What’s the inspiration behind Jar Goods?
A few years back life was busy and I needed shortcut type foods to take a little heat off the dinner-time crunch. I wanted restaurant quality in the comfort of my home. As I searched for that, the problem emerged. I found that superior quality, all natural, delicious shortcuts simply didn’t exist. I joined forces with my sister-in-law, Laura, and started making Classic Red with the goal of becoming an “inner aisle disruptor."
How did your time working in fashion influence the founding of Jar Goods?
Because fashion photography exists at the intersection of art and commerce, I learned the importance of combining creativity with strategy. For example, I knew I wanted our brand to tell a different story than all other brands out there, but that branding also served our business strategy.
We refused to be pigeon-holed to only the Italian sauce category.
What is it like co-founding a company with family? Any particular moments you’d like to share?
John is my husband and Laura is his sister. In terms of co-founding with family, we’ve had our moments, but all around it’s not bad at all! Also, most of our friends & family are investors, so we’re in about as deep as one can be. John and I have also had two babies while growing Jar Goods! It’s not for the faint of heart. Somehow we’ve made it work, but the pandemic did add yet another layer of difficulty to our mission.
How do you handle risk and competition?
I have an extremely high tolerance for risk. I believe that you cannot launch a business without that high tolerance. I’ll admit that I am anxious most of the time, but I welcome the anxiety that comes with starting a business. It is what keeps you two steps ahead and allows you to thwart troubles and challenges.
I see competition as a motivator. It ignites the competitor in me and drives me to make sure everyone knows that Jar Goods products are the best out there!
What’s been the #1 (or two) top challenges you’ve faced while launching your company?
Prioritizing is my #1 challenge. When there is so much to do and no one else to do it, how do you even find the time to determine what comes first? How do you organize your thoughts around so much to do? When I need to determine what comes first, I ask myself what would put us out of business first. The answer to that is product. So, first and foremost, let’s take good care of our co-packer, let’s get really good at when to PO more product, and let’s always make sure we’re delivering the quality we’re promising.
Balance between work and personal life is really hard too, especially given the pandemic and lack of childcare. There’s really no separation anymore. We’re certainly not the only ones finding it difficult to balance. It’s so hard to know how long is too long for my four-year-old to be watching TV while I work. Then, I need to emotionally process the guilt that comes along with having her in front of the TV in the first place! Yoga helps with that.
What is your superpower?
I have a 12-week-old as I write this, so my superpower is the ability to go without sleep. Which is not so much a superpower as something that comes along with parenthood. I do not recommend developing this superpower.
What’s your kryptonite?
The urge to plop in front of the TV instead of work. So, I multi-task!
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do in your spare time?
I ride horses and garden. Being able to do those things now that we live in the country full-time makes me so happy. I also like to trail run. However, it’s not something you can do with kids, so I don’t get to go very much. In non-pandemic times, I like to go see my family in Ohio and travel as well!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Actually, the best piece of advice I’ve received is about receiving advice! Know when to take advice seriously, and know when to take it with a grain of salt. Some folks come from an educated and knowledgeable place, and some folks are just flapping their gums and pounding their chest.
What has been the most rewarding part of Jar Goods?
I love that we make excellent quality shortcuts for people in my exact situation of not having enough time for full-blown cooking. I love that we offer restaurant quality food to be enjoyed at home. I also find making my own way and writing my own narrative in life so rewarding.