Laura Tenison MBE
JoJo Maman Bébé
Laura Tenison started JoJo Maman Bébé with the proceeds of the sale of her first business; she has since grown the predominantly independent business into the UK’s leading boutique mother and baby brand. “I was determined to grow organically and retain the autonomy of an independent retailer… Despite being told time and time again that the business would outgrow us, we have managed to grow alongside it.”
Best known as a clothing retailer, JoJo Maman Bébé offers informal support and care to pregnant women and new parents in the local communities around their stores, and is an active player in regenerating high streets and town centres.
“Employers have a social responsibility to lead by example,” she believes. “Business leaders should inspire and encourage. They have a duty of care to their teams and to the environment”, she adds. In her view, “it is possible to do well whilst doing good and this ethos needs to be championed.”
Career progression and spirited leadership are key tenets of the workplace ethos that Laura has worked to develop. “We learn on the job and through our mistakes. We take calculated risks and they pay off”, says Laura. “It’s about working together, if we have made a mistake I am there to take the blame, if we succeed I stand proud alongside my amazing team, so many of whom have worked with me for 10, 15 or even 23 years in the case of my first employee.”