‘Walking away from my business was the biggest mistake of my life’

‘Walking away from my business was the biggest mistake of my life’

“I lost my best friend,” says Jo Malone, simply, of the day she stepped away from her eponymous fragrance brand in 2006. “I know it sounds odd, but that’s how I felt – I didn’t talk to my best friend.” 

Having relinquished full control of the company she had built from scratch to beauty behemoth Estée Lauder, Malone found herself in self-imposed exile from the cosmetics industry for five years. A ‘lock-out’ clause meant she wasn’t even allowed to say she liked a lipgloss in print, let alone participate in the world she had been part of since leaving school in Bexleyheath, aged 15, to set up as a beautician.

“I’d spent seven hours a day creating that business, building it and seeing the visions…

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