Jennifer Williams on her inspiration to set up her very own business
- Credit: Archant
An obsession for foraging and flavour combinations saw Jennifer Williams create a business to put Hampshire on the map.
Ever since she can remember Jennifer has always been immersed in the world of food and produce. Her mum was a cook and her dad was a gardener and so every meal was made using home grown ingredients from their walled garden. She remembers: “I can picture the garden layout as if it were yesterday; the fig trees, the plums and bountiful numbers of apples. The garden was huge! The lines of gooseberry bushes, the rows of strawberries and the fruit cages filled with colourful berries - just when you thought you’d collected everything, something else need picking.”
With so much fresh produce on offer, Jennifer’s mum would preserve any leftovers in pickles and chutneys; even now when Jennifer cooks up her famous redcurrent jelly, it transports her back to her Mum’s kitchen at Christmas with her rumtopf jar.
Despite having such an excellent teacher, it was actually her sister that motivated her to take up jam making. Jennifer says: “She really loved my cooking, especially my flavour combinations and it was her that encouraged me to pick up the wooden spoon and hit the jam pan when she was diagnosed with cancer. After she died I took up cooking jam to fulfil her wish to make up for all the lost time and lost words; I thought at least I could make something for her even though she was not here.”
Setting to work foraging hedgerows for flavours and ingredients, Jennifer became obsessed with creating unique tastes. After realising her selling point was her bare ingredients, naked jam was born and it wasn’t long before branding and labels were being created.
Now naked jam has grown from a kitchen start-up to a very successful business working from a professional space. She supplies some huge names such as Claridges and Chewton Glen, who she creates bespoke flavours for from the ingredients she finds on their estate.
Offering some advice to new businesses she says: “As with all starts ups, the first rule is taste and passion; without either you won’t get very far. The second is research. Pick your market and find where you’re comfortable then stick to it. And remember; don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and to enjoy what you do.”
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Taking naked jam forward Jennifer would like to continue to supply other hotels as well as delis and shops. She has also started jam making courses and foraging workshops for those interested in finding out more about her craft.
Length of time in business: Almost 2 years.
Number of employees: 3.
Ethos: To create jams and preserves that bring together a true understanding of flavour and quality.
Location: New Forest.
Contact: www.naked-jam.co.uk, 07870 373795, firstname.lastname@example.org