Secrets of Jo’s sweet success


Award-winning author and co-founder of Green & Black's chocolate, Jo Fairley is set to give an insight into how to create, launch and grow a brand to the South's business leaders at the Solent Business Growth Summit 2018 this autumn.

The free event, staged at the Ageas Bowl’s Hilton Hotel, near Southampton, on Tuesday, October 9, promotes business growth in the region and is backed by four companies with a strong operational presence in the Solent region.

The 7.30am to 10.30am summit – aimed at decision-makers, senior management and business leaders interested in regional economic growth – will include an update on regional trends and issues for businesses.

Hosts for the breakfast event including ourselves are Santander Corporate and Commercial Bank, accountancy and investment management group Smith & Williamson and law firm Trethowans.

Serial entrepreneur Jo is set to reveal the secrets of her success – from being the UK’s youngest magazine editor at 23 and then co-founding an ethical chocolate empire to launching an organic food store, a wellbeing centre and co-authoring a bestselling book series.

She said: “I hope my story will be an inspirational one for the area’s business leaders. There is no real mystery explanation to it – success comes to those who have an idea and then work jolly hard to make it a reality.

“I never really set out to be a journalist or a businesswoman, but the key is being flexible, grasping opportunities which present themselves, remaining ever-enthusiastic and, crucially, being able to spot a future trend.”

Keynote speaker Jo started Green & Black's with husband Craig Sams in 1991 armed with just £20,000 of savings from a flat sale. In 2005 it was sold for an estimated £20 million to Cadbury and today, owned by Kraft, it is now approaching a £100 million a year brand.

The success of Green & Black's enabled her to become a serial entrepreneur through award-winning organic and natural food store Judges Bakery, boutique nine-room wellbeing centre The Wellington Centre and The Perfume Society.

She has also continued to work as a journalist for many top titles as well as writing a series of best-selling books on health and beauty, including the world-wide smash The Beauty Bible and its accompanying website.

Today Jo works as a consultant for a wide range of companies, from start-ups to household names, sharing her branding and business insights, working on a product, sales and marketing initiatives, launches and trend reporting/forecasting.

The event’s other speaker is Anne-Marie Mountfield, Chief Executive of business support organisation Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who will be speaking on business growth, the regional market and the future.

Her role at the LEP is to help shape that growth and hit dual objectives of making the Solent a £30 billion economy by 2020 and delivering an investment plan for the area worth £1.51 billion.

Following a 20-year career in further education, the civil service and local government, she became LEP Chief Executive in 2012. She is also a member of the Institute of Directors and last year was appointed to the Board of Maritime UK, the body that promotes the maritime sector.

Places are still available for the summit, also including an 8am breakfast and optional time later for networking. Anyone interesting in attending should contact Samantha Trivino at Smith & Williamson on samantha.trivino@smithandwilliamson.com or via phone 023 80827656.