We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Magilow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
A really strong work ethic. I was raised by two school teachers that worked multiple jobs to cover the expenses of 4 children, so I was taught a great work ethic from Day 1. I think when you are building a new business, especially one that is service oriented, you need to be plugged in regularly and ready to reply to your customer’s needs. I work 6 days a week, and when I’m not working on filling orders, I am working on new recipe ideas, trying to learn new skills to maximize my online presence, reaching out to new customers. It helps that I am still really passionate about Jammit Jam 7 years in, and that I still have that fire in my belly to work hard. When that fire dies down, I’ll know it’s time to sell what I’ve built and move on.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a serial entrepreneur. I have always had side businesses from college on. I’ve owned a wedding cake business, a calligraphy business with an upscale clientele (addressed Laura Bush’s birthday party invitations one year), I was an event decorator, a party favor/gift basket designer, a recipe writer for a now defunct artisan food delivery service. I’ve always been attracted to creative endeavors, but have always had accounting jobs for my bread and butter. I am lucky that my husband is career driven and has provided me the financial freedom to take risks and supported me to be able to pursue my dreams. I have failed, but with each failure, I have learned, often learning more from my failures than from my successes. And every time I have a setback, I reevaluate, pivot, and try again. Owning a business is never easy, but if you are passionate about what you are creating, any hardships and challenges are part of the feeling of elation when you succeed. I started Jammit Jam in 2014 with a friend. I have always been a very good creative cook, regularly developed my own unique recipes. My original business partner taught me how to make jam and we started playing with flavor combinations. Initially my goal with Jammit was just to make some extra holiday spending money, but within months we were on the shelf at Central Market and our demand was greater than what we could produce on our own. So, we grew…it was like a rolling train for a few years. We had some major business setbacks (tried to grow too fast and didn’t have the knowledge of the Distribution model). But with each setback, I became more motivated to figure it out. At the end of 2018 I decided to buy out my original partner and have been growing ever since. I branched out into Corporate Gift Baskets and started seeking out mentors and other local businesses to collaborate with. Since January of 2019 we have almost tripled the number of retail stores that carry our products and more than doubled the revenue from 2018. I enjoy working with other food business to help both of us grow, and I especially love to give back to my community, setting aside a portion of our sales seasonally to donate to local charities. A portion of our holiday sales went to the North Texas Food Bank.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Dallas has so many beautiful areas to visit. If my friend wanted a unique shopping experience, we’d drive over to Bishop Arts – so many great shops over there selling such special finds. I love driving through Highland Park with their majestic homes and the all lit up Highland Park Village…looks magical at night. Even though Wolfgang 560 is closed, I still love Reunion Tower as a tourist spot, and Downtown Dallas is really beautiful…with Kylde Warren Park and the museums and great dining nearby. And we can’t forget about the Arboretum and White Rock Lake. And as soon as Covid passes, I can’t wait to go see a live game – The Stars are my favorite, but any live sporting event would be so much fun to attend with friends.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, especially my husband that supports me every single day. My husband picks up the slack raising our 2 kids/taking care of the house when I am swamped with work, and he is always cheering me on when I am flying high, and gives me great words of encouragement when I am feeling overwhelmed or disappointed. He is really my partner in everything and I am so grateful that life brought us together 25 years ago. I am also grateful to my parents and to my Mother in Law. A little over 2 years ago I made the decision to buy out my original business partner and continue as the sole owner of Jammit Jam, and the 3 of them pushed me every step of the way and helped quiet any doubts I had in my mind. Most entrepreneurs have moments of great doubt – am I making the right decision, am I taking the best risks – and it really helps to have a support system that cheers me on, but also guides me in my decision making.
Audrie Dollins Photography https://audriedollins.com/