Here at Ettie and Me we’ve a special place in our hearts for Mama’s who’ve said ‘No’ to the daily 9-5 and taken the massive leap into setting up their own business. I’m in such awe of these woman, first off for coming up with an idea they are passionate about but also for having courage in their own convictions and the drive and determination to follow it through. Once a month I talk to one of these amazing women to find out the motivation behind their idea and ask whether or not they think the move was worth it (here’s a little spoiler, they generally do). This month is no exception. This month we’re talking to Kellie Bath, creator and founder of Jim Jams chocolate spread.
Kellie Bath is a mother of two and established Jim Jams spreads with her husband Kevin. After having kids Kellie was horrified to discover that there are 57 cubes of sugar in a standard jar of breakfast spread…. so she followed her dreams and started her own business from her kitchen table creating reduced sugar chocolate spreads and jams. In addition to her two chocolate spreads (milk chocolate & hazelnut spread) which contain 83% less sugar than the market leaders within this field, Kellie has also created a great tasting range of no added sugar, 100%, all natural fruit preserves that contain half the final sugars (naturally occurring) of regular jam .Her chocolate spreads are now stocked in, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Ocado. Its such an inspiring story, I know your eager to find out more so over to Kellie…
Where did the inspiration for Jim Jams come from?
The short answer is my children. When they were small I and I started weaning I was horrified by the head-turning levels of sugar contained within the best known brands of chocolate spreads and jams. As products with a significant kids’ following I struggled to get my head around the fact that a standard jar of instantly recognisable chocolate spread can contain the equivalent of 57 sugar cubes. Worse than that, deliberately ‘foggy’ packaging meant that this was difficult to decipher.
What did you do before starting Jim Jams?
I used to run my own complementary therapy business so I’ve always been fairly health conscious, it was my dream to get involved in the food industry, especially children’s brands. Our children are eating too much sugar and I want to make a difference by producing delicious alternatives to breakfast time favourites, no one wants to create a war zone before the day has even begun by refusing kids their favourites!
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
I’ve always been something of an inquisitive self-starter who wasn’t afraid to take risks. That said, if you’d have told me five years ago that I’d me immersing myself in better-for-you spreads I’d have thought you were mad!
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Share of voice! When you have shallow pockets it’s never easy to take on the might of global corporates and national institutions. We began life in the health food sector (Holland & Barrett) who echoed our commitment to healthier eating, although news quickly spread (sorry!) and we soon found ourselves in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Wholefoods, Booths, Morrisons and most recently Tesco.
Support comes from the most unexpected sources. One ‘golden moment’ tweet from Davina McCall mentioned how much she loved our spreads (alongside the hashtag #notpaidtosaythis) sent our twittersphere into orbit.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
On a tactical level we could talk about our two Great Taste awards which is a massive seal of approval from the well-informed foodie community, but in reality it was becoming the first spread to align with Sugarwise, a heartfelt charity tasked with championing low sugar alternatives.
We have also just obtained a Mumsnet accreditation which is the perfect commendation for a range with such a significant parent and child following.’ This said, cleaner eating isn’t simply a parent/child issue which might help explain why we’re increasingly being supplied to a growing number of universities, colleges and staff restaurants.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Twitter and Instagram in equal measure – social media really comes into its own when ‘Jim Jammers’ send us home baking suggestions made with our products.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Only champion something you truly believe in – issues like child obesity and rising tooth decay amongst children are two subjects which I feel very strongly about
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
Getting into Waitrose remains a short-term goal as they would bring extra gravitas to our mission I’d love to crack some more hospitality, airlines, leisure centre vending and the UK’s vibrant hotel scene. From an innovation angle I am exploring more school-friendly snacking occasions, portable stuff kids can take to school in their lunchboxes is next on the agenda for us.
Thank-you Kellie, what an inspiring story and thank-you for bringing a yummy healthy alternative to our morning breakfast table.
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