Jo launched the world’s first organic chocolate in 91, in the midst of the last recession. (‘Green’ was chosen to represent the environment, and ‘Black’ the high quality cocoa beans.) It captured people’s imagination and earned a Fairtrade mark before it was acquired by Cadbury. Jo now has interests in a bakery, health centre and online beauty brand. Her advice to start-ups: try to harness the power of publicity, and be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible.
Jo Fairley is co-founder of Green & Black’s. She and her entrepreneur husband set out to market the world’s first organic chocolate, deciding on ‘green’ to represent their environmental ethos and ‘black’ to reflect particularly high-quality cocoa beans.
Jo was among the first to highlight the social responsibility of food producers. Green & Black’s immediately picked up awards for entrepreneurial and ethical achievement, and the fortunes of the Maya Indians in Belize who grow the cocoa have been transformed.
Jo tells how 20,000 young people carrying flaming torches lobbied supermarkets to stock Maya Gold - generating 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.
Jo Fairley is author of more than a dozen books, including the Green Beauty Bible. She has also been Contributing Editor on YOU Magazine and chair of a Soil Association committee. She now runs an organic bakery and a health centre.
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Josephine Fairley Conference Speaker
British Franchise Association's 'Super Brands'