The founder and CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé shares her online hangouts, from The Woodland Trust to Great Western Railway.

JoJo Maman Bébé started life as a humble catalogue business in 1993 with a small investment of £50k. Today it has more than 90 stores worldwide and turns over £70m. The woman behind that success, which has nimbly weathered every economic down turn since, is Laura Tenison MBE.

While her MBE is perhaps the most prestigious of all the accolades she has accrued in the 26 years since she started her business, it is by no means the only one. In fact, Laura is covered in a list of awards that recognise her contribution to business, retail and, indeed, motherhood. She has been named, among others, Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman of the Year; Harpers & Queen’s Entrepreneur of the Year; Fast Growth Business’ Female Entrepreneur of the Year; and Every Woman in Retail Awards’ Innovator of the Year, which is to say nothing of all the honourary doctarates and degrees that now reside under her star-studded belt.

It’s little wonder. JoJo Maman Bébé arrived on the scene when Laura, aged just 26, and with experience running a small fashion label and a French property business, spotted a gap in the market for affordable fresh Breton-inspired clothes for mum and kids, all with a quirky British twist. Today, it is a multi-platform business with an army of loyal fans, chief among them The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

But perhaps most winning of all is Laura’s commitment to the planet. The company’s motto is ‘people and planet above profit’, and long before it became a more widespread concern, she was busy demonstrating how to run a commercial yet ethical and sustainable fashion brand with an emphasis on diversity. Its Polarfleece is made from recycled plastics, as is all its packaging, and it partners with charities across the world, from small philanthropic organisations in Africa working to eradicate poverty, to those in the UK that support finding employment for people with disabilities.

In short, hers has been a stellar trajectory that roundly proves the positive impact corporations can have – all while offering great design at attainable prices. Here, the serial entrepreneur shares her online hangouts, from The Woodland Trust to Great Western Railway.

My favourite website...

We are really excited about our new JoJo Forever Forest at the moment and are doing everything we can to escalate our carbon offset. I find that I’m dipping into The Woodland Trust a lot – it’s really well laid out and informative. Love it!

My favourite app...

Great Western Railway because I can book my bike on the train when I’m visiting stores. I love the freedom of cycling to the station in the mornings and de-stressing on the way home after a long day at work.

My favourite blog...

The Patagonia and Free People blogs are stunning and inspiring.

My favourite podcast...

You’re Dead to Me! on BBC Sounds. I laugh out loud.

My most recent buy online...

A chestnut roaster to use over the fire pit at our JoJo Christmas Family Day. I think we may be in a ‘mast year’ – when nut trees magically synchronise their production to produce a glut – which means that enough seeds stay in tact to germinate in the spring.

Last book you downloaded or read...

Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance - I can never get enough of novels about India. I love the complex and creative cultures in this beautiful country.

Favourite tweeter...

Keir Starmer - He should be Leader of the Opposition at the very least. I despair about our political situation and feel like we are stuck in Groundhog Day.

Favourite Instagrammer...

The Blue Boys - Staffies are the best dogs in the world and I spend far too much time posting images of my Ruby Tuesday on my Insta account!

Social media allowed me to meet...

My customers. They are always contacting me and, so often, it really cheers me up. Retail is so very tough with the current economic instability, but the loyalty and support of our customers will help us survive and thrive.

The best digital advice I've been given...

Not to bid on our own brand name on Google and never to sell via Amazon.

My screensaver is...

A JoJo illustration showing our journey from Wales to France to London to NYC. It’s been a long journey from sewing machine in my flat share to being the UK’s leading boutique mother and baby brand.

My standout online memory...

Getting a Facebook post of a picture of my mum that the family had posted years earlier. It was just after she died – those flashback memories can be cruel.

My pet online hate is...

How Amazon is killing off so many independents on the high street, meaning great brands are struggling to survive and high streets and communities are being decimated. What ever happened to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission?

Photo credit: Yasmin Belai

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