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Meet Melanie King of That’s My Jam in Denver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie King.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Melanie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The idea of That’s My Jam (boozy jams inspired by music) came all at once in a dream in December of 2015. I awoke in the middle of the night with a business plan that I jotted down in the dark on a notepad near my bedside. For the next four months, I mulled around the idea in my head – thinking of product ideas, marketing concepts, recipes to play with. My brain wouldn’t stop, so I made sure from that point forward that my drive wouldn’t either. At that time, I was an event organizer and was wildly motivated by the artisan small business owners that had quickly become my circle of friends.

Even though I had previously owned a brick + mortar kid’s retail shop, it was a franchise, and I wanted something of my own that combined my passion for music, and family. My grandmother and I used to “can” and store food in her cellar – including jam that we made from the fruit in her gardens and my son is a managing partner in my business.  Strawberries were my favorite. She taught me how to make jam and how both food and music bring people together.

I had experienced some hefty personal setbacks from divorce to jail time and as a single mom, was determined to make a better life for my son and myself. I found a community-based business start-up boot camp with the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute and 12 weeks later, with a micro-loan in hand, I incorporated my business.

That’s My Jam has evolved since then in multiple ways, but most recently and significantly as a way for me to take a part of my past, own it, be empowered by it, effectuate change in my own life and (trying to not sound too cliche’) empower others to do the same.

I am proud to announce going forward that helping previously incarcerated women step into their power is going to be a part of what we are about. As we grow, we intend to not only give a % of our proceeds to programs that make a difference for these women but to eventually employ them and provide work training for those who have shown dedication and progress and to mentor them through the unique challenges they face post-incarceration.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Owning a small business IS struggle, but it is one I wouldn’t trade. You have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. You have to know that there will be unpredictable obstacles. It can be a true test of your passion.

People love to paint gloriously beautiful pictures of small business life. We’ve seen the “perfect” Instagram shots. The truth is – it’s hard. There are sleepless nights; sometimes because you are overwhelmed with orders and other times when you are overwhelmed with a quiet website. The truth is, that picture someone liked and is sharing on social media, could have been taken on the back of a toilet with propped up lighting. I wish that more people felt comfortable sharing their reality, rather than a filter. Sometimes, it’s ugly. Sometimes, it’s gloriously wonderful. Sometimes you run out of money. Sometimes you are overbooked and neglect friends. Sometimes people message you to tell you how incredible your product is and what a great gift it was for their father and why or you become a part of their wedding day.

And then..it’s all worth it.

It is expected chaos and struggle, but it is always a labor of love.

That’s My Jam – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
That’s My Jam is a concept not everyone “gets” right away and that’s ok. It’s fun to watch the look on people’s face when they do “get it.” It’s jam – fresh, spreadable fruit – that has been infused with various types of alcohol and inspired by music. Seems like an odd combination, right?

I live and breathe music and am especially moved by lyrics; the written word can be art. Musicians, poets and authors have a distinct way of being able to capture what others feel but cannot express. Like many of us, the magic of music has pervaded my life since before I could talk. I see and hear music in everything – from the wildly abstract to portions of conversations with strangers,

Our inaugural flavor is the one that came to me in the middle of that December night. It’s called “JAMMIN” and is inspired by Bob Marley. “We’re jammin and we hope ya like jammin too.” It is Coconut Rum and ginger-infused pineapple jam. Fantastic as a meat marinade or over warm baked brie.

We love the versatile uses of jam. “BANANA PANCAKES”, our proprietary best seller is inspired by Jack Johnson and is Banana jam infused with whiskey and butterscotch schnapps. I love this one on my morning oatmeal. But others have used it as a unique sandwich spread.

It should be noted that the alcohol content cooks out during the process of making the jam, so it is safe for the entire family. The alcohol just makes for a unique flavor profile. No blaming us if you show up to work buzzed after having That’s My Jam on your toast!

What we do best is; have fun! Play with your food. Create unique concoctions.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is not about the bottom line. It’s about harnessing one’s individual strengths in a manner that does something good, not only in their own lives but for others as well. If you can make a difference in someone’s day simply by sharing your talents to the world, that is success.

The goal when we wake up each day should not be about how to make it best for us, but how to make it best for others. Everything falls into place when we put our best foot forward, share our talents and open a damn door for someone along the way. It’s a series of compounded little kind things in life that make us successful.

It’s gratitude in motion. It’s being kind to yourself on your journey. Everything else follows. I wake up grateful every day; for the struggles as well as for the triumphs.

Pricing:

  • Our jams range from $6-$12

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Logo co-designed with: Studio Vasel (Denver, CO)
Image with wooden display: Cora Caroll Photography (Rapid City, SD)

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