Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Magilow.
Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started this business with a partner and we collaborated and developed all of our current Jammit! flavors together. When we started, we rented a local commercial kitchen to produce our jam and sold it at St. Michael’s Farmers Market, Our plan was to make extra holiday spending money…we had no intention of it being bigger than that one farmer’s market in the summer & fall. But, that first summer, we were getting calls and emails from customers wanting to place orders at times when we were not at the market. And then Central Market met with us and wanted to add our jams to their store shelves. We knew we were onto something big at that point. For years it has been a rolling train and we have said yes whenever an opportunity has come our way, expanding our line with new flavors, and other opportunities to grow our brand.
This past year, I had the opportunity to buy the entire business and go on as a sole owner and I am still very enthusiastic about working diligently and sharing our products. I have developed a little side incubator business called Mockingbird Gourmet that will give me the opportunity to test out new flavors before adding them to the Jammit! line as well as other products like our new Sea Salt Vanilla Bean Caramel and Maple Vegan & Paleo Caramel…it will give customers an opportunity to give us feedback and allow us to tweak our recipes. We will be offering the Mockingbird Gourmet line this summer at the St. Michael’s Farmers Market. Scardello’s on Oak Lawn, Veritas Wine Room and Market Provisions at the Dallas Farmers Market will be offering our Mockingbird Gourmet line starting in June on their store shelves. Jammit! Jam is still growing strong, so we want the opportunity to test new products somewhat incognito before adding them to our already successful line.
Has it been a smooth road?
It was smooth growth for the first three years and then we hit some major bumps in the road – a true test of what we did not know. Neither of us had ever worked in the grocery industry and neither of us had any experience with Distributors. We attended the Fancy Food Show for three years straight (six shows total) and had great exposure and grew our customer base through those shows, selling Jammit! Nationwide. We learned hard lessons about growing beyond our knowledge and learned the ins and outs of Distributors and what they are great at and what they are lacking. We thought that once you got picked up by a Distributor that it was their job to sell your product within their customer base and distribution chain, to help you grow…but they don’t really work like that. As a creator, it was our job to go out and get the business and let those potential and new customers know that the Distributor carried our line, but salespeople within the Distributors were not out there knocking on doors selling our products on our behalf…that took us over a year to understand that aspect. We have learned so much from our experiences and now that I am the sole owner, I am adjusting our selling plan to match my personal growth goals and where I hope this business is headed from this point on. I have learned to seek out mentors and to form a better network of other small businesses so that we can discuss our challenges or what opportunities have worked for other small businesses so that I am learning from others, and hopefully sharing my knowledge with new companies just starting out too.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Jammit! Jam specializes in low-sugar, whole fruit jams for sophisticated palates and people that love to entertain. Our jams are made with all-natural ingredients, fruit infused with herbs, spices, and libations and meant to be paired with meats and cheeses. Each jar has pairing ideas right on the label so that our customers have exciting ideas of ways to use our jams every day, for every meal…they are “Beyond Toast” jams. And, most of our flavors are only 6-7 grams of sugar per tablespoon, actually a spreadable fruit by FDA standards because they are so low in sugar.
I think I’m proud that a little company that was just supposed to bring in extra holiday money has turned into a jam business that is sold nationwide. I never anticipated that it would grow to this level. This past year though I have learned that no place is like Texas, my home state, and my focus this next year is to focus on Texas and the surrounding states and grow closer to home.
Our quality is what sets us apart – clean labels, and less sugar means more fruit in every jar. I love that every spoonful of our jam has pieces of real fruit too – you know that you are eating the real thing.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I moved to Dallas 11 years ago to care for a sick relative and I have fallen in love with this city. Dallas has so much to offer and they are constantly improving by adding parks or beautifying areas, and it is a very supportive city for small businesses. I love that this city has so many food festivals and direct market opportunities. I have always loved the collaborative aspect of this business, too, working with other small companies to help each other grow. And because this city is so big and has so many specialty food stores, there is plenty of room for competition with other jam companies here too. It’s all about bringing the best food products to our customers…and I hope we are fan favorites anytime we get the opportunity to demo our jams.
- Website: www.jammitjam.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/jammitjam/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jammitjam/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/jammitjam?lang=en
The one professional photo of the entire line with the white background Product Photo – Shana Anderson | Photographer, Shana Anderson Photography