Ask Jo Malone: How to be inspired when you feel like giving in

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Dear Jo

I have been building my business, working alone, but I’m struggling with motivation and finding a USP in a crowded market place. My first designs were accepted and sold in John Lewis — they were products for royal events. But I need to create products that will last longer than one date. How did you maintain your motivation on days when you were disillusioned by your product?

To stay motivated is a discipline that everyone needs day to day to be successful in business. I love what I do, but as a small business owner you have to wear lots of different hats from marketing and PR operations  and design.

When concentrating upon so many areas in a business, staying focused on the ultimate goal is important. I understand that it can be exhausting, but the positive is that you will have a hands-on approach to all aspects of your business. This will help with making important decisions quickly and confidently with a full understanding of the implications.

It is great to hear that you already have an established network with a major distributor but, as you know, the competition is tough and you continually have to recreate yourself and develop your brand adjusting to market needs.

Your USP is not always about an inventive product. It can be about extending a line, being educational or creating entertainment. Look for inspiration outside your own industry and take advantage of everything that surrounds you. Head to the local library, search social media and immerse yourself in museum archives.

Mood boards are great for piecing together a story. Focus on your idea, for example royal events, and allow your mind to go crazy with word association such as pageantry, parties and tradition. Somewhere among the words and scribbles will be a crown jewel of an idea staring  at you.

I know that we all have days where we want to quit and give in. These are the moments when inspiration and creativity become your best friend.

The idea for my new Candle Shot Studio came to me after a chance visit to the Pop Tarts store in New York, where I watched people customise their Pop Tarts. It was three years of hard work and determination from then.

To be successful is not just thinking outside the box that is important, but often it is about recreating the box, time and time again.

Need help with a small-business problem? Contact Jo Malone at

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June 30, 2015 |
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