The story of Jo Malone CBE, the lady behind one of the world's most famous cosmetics companies - is a fascinating one. As told in her autobiography Jo Malone, My Story, the Bexleyheath-born perfume guru was from humble beginnings, eventually working as a beauty therapist, before opening her own skincare clinic with her mother at 21. The duo sadly had a heartbreaking fall out, which resulted in Jo bravely setting up a business on her own. During this time, Jo speaks of a "spirited redhead" who decided to give her a helping hand. "Sarah Ferguson had been coming to me for treatments for years. When I first met her, before she was engaged to Prince Andrew, she lived in Clapham, South London. She was down to earth and had a wicked sense of humour that often left me in stiches" she revealed.
Jo Malone even went to the Duchess of York's wedding in 1986
The CEO of Jo Loves even got an invite to the Duchess of York's wedding! She wrote: "In 1986, she actually invited me and my husband Gary – whom I'd married a year before – to her wedding. I was astonished; I was only the girl who did her face, but that gesture tells you a lot about her."
Jo Malone My Story Autobiography and Pomelo gift box, £135, Jo Loves
When Jo was first starting out, she explained to Duchess Sarah that she was working as a travelling beauty therapist, and because of that, she visited Buckingham Palace to give the mother-of-two her regular facial. Jo recalls that Sarah said: "I have an idea. Why don't you come to the Palace – we'll have a cup of tea and work this all out." And what's more, Sarah gave her an inspirational pep talk, telling the entrepreneur: "You are going to build this business, Jo" and proceeded to write down ten names, all of whom became clients. Who would have thought it?
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The rest, of course, is history. Jo launched her first brand, Jo Malone London, which gained cult status around the world. In 1999, Jo sold the business to Estée Lauder Companies and remained Creative Director until she left in 2006, opening her new company Jo Loves in 2012.
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If you want to read more about Jo's incredible journey (we couldn't put it down!) you can purchase her exclusive set – which includes her autobiography and a 100ml bottle of Pomelo, on her website and in her London flagship store.