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24th Jul, 2013

Cath Kidston's Secrets of Success
by Kathryn Kneller on July 24, 2013 07:53


Thanks to JCI London Member Danielle Nanton for writing this guest post.


From a business plan, which happened by accident, to opening more than 80 shops in Asia, Cath Kidston has become one of the most successful businesswomen in Britain. On Friday the 19th of July, six members of London JCI attended 'Cath Kidston: Coming Up Roses' in the Lydia and Manfred Gorvey Lecture Theatre at the Victoria and Albert Museum and had the opportunity to hear this great British designing icon speak.

Cath Kidston came from a sheltered background; she recalls a childhood of horses and running around whilst a pre-teen, and then a young adulthood of working in shops and not being focussed. She said that she had lots of odd job whilst she was trying to find her feet. However, she always had ideas for business but lacked confidence. She showed her job list which included shop assistant roles. Once she had worked and gained experience she felt that she had a trade and could make money. She had her first shop at Notting Hill.

The brand which bears Cath Kidston's name is readily recognisable with its themes and ideas, combining old and new as well as spots and Eastern European patterns. Many know of its bright, cheerful, and practical nature as well as the fact that it is affordable and good value. The brand was originally based on vintage patterns that became out of print but Cath pointed out that the brand is not all nostalgic, and that it is somewhat based on evolution, mixing old and new things.

Cath said that there was a gap in the market of what she wanted at home, and that the brand helped to fill that gap. The life of Cath was not all roses, at one point she recounts the tale of when a shop-goer tripped over her dog and sued. She also recalls when she had breast cancer and she was told to take it easy, she took up yoga; but found that she was happiest when being creative and went back to work. Part of her ability to be creatively visual may stem from her undiagnosed slight dyslexia. She also sometimes worries that as she felt she was not qualified she might be found out, however she reminds us that we must learn from our mistakes.

We learned many lessons from Cath in this talk. One is to stay true to your roots, she said she attended trade fairs and that she wanted to stay true to the brand and not sell out. Although her items are sold in Selfridges, they started by the rubbish bins in the basement, then the fifth floor, it was a process until she was taken seriously. In relation to business in general Cath stated that part of the game is growing customer loyalty and to focus on marketing and then have the press pick up on you. She also recommended to learn to say no and to learn to know a distraction from an opportunity As well as balance the idea with what is commercially viable and no matter the training you have to love what you do. Furthermore, she suggests finding a supportive mentor, in one of her earlier jobs she found a mentor in her boss, who would allow her to choose fabrics, was kind and supportive.

So what is going to be the next big thing and how can you become a successful business person like Cath Kidson? Perhaps if you can find out and develop it into a classic brand that will remain timeless then, you too will find the recipe for success.


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22nd Jul, 2013

Funeral details Margaret Meechan-Allen
by Sofie Sandell on July 22, 2013 21:32


JCI London has lost Margaret Meechan-Allen, past member and senator. She battled cancer for many year and leaves her husband John Allen and 7 year old twins.

Margaret Meechan-Allen - JCI Career

Margaret first joined JCI (then BJC) in 1993, in Leeds, but later that year moved down to London and transferred to City of London Jaycees. Margaret immediately threw herself into Chamber life, attending the Mansion House Annual Luncheon. Shortly thereafter, she attended the BJC National Council meeting in Cambridge where she agreed to become Project Manager for London for The Outstanding Young Person’s project.

She did a fantastic job, with many of her nominations progressing to Regional level and two to National level. This project was probably the one of which she was most proud, nominating astronaut Helen Sharman, Formula 1 driver Damon Hill and swimmer Karen Pickering, amongst others. Both Helen and Damon went on to receive awards as Outstanding Young Persons at National level. She received public acknowledgement from the National Project Manager and a personal thank you from Alan Jones, MD of TNT Express, the project sponsors, for her achievements. 

Margaret went on to attend numerous local, regional, national and international events that year. She acted as treasurer and social programme director for the European Capitals Meeting being held that year in London, using her professional expertise to negotiate an advantageous VAT status with HMRC.  

Perhaps not surprisingly, she was recognised with a Certificate of Merit for Most Outstanding New Member in BJC at the Liverpool National Awards ceremony.

She continued her involvement in 1995, acting as London’s VP for Chamber Management. During that year, she successfully investigated and solved an issue surrounding the high cost of member mailings, saving the chamber several hundred pounds. In October 1996, keen to give back something to the organisation, she became BJC Foundation Member number 38. In subsequent years, Margaret maintained her active participation, attending national events, twinning meetings and European and World Conferences.

In 1996 she attended the Africa Area Conference in Durban, South Africa, and in 2000 the Americas Area Conference in Curitiba, Brazil. She was She served as BJC National Treasurer in 2000. She was recognised for her service to Junior Chamber in October 2001, when she was presented with her Senatorship, number 61682, at the SERG Awards Dinner in London. It was to be a doubly momentous evening, for it was at that event that she met John Allen, whom she went on to marry.

Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer in April 2004, which together with having children, resulted in her being unable to attend as many BJC and Senate events as she would have liked. However, she and John did manage to attend a Drumming Out in Canterbury, World Congress in Vienna and ECM in Berlin.  

She lost her long and brave battle with cancer on 14th July 2014, aged just 48. Margaret will be remembered as a person who showed complete dedication and professionalism in all that she did, and as a true and loyal friend. She leaves husband John and twins James and Sophie, aged 6.

Story written by Karen Pheasant friend of Margaret, JCI London President 1988-89 and JCI UK National President 1998. 

Funeral details

Margaret's funeral will take place at Noon on Friday the 2nd August at the Church of St Mary Magdelene, Bolney, West Sussex.

The wake will be at The Bolney Stage, London Road, Bolney, RH17 5RL.
Parking at: Bolney Garden Nursery, Cowfold Road, Bolney, RH17 5QR. The nursery is on the A272 as you come off the A23, on the right. You can then access the church up the lane to the left [from the road] of the nursery which also has a signpost marked 'Church and village school'. For anyone with mobility issues, there is limited parking at the very top of the lane at the sports ground.

There are to be no flowers but a collection for Cancer Research UK. Please send any donations to P & S Gallagher Funeral Directors, Fraser House, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4HW.

Please can you advise John if you are going to be coming along as he needs to have an idea of the numbers for catering purposes for the venue, you can contact him at:

Photos and stories about Margaret  

Please send any photos or anecdotes of our times with Margaret to John as he would like to include some photos in the order of service and anecdotes in his eulogy. 

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15th Jul, 2013

Announcing our new chamber - JCI Canary Wharf
by Kathryn Kneller on July 15, 2013 11:00


Exciting News!

JCI London is planning to launch a new chamber in Canary Wharf. For all members, partners and guests who work and live around the area this will be a perfect opportunity to be part of this movement in a thriving centre of Business and Commerce.

Why Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf has 90,000 employees and is home to the world and European HQs of numerous major corporate organisations: Barclays, HSBC, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Cliiford Chance and many more. The local and international links are very strong, and this new chamber is an opportunity to bring various individuals together from various companies and countries providing a platform to network, learn and inspire each other.

Canary Wharf has excellent transport links, with close proximity to London City Airport, as well as over 100 hundred prestige bars and restaurants; it is an ideal location to establish a presence and build a Jaycee community.

Canary Wharf is also located in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. This borough is one of the most deprived in the UK, with high unemployment and child poverty. A chamber in Canary Wharf will also enable Jaycees to branch into the neighbouring community to undertake sustainable projects and create positive change.

A JCI chamber in Canary Wharf will provide a platform for promoting active citizenship by establishing a bridge between corporate, governmental, local businesses and the local community.

As one of London's two main financial centres alongside the City, we look forward to a strong brother-and-sister alliance between JCI London and JCI Canary Wharf in the future.

Be Part of the Movement

JCI Canary Wharf is hosting its first ‘Meet the Members' event in Canary Wharf. Featuring Questions and Answers with JCI London members, it will be a chance to gather and brainstorm ideas on projects/events to host in and around the area with the intention of hopefully building a team to officially launch this chamber.

Event: Meet The Members- JCI Canary Wharf
Date: Monday 22nd July 2013
Venue: The Ledger Building
4 Hertsmere Road
West India Quay
Greater London
E14 4AL

Time: 6:30pm-9pm
The event starts at 7pm prompt.

Connect with us

Whether you are coming to support and share your experience, or you are interested in being part of this new chamber, we would love to see you there. Book now to reserve your space. 

For more information please contact Michela Pascucci ( )

Like the JCI Canary Wharf Facebook Fan Page 

Follow us on twitter: @jcicanarywharf


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10th Jul, 2013


Transforming Challenges into Opportunities to Create Positive Impact

JCI releases an official statement regarding protests occurring around the world on behalf of Secretary General Edson A. Kodama, 2013 JCI President Chiara Milani and 200,000 active citizens worldwide. 

"In recent months, the world has witnessed ongoing protests of young people expressing their discontent with the socio-economic situation in their countries. JCI as an organization supports full respect for freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, which are fundamental to any democracy and come with due respect to human life and property.

While these uprisings may highlight the problems, it is only by systematically identifying the root causes of these issues, engaging the community as a whole and taking action to provide sustainable solutions that we can build better communities, better countries and a better world. The JCI Active Citizen Framework serves as a clear road map to bring positive change to communities across the world. Through this framework, young people can engage all sectors of society to collaborate in solving their local challenges in respectful, peaceful ways.

JCI calls on the young people across world in communities affected by the ongoing protests, as well those that are not, to get involved in activities that will help improve your community. Take action toward positive impact, but do so in a manner that is deliberate, systematic and leads to a sustainable solution.

With continuous technological advances, young people are given a strong voice through the use of social media. Young active citizens connect with likeminded individuals in distant parts of the world. This ability to have a voice and effortlessly connect across borders must be used wisely. These challenging times present a unique moment in history for young people to take the destiny of the world into their hands. JCI offers active citizens the opportunity to channel their hopes and aspirations to create a positive change within their community.

JCI will continue to stand in solidarity with young people all over the world who see the need and take the lead in finding sustainable, peaceful solutions."

Sincere regards,

Edson A. Kodama
Secretary General


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14th Apr, 2013

JCI London Buddies
by Eleanor Handslip on April 14, 2013 13:43


The membership team have been working on some ways to improve your membership experience using the results of the recent questionnaire and forum. Most people join JCI London for personal development opportunities and to meet new people. We want to make it easier for you to get involved, become active and meet more members. To achieve this we will be allocating a member of this year's committee to act as a contact point and buddy for each member. Before we do this you will receive a telephone call from either Dexter, Anniina or me so we can find out about your skills and JCI interests. If you have any questions about this just drop me an email.


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6th Apr, 2013

JCI Pathways to Active Citizenship
by Eleanor Handslip on April 6, 2013 14:33


JCI UK has launched the JCI Pathways to Active Citizenship. There are 3 levels of achievement: active membership, active pathways and active citizenship. It is designed to guide you through the varied opportunities offered as part of your JCI membership and help really make the most out of your membership. 

Keep an eye out for the next JCI London Newsletter that will have more details. The membership team will also be sending out further details shortly.

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10th Mar, 2013

Meet the Members
by Eleanor Handslip on March 10, 2013 12:49


The membership team are really excited about our next membership event on Friday 22nd March. We are holding it in the Symbolic London art gallery in Mayfair, London (thank you to Jason for this.) Tickets will sell out fast so don't delay - see you at the Encounter with Pablo Picasso.


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22nd Feb, 2013

Looking to test your public speaking skills?
by Eleanor Handslip on February 22, 2013 13:44


We are looking for some members to come along to the Introduction to JCI London event on 5th March to tell potential new members about their experiences as a JCI member. If you are looking to practice your public speaking skills here is your opportunity! Just let me know if you are interested.


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11th Feb, 2013

JCI London Membership Questionnaire
by Eleanor Handslip on February 11, 2013 17:21


Hopefully you received my e-mail about the JCI London Membership Questionnaire, please take a few mins to fill it in. We want the Chamber to be the best it can be so please give us your views. Here's the link:


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23rd Nov, 2012

2013 JCI European Conference in Monte-Carlo - just 187 days to go
by Anke Brandts on November 23, 2012 10:17


Just 187 days until the 2013 JCI European Conference in Monte-Carlo on 29 May 2013!

Online registration - Registration for EC2013 is open, both for online credit card payment and for bank transfers. To register, please go to The early bird fees of 349 Euro are available until 31 January 2013.

Accommodation booking platform - The 2013 European Conference might be taking place in the middle of the high tourist season but we have negotiated exceptional low season rates in all the best hotels of the Principality of Monaco for an unforgettable experience. Once you have registered, you will be e-mailed the links to the booking platform. We can guarantee that you will not find better prices elsewhere on the internet for hotels in Monaco. But please note that these rates are only available until 31 January 2013 and are on a first come first served basis, so don’t wait too long.

Travelling to Monaco
- Monaco is easily accessible from all over the world thanks to its proximity to Nice Airport, France’s second busiest airport, just a 35 minute drive away, with easy access to low cost flights from all over Europe. Save up to 20% on travel with the STAR ALLIANCE™ NETWORK promotional convention code. For full information and an idea of flight prices, please see

Is Monaco really that expensive? - Monaco is no way near as expensive as you may think for such a glamorous location, as long as you follow our advice. Please see the article on our website for more information about how to make the most of the best that Monaco Monte-Carlo has to offer without breaking the bank

Snap the Schmurtz contest - Our Snap the Schmurtz contest is still in full swing and the winners will be decided after the 2012 JCI World Congress in Taipei. Prizes will be announced soon. For more information and to see the photos that have already been submitted, please see

F1 Grand Prix pre-tour - The COC have established some unforgettable F1 Grand Prix pre-tour packages to suit all budgets, these are now online at If you wish to join, please book as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment as demand is extremely high. We would also advise you to book accommodation in Nice and flights very quickly in order to benefit from the best prices.

If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them by e-mail at

The latest information will be posted on our website and on our Facebook group.
We look forward to welcoming you next year!

The JCI EC 2013 Monte-Carlo Organising Team

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