Fraser Doherty - King of Jam! (Zefyr Magazine interview)

A ZEFYR LIFE:Hi Fraser, so how are things today, we heard that you were in Australia ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Things are great thanks, that’s right, we’ve just launched SuperJam in Australia so I’m in Sydney - this morning I was on Australia’s biggest TV show, “Sunrise”, which got things off to a great start!

A ZEFYR LIFE: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

FRASER DOHERTY : I’m the founder of SuperJam, a 100% fruit jam company based in Scotland that supplies about 2,500 supermarkets around the world.  I started making jam with my Gran in her tiny kitchen in Glasgow at the age of 14 and her recipes have since gone on to sell millions of jars.

 A ZEFYR LIFE : Our magazine is interested in « Talented » people. What is your definition of « Talent » ?

FRASER DOHERTY : If someone is doing what they were born to do and they make it seem simple and effortless.

A ZEFYR LIFE: Where would you say lies your biggest talent ?

FRASER DOHERTY: I guess I do a good job of coming up with new ideas for products and of communicating SuperJam’s story.

A ZEFYR LIFE : Who are the three persons, entrepreneurs, artists, sportsmen, writers, directors…That are inspiring you most ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Anita Roddick, Ben & Jerry, My Gran.

A ZEFYR LIFE : What are the TOP 3 Values or Principles guiding your personal life ?

FRASER DOHERTY: The most important thing is to have fun and to be happy. Only do things that you’ll be truly proud of. Remind yourself every day that one day you’ll die: every minute matters but at the same time nothing matters at all.

A ZEFYR LIFE: What are the TOP 3 Values or Principles guiding your business decisions ?

FRASER DOHERTY: Create products that I can feel truly proud of. Invest in doing good in our community. Never be afraid.

A ZEFYR LIFE: Can you tell us a bit about SuperJam your company, how you started it and how many people are working with you today?

FRASER DOHERTY : SuperJam has grown from my Gran’s kitchen to a company that now employs eight people and sells millions of jars of jam all around the world. After making jam at home and selling at farmers’ markets and to small shops for years, I came up with a way of making jam 100% from fruit.  After finding a factory to work with to make SuperJam on a big scale and creating a brand, Waitrose agreed to launch my products in all of their stores in 2007 (when I was 18).  Since then, we’ve launched in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and other supermarkets around the world. SuperJam has been entered into the National Museum of Scotland as an example of an ‘Iconic Scottish Brand’, we’ve won over 20 awards and I was even invited to Downing Street to have dinner with the Prime Minister when he heard about my story!

A ZEFYR LIFE: What has been your key motivation for embracing Entrepreneurship?

FRASER DOHERTY: For me, starting a business has never been about trying to get rich. I love the idea that I created a product that hundreds of thousands of people put on their toast every morning. I also love the idea that we use some of the profits from doing that to run hundreds of free tea parties for elderly people who live alone or in care.  

A ZEFYR LIFE: In how many markets is SuperJam now distributed ? What are your next expansion plans ?

FRASER DOHERTY: SuperJam sells about a million jars of jam a year but sales are growing really fast - we’ve just launched in Australia and later this year will be launching in Ireland, Denmark, Finland and even Russia!  Next year is the really exciting launch of SuperJam in the US and Canada!

A ZEFYR LIFE: You are a pretty young CEO, what has it been like receiving so much media attention so fast, and were you prepared to this ? How important is dealing with the media for you as a CEO ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I definitely didn’t imagine when I was making jam with my Gran at 14 that my tiny jam business would grow into what it has become!  I’ve definitely learned a huge amount and had an amazing experience along the way.  My story has attracted a huge amount of media coverage - when SuperJam launched in Waitrose I was invited on GMTV, This Morning, BBC Breakfast and all kinds of major TV shows - which definitely helped to get my story out there!

                                   

A ZEFYR LIFE : As the CEO what do you consider to be your most important mission?

FRASER DOHERTY : I see my job as getting other people as excited about SuperJam as I am - customers, partners and our team.

A ZEFYR LIFE : How often are you traveling abroad on business ? Are you using regular airliners ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I’m traveling all the time, I think SuperJam has taken me to almost 30 countries - speaking at events, visiting companies that inspire me and looking for retailers and distributors.  I love visiting other countries and I am always wondering where my adventure will take me next.  I’m not loyal to any particular airline - I think they’re all about the same!

A ZEFYR LIFE : When selecting your team of Advisors to run the business, what essential qualities are you looking for? Who do you consider being your single most important business advisor today ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I’m always excited to meet people who have a different perspective on business and life than my own - people who aren’t afraid to challenge my ways of thinking.  I have a couple of mentors, people who have been there and done it before. One of them used to be marketing director at a very large food company and so he has an amazing range of contacts and ideas that are really helping to take SuperJam to the next level.

A ZEFYR LIFE : What’s your biggest challenge in managing growth for SuperJam ?

FRASER DOHERTY : We’re launching in lots of countries around the world so there’s definitely a challenge around spinning so many plates all at once!

A ZEFYR LIFE : Are you planning to take SuperJam Public ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I know some guys who run a brewery called Brewdog in Scotland - they recently sold shares in their business to the people who drink their beer.  They’ve raised about £1.6m to build a new brewery - and signed up a whole army of people who’re going to do a great job of coming up with ideas and telling people about the brand. I’d love to do something like that one day!

A ZEFYR LIFE : What are your views on our Capitalist system ? Optimist about the Economy ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I think entrepreneurs have the opportunity to change the world - by coming up with new ways of doing things they can create products that people love, create jobs and hopefully do some good in their community through charity work.  

A ZEFYR LIFE : You wrote a book called « Super Business » - How I started SuperJam from my Gran’s kitchen – We found it not just funny but packed with myriads of incredibly enlightning tips for anyone willing to take the plunge, start their venture and chase their Dreams. What prompted you to write that book ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Glad you liked it!  Ever since SuperJam took off, people have been emailing me from all over the world to ask for advice on how to get their ideas off the ground.  I realised that I’ve learned a huge amount from taking SuperJam from my Gran’s kitchen to the supermarket shelves and I wanted to share everything I’ve learned. 

 A ZEFYR LIFE : Who has been the single most important person in your life? Why ?

FRASER DOHERTY : It would have to be my Gran!  Not only did she inspire me to start making jam in the first place but she inspired the work that I do with the elderly.  When I was a kid, she would make jam and scones and drag my little brother and I around all of the retirement homes in Glasgow - she would have afternoon tea with the elderly people, my brother would play his guitar and I would tell them stories.  I was something that my Gran felt strongly about and I wanted to do something like that on a bigger scale.

A ZEFYR LIFE : Where did you last go on holiday ? Your Dream place to go on holiday ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I just got back from a sunshine holiday in Ibiza with some friends. I’d love to travel all around South America at some point - Brazil especially.

A ZEFYR LIFE : Your favorite Museum ?

FRASER DOHERTY : The Packaging Museum in Notting Hill.  A must-see for anyone interested in vintage packaging!

A ZEFYR LIFE : What music are you listening to right now ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Mostly electronic music, like Azari & III, but at the moment I also like Jamie Woon and The Whitest Boy Alive.

A ZEFYR LIFE : The must read book you’d recommend to our readers ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Just finished « How To Be Free » by Tom Hodgkinson - he’s an anarchist and the book is about the absurdity of modern life and the idea of freeing ourselves from it by living a simpler, less stressful life.

A ZEFYR LIFE : Your favorite Hobby ? The one crazy thing you’d like to try that you have never done ?

FRASER DOHERTY : I’ve got a 40-year old VW camper van that I love driving round the countryside.  I’ve also just bought a beehive because i’ve always wanted to keep bees.

A ZEFYR LIFE : The ONE thing you will NEVER do ?

FRASER DOHERTY : Get a 9-5 job!

A ZEFYR LIFE: The favorite quote that’s sitting on your desk ?

FRASER DOHERTY : If you can dream it - you can do it, by Walt Disney.

A ZEFYR LIFE : The last time you got angry ?

FRASER DOHERTY: I always get angry trying to use online banking - I think you have to be a robot to remember all the passwords!

A ZEFYR LIFE : Your Best Childhood memory ?

FRASER DOHERTY : My Gran taking us to the Scottish seaside on the train for the first time, we had chips and 99’s.

A ZEFYR LIFE : What are you dreaming to achieve next ?

FRASER DOHERTY: Success for SuperJam and The SuperJam Tea Parties in the USA!

Interview Florian David, Editor-In-Chief @ A ZEFYR LIFE


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