Once-upon-a-time Kevin and Kellie Bath were an ordinary married couple with ordinary problems. Namely, they were struggling to find healthy spreads to put on their children’s toast at breakfast time. Increasingly aware of the obesity crisis, they saw an opportunity to step in, and create JimJams, a series of delicious spreads that are low on sugar and high on love.
How did you both meet?
I was working as a waitress in a Cocktail Bar… only joking. We met at a bar in London in 2002. Kevin said he knew we would get married the moment we met! He made me laugh and the rest is history.
What inspired you to start a business together?
The inspiration to create a “healthier Nutella” was borne out of frustration at not being able to find sugar-laden chocolate spreads for our children.
But timing played a big part in the decision to work together. We both found ourselves at a crossroads in our working lives at the same time.
Kevin was working in IT. He needed a bigger challenge. I was running my own part-time complementary health therapy business, but wanted to push my comfort zone, be braver and take a few more risks. We knew we had a good concept but more importantly, we were both mentally ready to take a leap of faith.
What specific roles do you both have?
Kevin concentrates on sales, presenting, managing meetings, business strategy etc. and I focus on digital marketing, PR, recipe creation, accounts and generally being organised!
How do you separate work from your personal life?
With great difficulty. I think I am better at it than Kevin because I have two jobs; running the business and the household/kids, so I have to be more structured at compartmentalising my time.
If Kevin tries to talk to me about work after 8.00pm, I just roll my eyes and walk away! We do make an effort to ensure we have family days out away from it all.
What are your individual strengths?
Kevin is a “people” person; he puts people at ease. He’s straight-talking, and passionate when talking about our products, and he’s the type of person who hates corresponding via email (he would rather pick up the phone or speak face to face). That’s why he’s suited to sales and networking.
I am more creative, focused, organised and considered. We make a good team because our differences are our strengths.
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What’s been your biggest business achievement to date?
Getting our spreads into the big supermarkets (Sainsburys and Morrisons) and being awarded two Great Taste Awards (sometimes when you introduce a “better for you” product, consumers are concerned that the taste will be compromised, so displaying such a prestigious award on our products helps to alleviate this).
What is the hardest part of working together?
Staying out of the other’s business and not criticising!! it’s extremely hard to keep a good balance. We’re not exactly high-fiving each other on a daily basis – some days I feel like pouring a jar of JimJams over his head (and I’m sure the feeling is mutual), but that is real life.
I think you have to trust each other, allow the other person to make decisions and, if those decisions don’t exactly work out, don’t criticise – just move on and see it as a lesson learnt.
What is the best part of running a business together?
We get to spend time together every day, working flexible hours to suit the family, we prop each other up when things are difficult and celebrate together when we’ve achieved something amazing. We are best friends on the same path, growing together.
What celebrity couple are you most like?
Oh, come on! Do you really think our egos are that big that we would compare ourselves to a celebrity couple!! We’re more like a cross-between Mick and Linda Carter (EastEnders) and Marge and Homer Simpson!