Newport entrepreneur Laura Tension, the woman behind JoJo Maman Bébé, has teamed up with Business Wales, the Welsh Government’s business support service, to raise awareness of its ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’ campaign.

Laura's first store was opened in Newport in 1993, with a budget of £50,000, Laura has grown her company into a national and international super brand.

The company now has an annual turnover of £55m, employs more than 750 people, and has 80 stores nationwide.

JoJo Maman Bébé’s clothes are also available in more than 60 countries, and there are further plans for growth in place.

Laura has received an MBE for services to business and has a number of other awards including the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year and Welsh Women Mean Business, Lifetime Achievement Award.

So, what advice would she give to other business owners and entrepreneurs?

1. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust your instincts. You may lack confidence but your gut feel is often right. Carry out your due diligence, but don’t ignore what you think is right – you are likely to know more about your business than a consultant or so called ‘specialist’. You will become the real specialist.

2. What do you think is the most important characteristic for running a business?

Being cautiously optimistic. Entrepreneurs need to take risks but they should be carefully measured and calculated risks.

3. What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

Running your own company is never the easy way out. To succeed in today’s global and omni channel world you will need to work very long hours and be passionate about what you do. If you rest on your laurels, another company will sneak up behind you and steal your market share.

4. What advice would you give to someone who wants to grow their business further?

Consumers can be fickle and will lose loyalty to their favourite brands unless you keep engaging with them. Make sure your product or service is offered in every way the consumer may wish to trade with you and keep an ongoing dialogue with numerous marketing ‘touch points’. Selling should be subtle and discreet; being pushy will put people off.

5. What was your motivation for setting up your business?

I needed to pay my rent and earn a living. I saw a gap in the market and after doing careful market research realised there was room for a new brand. Once I had launched JoJo Maman Bébé I was keen to grow the brand both in size and product range, but more than anything I wanted to offer the best quality products in the world. I think we do.

6. Sum yourself up in three words...

Very hard working!

* With regional hubs across the country, the ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’ campaign is looking to encourage more people to use the service to start or grow their business.

Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of SMEs across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support.

For more informationcall 03000 6 03000, follow @_businesswales or @_busnescymru or visit or