This week marks one year of running and writing my Mums in Business series, that’s 52 businesses over 52 weeks. It has been absolutely fantastic to share so many stories with you all, and to learn a lot about how different businesses are run alongside family commitments. Everyone who I have featured I have been in awe of, and I have no idea how they juggle so much with children. You are all stars in my eyes.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the series I am really excited to be featuring Kellie who created and is the co-founder of JimJams Spreads; a business creating spreads that contain far less sugar than the leading brands. The range has been a huge hit and it is now stocked in well-known retailers. I won’t give everything away in the second paragraph, take a read of Kellie’s story below to read all about the business, how Kellie balances work and family commitments, and her top tips for setting up your own business.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and JimJams Spreads?
My name is Kellie Bath, I am a mum of two children (aged 8 and 11) and the co-founder of JimJams Healthier Spreads. Around 3 years ago, my husband and I created a full range of healthier spreads including award winning chocolate spreads containing 83% less sugar than leading brands and a range of jams and marmalades that contain a high fruit content and lower sugar.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up JimJams Spreads?
My children were the inspiration behind the brand after realising that leading brands of chocolate spread contain around the equivalent of 56 sugar cubes in 1 jar and most jams contain minimal fruit but are packed with cheap filler sugar to sweeten them. Children are the biggest consumer of chocolate spread and I just couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a healthier alternative on the market. I was working as a Complementary Health Therapist at the time, with absolutely no experience of the food industry and in my mid-forties! It was obviously a massive leap of faith but I wanted to challenge myself to show my kids that if you work hard and believe in what you are doing, you can achieve anything.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
Balancing family life and work can be challenging, particularly when you run your own businesses. When I am in work mode, I have to totally focus and give 100% because there is simply no-one else to bail me out, but my kids need and deserve my full attention too. I stop for a few hours each day to totally focus on my kids without any work distractions. I finish work when the kids get home from school to help with homework, cook them a decent meal and chat etc. but then I go back to work a few hours later to catch up.
Of course I am able to do this because I have the freedom of flexible working hours. Before I had children I used to work in London and like most people, I would get up at the crack of dawn (in the dark), commute to my place of work where I would sit at a desk for 10 hours solidly before the journey home (in the dark). It was no way to live. I believe flexible working should be attainable for everyone (whether you have kids or not).
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
It was a huge sense of achievement to be listed in two major supermarkets which finally allowed consumers a choice, but recognition is also important to us so receiving three Great Taste Awards for our chocolate spreads and jams was rewarding. I think people assume that because our spreads contain less sugar that they will somehow compromise on taste. When we created the spreads, I was adamant that I wanted them to taste just as delicious as the leading brands and I believed we achieved it (with bells on!). Winning these prestigious awards tells our customer that they are officially delicious which hopefully alleviates any qualms. We were also the first brand ever to be accredited by Sugarwise (International Authority for Sugar Claims in food and drink).
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Anyone can do it but you have to believe in yourself, believe in your concept/product and be resilient. You will experience a roller-coaster of a ride with ups and downs like you wouldn’t believe – I mean, honestly, you couldn’t make some of the stuff up that we’ve experienced. Keep a sense of humour and don’t take yourself too seriously. Finally, don’t try and control the outcome of everything and learn to go with the flow more easily. Everything happens for a reason and whatever the outcome, it will be worth it because your life will be enriched, you will be stronger, wiser and proud that you had the balls to go for it!
Thank you so much Kellie for taking part in my series, it has been great to read your story, and I wish you and your family all the best for the business in the future. You can find out more about JimJams Spreads on their website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channel.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Origin Digital, Chalk & Moss, and Nutree Life