My favourite things
Jo Fairley is one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs. At the age of 23 she became the UK’s youngest magazine editor, in 1991 she started her entrepreneurial journey, co-founding Green & Black’s Chocolate.
How would you describe your job?
I don’t like the word ‘juggling’ – I prefer ‘integrating’, but I ‘integrate’ running The Perfume Society and Beauty Bible, being a ‘Chocolate Ambassador’ for Green & Black’s and travelling the UK (and the world) as a motivational speaker, sharing my entrepreneurial journey.
How did your career begin?
Actually, as a PA before I got my first magazine job at 19 – and ended up being the youngest-ever magazine editor at 23, of Look Now magazine.
What has been the best moment of your career?
Pretty much anytime I find a bar of Green & Black’s in a minibar of a hip hotel.
What do you wish you had known when you started your career?
That 10 minutes of meditation a day is so amazing for clarity and focus. (I use the Calm app.)
What made you start Green & Blacks?
I found two squares of organic dark chocolate on my husband’s desk from a sample bar he’d had made (an organic pioneer, he also founded Whole Earth Foods and is an amazing innovator). As it melted on my tastebuds, I knew we had to share this with the world – and I sunk my entire £20,000 life savings into buying two tons of it.
What is your favourite chocolate?
Green & Black’s Sea Salt. No contest.
As a female entrepreneur what advice would you give to young women who are beginning their careers?
Be authentically ‘you’. Don’t ever feel you have to play a role or be someone else. It allows you to relax into a role and get on with the job.
How much chocolate do you eat a week?
Probably a bar and a bit (a ‘row’ of it every day at 4pm with Rare Tea Company Tarry Souchong). That keeps me going through the early evening!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
‘If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what would have happened if you had done it.’ From a postcard in Carnaby Street, purchased age 15.
Do you have a favourite room at home?
Bedroom. We even watch TV in bed. I love our living room but we only use it when friends or family visit, despite best intentions. The bedroom is incredibly pretty and has the most wonderful garden views.
What makes a house a home?
You can never have too many cushions! And the smell of cooking, layered over a scented candle.
What are some of your favourite OKA pieces?
“OKA faux flowers. I used to be snobby about them but I’m totally converted!”
“This console table looks great over an ugly radiator.”
“I use these on our beach picnics and nobody can believe they’re not Italian china!”