For Jan Steliga, profiting from sharing her homemade jelly with others is as sweet as it gets! “My jelly-making history goes back to my childhood in Northern California, where I turned red wine grapes into delicious jelly with my mother. She gave away our homemade jars all year long, even trading the milkman for fresh ice cream, a legacy I continued as an adult. When I retired from teaching in 2019, it felt like the perfect time to profit from my hobby.
“I started by selling my biggest crowd-pleaser, wild cherry plum jelly (made from organically grown plums from my own yard) through word of mouth and at craft fairs for $6.90 for a 4 oz. jar and $9.90 for an 8 oz. jar. I made $4,200 in my first year! Customers told me they spread it on simple staples like toast, waffles, and PB&Js, and use it in creative dishes like slow-cooker sweet and spicy nachos!
“When shelter-in-place began in March, I knew if I wanted to continue to sell my jelly, I needed to transition from local events to an online boutique. Thankfully, my millennial kids pitched in to help! Over Zoom and Facebook, my daughters showed me how to design the site, JanAndJill.com, and how to use the platform Shopify to sell the jelly and other country home goods. My sons walked me through fulfilling orders and generating web traffic! It’s been a family affair with new experiences — like a family toast on Zoom as we launched!
“I love that I can carry on a family tradition with a 2020 twist while making money to fund my dream of building a ‘tiny house’ with my husband.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.