Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the business woman, Jo Malone.

If her name automatically conjures the citrusy scents of lime, basil and mandarin or spicy notes of amber and lavender then you're doubtless one of the customers who flock into the eponymous stores to buy the products that have made her a household name.

Aged nine, she would grind sandlewood and strain juniper at the kitchen table. 17 years later fashionable London flocked to her little salon in Chelsea to be massaged with oils and unguents. In the 1990s the brand went international and the fragrance made her fortune when she sold the business.

If this all sounds like a fragrant little fairy tale, crisply wrapped in a signature black grosgrain bow, it isn't. Severely dyslexic she left school at 14. Her dad was a talented painter but a chronic gambler too, and home life was sometimes hand-to-mouth. Later, and at a time in her life when she should have been enjoying her success and her toddler son, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Finally fully recovered she decided to start again from scratch.

She says, 'I love sharing my story, and I'm not frightened of people seeing the cracks as well as the strengths. I think the things that are sad and difficult are just as important.'

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 16 Jan 2015 09:00

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterKirsty Young
Interviewed GuestJo Malone
ProducerCathy Drysdale

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Desert island discs 75th anniversary 1920x1080

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs at 75 1920x1080

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?