Change the way you look at difficult situations, says Jo Malone CBE

28 February 2019

Global entrepreneur Professor Jo Malone CBE inspired a new generation of business talent at a landmark event at the London campus of Glasgow Caledonian University.

In a conversation hosted by University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Professor Malone called on students taking postgraduate courses in luxury brand marketing and fashion to seize opportunities and “never stop learning”.

Citing her disadvantaged upbringing in a council house, where money was always tight, and examples of hiccups in her subsequent career, she stressed that mistakes and tough times are wholly inevitable for entrepreneurs - but ultimately make them stronger and better at what they do.

Professor Malone built a global brand by creating original fragrances and said: “If I have one piece of advice, it is to try to deal with a tough situation by slightly changing your way of looking at it.”

Professor Malone said she was moved and delighted with her Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary Professorship from the University in 2016. She said the recognition meant all the more because she is dyslexic and left school with no qualifications.

She made the journey from business start-up in 1994 to business empire just a few years later and admitted: “I was living some people’s dream”.

However, her life took a different turn when, at the age of just 38, she developed breast cancer and was given nine months to live.  

With intensive treatment, she recovered and sold her international business ‘Jo Malone’ to Estee Lauder. She now runs a successful fragrance company Jo Loves and has written a book “Jo Malone: My Story”.

Professor Malone’s interview with Professor Gillies was warmly applauded by the audience of around 100 at the campus in Shoreditch, London.