#11: Jumping in the Deep End & Taking Steps to Achieve Your Dreams, with Jo Fairley



Jo Fairley is our inspiring guest this episode – co-founder of the multi-million dollar Green & Black’s organic chocolate, editor and author of the Beauty Bible, motivational speaker, mentor, journalist, entrepreneur and all-round wonder woman.

Driven by a passion for business and making a difference in the world, Jo's list of successes and achievements is truly remarkable. Aptly named after the head-strong, determined character, Jo March from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Jo credits her success to always following her passions, listening to her heart and generally rolling up her sleeves to get things done.

After leaving school at just 16, bored and disheartened by teachers who told her she would probably never amount to much, Jo was motivated by a passion to succeed in the real world and prove everyone wrong – and that she did!

By jumping head first into any role she found herself in, Jo became a sponge – learning every skill she could to succeed. And it wasn’t long before her passion and drive led her to become the UK’s youngest magazine editor – at just 23! In a career spanning many years across a variety of areas, Jo now edits the Beauty Bible website and books with long-term friend and fellow beauty-lover, Sarah Stacey.

Another of Jo’s more recent ventures is The Perfume Society which sets out to help individuals develop their sense of smell by exploring fragrance and the scented world. As well as all this, she also owns a nine-room wellbeing centre and organic bakery in Hastings, UK where she is now living her ultimate dream life by the sea.

Jo’s passion for business and making a difference in the world is truly inspiring, and in this amazing episode you’ll discover….

  • The benefits of being thrown in the deep end, jumping out of your comfort zone and taking a gamble on something you’re passionate about
  • The importance of learning everything you can to make yourself knowledgeable, and overcoming ‘imposter syndrome’
  • The power of dreaming big, but also the importance of taking action and working hard to turn those dreams into reality
  • Simple and actionable advice for anyone looking to start a business out of their passions
  • How to overcome self-doubt by celebrating your strengths
  • The importance of staying true to yourself

and so much more!


"I found it truly inspiring how, even though she left school at just 16, Jo was able to create a success of herself through her passion, determination and hard work – and become one of the world’s most renowned businesswomen." Kristina Karlsson
"Jo is such an amazing example of how no matter what your circumstances, if you’re willing to learn and work hard, you can achieve anything you set your mind to." Kristina Karlsson  



If you loved this episode and found it useful, please rate, review and subscribe, and help us spread this inspiring message by sharing our Dream Life podcast with the hashtag #101milliondreamers.

Our dream is to inspire and empower 101 million people around the world, just like you, to write down 3 dreams, and go chase them.




Kristina:                        00:04                What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? If you had all the money, all the time or the knowledge, all the resources that you needed, what would you do with your life if you simply knew that anything was possible for you? My name is Kristina Carlson, founder of global Swedish design and stay shared Brand Kikki-K and author of the book 'Your Dream Life Starts Here', and I love exploring these sorts of questions to inspire people to dream. Before I started Kikki-K, I had a dream that I could bring Swedish design to the world to create beautiful products that bring sparks of joy into the everyday lives of millions. Now that I have achieved that dream, I want to help you dream big. I want to create a global movement to inspire 101 million dreamers to transform their lives and transform the world in return. Each episode I'll be talking to some of the world's most inspiring people. Exploring the powerful impact that dreaming has had on their lives. We'll be diving deep into the power of dreaming with real insights and ideas that you can use immediately to build a dream life of your own, whatever that means for you.

Kristina:                        01:33                This episode, I'm joined by the incredible driven and inspiring Jo Fairley, co-founder of the multimillion dollar Green & Black organic chocolate, editor and author of the Beauty Bible, motivational speaker, mentor, journalist, entrepreneur, and all around wonder woman of business. After leaving school as just 16, bored and disheartened by teachers who told her she would probably never amount to much. Jo was driven by a passion to succeed in the real world and prove everyone wrong. And, she most certainly did that, but jumping headfirst into any role she found herself in, Jo became a sponge, learning every skill she could to succeed and it wasn't long before her passion and drive led her to become the youngest magazine editor at just 23. In a career spanning many years across a variety of areas, Jo Now edits the Beauty Bible website and books with longterm friend and fellow beauty lovers, Sarah Stacey. Another of Jo's ventures is to perfume society, which sets out to help individuals develop their sense of smell by exploring fragrance, and the scented world.

Kristina:                        02:46                As well as all this, she also owns a nine room wellbeing center, an organic bakery in Hastings, where she is now living her ultimate dream life by the sea. Jo's passion for business and making a difference in the world is truly remarkable. And, in this amazing episode, you'll discover the benefits of being thrown in the deep end, jumping out of your comfort zone and taking a gamble on something you are passionate about, the importance of learning everything you can to make yourself knowledgeable and overcoming imposter syndrome. The power of dreaming big, but also the importance of taking action and working hard to turn those dreams into reality. Simple and actionable advice for anyone looking to start a business out of their passions, how to overcome self doubt by celebrating your strength, and so much more. I can't wait for you to hear this episode, so let's get right into it.

Kristina:                        03:41                Well, Hello Jo, and welcome to our Dream Life Podcast. I am so incredibly excited to have you here today and I know our listeners is going to get so much out of our chat. I cannot wait to get into your incredible story from being the UK's youngest magazine editor at just 23 to creating the Beauty Bible, becoming the founder of Green & Black chocolate, which is my favorite chocolate ever. And, I always travel with it, so very excited and a bit of a stage show and a bit of chocolate this morning is absolutely perfect.

Jo:                                04:14                [crosstalk 00:04:14]-

Kristina:                        04:14                And, all around wonder woman of business. So, I'm super excited to jump into hearing your story, but first, could you just talk a little bit about your childhood? Did you have any dreams as a child?

Jo:                                04:25                I think I've spent most of my childhood dreaming. I was up a tree or I was walking in the fields near our house, or I was playing with my dolls or my doll's house, and making real worlds. It wasn't just playing, it was imagining lives and kind of I suppose imagining a life for me. And, then when I was a teenager, I got into magazines, which I guess they're all about dreams anyway, but I started tearing pages out of magazines and creating what I now realize is a vision board and my mom wouldn't let me put them on the walls of my bedroom. So, I stuck them on the inside of my wardrobe where I could see them every time I opened the doors. And, the extraordinary thing about those pictures and there were some fashion pictures, but they were mostly about people or about places that I wanted to go.

Jo:                                05:21                And, I grew up in a suburb of south London. My father was a journalist, but we didn't have a particularly grand life. And, these were quite ambitious dreams and schemes. And, it wasn't till years later that I realized that all those pictures I had stuck on the inside of my wardrobe, they were people that I wanted to meet and I'd met so many of those people. And, some of those people have become friends. And, I remember tearing out a picture of Peter Beard's, the explorer Peter Beard's camp in West Africa in Kenya, and I went to Peter Beard's camp, and so I totally in creative visualization or dreaming, whatever you like to call it, and the power of that.

Kristina:                        06:03                Yeah. Absolutely. And, I mean that's the first kind of amazing takeaway on this podcast because I really am such a big believer in putting pictures up and I did exactly what you did with tearing things out of magazines as a child because I didn't grow up in a fancy life. So, yeah, that's so inspiring and a really good takeaway already for our listeners, too. Really put it up on your board and see it all the time, and you never really know, do you?

Jo:                                06:27                I still have pictures on my office wall. As well as lots of kind of inspirational sayings.

Kristina:                        06:33                Yeah. Love it. Love it. So, your career has spanned across an incredible variety of areas, beauty, food, business. And I've given a little bit of intro to your story already, but I'd love to hear in your own words how you started in way where you are today.

Jo:                                06:49                Well, I left school at 16 with not very many qualifications. I hated school. I had been at the same school from four to 12, four to 16, so 12 years. Bored, rigid. I mean I just couldn't wait to get out of that place into the real world. The real world that was on the inside of my wardrobe door, basically. And, I trained as a secretary, which was amazing. I spent a year, back in those days you could learn how to be a PA, but it gave me the most amazing, the useful skills. So, I learned how to organize pretty much anything. I learned how to research things. I learnt a bit of business, a bit of law, continued my French. I learned how to do shorthand typing. And, actually I think that those skills everybody should acquire because they are really useful in life, whatever you go on to do. And, then I got a job, a series of kind of secretarial PA jobs. One was a very glamorous fashion job for a network company and one day a journalist left or magazine on my desk and inside was an advert for a new magazine starting up.

Jo:                                07:56                So, I applied. I thought, well, I could work in the fashion department, but my boss, who was a real talent spotter put me in the features department, and I went to work for an amazing guy who got me writing by just throwing me in the deep end and me saying, "But Howard, I can't write", and him saying, "Don't be so, actual asterisk wet, everybody can write". And, I just got on with it. And, one paragraph article turned into half page and then page features. And, eventually I was interviewing amazing movie stars at the end of their careers like Bette Davis and Charlton Heston and Jane Russell, and having to stand up at a press conference with Yule Brenner who'd come to London to star in 'The King and I', and if you remember, he was bald and my boss had sent me to ask him the question, is it true that bald men are sexier? And, I had to ask this question in of 200 journalists, and I wanted the earth to open me up, especially when Yule Brenner said, "You won me the show you?", but it was amazing because again, after that experience I thought I can actually ask anybody anything now. So, I think it's great to kind of throw people in at the deep end, and be thrown in the deep end because mostly we can swim.

Kristina:                        09:22                Yeah, absolutely. I love it. And, tell me then, how did you get into all the things you're involved in now in terms of your Beauty Bible and chocolate, and-

Jo:                                09:31                Well, from being that baby journalist, I became a magazine editor literally overnight. My boss called me into his office and said, "Can you help me with something, I need a new editor for Look Now?". And I said, "Sure, what kind of person are you looking for?". And he said, "Well, list of attributes", and at the end I said, "What you really want someone just like me, Terry?". And, he said, "Yes, and I'd like you to start in the morning". So, I was completely terrified. I spent the first month with imposter syndrome, which I totally empathize with anybody who has that. I think most people have had it at some point, this terrible fear of being found out and fired, and shamed and all of that stuff.

Jo:                                10:18                And, then the really weird thing at the end of a month was I realized that editing a magazine was a mechanical process and I'd done it with the help of a book my dad gave me on publishing terms. And, so when my art director came into the room and said, "Do you want this picture bled off", which means to the borders of the page. I just go, "Yeah, I think that's a great idea, Penny". And, as she left the room, I'd open up this book or publishing terms and see what bleeding off meant. And, if I really wanted a border around it, I'd ring her up and I'd say, "Actually, Penny, I've changed my mind. I think we will have a whiteboard around that", but literally I bluffed it for a month. Funny enough on my Instagram, my @JoFairly Instagram the other day, I found the book and I put it on Instagram with the story of how my dad got me through the first month of my editing career-

Kristina:                        11:08                I love that.

Jo:                                11:09                And, I think it's true with most jobs which is at the beginning you're terrified, especially if you're being stretched, but again, it's amazing what we can learn and what we can achieve.

Kristina:                        11:20                Yeah. And, I love that because I worked for a corporate travel agency when I first came to Australia. I didn't know how to write corporate travel faxes, it was faxes back then. I used to collect at night when everyone gone home, I used to collect faxes out of the recycle bins and had a whole folder of anyone in the business writing different things so I can copy how to write.

Jo:                                11:43                As a blueprint, yeah.

Kristina:                        11:44                Yeah. And, when I went on holidays and when I became a travel agent, eventually I learned it, because I worked for free. I said, "Hey, you pay me when I'm worth anything", and then they said, "What is this weird folder that you have?"-

Jo:                                11:57                That's where I learned my job.

Kristina:                        12:01                That's my English books, so really funny, yeah.

Jo:                                12:03                Yeah, well I totally get it, but by the time I was 29, I'd been editing magazines for six years and I'd spent all my twenties with such a lot of responsibility, I decided I'd had enough. I didn't love my second editing job at all, and I became a freelance journalist. And, I wrote about lots and lots and lots of different things. I mean I've written about everything from sumo wrestling to Romanian orphans via a lot of Mascaro reviews, and I love that. I love the fact I never quite know what I'm going to write about next and I still write, but one of the things that I did which kind of really tapped into something that I became passionate about when I was a teenager was I got a column on the Times writing a column called ecosphere and it was at the end of the eighties, a kind of green movement bubbled up. It disappeared again, but there was a real moment at the end of the eighties when it looked like everybody was going to get the kind of messages that we're getting now about climate change and pollution and recycling and plastics, and all that kind of thing.

Jo:                                13:06                So, I had this news column on the times and I presented a 30 week series for Sky TV called 'Go for Green', and when I was 13, a friend had given me a copy of a book called 'A Shopper's guide to Saving the Planet', but back then there was literally nothing you could do to save the planet, but it kind of stayed with me. I've always just never been about waste. I hate waste. I love reusing things, the older something gets the more I love it, basically. And, so that kind of really resonated with me and I'd met the man who's my husband some years before, but we reconnected and he is just about the greenest man on the planet, I have to say. He's had an organic food company since 1967, proper hippie pioneer. So, I hooked up with him and the same year that we got married, we launched this Green & Black's chocolate brand.

Kristina:                        14:01                Love that.

Jo:                                14:02                And, I'd never been in business before. I'd written about other people doing businesses but never imagined that I'd do it myself.

Kristina:                        14:09                Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, tell us a little bit about that. How did you learn how to do it? Did you do the same thing, just throw yourself into it, or?

Jo:                                14:15                Yeah, I threw myself into it, but I mean I had a bit more confidence by them because actually when you're running a magazine that's actually running a business, you have a budget. So, you have staff, you have HRSU's, you have deadlines. It's a business, but I'd never had my own product before. And, it came about because I walked into his office one day and there was some squares of chocolate sitting on his desk from a sample bar that he'd had made from a supplier and he didn't really feel he could launch a chocolate bar because Whole Earth, which was his business, was kind of anti-sugar and you can't do chocolate without sugar, but I of nagged and nagged at him and eventually he turned around and said, well look, why don't you do it, but you're going to have to finance it because I haven't got launching a new brand in my budget.

Jo:                                15:01                And, I'd sold my flat before I moved in with him and I banked about, I think it was £20,034 of equity, which we were going to use to buy a house outside London somewhere. And, that was my nest egg and two tons of chocolate were going to cost me £20,000. So, I didn't even have enough left for a pair of shoes frankly, but it was just such an amazing opportunity and I so passionately believed in this chocolate, which was the first organic chocolate in the world. It was much the darkest chocolate on the market at the time. I mean, I sat in front of lots of supermarket buyers who said the British will never eat chocolate this dark. And I was like, it's really good. I think they will.

Kristina:                        15:44                Mm-hmm (affirmative), I love it.

Jo:                                15:46                So, I kind of dived off this diving board and again that relates back to a postcard I bought when I was 15 in Carnaby Street of a man on a diving board saying if you don't do it, you'll never know what would have happened if you hadn't done it. And, so I went to the edge of the diving board and dived off. And, what was the worst that was going to happen? I could have lost that $20,000 nest egg. I hadn't mortgaged my house or done anything like that. It was a gamble, but I was pretty sure that people will respond to the chocolate in the way that they did. And, my advantage was that as a journalist I knew how to communicate my product, and I knew who to communicate to. So, all of the kind of press releases and getting in touch with journalists and chefs and magazine editors and newspaper editors, etc. That was what I knew how to do and it was very important because we had no advertising budget. We just had to get it out to as many people as we could.

Kristina:                        16:46                Yeah. I love that. It's very similar story to Kikki-K in so many ways. So, what kind of advice then would you have to our listeners in terms of if they have a dream business, what would be the top three things for people to-

Jo:                                17:01                Well, the dream is important, but the practical side of it, the actually putting one foot in front of another is just as important. One of the signs on my office wall is things only get done if you do them. It's so basic-

Kristina:                        17:18                But it's so true.

Jo:                                17:19                We all have friends who talk about doing things, they love talking about how they're going to do x, y, and z, but actually I think it's much more powerful to, I mean, yes, talk about your dream but, but be taking the practical steps to make it happen. A dream is no good unless you actually turn it into reality and the only way you can do that is roll up your sleeves, find stuff out, get stuff done. And, in the early stages of any business that I've been involved in, and I think probably any business on the planet, there is so much to do. I mean there are so many things from whether you're even just buying a computer and doing it in your spare room, or registering for tax and checking trademarks and ordering your stationary and business cards and all of that stuff. Most of it only has to get done once, but you have to do it, and Kiki this is where lists come in.

Kristina:                        18:18                A big old good to do list.

Jo:                                18:25                The big old good to do list, that's how I live my life thanks to your many, many pads of different kinds. I'm particularly fond of the wellbeing one, which gets me to tick my numbers of glasses of water I've had each day, because that's great, but write it down, tick it off and you get an amazing sense of satisfaction as we all know from ticking off the list, but nobody can carry all that stuff around in their head. Every business I've created, I've just had a massive list and sometimes it got longer before it got shorter, but that way, every time you think of something that's got to be done, you write it down, you know where you are. So, the dream is crucial and you can certainly dream big, but just as important is the, not just talking about it, but putting one foot in front of the other.

Kristina:                        19:15                Yeah, yeah. Love that. Thank you for sharing. That's amazing.

Jo:                                19:19                I've actually got another piece of advice that I could give with that. I think a really good starting point for a business is just putting yourself in the customer's shoes and all of my businesses have, I mean, it's slightly arrogant, but I've built them on the premise that if I needed something and I couldn't find it, the chances are that lots of other people felt the same way. And, actually with all of my businesses, that's been the case. And, so that kind of being the customer is crucial. So, there are still gaps in the market. There are still niches to be filled. I'm not interested in being a 'me too' and copying somebody, I'm not interested in having a bit of someone else's action, I want to create things that are the first of their kind, or unique in some way or better in some way. And, so I think that's another really, really important thing is just be the customer, and use your eyes and next time something comes along that you think, why can't I get hold of that? Or why doesn't that exist? Maybe that's your business idea.

Kristina:                        20:25                Yeah. That's exactly how Kikki-K started. I couldn't find anything for my home office. Really good advice. And, I think it's so important that you actually are passionate about your product and you use it and love yourself, because if you're just starting something for money and when it gets hard and all businesses gets hard regardless of how successful they are, you really need to love what you do and want to spend a Saturday nights doing it, and yeah.

Jo:                                20:49                Absolutely. Absolutely. And, I'm sure it will be useful for people to hear that there's a basic business rule which is that getting your business off the ground, it's going to take you twice as long and cost twice as much as you think it's going to, so you might as well write that into your plan because it's true for every business I know, because we all start at a kind of standing start and that first bit where you're just kind of going along, bumping along before anybody knows who you are can take a really long time.

Kristina:                        21:19                Yeah, and they jump even in an established, but for now because things change all the time, especially to speed of now it's just, yeah, that's a really good one. So, thinking back over your journey, I'm sure there's been a lot of roller coasters. I know you started from your Portabello Road bedroom and with your husband and to grow a global ethical brand. What would you say has been the biggest obstacle or challenge faced along your journey?

Jo:                                21:44                I think that for us always, and it's true of most businesses, cashflow. Cashflow is the most important thing. You don't get your cash cashflow right, you go bust. It's that simple. The faster your business is growing, the harder it is because you're having to carry so much more stock all the time. You're having to pay for that stock before you've sold it to your customers very often, and that's where the pinch point and the sleepless nights come in. How am I going to pay for that next consignment? And, what we did was we used a form of financing called invoice discounting because we had really good insurable customers like the supermarkets. So, our bank would lend us 75 percent of the value of the invoice the minute we issued it because British supermarket sometimes don't pay you for 180 days, half a year. A lot of people, big companies particularly take a very, very, very long time to pay, and you've had to pay your supplier way, way before that. So, that enabled us to grow and it wasn't the cheapest way to borrow money, but it meant that we could grow at the pace we needed to. Even then, there were kind of nail biting moment about are we going to survive? So, that's how we did it. So, I would say that cashflow is always the biggest thing.

Jo:                                23:06                And, the other big challenge was that the thing that I think we got wrong, which I've tried to learn from in my subsequent businesses was we weren't strategic enough, because I think in a lot of startups, it's very exciting. We get lots and lots of opportunities. Everyone wants to collaborate you with. Everyone wants to do stuff with you, and you can't do everything. You don't have a million people working for you. It's probably you and the dog, and so you really have to pick and choose which opportunities you're going to follow up on. Not cry yourself to sleep over the ones that you've turn down, but not spread yourself so thin that you're, you're doing a lot of things not terribly well. It's better to focus on two or three really good opportunities. Do them incredibly well. And, it was the same with us with exporting. With Green & Black's, we were flattered into selling to just about anybody who came up to us into a trade show and it's like we're in Slovenia, we're in Mongolia, you know? And, then the reality was you've got to find out about their labeling laws and their import taxes and their food labeling, and their safety regulations and how to get it there, and all of that stuff.

Jo:                                24:24                And when we sold a chunk of our business to a group of investors, the first thing they did was they just got that red pen out with our export book and they said, look guys, you're spending just as much time and effort sending half a case to Slovenia as you are sending two containers to America. So, sorry, but Slovenia is toast and as were a lot of countries, but actually they were absolutely right. You can't do everything. And, so that kind of spreading yourself too thin is just a very bad from a wellbeing point of view as well, because I spoke to somebody the other day who has a small perfume business and it's a very arty brand. And he said, I've got 23 projects that I'm working on. I just wanted to say just do three. Forget the other 20 because you're going to find yourself running on empty.

Kristina:                        25:16                Yeah. That is such good advice and something that we are all guilty of, I think, in terms of our personal life as well as our businesses and I love this quote. You can do anything in life but not everything at the same time, and I follow that personally, but I think in business we should perhaps be more like that as well, because when you're an entrepreneur you get so excited as you just saying. And, there's so much we can do and it's so exciting, but the power of saying no. Have you got any favorite quotes, even in my book 'Your Dream Life Starts Here', I have a whole chapter about what different quotes means to people because I think being reminded of quotes that is meaningful for you is really powerful. Have you got any favorite, because, I know we talked about [crosstalk 00:25:56]-

Jo:                                25:56                I've got loads on my wall at home. I've got a great one from Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, about being organized is what you do ... I can't remember the exact [crosstalk 00:26:09], it's what you do before you do something and I'm not good at remembering quotes for some particular reason, which is why I have them stuck up there. I've got them from Coco Chanel. I've got them from Anita Roddick, said a lot of things that I believe in. And, what I loved about Anita who was, I was lucky enough to have as my mentor. She was amazing. I'd met her through my journalism and we became friends.

Jo:                                26:34                And, she signed me up for a socially responsible business network, which was amazing with people like Ben and Jerry, the ice cream guys and Anita and Gordon Roddick and Gary Hirschfeld, who sold his Stonyfield Farm yogurt business to Dannon. But, we would get together and listen to inspirational speakers and kind of just reassure each other that we weren't all mad trying to change the world by doing good. But, she believed that the business could be a force for good. And, I have her picture on my wall with that quote, and she also believed in, she used to talk about Business karma, about how when you were trying to do good in business, kind of magic happened. And, I believe that and I look around, there's so many people who are trying to make the world a better place through business. It's very encouraging.

Kristina:                        27:27                Absolutely. Absolutely. A purposeful business will go a long way. So in my book, I challenge readers to explore the idea, wouldn't it be amazing if you can make a living or spend a large part of your life following your purpose and doing what you really love? And, I think you are an absolutely perfect example of someone who has done that time and time again. What advice can you share with our listeners about how they can make that happen for themselves?

Jo:                                27:55                I really believe in what Anita said about business being a force for good, and the opportunities that you have to kind of make other people's lives better. And, I think that these days, more and more people, customers are looking for brands with purpose. They're looking for businesses with purpose, they're not just looking for businesses which somehow exploit the planet and a throwaway culture, etc. So, actually I would advise anybody who's setting up any kind of business now to really have their values sorted out at the beginning because it's much easier to build a business on your values than to kind of try and retrofit it later. I mean, you look around and all kinds of businesses are trying to embrace purpose and values and sustainability, which is great, but it's actually easier at the beginning.

Kristina:                        28:51                To start [crosstalk 00:28:52], yeah.

Jo:                                28:52                But, what I would say is I think a big mistake that often companies who want to be seen to be kind of trying to bring about change do is they promise a percentage of their turnover or profit to a particular charity. And, actually I think that can be quite dangerous from a business point of view because you're never quite sure what your costings are going to be and whether you're going to have that money leftover at the end to give to that charity. And, if you've said I'm going to give 10% of my turnover to Greenpeace or whatever, how might be the 10% that you need to stay afloat. So, I think it's much better to have a sustainable, profitable business and then decide to give some of it away rather than kind of say this is who we are and we're going to give 10% to this great cause.

Jo:                                29:43                Make everything you do be about trying to make the world a better place, but don't do that thing of committing to a specific percentage because you just paint yourself into a corner. It's a great idea. It's very, very noble, but it's very, very hard to pull off and it'll have you kind of awake at 02:00 o'clock in the morning, I think going, "Oh my God, how am I going to pay the bills and send that check to whatever?", and I make you feel like a bad person for not being able to do it. Whereas in fact, that's just life sometimes, things go wrong in business. I've just had an episode where my warehouse lost a load of stationary that we'd ordered, not from you, not that kind of sexy, stationary, but really boring packing boxes, so while I wait for that to be sorted out, I've got to order another load, and all these things happen, unexpected things on a daily basis. So, by all means have a purpose, by all means share it with the world, but don't say 10% of everything we make is going to go to save the panda, or whatever.

Kristina:                        30:47                Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that advice. One of my mentors actually said to me in the early days that you have to look after yourself first and then you can help others, and I truly believe that because it's really hard for a business survive in the first place, anyway.

Jo:                                30:59                Yeah, and that also brings me to kind of wellbeing because it's equally true of your own health and wellbeing and you know that inflight advice about you always hope you're never going to have to put it into action of if the oxygen mask comes down, you've got to put it on you before you put it on your child, but it's actually true about life generally is that if you're not taking care of yourself, you can't possibly do the job of looking after everybody else. And, I think women in particular find this really hard, this idea that they've got to give themselves some TLC. They've got to take care of themselves, but it's vital because otherwise you'd be wiped out. You'd be no good to anybody, you'll be no good to your colleagues and your staff and your kids and your mum and your friends. You'll just be little Miss Exhausted.

Kristina:                        31:50                Yeah, absolutely. That brings me to a very good question for you. What do you do to, what kind of tips can you give to our listeners on looking after and living a balanced life, because I think especially for a startup, that's really difficult but not just startup, we're all busy in all sorts of different ways and even if you're working for someone else, it's difficult to balance it all. So, love to get some tips from you.

Jo:                                32:14                Well, I do my 10,000 steps a day. I walk to get around, basically. If I'm in central London, gosh, if I'm in central London, I could easily do 17,000 steps in a day. Just going from appointment to appointment. I rarely get a taxi anymore. That provides me with really good thinking time as well. And, frankly, walking somewhere is often quicker than taking a cab.

Kristina:                        32:36                Yeah, especially in London.

Jo:                                32:37                Especially in London. So, my walking saves my sanity and also just kind of means I could eat everything I want to eat without worrying about it. I mean sleep is vital, I have an armory-

Kristina:                        32:50                It's a very big theme on this podcast.

Jo:                                32:53                I have an armory of sleep aids, kind of this works, pillow spray and this works power naps spray and things to kind of help me, because often I go to bed with a racing mind and I need to kind of calm down, and just eating really well. I mean, eating as well as you can. I think the challenge when you've got a start up or you've got any kind of business is that you grab food, and it's very easy to grab not great food. Crisps is not a lunch really, but I kind of make big vats of soup at the weekend and have soup and toast for lunch, but at least I've got a big bowl of something really nutritious. Try and eat as fresh as possible. Try not always to go for the sandwich counter, because it is your fuel, but it often takes, I think a little bit of extra preparation. It takes like 10 minutes in the morning to make sure you've got something really nice to eat at work during the day because you may not even get out at lunchtime. It's your fuel. So, make sure it's good. And obviously do include chocolate but only good chocolate.

Kristina:                        34:06                Absolutely, it's funny, I don't eat airplane food if I can avoid that. And, so I always have a little bit of your chocolate with me and I also have some raw food bowls and protein things and it takes a little bit longer because before I go, I have to think about it, but once you actually get into it, it's really easy. I used to, in the startup days, I used to do a big batch of soup every Sunday and my partner, he was sometimes sneaking out to get something else because he was so sick of that soup-

Jo:                                34:37                So bored with the soup.

Kristina:                        34:37                We still eat that soup, and we often have a bit of a laugh, but it was nutritious as well as a cheap, and it was always there.

Jo:                                34:43                That's so funny, that's what I do on Sundays, I make soup for the week.

Kristina:                        34:45                Yeah, yeah. It's a good startup food.

Jo:                                34:48                It is, it's a really good start up food.

Kristina:                        34:50                Anyone listening, and for anyone.

Jo:                                34:53                And, tempting as it is to drink loads and loads of caffeine, it's going to string you out if you have too much. I mean, I have two cups of very good tea in the morning and have a cup of very good tea at 16:00 o'clock in the afternoon, but I'm not constantly drinking coffee all day. I used to drink coffee. I started drinking coffee when I was a journalist and that literally started the day I became a journalist, so it was all for me, kind of bound up in the creative process and I went to an acupuncturist who said, because it was sort of a nagging health problem, she said, "Well, you have to give up coffee", and I'm like, "I can't give up coffee", and I was drinking 10 cups a day.

Kristina:                        35:28                Oh, wow.

Jo:                                35:29                But, I cut down and the two cups I cut down to just gave me such jitters that I thought I've got to stop this, and I had heinous headaches for a couple of days, but I got rid of my coffee addiction because it lifts you up and it crashes you down again, so you have to keep going. It's not real energy.

Kristina:                        35:51                No, no, that's a good one. I try to a couple of times a year get rid of it. I love my coffee, but I don't have eight cups a day. I have one, sometimes two if I feel like I need it. Especially with jet lag, I feel like it's-

Jo:                                36:03                I think that's fine.

Kristina:                        36:04                It's also a mental help in terms of sometimes when you have jet lag, it just helps you get through that.

Jo:                                36:11                Totally. Well, actually my husband makes a Guarana drink called Gusto, which does the same for me. It's also got some hubs in for focus and it's fantastic for just picking it up. It's my jet lag remedy.

Kristina:                        36:22                Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's good, I might get some recipe on that one.

Jo:                                36:23                Yeah, I'll make sure you get some.

Kristina:                        36:27                Great. So, looking at your life from the outside, it looks like you're living your dream life now in doing so many things that seem to love working for yourself and inspiring others and keeping it very busy life with all your incredible business ventures. I would love to ask you, do you feel like you're living your dream life now?

Jo:                                36:46                I definitely am living my dream life now. My main business is something I love called The Perfume Society, which is a box, we do discovery boxes of perfume in the UK because we sadly can't ship it internationally, and we have a massive website about perfume in the sense of smell called perfumesociety.org because what connects all my businesses, so Green & Black's, The Beauty Bible, the Wellington Center Wellbeing Center, which I run in my hometown of Hastings and the bakery, the organic bakery that we had there for many years, they're all in some way connected with the senses that completely chimes with my real fascination with the senses and my feeling that somehow in this life we live in our heads and we're very, very visual, but we're very often cut off from our other senses. But yes, I have a lovely house. I have a beautiful garden. I have a husband I adore. I live by the sea, and that's really part of the dream life for me. I swim probably eight months of the year in the sea, which even here is not as bad as you think when you do it every day, let me tell you. We were still swimming 10 days ago, in late October.

Kristina:                        38:02                Yeah, it's also very Swedish thing. I grew up in Sweden, it's very Swedish thing to do, but somehow it didn't get that gene.

Jo:                                38:08                You didn't get the gene. I got the gene, because we're the 40% Scandinavian. I had my DNA done, which is a fascinating thing to do. So, yeah, I'm living my dream. And in fact, interestingly when I started this business, we had an office in London, which I wasn't really planning to do, but the first two girls who came to work for the Perfume Society said to me, I said, "Well, you'll obviously work at home", and they went, "Oh, no, we need a desk", and I went, "Really? The whole of the rest of the world is trying to work at home, but whatever", so we found a couple of desks for them and then that became an office. And, then that became a thing.

Jo:                                38:47                And, so for three years I found that I was coming to London three days a week or being in London three days a week to kind of make them feel loved and interact with them, etc. And, then interestingly, when my most junior girl left a year ago, I had this kind of blinding realization that if I replaced her with somebody who worked in my hometown, I didn't have to come up to London all the time. And, so that was a very conscious decision because actually I had created this dream life. I had my life exactly the way I wanted it. Lots of walking, lots of being in the countryside and the seaside and lovely friends, and then blew it by getting a London office. So, I learned my lesson, and moved home and I'm much, much happier.

Kristina:                        39:33                Yeah. Wonderful. Yeah. I love asking five questions when people are dreaming. If you couldn't fail, what would you do? If you had all the money you needed, or the energy, the resources, the knowledge, all the stuff that you know, often we don't have when we think about goals, but if you're thinking about your dreams, if you had all that, what would you do with your life?

Jo:                                39:54                It's probably not the answer that you want, but-

Kristina:                        39:56                No, there's no right and right, I just want you as you are.

Jo:                                40:01                Okay, I have ideas for things all the time, but actually I like to give them away now.

Kristina:                        40:08                Yeah, that's a beautiful thing.

Jo:                                40:09                I'm very happy to give ideas away so that other people take them and run with them, because what I've realized is I can't do everything. I shouldn't spread myself so thin. I wished that something existed, which was, it was a mentor matching scheme where you could sort of find a great mentor and somebody has set up something called, I think it's 'Mentor Matcher', which pairs people who've got time to mentor people with people who want a mentor, I think that's a great idea. I don't know whether she picked up on it because I put it out in the there, or whether it was just one of those gaps in the market, but I do have ideas all the time and I just know, I just publicly just give them away because I could do them, but actually I don't want to spend the rest of my life just running around working. I don't want to retire, but I'd love to do even more charity work than I do. I'd love to spend more time with my, got a whole bunch of babies coming into the family, which will be fun. Spend some time with them, but I can't guarantee I won't have another really good idea and want to make it happen.

Kristina:                        41:26                Yeah, no, I'm sure you will have plenty. So, I know you do a lot of public speaking and for those of us who haven't been lucky enough to see you speak yet, what are you actually, when you speak, what kind of takeaways do you give people?

Jo:                                41:40                Oh, lots and lots of takeaways. I mean the things, I talk a lot about the journey of green and blacks and the things that we got right, which are just not rocket science but which every company has to get right. And, so starting with a great product which makes it so easy to do everything because you believe in it so much and it kind of, you can sell it to customers and journalists and people who want to come and join your team. Branding and design, which is so important more than ever now. PR and marketing and then for us, very often I talk about business with purpose because obviously that was what was to true of Green & Blacks's from day one and then just, my other kind of success secrets if you like, which again, they're not rocket science, but be authentic, don't suffer from imposter syndrome. Take your authentic self to work, and I think we're very lucky because we live in a world now which is celebrates diversity, it's much more equal than it was and I don't think that anyone should have to feel like they have to live up just someone's idea of what they should be. Just be yourself and you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

Kristina:                        42:55                Yeah. Absolutely. I couldn't agree-

Jo:                                42:57                And, just be able to focus on the job rather than being that person who you think you should be. So, being authentic and taking sense of humor to work. I mean, I love the sound of laughter in an office. I feel like if I walk into a room and everyone's laughing, as long as they're not laughing about me, obviously, well sometimes they are and that's okay too. Create a fun place to work and make it look nice. I mean, you provide all the accessories for that, but I've worked in places that have been awful, and dingy and had cardboard boxes everywhere and just were depressing and it's amazing how a bunch of daffodils and a new mouse mat pad can just make it a much, much nicer place to work. And, the chances are you're going to spend more time in the office and you are at home, so you might as well make it nice. You don't have to spend a fortune between thinking Kikki-K and IKEA, it's all there, really.

Jo:                                43:54                So, yeah, create a nice space to work. I mean, I'm a great believer in finding a mentor when you're starting out and mentoring other people as soon as you're in a position where you have something to share, but I pick my mentorees very carefully in terms of, they have to be people who I really genuinely feel like if I have my little black book as Anita did for me, it's going to be useful specifically to them. It's not just about having a cup of coffee, occasionally patting their hand and going, it's okay. It's actually about, well how can I open doors for that person? So, those sorts of things really are things I share. It's not rocket science, but actually everyone I know in business who has a story to tell, it's pretty much the same story.

Kristina:                        44:42                Yeah, yeah. I remember meeting you, I felt it's exactly the same. I was like, we have the same story just different products. Yeah.

Jo:                                44:47                Yeah, different products, but yeah.

Kristina:                        44:48                Yeah, yeah, it's so true. It's so true. And, that's why, you just touched on something, a couple of things that I'd like to just have a quick chat about. One is, self belief because I feel like so many people are lacking self belief that I meet. So, what is your little advice for people who are listening, if they have some kind of self doubt or lack of self belief?

Jo:                                45:09                Really celebrate the things that you know you're good at. Everyone is good at some things. You don't have to be good at everything, even if it's just quite a short list of stuff that you, like I'm a really good friend, or I have really nice handwriting or I can knit brilliantly. It doesn't have to be 'I'm a great leader', just celebrate the small things that you're good at, and often other people have an agenda, and will try and put you down for for various reasons. Sometimes they'll put you down and tell you can't succeed because actually they don't want you to be hurt by failing. It's not really because they think you're terrible at something, or it's not going to work out. It's because it's actually out of a genuine kind of love and concern that they don't want you to be hurt.

Kristina:                        45:58                Or, sometimes it's their fears.

Jo:                                46:00                Or, it's their feeling.

Kristina:                        46:00                Yeah, yeah.

Jo:                                46:00                Yeah, exactly. They'd quite like to have done that and they don't really see why you should, yeah, I suppose I was being a bit charitable.

Kristina:                        46:07                Yeah, but I also think, sometimes if someone wants to do something and then they have a friend who could never see themselves doing it, they projecting their fears onto that person, and that's very natural thing to do. So, it's with good intention, but sometimes we just have to remember that your friends are not like you, so you just have to do what you think and know you can do.

Jo:                                46:28                But also, be a sponge, if there's stuff that you don't know how to do and you're not very good at it, get better at it. I mean, I'm a great believer in the 10,000 hours of practice at something. If I picked up a violin, you wouldn't really want to be around me for the first hundred hours, but I'm pretty sure that eventually I could reasonably well play the violin and we can learn to do pretty much anything. I mean, if we could learn to walk and talk in a year, the first year of our lives, there's pretty much no limit to what we can learn. So, if you're not yet good at something, become good at it. Study it. Look on YouTube, Google it.

Kristina:                        47:10                Books.

Jo:                                47:11                Books.

Kristina:                        47:12                Podcasts.

Jo:                                47:13                We live in a world where you could find anything out, and practice it.

Kristina:                        47:16                Yeah, which is extraordinary.

Jo:                                47:19                But most of all it's about being kind to yourself and celebrating the things you're good at. Not saying, oh, I'm so bad at that. If you're so bad at it, well get better at it, but don't say that to the world.

Kristina:                        47:32                Yeah. Love that answer. So, in my new book I share with readers that I have found great inspiration from the dreams and experiences of others. Who would you say inspires you? I know you've spoken a lot about Anita, but is there anyone now that you are inspired by?

Jo:                                47:46                So many people I'm inspired by. Michelle Obama is about to come to London. And, I think I blew getting tickets for her, but she's just somebody, I love what she says. I love how grounded she is. Historically, I was incredibly inspired by Coco Chanel, who may have, probably she was a tyrant, but she followed her own path and she was the first to do so many things and she was a woman in business when it wasn't the done thing at all. She had lots of lovers and she, I'm sure made lots of enemies, but I am a huge admirer of how she just decided what she was going to do and followed that path, and made, she created herself. So, she's always been a hero of mine. Anita Roddick, of course, Natalie Massenet, who founded [inaudible 00:48:47] is another one, and who's gone on to do various other businesses and things. It's all people who rolled up the sleeves.

Kristina:                        48:55                I love that. I couldn't agree more. Okay. I'd love to finish off by asking you a few quick questions that I know our listeners would love to hear from you. Do you have any particular morning to set you up for a productive day?

Jo:                                49:07                I have such a morning routine.

Kristina:                        49:08                Love it.

Jo:                                49:09                So, my alarm goes off at 06:10. I put my kettle on and I have my two cups of speedy breakfast tea from the Rare Tea Company, which is run by my friend Henrietta, another women in business who created this special breakfast blend for me, except now it's her best selling tea.

Kristina:                        49:28                Fantastic.

Jo:                                49:28                I have to share it with the world. And, read in bed for awhile, but when I go to my desk, which is probably about 08:30, sometimes 09:00, so I have got loads of time in bed thinking and reading and talking to my lovely husband, looking out of the window at my garden. I do 10 minutes of calm.com meditation before I start, if ever I skip that, my day is completely different. It's just much more scattered and chaotic and I've discovered I absolutely need to do 10 minutes of meditation before I start my day. Then, after that, the routine could be anything. I mean it just goes whatever direction the day takes, but then the very last thing I do is before I leave my desk in the evening, I write my, or my K-pad, my list for the next day.

Kristina:                        50:22                Yeah, beautiful.

Jo:                                50:23                So, when I've done my calm meditation the following morning, I look at that list and that's my day already set out, but I find it much easier to spend 10 minutes at the end of the previous day thinking about what I've got to do next day, and that's my blueprint. I might add to it. Yeah. I also, on my phone have something called Wunderlist, W-U-N-D-E-R-L-I-S-T, which again, this is an app you can share with people. So, all my team have the same app so I can put things on a to do list for them and I can see when they've ticked it off, etc. My husband has Wunderlist on his phone, sometimes he looks at it. You can take a horse to water, but you can't always make it drink. Yeah, so the morning routine is crucial, actually. And, then at the end of the day, if I haven't had a walk yet, that's when I go for my long walk.

Kristina:                        51:21                Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful.

Jo:                                51:22                To the end of my, we have a peer where I live and so I walked to the end of the pier and back and that's about 8,000 steps, so I have to get another couple of thousand dollars in somewhere.

Kristina:                        51:32                Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing morning routines, and it's hopefully inspiring lots of listeners out there to create their own if they haven't got one.

Jo:                                51:41                I feel like it's the foundation stone for the day.

Kristina:                        51:43                Yeah, I do too. And, I love the early morning because you are less likely to be interrupted, especially for younger moms who have young kids, because often they are up and then your day is kind of dictated by other people-

Jo:                                51:57                Yeah, exactly, you never quite have the world to yourself in the way that you do in the morning. And, I feel like every day a clean sheet of paper, it's a clean sheet of paper on that to do list.

Kristina:                        52:08                Yeah, agree. So, I think you already answered this but just in case there is another one. Do you have a favorite Kikki-K product?

Jo:                                52:14                It's the to do pads.

Kristina:                        52:16                Good, because you're getting a new one today.

Jo:                                52:20                Yippee, but I will say that I walked into your shop for the first time, I don't know, maybe three years ago or something and I just like, wow, can I buy shares in this business? This is amazing.

Kristina:                        52:33                You can.

Jo:                                52:35                Great, but I just felt that you had, just as you had done for yourself, you'd filled that need in me to surround myself with nice things, which are part of the motivation, part of the pleasure of motivating myself for the day. Yes, you regularly featured in the Christmas stockings of various people in my family.

Kristina:                        52:57                Thank you so much. Very much appreciated. Thank you.

Jo:                                52:59                Trying to turn them into organized human beings.

Kristina:                        53:03                That's good, so it's two good things in one story there, thank you so much so. So, what's your favorite book and why?

Jo:                                53:08                It's probably Little Women actually, which I was named after Jo in little women by my mother. She tagged a 'sophene' on the end, but I should really always have been Jo, and I particularly loved Jo March as a character. She's feisty and he doesn't want to play by the rules, everybody else's rules and I love that book and I have a really nice vintage copy with a lovely kind of gold illustration on the cover, and I reread it every now and then.

Kristina:                        53:37                Oh, beautiful. Thanks. We'll link to that in the show notes. So, one very last question for you. If you could go back to your younger self, so say maybe when you're in your late teens, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now? And, you know so much.

Jo:                                53:51                I think I just wanted to reassure her that it was all going to be okay, because when I was at school, I was really put down by my teachers. They couldn't deal with the fact that they knew I was smart, but I didn't want to do lessons. I would argue with my math teacher. I will learn logarithms if you tell me why I might ever need to use a logarithm in my life. You have almost fisticuffs in the classroom. Of course, she couldn't tell me. Took an astrologer friend later to say that she used logarithms all the time in astrology, and it's like, wow, if you'd told me that when I was 15, I might have actually paid attention. So, I kind of fought with my teachers a lot, and their way of dealing with me was to say you'll never be anything. I mean, literally I had a teacher when I said I wanted to be a secretary who said if you ever make so much as a Girl Friday, I'll eat my hat. And, I just had this kind of rocket ignite under my chair with the determination to kind of prove her wrong. So, I had to put up with a lot of being put down and dissed by my teachers.

Kristina:                        55:01                Mm-hmm (affirmative), and that's why probably you are like you are today. Perhaps.

Jo:                                55:04                It probably is, but I still think it was unforgivable, because if I'd been a different sort of girl I might have kind of bought into that.

Kristina:                        55:12                Oh, absolutely.

Jo:                                55:12                Instead of rebelled against it, but I would probably have just like a little bit of reassurance at that age that it was going to be okay. And, that actually I was right, you know what I felt in my heart about the traditional academic path not being the one for me, even though it's what every other girl in my school was doing, it would have been nice to hear that instead of just being told I was, I was wrong and I was never going to amount to anything.

Kristina:                        55:41                Yeah, that is such a good way of ending our amazing conversation because I think there are so many people who have had similar situation from teachers, parents, peers, friends, whatever. So, I think seeing what you have done and created is just incredibly inspiring and I'm super grateful for the amazing chocolate you have put to the world, and now it's available everywhere, but in the beginning when I discovered it, I couldn't find it everywhere. So, I used to gift it, and I still do and I love it. So, thank you for all that you do to the world and continue inspiration to especially women out there who are wanting to be just like you. So, I think you bringing so much beautiful things to the world and I cannot wait to continue see your next journey and what that will be.

Jo:                                56:27                Well, thank you for having me. I think it's been really fun and we could have done this for three hours guys, but [crosstalk 00:56:33]-

Kristina:                        56:32                We'll have to bring you back.

Jo:                                56:35                You might have to bring me back, but thanks so much for having me.

Kristina:                        56:37                Yeah. Thank you. Thank you.

Kristina:                        56:40                Wow. What an incredible woman Jo is. I could have spoken to her for hours. I loved hearing her ideas and thoughts on business. The importance of taking the steps to follow your dreams and being true to yourself. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I find it truly inspiring how even though she left school at just 16, she was able to create a success of herself through her passion, determination, and hard work and become one of the world's most renowned business women. Jo is such an amazing example of how no matter what your circumstances, if you're willing to learn and work hard, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. I really believe this, which is why a huge part of my book is dedicated to taking those first steps and putting yourself in the driver's seat of your life. You'll also find really helpful chapters on how to take you from dreaming to doing, and creating a dream roadmap to follow on your path to living your dream life.

Kristina:                        57:38                I hope this episode has inspired you to start thinking about your own dreams and dream life. Whatever that means to you. If you haven't got a copy yet, I encourage you to get hold of my book, 'Your Dream Life Starts Here', and the Dream Life Journal that I have created to go with it. It's a great starting point if you want guidance on your journey of uncovering and chasing your dreams. Another great place to start is to check out my 101 Dreams audio guide at Kikki-K.com/dream life. If you loved this episode and find it useful, be sure to subscribe and also leave us a review telling us what you thought, and please help us spread this inspiring message to even more people by posting about it on social media with the hashtag 101 Million Dreamers. I would really appreciate your support with my big, crazy dream to inspire 101 million people to write down three dreams on paper and go and chase them. Until next time, don't forget to dream big, and chase your dreams.



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