Jo Malone: My Story
by Jo Malone
Simon & Schuster
Jo Malone London may be quintessentially British – despite being owned since 1999 by Estée Lauder – but Hong Kong played a vital role in its beginnings. The scents that captured Malone’s early imagination were legacies of Madame Lubatti, a skincare doyenne who had mastered homeopathy in Hong Kong before starting her eponymous skincare company in England.
The countess’ ledger of skincare formulations would end up in the possession of Malone’s mother, who was Lubatti’s receptionist in London. Hong Kong became part of the Jo Malone story through Jackie Pullinger, the Protestant missionary who had worked with “the poorest of the poor” in Kowloon Walled City.
After hearing Pullinger speak about her work, Malone thought, “If down-and-out addicts in Hong Kong can turn their lives around …” Malone grew up in public housing, lacked qualifications and was dyslexic, but had always possessed a heightened sense of smell. Her autobiography is as uplifting as her signature Lime Basil & Mandarin scent, but it is also a cautionary tale about selling one’s brand identity (she can no longer use “Jo Malone” freely).