No one remembers failures forever: British perfumer Jo Malone shares six lessons to run a business


October 25, 2023 | By Rupkatha B

British perfumer Jo Malone

“No matter what you do in life or how successful you are, you’ve to always learn something new. You’ve to challenge yourself always, every time – IMAGES RetailME’s exclusive interview with British perfumer Jo Malone.

I built my brand from a kitchen table with four plastic jugs and a saucepan. I didn’t have money. But I’d big dreams. My business partner and husband Gary and I launched Jo Malone and ran it successfully for almost 14 years. In 1999 Jo Malone was acquired by Estée Lauder Companies. Two years later I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I lost my sense of smell, gave up Jo Malone, but not my creative streak, which eventually led to the launch of Jo loves almost a decade later. This journey has taught me many lessons, some of which I’d like to share as messages to budding entrepreneurs:

Decide if it is a hobby or a business idea. If it’s a hobby, it’s fine. Be honest with yourself. If it’s a business idea, remember there will be many sacrifices. You’ve to figure out if those sacrifices are worth it. But when you build something and it becomes successful, it is very empowering.

Retail is no longer restricted to the four walls of a shop or an online presence. There’s a third world emerging in retail. To discover this new world, one must take some risks, get into situations that may not seem so comfortable, have resilience to do things differently and embrace creativity.

Take the first step. Go out there and see what happens. The worst that can happen is you’ll fail. For all you know, this failure may make you humble. Always remember, no one remembers failures forever.

Not everyone creates a global brand. If your business makes you happy, meets the needs of your family and sustains, it’s a good thing. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins.

Never judge a person’s worth based on age. Some of the brightest ideas can come from interns working with you. Always give them a chance to express themselves.

Surround yourself with five people you respect and look up to and who believe it is a good thing for you to start something, who will guide you and challenge you to bring out the best potential.

The full story was published in the May 2016 edition of IMAGES RetailME and the excerpt is part of the September 2023 ‘Leadership Stories Collector’s Edition’.

Link to purchase a copy: https://www.imagesretailme.com/e-magazine/

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