When we started Jar Goods a few years ago, I had been doing a lot of vegetable gardening.
The closer I got to my food, the more I thought about entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency. I wanted to write my own narrative in life. I wanted to start a food business.
Concurrently, like it is for most, life was busy. I was constantly turning to my father-in-law’s regionally famous tomato sauce recipe to make dinner quickly. I used it for everything, from cassoulet to ratatouille to pizza. I wondered why more people didn’t use tomato sauce beyond pasta. Ours is so good, and good for so much more!
This wonderment led me to study the inner aisles of the grocery store. I became perplexed by the myriad of choices - jars, can, pouches, tetra packs. These products all shouted “Buy Me!” from the shelf. For me, they created a sense of complexity and chaos.
They were ‘brand-centric’ - making grandma’s recipe famous, capitalizing on a chef’s fame or maxing profits with the cheapest ingredients. It seemed all about what the consumer was doing for the brand by their purchase. They all seemed to have just one application, which limited their convenience factor.
Thinking as a consumer, I developed decision paralysis and left the store empty-handed, wishing for a brand that served me, and not the opposite. I started Jar Goods to be that brand.
With the goal of becoming an “inner aisle disruptor,” I joined forces with my sister-in-law, Laura. Using an initial investment of $150, we began bottling Pa Vitelli’s tomato sauce by hand and branded it Classic Red. The early days of Jar Goods were not unlike other scrappy food start-ups - we sold at farmer’s markets and street fairs, we tested the market and proved our concept, we employed grass-roots efforts and a can-do spirit.
Subsequently, Jar Goods amassed a loyal local following and we began getting Classic Red on store shelves. We graduated from self-produced to professionally packed and expanded our line with Classic Vodka and Classic Spicy in September 2015. One year later, we were offered a coveted spot in the Chobani Food Incubator and learned a great deal about how we could offer “Better Food For More People.”
In the beginning, Jar Goods may have been oddly inspired by other brands, but now, our inspiration comes from our consumers. They are busy and fulfilled and don’t have time to cook from scratch. That is a triumph not to be exploited or condemned, but celebrated. They should not be relegated to bad quality because they also seek convenience. Our products shout from the shelf “I’ll help you out!” We believe in living and eating with mindful purpose, but with respect for the constraints of modern life. We are dedicated to democratizing quality and convenience and helping our consumer get dinner on the table easier, faster, and happier.