My Trip to the Milan Expo with PM David Cameron

First One In, Last One Out: In the Shoes of an Entrepreneur Written by Janan Leo, Founder & Creative Director of Cocorose London

I’m often asked about how and why I set up Cocorose London and what it’s like running my own business. As an entrepreneur in the fashion industry, the glamour and glitz often mask the daily highs and lows that go on behind the scenes and the whole-hearted team effort that goes into creating a beautiful, international brand. My passion here is to unfold the emotions that run with every step of being my own entrepreneur and to lay bare what it’s like being in my shoes. Find me on twitter @jananleo with the hashtag #InMyCocorose.


3.30am Rrrring! That's my alarm urging me ‎to get up at this unsightly hour. I'm grateful it's actually gone off - can't do with the hassle of missing my flight - but at the same time, I wish it unwell and everything else under the sun (or moon, in this case)!

Nevertheless, as I say, I'm very grateful for its punctuality and reliability as I have a flight to catch to Milan for our second show of the season, so this is no time to be hitting the snooze button.

Whenever I go to Milan now, it reminds me of a very special trip to Milan that I was invited on last summer, and this post is dedicated to that one memorable day in June 2015...

The RAF Jet The RAF Jet

Last summer, I received a rather important telephone call and was invited to join Prime Minister David Cameron on a special trip to the Milan Expo to celebrate UK National Day and support entrepreneurship in Britain. With myself representing Cocorose London and the fashion world, Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu and Charlie Thuillier, Founder of Oppo Ice Cream, both from the Food and Drinks industry, and Laurence Kemball-Cook, Founder of Pavegen from the Tech world, we all arrived at the RAF Northolt base to join David Cameron and his team to board his RAF jet to Milan on that wonderful summer morning.

Cocorose London Shoreditch Houndstooth Foldable Slip-ons Naturally, I Cocorosed It in my Shoreditch Houndstooth Slip-ons.

On board, we snapped photos and shared our stories with David Cameron, chatting shoes, ice-cream, water and green energy, naturally.

Janan on board the RAF Jet I couldn't resist a cheesy selfie whilst on board the RAF Jet

Our arrival in Milan was certainly not what I have been accustomed to after all those years flying to Milan for our shows...!

Disembarking in MIlan On disembarking in Milan, we experienced a VIP meet and greet

On arrival at the Milan Expo, I couldn't wait to see and experience the incredible melting pot of cultures and people from all around the world, representing the Expo's theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. But firstly, we were whisked to the UK Pavilion, designed by Wolfgang Buttress, who sought to highlight, through an immersive multi-sensory experience, the plight of the humble honeybee and its importance in our food chain.

The Four Entrepreneurs at the Milan Expo 2015 Me (Janan), Laurence, Charlie and Karen in the UK Pavilion, in front of the amazing Hive.

Following our tour around the British countryside maze, we then headed up to the roof terrace, where David Cameron introduced us to Italy's PM Matteo Renzi. And of course, he was totally interested in our Italian made shoes and wanted to know more about them!

Janan with PM David Cameron and Italian PM Matteo Renzi There's me chatting shoes (and our Italian made shoes, naturally!) with PM David Cameron and Italian PM Matteo Renzi.
A few snaps and interviews later, the day then concluded with the Queen's Birthday Party Reception at Villa Necchi. All in all, an incredible experience for me personally, and so humbling and wonderful to celebrate Cocorose London's recognition and achievements, with hopefully many more to come.
Janan at the Milan Expo 2015, UK Pavilion Showing off my Cocorose shoes in front of the fabulous GREAT sign on the roof terrace of the UK Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015
Janan being interviewed about her views on entrepreneurship today, at the Milan Expo 2015 Clearly passionate about the topic of entrepreneurship during my interview with UKTI at the Milan Expo 2015

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