From humble beginnings as a beautician working from her London home creating her own fragrances and scents for her clients, that ultimately evolved into the global empire known as ‘Jo Malone London,’ to a health battle that almost derailed it all. Jo Malone CBE is the epitome of a ‘Girl Boss,’ and her business journey is truly admirable.’ Remix chatted with Jo about her process when it comes to creating scents, where she draws her inspiration from and what we can expect from her new brand, Jo Loves, which has just launched in NZ exclusive to Farmers.
How did you come to design fragrances?
I was a beautician when I started creating scents and fragrances. I completely fell in love with fragrance while working in a skin care clinic in my London home. I used to create all my products by hand in the kitchen and I so enjoyed creating new potions and mixtures for people to enjoy during their treatments. That is when I discovered that I had a natural ability to create fragrances and to bring together scent notes. When I applied cream to my clients’ arms and decolletage I would bring together beautiful aromas to elevate their experience. That is when I fell in love with creating fragrance and I began to imagine all the ways in which I could create new scents.
Can you tell us a bit about your background with launching your first brand through to today with the launch of Jo Loves?
I started my first business from that love for fragrance. It grew and we sold the business to Estee Lauder Companies where I remained Creative Director until I left in 2006 as I had been diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. I thankfully survived after months of fighting and began feeling like selling my business was the biggest mistake because I loved fragrance so much. After five years of lockout, I was able to get back to the drawing board again and start looking into the future which quickly emerged as Jo Loves, where I could express my love for storytelling and fragrance again. That is where everything started again and here we are launching Jo Loves across the globe!
Are there any similarities between Jo Loves and your previous brand or have you tried to keep the Jo Loves brand different from its predecessor?
Yes of course, I am a completely different person 20-30 years on, and I want to evolve with my gift and bring new fragrances and innovative products to life. I have always wanted to grow and walk in new footsteps, so Jo Loves is all about sharing my passion, creativity, resilience, storytelling and artistry with the world whilst pushing the boundaries of how we perceive fragrance.
What can we expect from Jo Loves products?
Creativity is at the core of the brand. We love to educate, entertain, and push the market of fragrance. I am a storyteller at heart, and this translates into every aspect of the brand. Every single fragrance I create begins with a moment, a feeling, and an emotion in time that I have translated into a powerful new and innovative scent. The fragrances really do tell the stories of my life and bring imagination into every spritz for the customer. I always say that fragrance is your greatest accessory and that is truly how I feel when I apply my scents in the morning. I want to connect with the consumer and make them feel something.
Do you have a favourite scent?
I love Jo by Jo Loves, it’s the fragrance that I created purely for myself telling the story of my life through the power of the grapefruit note. The red colour of the bottle symbolises strength, perseverance, and happiness.
What is your creative process for designing fragrances, and where do you pull your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from everything around me. It could be a beautiful piece of music, the texture of a cashmere rug or a bird dancing in the wind. Life inspires me. Everything is a story to me and every note and accord I create is a part of that story. Just like in a storybook, there are words, sentences and chapters that are brought together. I do the same but with scent notes that combine and become a beautiful symphony and story. This morning I was working on an oud note and when the scent came to me, I heard soft vintage cello music playing in the background. I then combined the oud note with a lovely sun-kissed orange note, and I painted them together. They then collided and became a deep beautiful orchestra with a richer feel and scent to it. I was drinking a black cup of coffee whilst doing this and I could see the orange note dance in the wind like golden tassels swaying in the breeze. As you can see, I allow my imagination to take me wherever it wants and that’s when I know that I have created something new or that I am on to something.
Can you please share more about the unique concept of Fragrance Tapas and how the inspiration for this came about?
The Fragrance tapas came about when I was sitting at dinner with my husband Gary. The idea of combining Fragrances like one does with food came to my head. I wanted the Fragrance Tapas experience to be like your first kiss with the brand. Everyone remembers their first kiss, just like I wanted everyone to remember the Jo Loves Fragrance Tapas experience. We then came up with a concept of how the tapas courses could look and how we could use all our senses to bring the Fragrance to life. For example. The Bath & Shower Gel is shaken in a cocktail shaker and served in a martini glass spritzed with a layer of Fragrance on top. The Bath Cologne is heated up in a tagine and released via a cloud of scented steam. It is such a wonderful experience! I told my husband that we would put a huge red tapas bar in our flagship store and off we went. Now, with new stores opening across the world every single pop up and store has a tapas bar in it to make sure that every customer can try our Fragrances and to enjoy them to their fullest potential.
What’s next for you?
I am now living in the Middle East and every day is an adventure. I am absolutely absorbing the culture that lies here. I am creating like never before with the beautiful scent notes here- woods, ouds, and spices. When I came here, I really felt like I was meant to do something amazing again and create new stories for the world to enjoy. So, inspiration, creativity and adventure are next for me.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am looking forward to coming to Australasia next year and painting everyone with fragrance. Let me bring you on the Jo Loves journey and let’s become scent artists across the globe!