Her Business Story: Melanie Sampson, Founder of J’Maker

Welcome to today’s Her Business Story where we are meeting Melanie Sampson who is the female founder behind J’Maker, an artisan Caribbean fusion food and drink brand. The business was founded in 2016 with Melanie’s aunt, Sonia Atkinson.

Melanie tell us more about your business J’Maker

We are a small artisan Caribbean fusion food and drink brand. We have launched the first ever Jerk Chicken Pate and Caribbean inspired soups. Life’s too short for ordinary food! Our tasty food products are made in small batches with locally sourced ingredients and spices from the islands. Every mouthful is an explosion of flavour a true melting pot of herbs and spices!

What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I don’t think I decided to become an entrepreneur. It just happened organically from turning a past time activity I enjoy doing such as cooking for friends and family into a business.

How long did it take for you to put your idea into action?

I love food and often missed the food I had grown up eating in the Caribbean. My family are all good cooks and being part of a multicultural family meant different types of food was eaten at home which gave us the idea to produce Caribbean fusion food products. We wanted to provide the public tasty on-the-go food products made from fresh quality ingredients and easily accessible in food stores.

What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?

My scariest moment, that’s a tuff one as I think all startup owners can list a few. For us preparing for launching in stores or competitions or meeting deliveries and resolving packaging issues.

What has been your proudest moment?

Proudest moment to date is the launch of our Pates and Soups in Selfridges and creating the first ever Jerk Chicken Pate!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?

Patience and persistence; surrounding yourself with supportive and energetic people.

What does success mean to you?

It means receiving the repeat business of satisfied customers.

Has a mistake ever led you to success?

Not a mistake as such really but persistence and perseverance not giving up meant I got the listing as the buyers were tired of hearing the same well rehearsed pitch from the same very enthusiastic woman.

Which women inspire you?

I would definitely say my grandmother and my mother and her siblings my aunts they are all hard working professionals in a family of predominantly females. Jessica Alba for believing in her dreams and making them a reality, Arianna Huffington for her fearlessness, Diane Von Furstenberg for her strong independence, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Oprah Winfrey for their inspiring words, belief in self and women empowerment.

And which men?

My dad of course as he has the most dedicated and uncompromised work ethics of anyone I know.

What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?

Just breathe and don’t stress about the small things. It will be OK!

What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?

Choose one idea and make it a success; organisation be organised is key to running a successful business and make lists.

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