‘We’re Jamming’ – A Gloucester business with a Global reach
Sarah and I are old friends and colleagues, the beginnings of our Gloucestershire relationship forged in the hotel kitchens of Cheltenham. She was a Head Chef and I, the Sales Manager. We clashed in many a battle during that time but always had great respect for each other – well, I did for her, at least. We have always kept in touch and as our families have grown along with our ambitions of achieving a greater work/life balance, we have escaped the clutches of hospitality (in some ways) and set out on our own.
Sarah was my first client and she paid me in jam – a form of remuneration that I was more than happy to accept. For a batch of lemon curd and a gift hamper of preserves I wrote some copy for her new site introducing her and her wonderful produce. She wanted to show The Artisan Kitchen as local, seasonal and socially responsible; a truly independent small business with global appeal. Sarah’s aspirations were to one day export across the world but never to give away any of her artisan essence. This is what we came up with http://www.theartisankitchen.co.uk/about/4577291045
We talked about what elements of the site I could help with and what she preferred to manage herself – she is quite handy at a bit of web site management. Sarah decided she wanted to write her own bio and would create all of her own blogs but also wanted to ensure her press releases and articles for publications were word perfect. So I assist with any press releases or articles Sarah needs to produce for the media from local newspapers to the foodie glossies and national press. This might mean that I write something from scratch from a paragraph of Sarah’s notes or I simply proof read an article she has already written. Everything that we put together reflects her passion for what she does and tells the Artisan Kitchen story, with Sarah as the face of the brand. After all, no one else makes the jam.
As The Artisan Kitchen started to grow, so did the need for more routes to market. Wholefoods Market was opening up in Cheltenham in 2012 and, through another client of mine; I was able to help with a contact for the supply manager who was looking at new, local producers for the store. I helped Sarah put together an introductory email about The Artisan Kitchen and requested a meeting with the production team. A meeting was granted and a tasting followed and The Artisan Kitchen was asked to supply Wholefoods Market – the global recognition Sarah had hoped for had begun. A combination of what you know (definitely her) combined with who you know (me), used in the right way, can put you on a very exciting path. You just have to ask the right questions of the right people.
Sarah now sends her jams as far afield as Dubai and The West Indies but she still likes to keep it local and has set up a Crop Swap scheme and supports local charities. This year, The Artisan Kitchen has been included in the Cool Brands list 2014/2015, Selfridges are her newest stockist and The Guardian food journalists are recommending her produce. She has just won a coveted 3-star award for her jam at The Great Taste Awards – the Oscars of the food world.
Sarah still pays me in preserves – I probably should start asking for actual money but, to be honest, my morning toast without her Mirabelle Plum jam doesn’t bear thinking about.
Here are some other projects a little like this that you might be interested in reading about.