'My journey has been madness' - Childs Farm founder Joanna Jensen
“I 100 per cent believe that,” said the founder of baby and children’s skincare brand Childs Farm. “The one thing you need is faith in yourself and if you believe in you, you can do anything.”
Speaking at the Forward Ladies Leadership Summit and Awards 2022 in Leeds, which was themed ‘Unstoppable Women’, Ms Jensen told the audience: “You are more capable than you ever would have believed, you are more resilient, you are more robust, you are more beautiful, you are more fun, you’re more gorgeous. Believe in yourself because if you do, everyone else will.”
She added: "Be unstoppable because the only person who can stop you is yourself.”
Delivering her inspiring keynote speech via video link from her home in Hampshire, mum-of-two Ms Jenson told the story of how she started making her own skincare formulas in 2010 to help soothe the skin of her youngest daughter, Bella, who had eczema.
After developing the concept and working out the final formulas, her six products hit small stores in the UK in 2013.
However, she says, her personal life was in turmoil. She separated from her husband, was almost made homeless, and had to fund her start-up business using credit cards. Four days before she was due to sign a contract with Boots, an investor who was planning to invest £3m into the company, pulled out.
"At this stage I had two more weeks left in my home. I couldn’t afford removal people so I had to borrow a friend’s horse box and every evening I was moving furniture from the old house to the new house,” Ms Jensen said.
“I was in the middle of what ended up being quite a brutal divorce. It was one of those moments where time stopped.”
Luckily Boots honoured the listing and within two weeks Ms Jensen had found an angel investor consortium for distressed businesses which was a major turning point for the company.
However, around the same time a doctor discovered a two kilogram tumour wrapped around her intestines, which doctors said could kill her within days if it wasn’t removed.
"My journey has just been madness really when you look at it,” she said. “But if you’ve got children and you are solely responsible for feeding their little mouths, my god that drives you.”
Over the next five years the company grew steadily and then exploded after three social media posts from mums who used Childs Farm products went viral.
Earlier this year, Ms Jenson decided to step back from the day-to-day running of the business and sold 90 per cent of Childs Farm to PZ Cussons for £36.8m.
She told the audience at The Royal Armouries: “I’m spending a delicious amount of time with my children and being with my mother as she goes through the last stages of her life. If anyone tells you, you can’t do it, you can.”