jo-maloneWhen in London, which is increasingly losing it’s allure for me, I usually grab a copy of the Evening Standard to read on the train home to the bliss of the Cotswolds.

Last Tuesday Lucy Tobin wrote about Jo Malone “the entrepreneur who brought fame to exotic creations like ‘lime, basil and mandarin’, gave the world £260 scented candles, and then sold her perfumes business, and her name, to Estée Lauder for ‘undisclosed millions’ in 1999. For a few years she lived the beach-lazing lifestyle, travelling everywhere first class, and she found she didn’t like it.

Her story is inspiring. Brought up in a council house in Bexleyheath, she left school at 15 to look after her mother, laid low by a stroke. Jo started mixing bath oils at home, sold one to a customer who later asked for 100 bottles to give to her dinner guests, saw 86 of them order more, opened a Knightsbridge store in 1994, and five years later ended up selling her booming business to a cosmetic behemoth. blog

She stayed as creative director of her company under Estée Lauder’s ownership until 2006, and by then she had been battling breast cancer for over a year. She’s now in remission, and has created a new business – Jo Loves

This is the paragraph that moved me – I hope it encourages you:

jo-malone-candles“ I want people to look at me and think: if she can do that, what can I do? I’m a woman who’s dyslexic, can’t tell my right from my left, can’t swim, and am so bad in cars it’s best I don’t drive.

I can’t fill out a form on my own and when I go to the bank I have to ask someone to help me.

I have zero qualifications , so I really shouldn’t be in life where I am. But I am. Business isn’t rocket science. It’s courage , creativity, and having the faith to believe you can take that one step.”

Some lady.

With grateful thanks to Lucy Tobin and the Evening Standard.