How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

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How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business will give you simple steps to get started on your way to entreprenuership.  

“I have four chickens. I have four laying hens. And I have 50 fruit trees. I make apricot and plum jam every summer. I brought Memphis to Malibu.” –  Linda Thompson

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

I (heart) small business.  Why?  Because small business owners are rock stars in my book.  

Others may swoon at the sight of a famous actress or actor, but my admiration goes to all those that have the courage to take their tiny boats out on the ocean of life and give themselves a chance at making a life of their dreams.  

It’s thrilling, courageous, and even stormy at times – but they gave their aspirations a chance to set sail, and by doing so, showed the universe their belief in themselves.

Since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re ready to dip your toe into the ocean and give your sweet yearnings a chance.  

My one regret in life is that I didn’t start on the road to entrepreneurship earlier.  I could have saved myself years of grief and stress.  

You don’t have to quit your job or spend a lot of money to get your business started.  Use the weekends and evenings to begin your new career.  

You’re never too young or too old to start your vision.  One jam business owner started selling his jam door to door at 14 years old.  Listen to the whispers of your heart.  They are telling you the direction you need to go.  

Start today, not tomorrow.  If you don’t, you’ll get paralyzed with decisions and end up doing nothing.  (I know this from personal experience.)  

One day, I was tired of “planning” and decided to take charge and just “do it.”  It was the best decision I made.  

I did a lot of things right and I did a lot of things wrong.  But I did it, I got started and learned as I went along.  You will too.  

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

At the end of this post, I will give you suggestions on how to begin on your jam and jelly business without making one single batch.  You read that right, not one batch of jam.  

Your motivation may be different than mine for starting a business, but most of us want-to-be entrepreneurs want to be our own boss, work the hours we have the most energy, and can take time off according to our schedules, not our employers.  

To get a business started, you should start with an idea that you’re passionate about.  

It’s going to take a lot of work, so loving what you do will help you climb the mountains ahead and weather the valleys.  

Ok jam lover, let’s get started.  

There are lots of other articles you’ll need to research about starting your own food cottage business.  You’ll need to know what the laws are in your county, how to set up taxes for business, and the equipment you’ll need.  

That information isn’t in this post.  

I can recommend a book I found online that will help you with the nuts and bolts of running a jam business called Jam, Jelly, and Pickle Making Business Startup by Samantha Parker.  You can find it here on Amazon.  

It doesn’t have very many marketing ideas or thoughts on how to make your jelly business stand out, but it’s a wealth of information on making jam.  

One handy section teaches you the formula on pricing your products.  

Another section of the book teaches you how to fix batches of jam that you made mistakes with.  It also discusses legal and safety issues.  

It’s a good starting point to make begining a business easier.  

This blog post is the fun part.  It’s about giving you the ideas on what type of products to sell, thoughts on how to name your business, how to get started, and then we’ll get to my favorite part – how to market your jam and jelly business.  

I’ve been in small business marketing my entire life and I love to create plans on how to get your business off the ground.  With my experience in marketing and blogging, it will help you put the right foot forward on starting a life you love.

The best part about this strategy that I’m going to outline is that it doesn’t take much money to get started on your dream.  

Every day that you don’t begin is another day that you’re not investing in yourself.  

Since you’re looking at starting your own cottage business, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 6,000 like-minded souls.

It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

Here’s How to Start Your Own Jelly and Jam Small Business:  

1) What is the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, and marmalade?

What is jelly? 

Jelly is made from the juice of fruit.  Jelly is usually clear and smooth in texture.  

What is jam? 

Jam is made from crushed fruit pulp. It has less stiffness to it, and it’s easier to spread. 

What are preserves? 

Preserves are made of fruit chunks in a syrup or gel.  

What is marmalade?  

Marmalade is a type of preserve that includes the citrus fruit rinds in the recipe.

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

2) Can you start a preserve, jelly, marmalade and jam business out of your home?

Maybe.  It depends on your local laws.  Every state is different.  

I found this source online that will tell you the regulations in your area.   

If you do decide to rent space in a commercial kitchen, I found local ones that were pretty inexpensive to use.  

I live north of Seattle (a costly city), and I found a commercial kitchen that will rent theirs out for $10 per hour, with two people allowed.  I thought that was a good price.

This might be a good option for you. 

Definitely become well-versed in the laws of your area.  

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

3) Why do some jam and jelly businesses fail, and others succeed?

There are lots of reasons why some companies close their doors, and others thrive.  Here are some of the most common reasons:

Lack of time and energy – 

Starting your own business is work.  Hard work.   Some people aren’t willing to put in the hours needed to get their business off the ground.  

Lackluster marketing efforts – 

Can it and “they” will come.  Uh, no.  No, they won’t.  A business needs a good marketing plan to succeed.  

There’s a quote about marketing that I have always loved.  “Not advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark.  You know what you’re doing, but she doesn’t.” – Anonymous

Don’t worry if you don’t have a big budget for marketing.  You can get your name out with little to no money with a few good ideas.  

Product or service is “vanilla” –

I like vanilla ice cream, but I certainly wouldn’t start a company selling just one flavor that’s the most common type of ice cream there is.  (Unless of course, it’s the best vanilla ice cream in the universe.  Then I would.) 

You have to be different to shake things up in an industry and get noticed, whether you want to go global or stand out in your little corner of the world.  

Growing too fast – 

I’ve seen it time and time again that if you’re too overly ambitious and eager to expand, it can cause a financial crisis if you hit a rough patch of road.  

Growing too fast is especially true if you borrow money to expand your business.  

Some debt can be good.  Too much debt can easily wipe out all the hard work you’ve put into the business.  

You’ll want to take one step at a time and master that time and space before advancing too far ahead.  

A lot of businesses went under in the 2008/2009 financial crisis because they had expanded their companies before the crash.  If they had stayed lean and mean, they would have weathered the storm.  

There’s a delicate balance between growing a company and knowing when to say “no” to new opportunities.  

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

4) What type of jams, jelly, preserves, and marmalade sells the best?  

There are traditional types of jam, jelly, preserves, and marmalade.  Here are the most popular flavors: 

Hands down the most popular flavor of jam, jelly or preserves are strawberry.  Grape is the second most popular.  The rest are (in order) raspberry, blackberry, apricot, blueberry, and cherry.  

For marmalade, the most popular flavor is orange.  

Keep in mind that these statistics are from all jars of jam, jelly, and preserves – the majority of sales are of cheaper store-bought large corporation products.  

Just because these are the flavors that sell the best, doesn’t mean those are the ones you should focus on.  

There’s a whole world out there of different types of jam, jelly, preserves and marmalade – and being a little different in the market place will give you the edge you need to succeed.  

I did a little research on other small jelly and jam companies and here are some ideas for you on what other flavors your soon-to-be competitors are offering:

Unusual flavors of jam and jelly:

Tomato jam, quince marmalade, fig preserves, marionberry jam, maple jelly, dandelion bloom jelly, crabapple jelly, fireweed blossom jelly, purple basil jelly, elderflower jam,  boysenberry jam, cranberry marmalade, violet jelly, loganberry jam, Tayberry jam, garlic jelly, tangerine jelly, carrot cake jam, wild huckleberry jam, bacon jam, watermelon jam, corn jelly, pineapple jam, red current jam, guava jam, gooseberry jam, persimmon jam, kiwi jam, and mandarin orange jam.

Combination flavors of jam and jelly:

Rhubarb & lavender preserves, peach & lime preserves, plum & mint preserves, pear & balsamic preserves, apple caramel preserves (um, YUM!), orange & peppered pear preserves, fig & orange preserves, marionberry & habanero jam, lemon & pear marmalade, blueberry & lavender jelly, pomegranate & hot pepper jelly, strawberry & black pepper jelly, rhubarb & rosemary jam, rhubarb & vanilla jam, vanilla plum & star anise jam, strawberry & mango jam, triple berry jam, apricot & balsamic, blueberry & rhubarb jam, blueberry spice, blueberry & raspberry, chipotle nectarine, orange & plum jam, peach ginger jam, raspberry & rhubarb jam, apricot hot pepper jelly, cranberry jalapeno jelly, garlic jalapeno jelly, herb garlic marmalade, apple mint jelly, orange ginger marmalade, rosemary lemon jelly, mango & lavender jam, pineapple sage jam, apricot & blackberry jam, blackberry & apple jam, blueberry & orange jam, tropical jam, cranberry & apple citrus jam, spiced autumn plum jam, apricot with vanilla bean jam, rhubarb rosemary jam, blueberry bacon jam, habanero and fruit mix jam, strawberry & rose geranium jam, wild blackberry & meyer lemon jam, blackberry & lemon verbena jam, Cara Cara orange & grapefruit hibiscus jam, cherry & strawberry jam, four citrus marmalade,  spicy chili jam, strawberry & lavender jam, blood orange & strawberry marmalade, blackberry walnut jam, apricot & bing cherry jam, strawberry lemonade jam, Christmas jam, fruit & chia seed jam, raspberry and geranium jam, mango & passion fruit jam, lemon mint & rosemary jam,  gooseberry & vanilla jam, clementine & black cardamon & saffron marmalade, pink grapefruit & rose & pink peppercorn marmalade, wicked cran-raspberry jam, raspberry jalapeno jam, candy apple jelly and root beer jelly (I received one as a gift).  

Boozy combinations of jam, jelly, and preserves:

Brandied apple preserves, strawberry Pinot Noir jam, cherry Zinfandel, sparkling wild rose petal jelly, blush wine jelly, hot garlic pepper wine jelly, Mulled wine jelly, pineapple sake and ginger,  vanilla blood orange champagne, pink grapefruit champagne jam, raspberry merlot, cranberry wine jelly, blackberry wine jelly, peach amaretto jam, cherry cordial jam, strawberry margarita jam, peach bourbon jam, fig & port jam, orange liqueur jam, apricot & orange & Grand Marnier jam, berry & Liquorice jam, drunken monkey jam, and blueberry bourbon. 

Something to note: 

If you use champagne in the title of your jam or jelly, the sparkling wine MUST COME from the region of Champagne, France (which is just outside of Paris.) One jam maker learned this the hard way and had to rename her jam to “sparkling wine wild rose petal jam” versus “Champagne wild rose petal jam.” 

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

5) What should you name your jam, jelly, preserves, and marmalade business? 

You want your business to have a name that’s easy to remember.  When I was thinking about a name for my blog – I just so happened to go to Montana when I was super stressed in my life.  

The big blue sky and wide-open spaces of Montana calmed my nerves. I knew I wanted to carry a little bit of Montana in every part of my life.  

What I like about the name I picked is that my blog could be about anything.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to end up writing about, so a non-descriptive name was the perfect choice.  

Montana Happy is also an easy name to remember.  Everyone has heard of Montana, and I like to think all of us want to be happy.  

I stumbled across a jam company that liked the word happy too – Happy Girl Kitchen Company.  I think that’s a fun name and if they want to expand to more products than just jam, the name allows them to do so.  

When you decide on the theme of your jam or jelly company, the name will be a whole lot easier to create.  

Before picking a name for your company, make sure it hasn’t been trademarked or already exists in the marketplace.  You can check for trademarked names here.

You also want to google the name and make sure there aren’t other blogs or store names that already exist.  

Researching your name is really important because you wouldn’t want to go through the hard work of building a company, only to have change everything later on down the road.  

There are many different ways to think of a catchy business name.  

How about including your name in your business?

You can use your name as part of your brand.  Think Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Back when Ben & Jerry’s came to be, most ice cream brands were corporations.  

Ben & Jerry let consumers know they were a different type of company from all the others.  They had their pictures on the containers and they made their business seem more friendly. 

I think using their first names for their ice cream worked out well for them, don’t you think? 

Another idea is to use a nickname that you’ve had.  What a great story that would be!  

Including jam, jelly, preserves or marmalade in the company name.

If you want people to know what you do, then including jelly, jam, preserves or marmalade in your branding will do the trick.  

I came across a jam company called We Love Jam.  Simple, to the point, and memorable.  

Location, location, location.  

If you want to make a name for yourself in a local region, then using that area as inspiration for naming your company is the right path to take.  

The Nashville Jams Co. is a perfect example of a company that embraces where they started the business.  There’s also a jam company located on Prince Edward Island called Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. 

You can use your city, state, or county to be part of your name.  

Using nostalgia to name your business.  

Making homemade jam is a nod to yesteryear.  You can add a touch of old-fashioned imagery to your name that will help create a brand that showcases simplicity.  

Whether you use your grandma’s or aunt’s name, or by including something that has ties to the past, it’s sure to bring happy thoughts to your consumers.  

In Maryland, there’s a jam company called Grandma’s Jam House.  There’s even a jam company called, Not Your Grandma’s Jams.  

A jam company based in Delaware is called Backyard Jams and Jellies. They offer over 85 different flavors. 

I love the name Frog Hollow Farm. They are based in California.  You want a name like this if you think you’ll be doing more products than just jams and jellies.  

You might want to consider the street name of where you grew up.  I love looking at street names for inspiration for naming characters in books or companies.  

Here are some other ideas for words that remind people of the past:  Old-fashioned, bygone, good old days, old-time, cottage, cabin, or farmhouse.  

Using the process of making jams in the naming of your business.

Some jam companies swear by using a large copper pot to make their jams.  This 11-quart pan from Mauviel that is made in France is the pan that everyone swears by.  It’s pretty spendy, but gorgeous.  

You might include words like copper pot, small-batch, simmering, pantry, Dutch oven, culinary, cook’s kitchen, cookhouse or potbelly stove in your name.  

Here are some other ideas on how to name your jam or jelly company: 

Looking up quirky words and making it a company name.  Here are some examples of words that just a little bit off: dilly dally, whippersnapper, canoodle, razzle-dazzle,  topsy-turvy, moonstruck, and thingamajig are just some ideas.  

Make sure you look up the meaning of the word before picking one that will represent your business. 

Since you already know I’m partial to the word “happy,” how about words that have your customers thinking good thoughts whenever your brand name comes up?  

Here are some words associated with the word “happy” – chipper, jolly, cheerful, merry, joyful, serendipity, jubilation, blessed, good cheer,  merrymaking, happy-go-lucky, storybook, fairytale, over the moon, grateful heart, dreamy, or blissful.

You can also think of words that correlate with growing the fruits and herbs that will go into your jams and jellies. There’s a jam company called Girl Meets Dirt that has created a well-known business.  

Here are some other words associated with farming:  barn, barnyard, farmstead, farmer, silo, country farm, acreage, orchard, and fruit tree.  You could also use one fruit’s name for part of your business, like gooseberry, loganberry, or salmonberry.

There are so many different idea to pick from when naming your company.  Pick out a few choices and poll your friends and family for which one they like the best.   

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

6) How do you make your jam and jelly business different from the competitors? 

How you present yourself is everything in marketing.  You want to showcase what makes you unique and amazing. 

Don’t be that person that copies off of someone else’s ideas.  

There are millions of choices out there in the world for you to pick from.  Why create an inferior replicate of someone else’s dream when you can do something original that reflects you?

Focus on the story of how or why you started a jelly company.  

One jam maker (Girl Meets Dirt) talks about how she walked away from a Wall Street career and city life to head out west and moved to an island near Seattle.

She started making the jam from heirloom fruit trees and using large copper pots for cooking the ingredients in.  It’s a great story.  You want to know more about her journey.  

Was it your grandmother’s recipe that got you started on your adventure?  Talk about her and what inspired you.  

Feature what makes your jam different from other jams.  

Have you ever heard of Fraser Doherty?  He’s the founder of SuperJam, a jam company who started his company at the tender age of 14 years old, with recipes from his grandma in Ireland.  

What a story!  His little brand-that-could turned into a monster company.  

His jam recipe only has fruit or fruit juice in the method.  No sugar or any other sweeteners were used.

He marketed his jams and jellies as a healthier version.    

A jelly and jam company in Montana decided to create an entire cottage food company around huckleberries.  Huckleberries grow wild in Montana, and it was perfect star ingredient for all their products.  

Huckleberry jam, jelly, syrups, honey, bark and everything else you can think of fly off the shelves. Tourists want to take a little piece of Montana back home with them.  

What about a whacky jam company?  

Are you known for your quirky personality?  Then create a jam business showing how unique you are.  

Experiment with flavor combinations that are a little off-center, and you can be in charge of your whacky jam company.  

How about a boozy jam or jelly company?   

I love the idea of doing a boozy jelly and jam business.  Think about how many drinks there are in the world.  Why can’t there be just as many types of jam or jelly?  

Moonshine jams, Bloody Mary tomato jam, Mimosa jam, Moscow Mule jelly, Margarita jelly, strawberry daiquiri jelly, Sangria preserves, Long Island Iced Tea Jelly, Watermelon vodka jelly, and pina colada are just a few ideas.  

Try creating a theme-based jelly or jam business.  

Spacey Endeavors.

If your personality is a little bit out there, how about creating a jam company based on outer space? 

There’s a bakery in Ukraine the showcases eclairs that have frosting that looks like the galaxy, speckled with stars.  The bakery is Musse Confectionery.  They get tons of free press because of their unusual baked goods. 

You can name your jams and jellies after planets, stars, or even create an entire line after aliens.  You can give them all names and different personalities.  The jellies and jams could all be from different planets too.  

Victorian Era.  

Focusing on a time period in history would be a unique way to make your company different from competitors.  

The Victorian era is the perfect time period that would go hand-in-hand with jam, especially if you want to have floral jams like lilac, lavender, or wild rose.  

Browse through old Victoria magazines for inspiration to name your jams and jellies and artwork that would compliment the jars.  

Musically Inclined.  

How about a company that showcases the “symphony” of flavors that you have to offer?  The classical music notes are your traditional strawberry, grape, raspberry, etc.  

Jazzy flavors can be your wine/fruit combinations. The jars that give a nod to country music are heirloom varieties.  Hard rock jams can be the moonshine or hard liquor flavors.  You get the picture.  

Seasonal Gifts.  

Your entire line jams can be sold only when the ingredients are in season.  When they are gone, they’re gone.  

Spring, summer, fall and winter jams and jellies can all have names that compliment the season.  

For spring, you can have feature jams that have apricots, mangos, pineapples, rhubarb, and strawberries.  

Summer, you can showcase blackberries, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, tomatoes,  and watermelon.  

Fall would be apple, cranberry, figs, grape, pears, pomegranate, and quince season.  

Winter flavors would include grapefruit, lemon, oranges, and tangerines.  

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

The Written Word.  

I love Lemon Bird Preserves use of calligraphy on their labels.  They also have a variety of unusual flavors that I’m dying to try.

How about a product line of poetry jams?  Under each jam or jelly name is a little sonnet to go along with it.  You could also do “good fortune” jams, each coming with its own little fortune like fortune cookies.

Inspired Artwork

Making jam is an artwork, so why not tie the two together?  Use artistic labels and name your jam after famous artists in the past. 

You’ll have to research on what is allowed legally.  Another option is to pay local artists to create labels for your jam.  Again, make sure you’re protected and you end up owning the rights to market the artwork.  

Match the flavors of the jam to the different styles of paintings.  You can have abstract, figurative art, modern, Art Deco, Impressionism, Surrealism, Primitive and Art Nouveau are just some ideas.  

Local Roots.  

If you want to showcase your roots, then why not create a local company that names its jams and jellies after local attractions?  

Again, you’re going to have to do research on being legally able to name your products after attractions or towns.   

7) How do you price your jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades?  

There’s a massive difference in taste and quality in homemade jams, jellies, preserves and marmalades versus store-bought.  

You are selling the taste, quality, and uniqueness of your products and can charge accordingly.  

The great thing about the product you’re selling is that one jar will last the customer longer than one day.  Spending a little bit extra on this type of product won’t break the bank because they use it over time.

After looking at numerous jam and jelly companies on the internet, artisan jam prices are between $6 – $14 per jar.  What you price your jars at depend on the cost of your goods.   

Offer a jam club – For an annual price, you’ll ship a set of jelly and jams monthly to the buyer or the gift recipient.  A membership club is a fun way to showcase different flavors and seasons when you give them limited edition small-batch jam.  

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

8) Additional products to sell along with preserves, marmalades, jelly and jams.

There will come a point after you’ve got your jam business humming, where you’ll want to start selling other “like” item to increase sales.  

Here are some of the other products business owners sell in addition to jams, jellies, preserves and marmalades:  

BBQ sauce – the varieties of bbq sauce you can sell are endless, sweet, spicy or just plain hot.  

Canned pie filling – apple pie filling, strawberry rhubarb pie filling, and any other fruit you can think of.  

Chutneys- apple fig chutney, Meyer lemon chutney, and sour cherry rhubarb chutney are just some ideas.  

Fondue – caramel fondue spread, chocolate fondue, cheese fondue will all make a dun addition to your jams and jellies.  

Hot sauces – you could never go wrong here because everyone loves a good hot sauce.

Pickles – there are so many different types of pickles now.  Even fermented pickles are a big thing.  

Fruit/Simple syrups – these are in high demand because of the popularity of desserts and drinks using simple syrups as a featured ingredient.  

Fruit butters – vanilla pear butter, apple butter, and pumpkin butter are a perfect match with jams and jellies.  

Honey – northwest wildflower honey and wild blackberry honey are just two of the different types of honey you can sell.  

Salad dressings – who doesn’t love a good salad dressing?  One farm stand near me sells out of their balsamic blue cheese salad dressing all the time.  

Scones mixes –  this would be a fun addition to your online store.  Who doesn’t love a good scone with some artisan jam?  

Spice mixes – herbes de Provence, different salt blends, and rubs are just some ideas for spice mixes.  

T-shirts with logo.

Aprons with logo.

Local Wood Serving Boards – I love this idea because charcuterie boards and a jar of jam are the perfect companions.  

Handcrafted cheese knives. 

Hand Hammered copper pots.    

Cookbook featuring jelly and jam recipes.  

Gift cards to the website.   

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

9) Where you can sell your jam, jellies, preserves, and marmalade?

Online – 

Setting up your online store is easy.  You can ship your jars right from the comfort of your own home, and the world is your customer.  

You will have to market your website to be found.  Knowing how to market an online business will be a key to your success.  You’ll read more about that below.  

Weddings – 

Every year there are approximately 2,500,000 weddings in the United States alone.  That’s a lot of weddings.  

Homemade jam, jelly, preserves or marmalade makes the perfect wedding favor.  You can make mini jars of jam for special occasions.  Those are usually 1.5 or 2-ounce jars.

Some of the labels used for wedding favor jars are: “Spread the love,” “Jampacked with love,” initials of the bride and groom with the wedding date, “Sweet of you to come to our wedding,” and “Thank you for sharing our special day.” 

You could also throw in a hand-painted wood sign that says “Jam Bar” for a minimum number of jam jars purchased.  

Farmer’s market – 

Your local farmer’s markets are the perfect way to sell your homemade jam and jelly.  The customers that go to farmers markets are your target audience because they go out of their way to purchase fresh produce.  

Homemade jam doesn’t taste anything like store-bought jam and if you provide samples of your top sellers – they are sure to sell themselves.  

Also, consider giving your customers a price break for buying more than one jar of jam.  For instance, if your jam is $7 a jar and then you can do a 2 for $12 special.

If you offer seasonal jams, you can also have preorders available.  The customers pay in advance to make sure they don’t miss out on a jam or jelly that’s sure to sell out.   

Make your booth stand out to the public.  You don’t want to have just a table with jars. Your stand should be an irresistible beacon to the passerby. 

Create a theme for your stand.  Make sure it is cohesive with your brand and sets you apart from all the other tables.  

You’ll want to use solid-colored fabric for your tables because the patterned fabric will distract from your products.  

One jam company had a black tablecloth made with their logo, Instagram name, and website.  It draped over the front table in plain view to everyone at the market.  This is an inexpensive way to develop name recognition.  

You want to make sure there are a variety of different levels.  The addition of height makes your booth exciting and lets you showcase your products in the best way.   

Add interest to your table with rustic shelves holding your jars of preserves.  You can add shelves to wooden crates and then tip them on their sides to display your wares.  

Chalkboards are great ways to let your customers “see” what you have to offer, without having to read all the labels.  

Make sure you have business cards, postcards or brochures available in case your customers want to know how to get in touch with you.  

Trade shows.  

I know lots of people who make a living going from trade show to trade show.  You’ll need the right vehicle to do this, but how fun would that be?  

Providing samples at the shows is how you will sell the most amount of jars.  Make sure you budget for all the costs that go into the trade shows and the free samples.  

Start with just one show and see how you do before booking multiple venues.  Talk to the other show participants.  They will tell you what other trade shows are their favorites.  

You might want to look into holiday trade shows.  People are looking to buy at those shows, and preserves make the best stocking stuffers!  

Local Events. 

You can get a booth at local events and make a killing.  In Washington, there’s a tulip festival that runs the entire month of April.  There are booths at the tulip farms that you can rent.  

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people go through the fields during that one month.  I’m guessing most of them would love to take home a jar or two of jelly.  

Look at the events near you and find out how many people on average visit the attraction.  Make sure the attendees are the right market for artisan jam.  

Wholesale. 

Bed-and-Breakfast hotels.  A bed-and-breakfast and homemade jam compliment each other perfectly.  Most guests are looking for a souvenir of their get-away, so your products are the perfect purchase.

Independent Gift Shops.  Gift shops are always looking for something unique that the bigger stores don’t have.  Artisan jam and jelly would fit that requirement.

Made in ______ stores.  Most states have stores that sell local goods.  We have one called Made in Washington.   Contact your state store and try and get placed.  

Cheese & Wine Shops.  Who wouldn’t love a little jam to go with their wine and cheese?  I know I would.  

Whew!  You made it this far.  Now I want to showcase a company that has made it big in the flower business.  If they can do it, so can you – only you’ll be selling jam instead.

How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

10) Case Study: Floret Flowers

Floret Flowers is an entirely different business than selling jam and jelly. But, I’m going to illustrate with this case study how you can start something small and then you can transform your company into something beyond your wildest dreams.
 
Wanting to get away from city life, Erin and her husband (owners of Floret Flowers) bought two acres north of Seattle in Skagit Valley to raise their family.  What started as a double row of sweet pea flowers grown as a tribute to her grandmother’s love for the bloom, blossomed into a booming business that has expanded into multiple endeavors. 
 
Erin specializes in growing only the most beautiful flowers and conducted lots of research to find the best cut flowers available.  She started small, her first sale being a jar of sweet peas.  It was at that moment that Erin recognized flower farming was her calling. 
 
Her flowers became the must-haves for local weddings and events, and Floret Farms expanded their reach to selling at Wholefood Markets.  She also began designing her flower arrangements, becoming known for her unique design style. 
 
From its humble beginnings, Floret Farms (established in 2008) has now become a well-know farm that has multiple sources of income that initially derived from only two acres. (They have since bought more acreage to expand the farm.) 
 
In addition to selling flowers and designing floral arrangements, they now sell seeds worldwide and have a book out called Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden that has become a best seller.  Whew!  That sounds like a lot.  But wait, there’s more. 
 
Erin began teaching workshops on her farm.  Word spread about how wonderful the workshops were, and tickets would sell out in five minutes.  Yes, you read that right.  Five minutes.
 
She decided to stop doing in-person workshops and instead created an online course that opens once a year.  The course is $2,000.  Even though the price sounds high, everyone that has taken the course thought the price was worth the value is given. 
 
I think if you can shortcut trials and tribulations when starting a business, $2,000 is a small price to pay to avoid wasting money along the way.  This is also not your average online course – they have over 120+ video tutorials and a 250 page printed course packet. 
 
In 2018 they sold roughly 1,000 courses for approximately $2,000.  (All I can do is an estimate based on information I found online – someone that did a review of the course on YouTube mentioned that in 2018 there were 1,000 people that took the course.)  If those numbers are correct, her course generates an additional $2,000,000 to the farm.  
 
These revenues of income don’t even include any money they could derive from sponsored posts.  Look at how you can turn a passion into something immensely profitable if you look at the big picture. 
 
YOU could be the next big story.  The humble beginnings of your jam company could be the inspiration to others that want to create their own businesses. 
 
Do you think there’s a need for an online course of How to Start Your Own Successful Jam Company?  How about a book on what’s it like creating a jam business from scratch?  Or a cookbook featuring unusual kinds of jam to make at home?  
 
I think you see where this is going.  You can also earn additional revenue by recommending your favorite jam-making products.  
 
Amazon is one of those companies that will give you a percentage of the sale that you send to their website, along with everything else they buy at the same time.  This process is called affiliate marketing. 
 
How about creating an Instagram account that showcases your jelly or jam in different ways?
 
If your account becomes popular, companies will partner with you to showcase their wares to build awareness of their brands and pay you a nice fee to do so.  
 
Some ideas that would go well with a jam brand are a cheese company, crackers, someone that sells wooden charcuterie boards, etc.  
 
You would be selling and making money from jam, but you would be making money from more than one source.  

11) Why should you sell jelly, preserves, marmalade, or jam?

 
Because you’re selling memories.  Most of us grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Jam can transport us to a simpler time in our lives in an instant.
 
If you were lucky enough to slather a bit of homemade jam on your toast in the morning, you know that store-bought versions can’t hold a candle to the flavor of homemade small-batch jam.
 
After seeing what has deemed the most popular jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades based on what was sold in the United States, I decided to do my own informal poll in my cozy living group. 
 
Raspberry and strawberry jam were neck-and-neck as being everyone’s favorite, but it was the third most popular jam, jelly, preserve or marmalade that surprised me.  The choice?  “Other.”  Not peach, blackberry, blueberry, orange, lemon, or plum. 
 
That told me that people loved unique jars of jam.  That means there’s a market for jam makers that fill that need.  (And since you’re at it, you might as well do a few jars of strawberry and raspberry to appease the die-hards that love the traditional flavors.)
How to Start a Small Jelly and Jam Business

12) How to get started on your jam, jelly, marmalade, and preserve business:

You are naturally thinking the first place to start on your business is to start creating the recipes.  That isn’t where I would start.  

You want to START on your dreams.  Starting is the MOST important step on creating your dream career.  

Most people end up dreaming their futures away, without making concrete steps to live a life they love.  

I would start on your dream path TODAY.  Not tomorrow.  Not next month.  Not next year.  TODAY.  

The easiest way to begin on your jam and jelly business is to start a blog.  

What?  What does a blog have to do with a jam and jelly business?  EVERYTHING. 

If you started with experimenting with recipes, how long do you think it would take to find the perfect ones?   How long would it be before you got your online shop up and running?  

How much money would you have to spend to get everything going?  Once it was up and running, how would people find your website?  How long would it take to break even?  

You see…nothing but mountains ahead.  I’m going to start you walking on an easy path.  Once you master that path you get to go to the next step.  Easy peasy.  

Here’s how my strategy works:  

Start a blog.

Here’s why you’re going to want to start a blog for your jam business: 

1) It will help teach you how to market yourself.  Bloggers know how to market on social media channels and SEO channels.  This will shortcut your learning curve when you have your own online store.   

2) You will be writing about all things jam.  This will help you become more knowledgeable about your product and become known as an expert in the field.   

3) It usually takes Google up to a year before it will start showing a new blog or website on searches in the top pages.  Because you’re starting a blog today, you will be able to get off the ground faster once your online store is ready.  

4) By starting with a blog and not your online store, you can find out if this the type of business you want to continue with.  You should love what you do, and this is an inexpensive way test the water.

5) If you decide its not for you, you can always sell your blog.  Yep, you read that right.  Bloggers love to buy blogs that are a year old or older.  Why?  

Because they don’t have to wait for Google to recognize their site.  You will make money on your blog.  Prices for blogs vary, but even a blog that never was popular can sell for a pretty good price.  

In one of the groups I’m in, a blogger was looking to buy a specialty blog that was a certain niche and was willing to pay $8,000 to $10,000 for it.  They didn’t care if it made money or not, they were just looking for a blog that was one year old or older.  

6) Once you’re ready to launch your online shop, you simply attach it to your blog.  It’s that easy.   

7) It can help develop your clientele before even starting selling jam!  You will already build a following on your social media channels and blog and when you’re store begins, your followers will want to try your products.  

It doesn’t really cost that much for a year of hosting with a WordPress site.  You get to start your business now.  No planning, no experimenting, no struggling.  

1) Pick your hosting site for you jam or jelly business.  

When I started my blog, I began with a WordPress blog on Bluehost.  The reason for this was expense.  You don’t want to spend too much money on things at the start of your business.  

When you get started blogging, you won’t have much traffic.  It takes time to learn how to entice readers to your blog.  

Bluehost offers different plans for hosting.  You can get started for as low as $3.95 per month and that INCLUDES a free domain name for one full year as long as you buy 12 months of hosting. Click on my link for discounted rates.  Easy peasy.  

My suggestion is to pay for the service with the introductory price for 36 months upfront and if you need to changing hosting sites later on, you will get a refund for any unused portion.  How great is that?  

That’s what I did.  I purchased the discounted rate for the three years period.  I ended up changing hosting sites because of the amount of traffic I had coming to my blog (when you hit high numbers, you have to switch over to a different plan.) 

Bluehost refunded me the unused portion of my plan and I was able to switch hosting easily.  

If that’s too much for you, make sure you purchase at least the 12 month package so you get the extra freebies.  

Even if you’re not technically savvy, setting up a WordPress blog on Bluehost is easy.  

  • * Bluehost offers free technical support, both on the phone and online.  
  • * You get a FREE blog domain name (as long as you buy 12 months of hosting.)  That saves you money! 
  • * When you buy your Bluehost hosting, WordPress is FREE!  (More money saved!) 
  • * Being self-hosted means having a professional looking website that gives your business the polished look you desire. 

You can also get started today, even if you haven’t picked out a domain name.



2) Pick a name for your company.  

The domain name doesn’t cost you anything when you buy a year’s worth of service from the provider I’m going to recommend. 

We already went over ideas on how to name your company, so I won’t repeat the information here.  

3) Have a logo designed.  

This isn’t as expensive as you think.  You can go to Etsy and use a design someone else has already created and add your name or you can even have the artist make something just for you. 

I have another website called Rock Painting Ideas and my logo was under $50 on Etsy.  

You can also go to sites like Fiver and offer a sum of money for your logo.  Graphic artists compete to win the bid and you have a bunch of ideas to pick from. 

My logo for this website was pricey because I was naive when I started blogging.  I had no one to walk me through a cheaper way to get started.  

I did what “I thought” was right, but ended up spending way more money than I needed to.  

4) Social media account for business.

Create new accounts in all the social media channels with your business name. (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) Link those social media accounts to your blog.  

5) Start writing blog posts.  

Once your blog is up and running, immediately start writing blog posts.  You’ll market your blog posts through your social media channels and see which posts are popular and which ones are duds.  

I’m going to give you a little insider tip on marketing.  Most seasoned bloggers still only have about 20% our posts become popular.  The rest of the blog posts just limp along.  

So, don’t worry if not all of your blog posts take off.  That’s part of the business.  

Writing blog posts and marketing them is going to teach you a lot about selling online.  A LOT.  

Here are some ideas for blog posts:

Creative gift basket ideas featuring jam or jelly.  

Can you make homemade jelly or jam with stevia?  

How many different ways can you use homemade jelly or jam to dress up your food? 

How to make homemade jelly-filled donuts and any other recipe that has jelly as a featured ingredient.

Outline the personality traits of people according to their choice of favorite jam or jelly.  

The craziest jam or jelly flavors from around the world.  

State by state consumption of jam or jelly.  You could also do this country by country.  

An article of vintage jam or jelly treasures collected throughout the times.  

Profiling people who are big fans of jam or jelly.  

Famous people who love jelly or jam. 

Which country invented marmalade?  

How jams and jellies are judged in country fairs.  

How jelly, jam, preserves and marmalade got their names. 

The most unusual food items to mix with jam and jelly.  

Interviews with Blue Ribbon winners from county fairs.  

6) Collect your reader’s email addresses with Convertkit.  

For three years, I used another email provider other than Convertkit.  The number of subscribers I had for my blog was dismal.  Then I switched because all the bloggers were using them.  

What a difference that made to my blog.  Your email subscribers are your customers.  They are the most important key to your success.  

Start with using Convertkit right off the bat, and don’t waste time like I did.  The price for it varies depending how many email subscribers you have.  You can find about pricing for Convertkit here.    

After you become familiar with how to run your website, how to create blog posts that will rank on google, and how to market your blog posts to get the most traffic, you can then start focusing on the nuts and bolts of creating your jam company.  
 
I would test your recipes at Farmer’s markets before launching an online shop.  Get feedback from your customers, so you know you’ll have the right recipes to start your online adventure.  
 
You’re on your way.  Building a company is a legacy you can leave to your children that just keeps on giving.  
 
 
Please let me know in the comments about your jam business journey.  I would love to hear where you are on creating a path for yourself that will bring you joy.  
 
Make sure you sign up for the free eBook on 13 Marketing Secrets for Your Jam and Jelly Business.  
 
Thanks for stopping by!  
 

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