As the Founder and Managing Director of JoJo Maman Bébé, Laura Tenison has grown the company organically from its start-up in 1993 to become the UK’s foremost niche multi-channel specialist in the pregnancy and baby market. JoJo offers everything you need from pregnancy to pre-school.
Tenison previously ran a small fashion company before setting up a French property business based in Brittany. When she sold this venture, her aim was to bring the quirky nautical style home and offer practical and affordable fashion for mothers and babies.
With start-up capital of just £50K and only two part time members of staff, Laura has grown the company to a of over £40m and employs over 550 people. The company, now with 60 stores nationwide, continues to expand both organically in the UK and via trade sales to over 60 countries across the world. With real time sales via all channels; the multi-currency website, social networking platforms, catalogues and boutiques across the UK and Ireland, JoJo offers a truly multi-channel service.
The business ethos is based on a strong code of ethical business practice, where people and the planet are ranked higher on the agenda than bottom line profit. The company prides itself on its long standing employees with the majority of the founding members still part of the team. Emphasis is placed upon the service offered to customers and the value for money in the product. This ethos permeates through the company and has established the brand in the eyes of the consumer as a business to trust.
Tenison is a trustee of the company charity, Nema, based in Mozambique. The tie-in was initiated to ensure that company donations make a real difference to the lives of less fortunate children and to reduce infant mortality in this extremely poor area of Africa. She is a keen cyclist and is passionate about sensible environmental policies. She is adamant that it is possible to do well whilst doing good, and eschews waste in any form.
Her subject matter is varied and covers environmental and ethical business practices, juggling a career and family, building a business without capital and many other subjects. Her style is candid and informative whilst being entertaining. She is also happy to appear on TV and radio programmes and has recently taken part in the BBC’s Peter Jone’s Meets, Beat the Boss, The Apprentice – You’re Fired, Channel 4 News, BBC Breakfast TV and BBC2’s Working Lunch, BBC Radio 4 and 5, Sky News and Bloomberg TV to name a few.
Tenison has been fortunate in receiving numerous honours and awards including Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year.