After travelling and then working in management positions within the Leisure and IT industries, Hampshire mother-of-two Jo Jacob set up Benella to make the most of her organisation skills and her passion for being a “right hand (Wo)man”. Here, Jo reveals her best piece of advice and why back surgery was her greatest challenge

What inspired you to train in your field and set up your practice?

Redundancy whilst pregnant in 2003 gave me time to retrain as an interior designer as I have always loved people’s homes. Then I trained with Ann Maurice from TV’s House Doctor to do homestaging.  Meeting Dawna Walter and hearing her talk about decluttering was an absolute light-bulb moment for me and I have been passionate about helping people get their homes in order ever since.

What makes your you/your work special and where are you based?

The joy of organising someone’s home or paperwork and seeing their faces light up is amazing.  Having the ability to “know where to start” when they don’t is fantastic. We’re based in Petersfield but travel around Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Keep your phone on silent in the evenings!

What has been your greatest challenge?

Having back surgery in 2011 and foot surgery in 2015 – not being able to work for six weeks at a time.

How do you switch off?

Exercise, yoga and pinterest – not all at the same time though!

Where do you go on holiday?

Turkey we loved for many years and I have been visiting California for 28 years now.  Just back from a cruise around the Caribbean and shocked to see so many places we visited last month destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

What lesson do you wish you had learnt at school?

Put the work in so you don’t have to re-take exams – not worth a whole year of my life.

What app/website/twitter account (other than your own!) would you recommend?

Trello app

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Doing photograph organising more rather than hands on decluttering with clients – am part way through my certification for photograph organising.

Follow Jo on Facebook at and Twitter