Doherty sells his three flavours of SuperJam – blueberry and blackcurrant, rhubarb and ginger, and cranberry and raspberry – into supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose. “From my experience, the supermarkets been very pleasant to deal with,” he says. “They’re very interested in my ideas as I’ve gone along.”
Doherty describes meeting the buyer at Waitrose as “like a Pop Idol event for people selling in to supermarkets”. He says: “I had ten minutes to pitch the idea. He liked it but to get from there to selling our jams in the stores, we had to make hundreds of changes but they were happy to give me advice and were very patient.”
The 19-year-old entrepreneur recommends being open about your product and to take advice from the retail giants: “I asked them how I could improve the idea that I had. You have to be willing to make changes to the product and your packaging.”
For example, Doherty initially wanted a comic book, super hero theme for the packaging. “But we discovered that wasn’t the best way we could present the product,” he explains. “We then went through dozens of designs.”
The end result is a modern brand that’s “a huge contrast to the farmhouse family business branding of other jam labels”.
SuperJam is now turning over around £500,000 and the company is growing at an “incredibly fast pace”. Doherty adds: “We’re almost struggling to keep up.”Supermarkets in Europe are also taking note of this self-proclaimed Jam Boy, meaning international expansion is on the cards.
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