The Herald Profile: Fraser Doherty, jam boy

Fraser Doherty was just fourteen when he started selling jam made from his gran's recipes. Less than a decade later his range of naturally-sweetened products have become a fixture on supermarket shelves.

Fraser Doherty
Fraser Doherty

What is the name of your business and where is it based?

SuperJam, Edinburgh

What does your business do?
We supply 100% fruit jam to over 2,000 supermarkets in five countries.

Can you describe your typical day?
Most of my time is spent developing new products, launching in new countries, meeting with supermarkets and doing fun things like giving talks at entrepreneurship conferences and selling SuperJam live on QVC!

How did your career begin?
I started making jam at the age of fourteen when my Gran taught me to make jam in her kitchen in Glasgow. My big break came when I developed a way of making jam 100% from fruit, which launched in Waitrose about five years ago.

What was your worst mistake and how did you recover from it?
When we were developing SuperJam for Waitrose, we created a brand around a SuperMan comic book theme.  It was really funny and looked amazing but unfortunately the supermarket buyers thought it was a bit silly.  I had to throw it in the bin and start all over again.

Do you have a business role model or guru?
All the way through I've been given advice by a number of Scottish entrepreneurs, such as Kevin Dorren, who now runs a successful business called DietChef.  He taught me how supermarkets work.

What piece of advice would you give those starting out in business today?
Start small. You don't have to remortgage your house and jump in at the deep end!

What would you say are the biggest challenges for Scottish employers?
I feel very proud to be manufacturing in Britain, creating work for people at a time when things are as tough as they are.  Thankfully sales are growing like crazy at SuperJam but for companies that are struggling there is no doubt a challenge of keeping their workforce motivated about the future, especially if there are job cuts going on.
We're a really small team but I want SuperJam to be a great place to work. I encourage everyone to be independent, to come up with their own ideas and try things out.  For me, the most amazing feeling of my life was when I first saw SuperJam on the shelf: that is a feeling that I want everyone working with me to share.

What shape do you think the Scottish economy will be in this time next year?
I'm really hopeful for Scotland's future. There are some amazing companies in Scotland that are exporting their products all over the world!  Entrepreneurial companies will reinvigorate the economy.


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