Breakfast with Jo Malone - Smart Women Week w/ Red Magazine

Everything about Jo Malone is strength. She radiates it. From the hush that falls over the room of chatting women as she walks in, to her posture, her manner - and that's before she even starts talking. To listen to her story is awe inspiring. Her life is unbelievable. 

Last Friday I attended 'A breakfast with Jo Malone' as part of Red Magazines Smart Women Week ; a series of talks, workshops and classes held in Grosvenor Place bringing women together to share in the experiences of 'smart women', for them to pass on their life lessons and for us to learn what we need to take what we want in life. Workshops taught healthy lifestyle tips and the goody bags (ohh of course there was a goody bag) were filled with yummy, healthy bits and pieces to make sure you're body is as nurtured as your mind. Grosvenor Place was of course, stunning. Such a beautiful venue, with high ceilings, bright lighting,covered in flowers and inspirational quotes - an editorial haven for the Instagram lover. 

Walking into the breakfast I thought I knew Jo Malone. Everyone has heard of Jo Malone London right? It is the epitome of aspirational luxury lifestyle.  One day I WILL earn enough money to burn a £40 candle without a second thought and in my head I'll know I've made it once I smell of Lime Basil and Mandarin, and can tote that gorgeous glass bottle around in my handbag. What I quickly learned that morning is that yes, Jo built the brand Jo Malone London - and when I say built I mean brick by brick by brick, but her story is so much more than that. It has far more depth than I could ever have imagined.

Jo shared with us her incredibly humble upbringing working in the family face cream business to put food on the table, struggling with dyslexia when no one knew what that meant, her choice to leave said business and the legal and financial implications she didn't foresee, starting Jo Malone London, the success years and sale of the brand to the Lauder group,through to the birth of her son and her heartbreaking breast cancer diagnosis. She talked about her decision to step away from Jo Malone London, how it was harder than beating cancer, the subsequent -legally required - 5 year 'break' from the beauty industry and how she's back with new brand 'Jo Loves'.

Through the narrative of her experiences Jo was dropping some serious pearls of wisdom. She told us 'There will always be a rainy day so enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts', that a challenge IS a gift and to 'put on your big girl pants and get on with it'. She attributes her entrepreneurship to 'the spirit of survival' she had as a young girl - namely when you have no choice but to succeed because there is rent to pay and food to be bought you'll MAKE it happen. Despite the difficulties she's faced and overcome Jo firmly states she has never been a victim ; 'we have free choices and choices give you control'.

Everything I do I do hesitantly. I don't think I've taken a sure step in my entire life and yet sitting in front of Jo I feel I'll never walk afraid in my career and professional life again ; Jo doesn't allow "if only's", she told us 'I want to live my life, not think it'.
Never mind fragrance, Jo needs to bottle herself because the power she has to inspire strength and courage is gold.

Safe to say I came away from Red Magazines Smart Women Week something more than motivated, with real actionable advice and a new girl crush on the one and only Jo Malone MBE.   
Jo's autobiography is out October 5th and if you pre-order on Amazon it's cheaper. If you want to check out Jo Loves her website is here but even better than that Jo Loves invites you to a 'first kiss' with the brand. Check out their fragrance 'Tapas bar' here and go meet Jo Loves at their store on Elizabeth Street (London) for the first time.

Who inspires you? Who are your 'Smart Women'?

Until next time . .. Take Heart X 
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