The Pitch – Q&A with our judges: Entrepreneur and founder of Jo Loves Jo Malone CBE
22nd Jun 2018
IMAGE and Samsung are seeking out Ireland’s female self-starters, the businesswomen making waves, the entrepreneurs and inventors paving new paths. We are offering one lucky business a prize worth up to €100,000 including – an entire suite of Samsung tech for your office, a cross-media advertising campaign with IMAGE and a media mentorship with Teneo PSG.
We want to give these disrupters the tools they need to rise to the top of their game, supporting their bold moves and who better to guide them than the people who’ve done it themselves?
At our special event on July 25th, the shortlist of finalists will be pitching their business to our panel of esteemed judges who have risen to the top.
And one of those very special judges is none other than Jo Malone CBE. Jo has worked in the fragrance industry for over 20 years, starting out by mixing homemade perfumes in her apartment. Word spread of her exceptional scents, and she quickly launched her own business, which gained cult status around the world. Jo eventually sold it to Estée Lauder in 1999 and stayed on as creative director until 2006. In 2013, Jo launched Jo Loves, a new fragrance brand with a store in Belgravia in London.
We sat down to ask her what gives her her inspiration, what targets and motivation mean to her and how she manages to switch off.
Where do you have your best ideas?
I don’t have a traditional desk in an office, so a lot of my ideas come from sitting in a coffee shop or going for a walk in the park, where something will captivate me or grab my attention. If I had to pick a particular place that I have my best ideas, it’s probably the south of France or in Paris; when I’m sitting in the environment where fragrances are created. For me, I don’t go looking for inspiration – if I do, I often can’t think of an idea at all. But if I’m in a creative environment, I will be creative and I think that’s true of most creative people. Creativity has its own oxygen and if you want to be creative, be somewhere that sparks your imagination. The V&A museum in London, for example, is an amazing source of creativity for me. I’m always on the lookout for ideas that let my imagination run free.
How do you motivate yourself and your team?
To motivate someone is their own personal responsibility. I have to get up and do something to motivate myself. I set goals via a to-do list every day, where I set goals both creatively and for business. Running a business isn’t all about being creative – you have to be really focused – the more you work at something, the better you become at it. With a team, I want people who are self-motivated but also want to be part of a team. I’m not interested in people who are just out to accumulate attention around themselves – you have to want to be part of something bigger. My creative team right now in Jo Loves are probably the best people I have ever worked with, and it’s because we all know our strengths and we all band together. It’s me that sets the vision; of the product, fragrance or package, and then the whole team uses their wisdom and expertise to bring it to life. Without each other, we wouldn’t be able to work. Motivation is about friendship and respect. I think our business is based on a cornerstone of integrity and respect, and when that happens, a team excels.
What is the hardest thing about running a business?
When you’re an SME, you often have to be all things to everyone. What drives a business, in the beginning, is the passion for a product or a service – you see a gap and work towards filling it. But as the business grows and becomes successful, you need more people who can do different things to help it. I think the hardest thing is often to find the right people to carry your torch and your vision because as an entrepreneur, your heart is so ingrained in it. There are always going to be hard days as an SME. When it comes to the Pitch, we want businesses that are thriving, not just surviving. If you hit all your goals, move your goals. Don’t just rest on your laurels. Stretch yourself, become better than you ever thought you could be.
Are targets important for a business?
If you don’t have targets, it’s mayhem for a business. You need heart and soul, you need the right brain and the left brain. You need creativity, but creativity that doesn’t have a target won’t go anywhere. Here in Jo Loves, our motivation is that we are very goal-led. They’re not always financial goals; they could be personal too. Training is an important part of hitting a target too, however. You can’t just tell someone to hit a target with no training and get angry at them when they don’t. That just breeds insecurity and fear in people. Ask them what you can do to help them hit the target. And when you hit it, celebrate.
How do you relax?
I love a glass of wine at the end of the day! I’m also a big pilates advocate. I’ve been doing it for about 6-8 months and it has completely changed my mindset, my body, how I react to stress, everything. It’s how I switch off. I love anything that takes me out of the day-to-day thought process of running a business, and that also makes me creative. Going to the movies, travelling, art, cooking, anything creative. I really am a lover of life, and to relax is, for me, to have a Sunday lunch with the people you love and trust and to enjoy other people’s company.
And you…are you a female entrepreneur? A self-starter with an amazing business? If so, then WE WANT YOU. Samsung and IMAGE are offering your office an entire suite of Samsung business tech, an advertising cross-media campaign with IMAGE and a social media mentorship with Teneo PSG to one lucky business in a prize package worth up to €100,000. Finalists of #ThePitch will get to present their start-up business to an all-star panel of judges, including Jo Malone CBE, Bobby Kerr, Linda Nolan, Clodagh Edwards and Conor Pierce.
So, get pitching!
Click here to enter now and start making your case.