Thursday, February 25th, 15:30 - 19:30
VILLA KENNEDY
Kennedyallee 70
60596 Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt, Germany
Event by invitation only. Click here to request an invite.

Thursday, March 10th, 09:30 - 13:30
SALA BUZZATI
Via Balzan 3 (angolo via San Marco)
Milano, Italy
Event by invitation only. Click here to request an invite.

Co-founder of the organic chocolate company Green & Black’s, journalist and author Jo Fairley was the UK’s youngest-ever magazine editor and is the co-author of the bestselling Beauty Bible series of books. In 1991, Jo Fairley co-founded the pioneering organic chocolate company Green & Black’s (with her husband) which has now gone on to be ‘bigger than Marmite’ (in sales terms) and ‘cooler than Prada’; Green & Black’s have, for the seventh year in a row, been voted Coolest Food Brand in Britain in the 2013/2014 Coolbrands Survey, achieving what brands dream of: being widely available, yet still regarded as ‘super-cool’.

Jo’s presentations deliver a real insight into how to create, launch and grow a brand. Green & Black’s was started with just £20,000 of her savings, and has grown into a brand worth $100 million worldwide in less than 20 years. Despite its widespread global availability, Green & Black’s has retained its luxury cachet: it is the only food brand featured in the UK’s CoolBrands Top 20.

From its inception, Green & Black’s has also been an ethical brand, sourcing cocoa direct from Third World farmers who are paid a fair price. Green & Black’s was the first brand to be awarded the UK Fairtrade Mark with Maya Gold (in 1994), and in 2011 announced that by the end of 2011, all the many bars and products in its chocolate portfolio will carry this certification.

Ever at the forefront Jo was among the first to highlight the social responsibility of food producers and Green & Black’s immediately picked up awards for its entrepreneurial and ethical achievements. It is because of the company’s ethical treatment of its producers that the fortunes of the Maya Indians in Belize, who grow the cocoa, have been transformed.

Jo is happy to talk about these PR moments and how when 20,000 young people carrying flaming torches lobbied supermarkets to stock Maya Gold it generated a lot of valuable news coverage. But they also had plenty of white knuckle moments. What happens when cocoa beans are stuck in a volatile tropical country, the port blockaded, and your major retailer is threatening de-listing unless the consignment is delivered on time?

Jo’s presentations show the determination needed and the risks involved in building a business and exploiting a niche market. She also demonstrates the power of branding, how business can be both ethical and highly successful, and why you should never underestimate the intelligence of the consumer.

In 2005, the brand was successfully sold to Cadbury’s, and Jo remains in an ambassadorial role, travelling the world as the brand grows internationally in countries including the US and Australia. It’s also a business with corporate social responsibility in its DNA: Green & Black’s was the world’s first organic chocolate, and their Maya Gold bar was the first Fairtrade-marked product to be launched. The tale of Green & Black’s has now become a blueprint for sustainable business everywhere, studied in business schools and featured in countless newspaper stories, from Newsweek to the UK’s The Daily Telegraph: a true, modern-day business adventure. Jo she has an exceptional understanding of brand creation and development and talent for sharing that experience and insightful knowledge.

Jo now runs Judges Bakery – an organic one-stop shop – and The Wellington Centre, an 11-room ‘boutique’ wellbeing centre, in her home town of Hastings. She continues to juggle this with her writing career which she started aged 16, when she left school with six ‘O’ Levels and by the age of 23 Jo was the youngest-ever magazine editor in the UK, editing first Look Now and then Honey Magazine. She is a Contributing Editor to the Mail on Sunday’s YOU Magazine, as well as to a very wide range of publications including the new National Geographic Green.

She is the co-author (with Sarah Stacey) of the bestselling Beauty Bible series of books, the world’s bestselling beauty books, including: The Beauty Bible, Feel Fab Forever: The Anti-Ageing Health & Beauty Bible, The 21st Century Beauty Bible, The Handbag Beauty Bible and most recently The Green Beauty Bible, which combines her ‘green’ expertise with her insights into the beauty world. She is also author of The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book (all these books published by Kyle Cathie). Jo and Sarah’s website, www.beautybible.com, is among the most successful independent non-retail beauty websites in the UK, with 65,000 subscribers.

For eight years Jo chaired the Soil Association’s Health Products Standards Committee, helping to set the standards for organic and natural body care in the UK. She is a ‘matron’ of the Women’s Environmental Network, runs makeover workshops for young women at Centrepoint and sits on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival committee.

Jo is a ground breaking entrepreneur; she has personally created a series of successful brands, building each venture into successful business in her characteristic hands-on way, and on 1st May 2014 launched the world’s first ‘perfume appreciation society’, www.perfumesociety.org (turning another passion into a business).

As a result, she has great insight into the commercial realities of business – with its ‘roller-coaster’ moments – and her presentations are engaging and invariably very well-received.

JO FAIRLEY

Founder
Green & Blacks Chocolate; Award winning Author & Journalist