Learning from Others: My favourite quotes from female founders Jo Darling and Melanie Lawson

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Last Friday, in celebration of Women’s History Month, I teamed up with the Brighton Eagle Lab team once again to host our second, virtual brunch. 

Our 38 brunch attendees had the pleasure of hearing from Jo Darling and Melanie Lawson - both of whom reflected on their entrepreneurial journeys taking their natural health products to market. 

Jo Darling is a Brighton-based Acupuncturist whose university education and training includes western medicine pathology, physiology and anatomy. She has spent over 10 years practising traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, reflexology, herbs and essential oils. As well as fertility, pregnancy and natural menopause, Jo specialises in the treatment of breast cancer patients, many of whom are thrown into early menopause by chemotherapy. It is this work which inspired Jo to start up Menopoised®.

Melanie Lawson is the Founder and CEO of Bare Biology®, a premium omega-3 and marine collagen brand which she launched in 2013, inspired by the role omega-3 played in her recovery from post-natal depression. The business has been ‘bootstrapped’ all the way, from getting listed in Liberty (followed by Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Harrods Pharmacy and more) and growing the direct-to-customer business by an average 55% year on year since 2017. 

I was absolutely buzzing after the brunch, and one of the reasons why was because both speakers were really generous with their knowledge - openly sharing their entrepreneurial journeys to date, and offering plenty of practical tips for our audience to apply in their businesses.

I won’t be able to share all their advice in a short blog post, so I have decided to categorise my favourite pieces of advice as direct quotes from Jo and Melanie:

Making your ideas happen

‘Don’t sit on your ideas’ (Jo Darling).

‘Have an idea of where you want to go, but you don’t need a business plan’ (Jo Darling).

‘Stay focused: Do one thing really well’ (Melanie Lawson).

Making money

‘It’s OK to make money’ (Jo Darling).

‘Don’t be ashamed of making money’ (Melanie Lawson).


‘Marketing is key no matter what you do… Keep on saying the same thing… There’s no magic formula on Google Ads’ (Melanie Lawson).

Defining success and growing your business

‘What you dream, dreams you’ (Jo Darling).

‘Success is what success is for you’ (Melanie Lawson).

‘There is no such thing as overnight success. It takes bloody ages! Years, and years, and years’ (Melanie Lawson).

 ‘Be patient. Sustainable growth is so much better’ (Melanie Lawson).

‘Don’t compare your “beginning” or “middle” to someone else’s “end”’ (Melanie Lawson).

‘Trust your gut’ (Jo Darling).

Dealing with the competition

‘Ignore your competition. Don’t look at them. Don’t worry about them. Stay in your lane’ (Melanie Lawson).

Accessing business support

‘Hang out with the right people’ (Jo Darling).

‘Ask for what you want, and it will come’ (Jo Darling).

‘Take support from where you can get it’ (Jo Darling).

Talking about business support, don’t forget that Thrive offers a range of business support exclusively for female founders and women in business. To find out about our next events, go to: https://www.thethriveeffect.co.uk/our-events-and-support/