t,” she says. “You’ve just got two per cent inspiration, 98 per cent perspiration. You build your first business with naivety, which makes the second the toughest. Everyone is looking at you and judging you against the first one, especially if you’ve been successful.”

In an exclusive interview with, she talks about:

  • Her school teachers telling her she was lazy and stupid – they didn’t understand dyslexia.
  • The key figures in her childhood who shaped her business sense.
  • The benefits of focusing on your core strengths.
  • The importance of doing what you love – at any age.
  • Why it’s OK to change your mind.
  • Her desire to set up a fragrance school.

Read the full story here

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