Seven Questions: with Janie Ash

Janie Ash
Janie Ash

Janie Ash heads up Lancaster design and marketing agency Better With Jam.

What was your first job?

Working for London Evening Standard in Fleet Street selling advertising. The training was superb and it introduced me to the alchemy of good advertising.

How do you relax after a hard day’s work?

More like a hard week’s work! Running your own business is full on but it’s really important to take time out for yourself and your family. I like to meditate, swim and do Pilates to relax.

Proudest moment in business?

Lots of sparkly moments including having my screenplay optioned by 20th Century Fox, being the first woman to be elected to North West CBI, turning failure into success but I’m most proud of my team, they are the very best and talented people I know.

Most embarrassing moment at work?

I was presenting a new internet software sensation to the Head of Marketing at Virgin Radio in the days before broadband and having crawled under the desk to plug into the dial up connection I then couldn’t get the software to work and spent a whole hour saying to the guy

“Honestly, it’s really amazing technology and it’s perfect for Virgin!” And he just looked at me stony faced and didn’t say one word!

Your biggest vice?

Probably my hedonistic streak.

Who is the biggest influence on your life?

My dad, born in Lancaster in 1917 into a poor family with 7 brothers and sisters his early years he sang in Lancaster Priory choir, which inspired him with a passion for singing and confidence. So, after the war he and my Mum emigrated to Southern Africa and started a new life there. That takes courage and a belief you can forge a better life for you and your family. He made a huge success and gave my all the opportunities in life that he never had. I owe him everything including why I live in Lancaster and it’s perfect that his resting place is now at Lancaster Priory.

Word of business advice?

99 per cent of successes come from failures. One of the great things about being willing to try new things and make mistakes is that making mistakes keeps you humble. People who are humble learn more than people who are arrogant. At Better with Jam, we have happiness as our business model. We like to work with people we like and who believe we can make a real difference to their brand and their bottom line.