Name: Jill Weiss
Business/Location: The Jersey S'more Company/Montville, NJ
Your Specialty: Our specialty, and what we are best known for, is creating custom flavor combinations, and personalized desserts. Our S'mores are like pieces of art! Each one is the customer's vision! So, of course, that also guarantees freshness because each platter, gift box, or individually-wrapped S'more is made to order!
What problem does your business solve?: We solve the problem of diversity. Usually, by the time people get to dessert, they are really too full for a whole dessert. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've been out for dinner with friends, and by the time dessert rolls around, we are too full to order our own. So what happens? We spend 20 minutes trying to decide on a dessert to share that everyone is going to like. With our S'mores, you can opt for our large sized S'monster S'more to cut up and share, IF everyone can agree on the same flavor. Or, you can order a 6-piece of our S'mini S'mores to cut up, each in a different flavor, and then everyone gets to sample as many different flavors as they want to, without feeling like they overdid it! It's really marvelous!
What makes your business unique?: Now that's a question that has an abundance of answers! Here are just a few things that make our product so unique...1. Each S'more is handmade. Yes! EVERY single one! 2. Our S'mores, unlike ordinary s'mores, have no graham crackers in them! You might choose "Graham Cracker Crunch" as one of your S'more toppings, but you're not going to find any inside of your S'mores! The inside of our S'mores is built with 2 very soft vanilla cookies and gooey, melted marshmallows. They literally melt in your mouth! 3. Each gourmet S'more is custom built to YOUR specifications. 4. Each S'more can be personalized with words, colors, themes, props, etc. For example, our Easter platters feature S'mores with a Peep head and tail attached to them, but our College Commitment and Graduation S'mores are done in college theme colors, while for your sweetheart’s birthday, you may want to write "happy birthday" or "I love you" on your S'mores. And, each S'more on your platter or in your gift box can be topped or designed differently, giving you many different options in the same order. 5. Unlike other pick-up desserts, we offer 2 sizes. One size does not always fit all! Our S'mini S'mores are the diameter of an Oreo cookie but double the thickness. They are sold in groups of 6 pieces (half dozen, dozen, dozen and a half, etc.) and most customers order them plattered, for parties or gifts, or, boxed for gifts or shipping. Our S'monster S'mores are 2 1/2 times the size of our S'minis. They can be plattered, but most people order them individually wrapped for gifts or party favors. The S'monsters are also what we supply restaurants, markets, and boutiques. 6. We unveil new topping flavors twice a year, and, new designs every year for holidays! 7. There is not another product on the market like our S'mores...anywhere!
What’s your story?: I started The Jersey S'more Company in 2016. I am divorced, and a mom to 3 amazing kids that I wanted to stop saying "no" to all the time. My favorite thing to do is to cook for people. Food makes people happy! So I set out to make something that would be different from everyone else's cupcakes, chocolate covered Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies. I developed my first recipe, and I invited some people from my town to come over for a taste. I asked what they liked and what they didn't like about it. I asked what they thought of the texture, the size, and the shape. I asked A LOT of questions! I took all of their suggestions to heart, and I made a few changes. Then I had a whole different group of people come over for a tasting. I asked a lot of questions again. I made some more changes. And this went on for many months before I ended up with just the right product. The product I started out with the very first day, looks, tastes, and feels nothing like the product we sell today. I am so proud of how far this company has come in such a short amount of time. And now, I don't have to say "no" nearly as much to my 3 kids...except for things like staying up too late, or...eating too many S'mores!
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Never be afraid to experiment. Experimenting breeds improvement! Our S'mores were tested by randomly chosen taste testers for many months before we ever introduced them publicly. We took every taste testers feedback seriously to continually improve our product. We kept doing that until each taste tester said there was nothing else they would change.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: If I had known how much people were going to love our product, I would have started this business years before I did!
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: I think my biggest challenge is keeping up with the demand, especially during holidays. And if you think about it, there is one or two holidays in almost every month on the calendar! The way I overcome that is to have my ducks in a row before the rush with scheduling for extra staffers way ahead of time.
What are you most proud of about your business?: The thing about the business that I am most proud of, besides the product we've developed, is how quickly we have grown and how widespread we have become. We don't do a lot of advertising, other than on our Facebook page and on Instagram, because I really believe that it is more beneficial for my customers to rave about my product to other people/potential customers, than for me to rave about it. Word of mouth is extremely powerful! We ship all over the United States now, and that is totally due to word of mouth. For example, a friend of mine sent a dozen S'mores to a friend of hers in New Orleans, as a get well gift after a surgery. The woman in Louisiana loved them so much, that she called me to send her 2 dozen to give to the hospital staff that took care of her while she was recovering. Then, someone from the hospital called me to place an order to go to someone as a birthday gift. Our product really sells itself...thanks to our customers!
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? This is easy! I LOVE the look on people’s faces when they taste our S'mores for the first time. One time, I was doing an event, and a woman came to my booth because everyone was talking about the booth with the S'mores. While she was tasting sample after sample, she called her friend on her cell phone and told her to come over to the event as fast as she can. She said, as she was gazing up at the ceiling, and I quote, "I tasted this new thing. OMG! It's like the heavens opened up, and angels started to sing!" It was one of the funniest moments I have ever witnessed, but honestly, that is how people feel about The Jersey S'more Company's S'mores!