Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashlee Steinhauer, COE of Worthy Jams, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Worthy makes uniquely flavoured, delicious jams and salsas. Produced in Alberta, our jams are made with quality ingredients like organic evaporated cane sugar, non-GMO grade A fruits, and pure citrus pectin. Our top-selling jam, Earl Grey Lavender Peach, is delicate and floral. Strawberry Cardamom and Vanilla Rhubarb are customer favourites. Our two salsas, Hot Pineapple Turmeric and Warm Cinnamon Tomato, keep things spicy! There are zero fillers or preservatives in our products.
Tell us about yourself
Worthy is a Calgary-based jam and preserves company. In 2014, I became passionate about making jam while in a 12-step recovery program. A couple of years later, I started to get my zest for life back and decided to focus on making jam full-time. The importance of recovery is the backbone of Worthy. I wanted a name that related to addiction and the recurring theme I noticed of addicts feeling unworthy. I experienced how the stigma that surrounds addiction can affect an individual's self-worth. I used my platform to normalize conversations about addiction and aims to make every jam-lover feel Worthy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The ongoing accomplishment that I treasure the most is making and maintaining relationships within the consumer packaged goods community. I try to make friends with any business that makes a food product. These relationships have helped me in so many ways! One of my food friends loaned me 2000lbs of sugar when my shipment failed to arrive on time for a production day. Others have passed me the names of buyers for grocery stores and given me tips for getting listings. I've helped food friends by letting them know that it needs a re-order when I'm shopping at a grocery store that stocks their product. These relationships make the bumpy road of food entrepreneurship much easier to travel!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Too many hats! I do sales, HR, bookkeeping, document management, AP, AR, eCommerce, shipping... The list goes on! But one task I thankfully don't have to manage anymore is social media, website, and marketing. I've hired a student for that, and she is amazing!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Go with the flow. It's great to have a plan, but when I look back on my past business plans, they look nothing like what's actually happening now.
- Make friends in your industry. Be genuinely kind to and interested in your fellow entrepreneurs. You never know when you might need to borrow 2000lbs of sugar. Collaboration is a new competition.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.