By Laurie Hahn The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Look out Smuckers! Meet the fourth grader who has launched her own jelly making business that offers 27 different flavors, including the two most popular, apple pie jam and blueberry jelly. 10 year old Victoria King is also expanding into relishes as well -- corn relish has become a fast seller. And they're experimenting with making jelly out of different kinds of flavored teas.
The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Not many 10-year-olds can say they run their own business, but Victoria King can.
The fourth-grader at First Baptist Christian Academy in Bunnell is owner of Jelli Jammers, a business she started in August to make and sell jellies and jams.
"It's fun to me -- just making it and mashing the fruit," Victoria said during a recent interview. She acquired her jelly-making skills in a Flagler County 4-H class taught by her grandmother, Melanie Bennett. The class sparked her interest, and an entrepreneur was born.
"The whole point of 4-H is to give youth the life skills they need to succeed," said Amy Warwick Hedstrom, 4-H youth development agent at the Flagler County Extension Office. "Victoria was able to take something she enjoyed doing and create her own business."
Victoria sells her jams and jellies at fairs, festivals and farmers' markets, as well as to friends who see her Facebook page and decide to order a jar or two.
According to the Cottage Food Law, from Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Food Safety, specific food products, including jams and jellies, made at home may be sold directly to consumers, but may not be sold on the Internet or by mail order, consignment or wholesale. They also must be labeled that they are homemade foods, and the label must list all of the ingredients.
Victoria, who recently turned 10, came up with the name for her company and calls the shots.
"We call her the boss," said her mother, Jody King, a home health care nurse. "She's the owner of the company and we are her unpaid employees."
Victoria and her "employees" have made as many as 27 different flavors, including the two most popular, apple pie jam and blueberry jelly. They've expanded into relishes as well -- corn relish has become a fast seller. And they're experimenting with making jelly out of different kinds of flavored teas.
"My grandma has recipes from my great-grandma that we use," Victoria said.
Focusing on local ingredients is a company goal, Jody said, to the extent that Victoria's father, Cody King, a firefighter and paramedic, recently went to a you-pick grape vineyard in DeLand and brought back 50 pounds of grapes.
"That took about two weeks to make into jelly," Jody said with a laugh.
The cost of a jar of jelly started at $4, Jody said, but "we realized it was too expensive to make when we included the jars and lids, so we went to $5 a jar." Relishes sell for $6 each.
Where does the money go?
"I'm saving it for college," Victoria said. Her goal is to become a veterinarian. Her mother added that part of the profit is put right back into the business.
Entrepreneurship apparently runs in the family now. Caleb, 6, Victoria's brother, wants to have his own business too, Jody said.
"He sells snacks and drinks at the table with her jellies," she said.
The decision to let Victoria run her own business was not a difficult one for her parents.
"We just decided ... to support it and see how far it goes. You've got to be supportive as a parent," Jody said. "We just wanted her to learn responsibility. ... It's also giving her bookkeeping skills."
Jelly-making is not the only skill Victoria has learned in her five years as a 4-H Club member: She raises chickens and will raise a hog next year. And since the King family lives in the country, they also have four horses that Victoria rides.
Victoria said her dream is to have her jelly everywhere.
"She wants to be bigger than Smuckers," Jody said with a smile.