Today we’d like to introduce you to Aiye Akhigbe.
Hi Aiye, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I founded Sticky Spoons Jam in 2016 as a way to feed my children high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, and preservative-free jams while fulfilling their love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had already made baby food and the transition to jams was only a natural move.
I started with a basic strawberry jam using berries grown on a farm less than 5 miles from my home. I made too many jars and my coworkers offered to buy the excess. At the end of the first year, 10 flavors were made and the business was born. My business just entered its sixth year with over 150 flavors created, including Lunar Eclipse, Summer Solstice, Sweet Thing, and our best-selling Apple Pie Jam. At Sticky Spoons, our commitment is to create and offer products that surprise and delight the taste buds of our customers.
In 2022, we began plans to construct a licensed kitchen which will allow us to sell products online and on store shelves. The kitchen will be completed in 2023 which means we can grow and serve more customers. Meanwhile, we continue to serve our customers at various farmers’ markets, festivals, and craft shows.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
6 years as a business owner has been quite interesting. We have encountered a lack of fruits because our local farms lost their entire crops due to a late freeze (a phenomenon we experience in Michigan). We were poised to construct our licensed kitchen, but it was delayed due to the challenges of the global pandemic. Also in 2020, we experienced severe supply chain issues; as we could not find jars or lids to bottle our products. Constant open and honest contact with our Michigan-based suppliers, helped us weather the year, and we were able to provide our customers with the unique flavors they enjoy. Although we experienced obstacles from 2019 through 2021, the need for expansion remains imperative to our success. Capital is the most challenging obstacle to growth, so I began seeking other funding opportunities by applying for grants and entering numerous pitch competitions. In 2021, I was the Crowd Favorite at the Veterans Business Battle and also won first place at the McNair Veteran Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition. In May 2022, I was honored to be awarded the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation Grant, the award would continue to support my entrepreneurial spirit (like Olga’s), and propel Sticky Spoons’ growth trajectory.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Sticky Spoons is a veteran-owned jam, jelly, and maple syrup business based in Niles, MI. Sticky Spoons began by producing strawberry jam from premium Michigan strawberries. Due to overwhelming demand from our customers, we launched additional flavors. At Sticky Spoons, our goal is to offer unique flavors, like Apple Pie, Lunar Eclipse, and Black Widow, all high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, and preservative-free, that surprise and delight the taste buds. We create uniquely versatile products that can be used on bread, for baking, grilling, and making drinks.
Sampling our best-selling Apple Pie Jam at numerous markets, we have literally seen people dance, hum, and in some instances use colorful language that we can’t repeat to describe how much they like our jams. We believe our customers are loyal to our business, due to the authenticity of our flavors and the intentional use of locally sourced fruits and supplies from small family-owned farms and small businesses.
Sticky Spoons is known for raising awareness about food security in our community. Through our “Share the Love” Program, we collect food from customers, make purchases, and also donate jams that benefit our four local food banks. In three years, we have provided over a thousand pounds of food, and as we grow, we will continue to seek ways to partner with local organizations to support the community.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I enjoy the podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” as it provides a wonderful comedic relief at the end of those crazy busy days.
A good read is anything by Isabel Allende, Alexander McCall Smith, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
- Website: www.stickyspoonsjam.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/stickyspoonsjam
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/stickyspoonsjamllc