The story of one the country’s most in-demand preserve companies, welovejam, started with a single apricot tree that grew in a Santa Clara, California backyard.
“I felt passionate about what I was making and loved how creative I could be with
it, so I decided to truly commit and grow welovejam into what it is now.”
In 2002, Eric Haeberli began experimenting with making jam for family and friends as a way to use up the Blenheim apricots he harvested from an apricot tree in his friend’s backyard. His hobby grew into a business “almost accidentally,” he says, after sending a jar to Food & Wine magazine on a whim. The magazine wrote a glowing review in its February 2007 issue – calling it “simply the best jam” they’d tasted, and suddenly thousands of customers were contacting him to get their hands on their own jars.
“I had no prior business or food manufacturing experience, but I had always wanted to run my own company,” says Eric. “I felt passionate about what I was making and loved how creative I could be with it, so I decided to truly commit and grow welovejam into what it is now.”
welovejam has received numerous accolades as well
as a loyal and growing customer base
As demand for his products grew, Eric realized he needed access to capital to be able to expand his operations, create more products, fulfill a growing number of orders, and really get his business off the ground. He first turned to more traditional financing options to secure a loan, but the loan he received had “interest rates that were through the roof, and ended up being a real challenge to repay.”
So, Eric turned to PayPal as an alternative to traditional financing. “Since then, we have been leveraging PayPal Working Capital1 for our financing and have received 12 loans, which have been incredible for our growth2,” Eric shared.
For Eric, the flexibility and ease that PayPal Working Capital offers his business has been invaluable. “The loans are so easy to manage,” says Eric. “It automatically takes little increments from each transaction to repay the loan, so we don’t feel it, and we’re never faced with a big bill.3 It’s so easy and seamless to use.”
“I couldn’t run my business and navigate our seasonal slow periods without it, to be honest,” Eric shared. “We always say you have to spend money to make money in the food business, so having secure cashflow and the safety net of contingency funds is so important.” Eric also added PayPal Checkout to his e-commerce site to give his customers a fast, trusted and secure way to checkout.
The effort Eric puts into carefully scaling his brand and curating his products has paid off, with welovejam receiving numerous accolades as well as a loyal and growing customer base – all of which they have achieved without traditional advertising.
“We’ve grown organically from customers just loving what we do and spreading the word,” says Eric. “We’ve never done any advertising. We still earn new customers every day and have regular wait lists for our products, but it’s all come from word of mouth.”
Today, welovejam has expanded to offer a wide selection of unique gourmet preserves, as well as flavorful sauces and condiments, like their spiced molasses barbecue sauce and their unique blend of San Francisco-style ketchup.
Blackberry Vanilla is one of welovejam's most popular flavors
After sixteen years of welovejam, Eric is focused on maintaining the joy and passion he has for his business, as well as continuing to be creative with new flavors and products. “What I enjoy the most is not scaling for the sake of it but maintaining control and growing mindfully,” says Eric. “I love having a smaller team and keeping our personality at the heart of the business.”
Having grown welovejam from a hobby to an established, nearly two decade-long business, Eric advises everyone interested in starting a business to think about what they love to do outside of work. “The hobbies we happen to be good at could all be businesses in the making,” says Eric. “The first step is to take a look at them from this perspective – you never know where it might end up taking you.”
1The Lender for PayPal Working Capital is WebBank.
2Results or experience may vary.
3Minimum payment required every 90 days.
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