As we have always intended to keep JamBusters! as a local product, the loss of our main source of income made us look at our product line differently and the potential it had. In fact, 2016 saw us vend in many more places than ever before. Typically we set up at two or three different events in and around our community and that’s it. Without the storefront location to sell from once our downtown newspaper business closed we had to look at other ways to sell JamBusters! products.
Luckily for me I went to three events not typically known for vending in the early part of the year. The successful sales and positive feedback encouraged me to see what we could do on a regular basis leading into our usual fall appearances. Two markets were starting up that had expressed interest in our brand of unusual jams, jellies, relishes and salsas so we took to the road to become serial vendors.
We chose the Hedley Farmer’s Market in Hedley, BC to start with for a couple of reasons. There had been a change in location for the established market from just off of the highway to alongside the highway. It was also just 20-minutes away from home. We felt this would be a great place to start our summer vending experience. We vended there Sunday mornings throughout June and found that our products were as popular as ever. For August we moved a little further down the road and joined the first-ever Community & Farmer’s Market in Okanagan Falls, BC.
As we had decided early in the season to become travelling vendors we did not expect the response we received in Okanagan Falls. Sales were strong with many repeat customers and the overall atmosphere was a better fit for us than we expected. It was not an easy location to leave so we stayed there until their season ended in early September.
What we learned from our serial vending experience is that the JamBusters! brand is popular for a number of reasons. Most of the feedback we received during the summer had to do with the taste of our home canned goods. The word “flavourful” was used most and we liked hearing that as a lot of effort goes into recipe research. Another thing we heard a lot about was the product names. For example, our hottest salsa is called ‘The Grim Heater” and our Apricot jam, made with jalapenos is called “Apricot BAM!” Again, we put some thought into the naming of our products as we want to have fun but descriptive names.
The overall presentation of our products ranging from the label design to how we set up our vending booth have all been mentioned in feedback as well as the way we sell JamBusters! on site. Ordinarily I'm vending alone and my hubby, George, joins me for partial days. This summer he was able to provide 'full-time' customer service and gets some credit for revenue generation as he spends a lot of time “working the crowd” as he puts it by engaging with people. He obviously likes doing it and customers obviously like what he does. It has all contributed to the success of our jams, jellies, relishes and salsas.
Thank you for your support throughout the changes we have experienced with having to shift our attention away from one business venture and onto this one. We are so happy with how our serial vending experience has been and look forward to exploring this further.