Home » Culture » SuperJam man Fraser Doherty chats to Startacus
SuperJam man Fraser Doherty chats to Startacus
by Startacus Admin
There’s a lot going on in Fraser Doherty’s life.
Currently crowdfunding £250k for his SuperJam brand might prick your ears up a little. Or perhaps the fact that at aged 24 he has an MBE and an ‘iconic’ Scottish Brand to his name. Ignoring the obvious, “Were you a Yes or No voter” in the recent Scottish Independence referendum, we wanted to find out a little more from SuperJam man Fraser about his ventures and adventures to date. But first a little recap...
Fraser set up SuperJam at 14, using his Gran's jam recipes. After selling his produce at farmers' markets and to delicatessens, 'Eureka!' he'd developed a method of producing jam 100% from fruit.
Fast forward to now, SuperJam now supplies over 2,000 supermarkets around the world (incl. Tesco, Asda Wal-Mart, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Waitrose) in countries including Australia, Russia, Denmark, Finland and Ireland.
SuperJam is exhibited in the National Museum of Scotland as an 'Iconic Scottish Brand', he has an MBE and cookbook to his name, and oh, amongst other things, we writes and talks about entrepreneurship quite a lot....
The company invests in running 'SuperJam Tea Parties' for elderly people who live alone, in care.
Need a little inspiration, read on...
Hi there Fraser, let’s start with a rain check, SuperJam has been entered into the National Museum of Scotland as an 'Iconic Scottish Brand' and you yourself have been awarded an MBE. How does such recognition feel?
For me it is amazing that something that began as a simple passion in my Grandmother's kitchen has grown into a business that has not only changed my life but has become a brand that millions of people have enjoyed. I'm enormously grateful of the recognition that SuperJam has received. For me I try to remain focused on just creating a great product and step by step improving what we do - I get an enormous buzz from seeing my product sitting on the supermarket shelves.
Going back to those early days of setting up SuperJam - what do you think was the most momentous decision you took, to take you on this journey?
I think the most important decision was just to try in the first place - a lot of people have an idea for a business but are afraid of taking the first step of giving their idea a shot. I also made the decision to keep trying when things didn't work out first time around - in anything you try to do in life the hardest obstacle you will face is in your own mind - motivating yourself to keep going when everyone around you thinks you are crazy.
You are currently closing in on raising £250k via crowdfunding platform crowdcube for 10% equity - why crowdfunding to raise equity?
The crowd funding round has been incredible - we have raised over £160,000 in a fortnight from more than 180 investors - making us one of the most popular pitches ever on Crowdcube. We'll be using this investment to update our packaging and invest in some large scale marketing to really grow our distribution. I'm also really excited by what we can achieve by having hundreds of shareholders on board - all bringing their own ideas, contacts and energy to the business.
Talk to us more about the SuperJam Tea Parties and how important this project is?
Originally when my grandmother first made jam she would make jam and scones and visit all of the elderly people in her neighbourhood. I decided to continue this idea by sponsoring hundreds of free tea parties for elderly people who live alone or in care homes. We have live music, dancing and scones and jam! It's so important to me that I can build a business that does more than just make money - that hopefully does some good along the way.
Apart from raising capital - can we be rather jammy and ask what other exciting developments you have 'in store'. (Sorry!)
We've seen huge success with SuperJam in South Korea so I have started work on launching the brand in China and Japan. Sales of bakery goods and jam is growing in these markets, they love British-made luxury goods and the SuperJam brand fits well with their cultures.
Once piece of advice you would want to pass on to a budding entrepreneur?
My biggest piece of advice would just be to not be afraid of asking for help - i've had advice from the founders of Innocent, Dorset Cereals and many other brands that inspired me in the early days. Getting advice from people who have been there and done it before can save you making some costly mistakes.
And with that our chat was done. We wish Fraser and the SuperJam team all the best going forward and we offer a toast to their future success.If you enjoyed this, why not check out these other impressive Startup Stories.