Jo Malone CBE left school with no qualifications and severe dyslexia, before building her empire Jo Malone London (which she sold to Estée Lauder in 1999). After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, she made a triumphant return in 2011 with Jo Loves. Celebrating 25 years at the top of the beauty industry, Malone reveals what it takes to succeed
1 Resilience is the key
Nothing ever goes 100 per cent anyone’s way, so when tough times come, resilience allows you to dig deep. I needed more resilience building Jo Loves than anything I’ve ever done. I wanted to quit every day, but now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I was in Marbella recently where I was a guest speaker alongside Barack Obama. How did I get there, Jo Malone, a girl from the council estate? Resilience.
2 A weakness can be an asset
My dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my teens and, in many ways, I’m glad. I struggled to tell the time and even now when I read certain letters they run around the page. Dyslexia has helped with my entrepreneurial way of thinking. It makes me think logistically and strategically. When you lose your fear, over say dyslexia or anxiety, it stops having a hold on you.
3 Don’t be defined by others
I know I rub people up the wrong way, but I can’t change someone’s opinion of me. Be who you want to be and define yourself and your dreams by your opinions of yourself. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you for whatever reason.
4 Silence is a great negotiator
Both in business and in a relationship – I’ve been married for 34 years so I should know. Sometimes, when you have a situation where people are at each other’s throats, silence is a great negotiator. Calm the situation down. Leave it 24 hours then go back to it. Silence can cause uncertainty on the other side and lead them to move towards you first.
5 It’s OK to make mistakes
I guarantee you will make mistakes. They will take you where the landscape is different and your perspective can be challenged. When I left Jo Malone London, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But if I hadn’t done that I’d never have launched Jo Loves. If you make a mistake, never blame someone else. It’s your responsibility, take it on the chin and learn from it.
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