Business Name: Jams by Kim, a maker of multi- flavored jam
Type of Business: Food & Beverage
Business Location: Hillsborough, New Jersey, United States
Reason for starting
I was laid off (early retirement) from a major financial services firm in the spring of 2009. Initially I looked for another job,and then a good friend asked me “what do you love to do?” Since I had brought him a jar of my homemade Jam, as was my habit, I told him I loved making jam. He told me that opportunity was right in front of my face. He referred me to his colleague at my local small business development center. I talked with the SBDC, learned about courses they had and coaching they offered, and I signed up immediately. Within 2 months, I was incorporated as a LLC and renting my first commercial kitchen.
How do you define success?
Success is staying in business. September 2012 marked three years in business for me. Although I haven’t made a significant profit yet, I can see it and I know what I need to do to get there. In April, 2010 I won the National Association of Women Business Owners (Central Jersey Chapter) Business Plan Competition. In October 2011, I was named 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Intersect Fund (New Brunswick, NJ). In February 2012 I was one of the top 5 Finalists in the IFEL (Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership) Business Plan competition. I just completed the Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative at Rutgers University. I am learning how to work on my business more and in my business less, which is going to help me become even more successful.
I am on target to double 2011 sales in 2012, and I hired my first employee in 2012. I was blessed with amazing public relations in 2012 as a result of my relationship with The Intersect Fund, a nonprofit organization based in New Brunswick, NJ. Achieving the sales results is a huge success, and getting help by hiring a part time employee is also huge!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My challenge is making enough jam to meet demand, and engaging employees with the talent and skills to help me. I have hired a part time employee to help make jam, and I have someone who helps sell jam at farmers markets and vending events for me. I am going to need more help, and selecting the right key employees and providing them the training they need to appropriately represent my brand will be my challenge.
Who is your most important role model?
My Mother and my GodMother taught me to cook, to work hard, to share and to be independent. I am blessed with great role models in my immediate family. My daughter teaches me to take care of myself, so I’ve got it covered.