Business Name and what it does:
JP’s Delights creates unique, award-winning preserves that cannot be found anywhere else. Our difference is in our 82 diverse flavors of preserves, jams, jellies, chutneys, confits, conserves, fruit butters, and marmalades that can be divided into four distinct categories of sweet, savory, spicy, and alcohol-infused flavors. Some flavors have an international flair that will evoke a nostalgic feeling in those who are ex-pats or globetrotters. They all currently come in glass jars that are 1.25 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz, in variety packs, or in gift baskets that range from $5 to $125. Our goal is to make distinctive specialty preserves for the environmentally conscious, religious needs, and restrictive diets in unusual flavors. We have a vision of helping and serving people by improving the quality of life for others, individuals, and society. We want our purpose to be to provide excellent food to excellent people. I plan to employ women, minorities, and people with disabilities to create quality preserves. We source our seasonal ingredients locally to bring fresh, tropical, and unique delights, straight from farm to table, small-batch goodness using our multicultural family recipes to your family. We cater to special needs including organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free. We are on a mission of creating a better world by employing fair economic and labor practices, promoting and incentivizing recycling, reusing, and reducing, and through donating 10% of profits to cancer research making a healthier world around us.
JP’s Delights approach is different altogether as our sales appeal is that we are odd in offering our special international and seasonal flavors. Our competitive advantages are that we do not use corn syrup, GMO produce when we can help it, soy, gluten, preservatives, fillers, artificial colors, nor flavors. Other advantages are that we are vegan, organic, kosher, handmade, small-batch, local, seasonal, and have less sugar than normal preserves. We also offer more jar sizes and create customizable gift baskets. Our biggest advantages are our distinct flavors and the variety that cannot be found through other companies. We create rare flavor combinations that make for an exotic treat. Our Monkey Butter won first place at the South Florida Fair in 2019 and our Eggplant Cinnamon Jam won first place in 2020. We look forward to competing again once the pandemic is over.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business:
My story is a serendipitous one. I started researching this business in February 2019, after my Monkey Butter won 1st place at the South Florida Fair’s culinary competition. Since then, I have gone on to win for my Eggplant Cinnamon Jam in 2020 prior to the pandemic. Before that, I had struggled to find a passion. I loved my previous work in anthropology, zoology, art history, biology, lab research, and fieldwork, but despite 5 higher education degrees I never felt like I was making a difference in academia. I am motivated by problem-solving. The main problem we directly solve is monotony with food for busy people with adventurous palates. Our customers are in search of convenient and delicious. As cultures are merging, people with discerning tastes are demanding more options in regards to accommodating dietary needs due to health and religion. I want to do our part to indirectly help mitigate the larger problems of the world such as food waste, poor nutrition, recycling, fair economic and labor practices, global warming through carbon emissions, and disease prevention all while allowing more time for families to spend together while looking and feeling good about themselves and their choices. I am aiming to create a healthier environment and employ women, minorities, and people with disabilities. I love the freedom to be my own boss and work from anywhere, even though the hours are longer, the work is harder, and I haven’t had a chance to travel for inspiration because of the pandemic. I still wouldn’t trade JP’s Delights for anything.
The name JP’s Delight is for my dad, John-Paul, who inspired me to follow my dreams. He was always pushing for me to start my own business. He was incredibly creative and I think he would be proud of me for venturing out on my own as he did. Unfortunately, he passed away 2 months before the initial start of JP’s Delights after an 11-month battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer. This is my motivation for donating 10% towards esophageal cancer research.
The challenges the business/market is facing:
Normally when asked about the challenges we are facing I would write about the trials of starting small and doing it all in the beginning. For example, these are some of the many tasks on my plate: research and development; inventing recipes; creating preserves; maintaining certifications; quality control; sanitation; overseeing inventory, bookkeeping, financing, and accounting; running social media accounts, e-commerce, and websites; directing advertising campaigns and manage marketing; researching sustainable farms; sourcing produce from farmers; conducting purchasing; forming relationships with restaurants, hotels, shops, and grocery stores; handling logistics and distribution, maintaining customer relationships; finding and creating events for sales and to promote visibility; and representing the brand in person at sales meetings, food expos, fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and other events. It is difficult to find enough time in the day to manage all the aspects of running a business on your own. I am a creative person and would much rather spend my time experimenting in the kitchen, running taste tests, and meeting customers versus doing paperwork, phoning merchant services, negotiating contract terms, and modeling financial projections.
However, since the pandemic one of the biggest challenges has been thinking creatively to pivot. Inflation has caused a 9.8% rise in food prices in South Florida and my glass jars and lids have nearly quadrupled in price. That is when I can find the supplies needed. Supply chain issues have been hitting us hard making it difficult to estimate when things will be in stock and inventory size. During the worst part of the pandemic, I was unable to meet in person at sales meetings, food expos, fairs, festivals, farmers’ markets, and other events. My main business comes from those large-scale social gatherings, so until those reopened, I could not reopen. It has been a challenge to adapt and modernize to social media and e-commerce instead of face-to-face in-person business. I had to pause until the commercial kitchens reopened so I could continue manufacturing my products and building my inventory. Rent has also seen a 5% inflation increase. I could not conduct taste tests with my clients, give samples to my customers, nor sell at my usual events. I had to wait for other businesses I sell to reopen at full capacity such as restaurants, hotels, tourist shops, little specialty grocery stores, etc. This business is directly tied to the agricultural businesses in the area which were affected by the pandemic as well.
The opportunities the business/market is facing:
There are opportunities in this business as the market for jams and jellies is growing by 3.6% a year. Consumers are bored with traditional flavors and hungry for new preserve options that are healthy and interesting. Busy consumers want the convenience of fast meal preparation options. They want to save money by only buying one option for everyone in the family while being reassured that it is a healthy choice respecting their special dietary and religious needs. That is where JP’s Delights comes in. We might save consumers money in the long run, save them time, prevent problems, make life easier, and them happy. We are one of the first companies to combine savory, spicy, and alcohol-infused flavors instead of just offering sweet. We offer Asian and Hispanic flavor combinations to capture the nostalgic feeling from those large growing cultural demographic groups. Immigration has contributed to a demand for more diverse foods. Long working hours have fueled a demand for prepared foods. Our customers will be familiar with our basic flavor profiles, but will be intrigued by our unique recipes and combinations. The Hispanic community especially has an exciting growth rate of 22% a year, almost double the average of the overall US population. Our customers get the added bonus of looking and feeling good about supporting a company that prioritizes environmentally sound practices such as recycling and donating 10% profits to cancer research. Our preserves are positioned at the high end of the market in terms of both quality and price because we are renowned for our freshness, uniqueness, and quality ingredients.
We also try to take advantage of the opportunity to be active in our community. Before the virus, I had just begun to teach classes to the community, but since the pandemic, those had to move online. I taught about making preserves, how to pair them, and how to cook with them. I hope to offer those classes again soon. We would build floats and join in the local parades and have booths with contests games at the local events. We did move our contests online. We would have flavor guessing games set up with prizes. We were setting up to offer tours to schools to show what and how we do our operations and teach the students all about ugly produce, sustainability, recycling, reusing, reducing, farming organic, and why it’s important to eat seasonally and locally. We also attend city council meetings to connect with our influential lawmakers and community members. Our 1-of-a-kind and locally made preserves attract customers to our community, bolstering tourism and contributing to the local vibe. We’re also attractive to residents who want to minimize their carbon footprints, support local businesses, and keep their tax dollars close to home.
Advice to others about business:
My advice about starting a business would be to have a very strong and supportive team behind you. There will be days when it seems like nothing is working and you want to give up, but that is when you need your cheerleaders in your corner. It is a special type of dreamer to create something from nothing. Therefore, entrepreneurs are often misunderstood by others who cannot see their vision until it comes to fruition. There are plenty of doubters in the world writing you off before you begin and you hear no enough out there that you will want to surround yourself with people who will push you and keep you going. Of course, everything in moderation. You need a balance and for them to be real with you. They cannot be yes people, but ones who have your best interest at heart. I owe so much to my family, friends, and team of mentors. Together we have come up with a fresh concept, a popular flavor catalog, and an ambitious, but achievable plan to build it into a thriving new business.
I would also advise them to be patient, but not hesitant. It seems like in the beginning you have to make your own opportunities with who you know, but it is also all about timing, persistence, and the luck to be in the right place at the right time. You have to set up all the pieces, but you cannot wait too long. If you postpone for perfection then you have taken too long. As one of my mentors would say, you want to be embarrassed by the first version you put out there, so you do not get beaten first to market. Get it out and then tweak it with the feedback you receive. Put out new versions. Give your project 5 years to make it and then watch out for the sunk cost fallacy after that. Give it your all, pivot, and fight hard for your special niche of the market, but do not be unwilling to fold just because you have invested heavily in it. That is when your team of advisors comes in to help make it clear that moving on might be more advantageous. It does not mean that you are quitting and giving up, but it will free you up to test out other ventures. Do not underestimate yourself, you have more than one idea and are capable to execute it.