HEADLINE SPEAKER Q+A
Get to know Jo Fairley, Co-Founder, Green & Black’s
1. WHAT ARE THE HOT TOPICS YOU’D LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT AT LPW 2022? Sustainable packaging, non-toxic inks, refills.
2. WHAT’S THE COOLEST PIECE OF PACKAGING YOU’VE USED, OR SEEN IN THE LAST YEAR? Very proud of our Green & Black’s Winter Collection embossed and printed tin – the first time we’ve had ‘keepsake’ packaging. (Also: solved ALL my Christmas present challenges!)
3. WHICH CONSUMERS TRENDS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU IN FORECASTING THE FUTURE OF PACKAGING? Despite the much-publicised ‘cost of living’ crisis, consumers really are starting to become aware of over-use of packaging, and recyclability.
4. WHAT WAS YOUR PATH INTO THE PACKAGING WORLD? I think I’ve been a brand nut since I first bought a packet of Opal Fruits. But founding Green & Black’s was baptism by fire, in terms of learning about the practicalities and challenges of creating packaging. Our biggest challenge was growing export markets very fast, having to fit ever-smaller translations of ingredients onto the back of a chocolate bar. I learned a lot from Pearlfisher, meanwhile, who upgraded our packaging a couple of years after launch and helped us make the leap from what could have been an eco-niche to the mainstream.
5. WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COLLABORATORS? THIS CAN BE AS IMAGINATIVE AS YOU LIKE. We worked with him. Peter Blake created a huge artwork for a show on Brick Lane, a few years ago, from bars of Green & Black’s. But I’d love to see what he could do with the wrapper itself!
6. WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU? I spend most of my time on the words side of my businesses but am a very visual person. I feel like I ‘drink’ the images on Instagram and I take time out to go to art exhibitions, to stimulate that side of my creativity.
7. WHAT IS YOUR PET PEEVE WHEN IT COMES TO EVERYDAY PACKAGES? Tags that have to be snapped off drinks lids, on which I invariably break a nail. Ditto ring-pulls.
8. IF YOU WERE TRAPPED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR 3 ESSENTIAL ITEMS? Well, as someone who’s actually been on Desert Island Discs, I took my own pillow as my luxury. But I think I’d also want a pack of gel pens and paper. The possibilities for what you can do with them are literally only limited by your imagination.
9. IF YOU WERE KING/QUEEN FOR A DAY, NAME ONE LAW YOU WOULD INTRODUCE, AND ONE YOU WOULD ABOLISH. I’d make it the law that everyone had to learn to use apostrophes! And I’d ban all law related to parking.
10. WHICH ARTIST WOULD YOU HAVE COMISSIONED TO DESIGN YOUR PACKAGING IF YOU WERE TO CREATE A PRODUCT? DECEASED OR ALIVE… I think Matisse could do some pretty cool things for Green & Black’s. Colour is as important to us as it was for him.
11. WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU IN EVERYDAY PRODUCTS, PRACTICALITY OR AESTETHIC APPEAL? It HAS to be the synergy of both. I hate products which are a triumph of form over function.
12. IF YOU COULD REINVENT ANYTHING TO CREATE THE MOST IMPROVEMENTS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Where do I start…? I am cursed with constantly redesigning hotel rooms, gadgets, retail displays and packaging, in my head!
13. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT THE WORLD IN 50 YEARS? I believe we will have reached net zero, living a low-carbon lifestyle without feeling like we’re making sacrifices. If we’re not, then we won’t BE here – perhaps not in 50 years, but potentially a century.
14. IF YOU COULD BAN THE PRODUCTION OF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? McDonald’s Happy Meals.
15. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE MOST BENEFICIAL INNOVATION TO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES IN THE LAST 50 YEARS? The iPhone, which literally puts the world at our fingertips. Also: the biggest curse, in terms of how much time we spend on our smartphones, missing out on real life.
16. WHO HAS BEEN THE BEST WORLD LEADER AND WHY?
HM The Queen. Always calm, always hard-working, always hanging onto her sense of humour. God knows she must have needed it. And it’s a big asset in business.
17. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE QUESTION IN THIS Q+A! 😊 The annoying packaging one! Can you see the steam coming out of my ears…?
Catch Jo for her talk (*which may or may not involve delicious Green & Black’s chocolate for all): ”The story of Green & Black’s: Lessons from building a global ethical and sustainable brand” on Day 2, Thursday 16th February at the Innovation & Design Stage, from 13:00 – 13:30!