Jo Malone CBE on her fragrance label, Jo Loves, and being a perfumer in today’s world

What does Jo love?


By Jolin Lee

Jo Malone CBE on her fragrance label, Jo Loves, and being a perfumer in today’s world

As I walked through the doors of the hotel suite, I was immediately enveloped in a symphony of scents, confirming that I had arrived at the right place for my interview with the ‘English scent maverick’, Jo Malone CBE.

While the name indeed may sound familiar to you, Jo Malone CBE has made quite an impact and created some of the world’s most loved fragrances. She achieved global cult status with the launch of Jo Malone London in 1999. However, she departed from the company in 2006 and is no longer affiliated with her eponymous brand. When asked about her current feelings toward the brand, she shared, “It’s different, but also still part of the family”.


jo loves


In 2011, Jo Malone CBE’s passion for fragrance culminated in the creation of her brand, Jo Loves. This brand features a range of scents, each inspired by memories and moments that Jo loves! Currently, it is available as a standalone boutique, located in Pavilion Damansara Heights and Sephora, in stores and online.

Recently, we spoke to the Queen of Scents, about the brand, its highlights and creative process, what makes a good fragrance, and really, what does Jo love.


What’s the meaning behind Jo Loves?

The whole brand is about my relationship and love affair with fragrance and how it loves me. Creating Jo Loves made me Jo again, so when I don’t create fragrance, I’m not a whole person. Jo Loves is all about the storytelling of my life through the power of scent. 


How is the creative process like creating a whole brand of fragrances?

I start with an idea, a thought or an emotion and then I start to build it out. I’ll go into the perfume studios and sit with the young perfumers and we sit and we play and we take papers like this and I will I’ll put notes and I’ll turn them and then if I turn it up like that means it goes forwards. If it goes that way it’s gone. So then what I do is I’m left with the ones that stand up and then I’m looking to see what position that note needs to be. Does it need to be at the top? Does it need to be at the base? Does it need to be in the heart of the fragrance? And then I play backwards and forwards with them until I get it perfect. 


What are your top 3 highlights of launching Jo Loves?

One of the top three is getting my first store. So my first store was given to me as my birthday present from my husband. I got this little key, and I know it wasn’t a car because I can’t drive but it was the shop (at 42 Elizabeth Street in London’s Belgravia neighbourhood). I think that was one of the most memorable.


FUN FACT #1: The first Jo Loves store is located at the same site as Jo Malone CBE’s first job as a florist assistant when she was sixteen years old.


The second would be creating the world’s first fragrance paintbrush, which is the product that has opened up for us around the world. The younger generations think that this is the coolest product ever. 


jo loves

I’m very much a person who lives in the moment, I don’t look back but I am a visionary so I have to look forward in order to do what I need to do (building a global brand), so this moment right now would be another highlight; cutting ribbons (at the Jo Loves store in Pavilion Damansara Heights), travelling all across Asia, seeing our beautiful Jo Loves stores all over the world. That’s pretty special, especially since last night was pretty special here in Malaysia.


How did your previous fragrance venture define what you wanted to do with Jo Loves?

The two are completely separate parts of my life; one was when I was a young girl and you know the whole part of life is the evolution of who we are but I knew that there was a responsibility because it bared my name but still, a lot of people think I’m still there and I haven’t been there for a very, very, very long time. It’s just different, I’m different and I create differently (now). I haven’t been part of that brand for a very long time so it doesn’t feel close to me but it’s still part of my family. It was part of my young life and it took me on a path and it showed me the one thing I could do really brilliantly in the world. I want to continue to bring that to the world and want to be Jo.


What does it take to be a good perfumer?

It’s about memory, patience, creativity, and listening. When you work as a team, you develop words together then it’s a vocabulary, language and a library. Another is to know when something is right and then often going back and saying I haven’t got this quite right. It’s really seeking perfection.


How do you define a good scent amidst millions in the market?

I can’t speak for anyone else, I can only speak for myself. I’m creating beautiful fragrances for you and the consumer, for myself. So, it starts as long as I think it is beautiful but in fact there are thousands of accords that I work on that will never see the light of day. I’ve also done collections for Zara and that was a complete shift; I love it, I love doing that. And actually, all the ones that I created over five years ago, the world just loves them. It’s just wonderful. 


What’s your favourite from Jo Loves?

Well, it has to be Jo by Jo Loves. It’s often the one I’m working on as well. When I’m working on something, I feel very close to it. Jo by Jo Loves is my ‘scent underwear’, it’s the fragrance I wear every day. 



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A post shared by Jo Loves (@jolovesofficial)


FUN FACT #2: Weather’s getting too hot? Store your cologne in the fridge for a more refreshing experience!


What’s your favourite way of wearing cologne?

I love my ‘scent underwear’. I get out of the bath in the morning and I cover my body in a scent from head to toe; from my legs, arms and also the middle part of my body. When my hair is wet, I spritz it on then I get dressed and I just add on more. I like how my whole body smells of fragrance. It’s a bit of a luxury every second of the day, isn’t it? 


What are you looking forward to most for the rest of the year?

We’re travelling extensively for the next three months, and I’ll head back to Dubai after that and carry on working. I have 17 projects running back in Dubai, so it’s been quite busy. I’m loving life. My son is about to graduate so that’s a pretty big part of our lives. I’ll be going back to London for Christmas, and we’ve got a wonderful campaign coming up. In 2025, I’ll be going to Australia for a bit. My husband and I—we’ll just pack our bags and go for an adventure. I may come back here, but who knows? I love that feeling of having an idea and jumping on a plane. I come from an adventurous family and now in that third trilogy of my life, I gotta go find it. I’m still hungry to change the world.



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