On March 8, the International Women’s Day, in collaboration with the retailers of Mount Street, The Mayfair Collective launched a year-long series of talks and workshops aimed at those interested in fashion, culture, business and the arts.
Its first initiative, the Women's Space, was a week-long pop-up co-working initiative in a beautiful two-storey townhouse at 5 Carlos Place, Mayfair. Highlights of this week long project included a morning talk and Q&A with Rosie Stancer, who is one of 20 women who comprise the first all-female polar expedition, and Jo Malone speaking about the issues women are facing today, as well as panel discussions about female philanthropy, gender imbalance in fashion, and popular representations of women in the 21st century.
I was lucky to attend the last of these events, Jo Malone talking to Nicola Moulton, Beauty & Health Director for British Vogue, about her life, business and the challenges she had to face.
Jo Malone needs no introduction; not only has she managed to build a brand from scratch, she has managed to do it twice. The discussion started at the very beginning when Jo was still a child and she gave us a unique insight to how she started the brand Jo Malone, her first perfume Lime Basil and Mandarin which was so successful that it’s considered a study in launching a product and continued throughout the years as the brand grew. We heard a lot of stories and focused mainly on the business side of things rather than the actual perfumes which was very interesting for me as so far I’ve only focused on the scents she had created. As the discussion evolved we heard how the brand expanded worldwide and of course how it was eventually sold to Estee Lauder. Jo talked about how she regretted selling it but by the time she realised, it was too late. Forced to a 5 year hiatus by the legal terms all the creativity piled up and at the end of this period it was no surprise that another brand was born – Jo Loves. The first fragrance, Pomelo is a very bright and happy perfume that smells of summer and new beginnings. Since then a lot more perfumes followed and I’m sure even more will in the future as the brand expands and goes worldwide.
Gifted and interactive Jo answered a lot of questions and her Synesthesia kicked in so she started to describe the people in the room and their outfits with scents. What I will keep was what she said at the end of the discussion that she is planning to change the way we wear perfume. Her Fragrance Tapas Bar at her Elizabeth Street shop is a unique experience unlike any other where you are given cleanser shots and get painted by perfume and I plan to visit very soon.
I have only managed to write about a fraction of what was talked about but if you want to learn a bit more about this amazing woman and her story you can buy her book.