Building the Jamily
After what felt like a very bumpy start to 2017, we were raring to go by the time Easter came around. We were also completely burnt out. Shortly after Easter we decided it was time to take the next step and start adding people to our small family team. As the discussions begun about who, and how, we quickly realised that we needed to have some foundations as to what we wanted from our team. We decided we didn’t want seasonal staff, which for most seasonal businesses is without doubt the most efficient way of expanding and contracting. We decided we wanted people who could grow with us. We decided we wanted full time people so that they would be completely invested in Jam. The problem of course was that we didn’t have the budget to create a full-time position in each store on top of ourselves, and truthfully, we didn’t need to.
We offered, what in hindsight, was a really tough job to a good friend who had worked alongside us for the past year in Salcombe. In order to create a full-time position, we asked her to travel between both the Salcombe and Padstow store, covering our days off. Sadly we didn’t predict was how hard this was going to be, and ultimately the job role was unsustainable for both her and us. We parted ways on good terms later that summer, and we can only say we look back with regret that we didn’t get it right first time. She was a good egg, and we would love to have been able to do more for her.
We settled back into 7 days a week, thinking hard about what to do next. The best thing about this period was that we were forced into defining Jam Industries once again. This time however, it wasn’t about the external (customer experience etc), it was internal, who are WE? How do we want our team to be treated, to treat each other, to treat us?! The list of questions goes on and the term HR finally has meaning. Big meaning. So instead of discussing job titles, we started to discuss culture. Mark, Mum and I spent about 12 hours going backwards and forwards, creating a document in which we set out our core values as a business. We each created 5 core values for Jam, and when we shared them, number 1 was unanimous; Family.
Our philosophy is that if we treat everyone as family, we will all benefit in the long run. We have a unilateral relationship with our team, and we all go the extra mile for each other. There’s no I’s, just us. There is no real hierarchy. Even if someone amazing decides they want to leave us for new challenges we will support them in doing so, we will help them do so, in the hope that one day they will come back to us. It may seem unusual, but we recruit with very little attention to the CV. We care less about the paper and more about the person. At the end of the day, if Mark and I had applied for jobs at a big fashion brand we wouldn’t have got the jobs. We know that if we can find likeminded people, with shared goals, whatever the task may be we will get there. So far it seems our unorthodox approach is working. We love the people we work with. We have fun together, and we look out for each other. The latest member of the Jamily was recruited in the sea, whilst surfing, and she’s brilliant.
We are proud to say that since introducing the ‘Jamily’ culture, nobody has ever left us. It feels now, that what was originally a 3 seater rollercoaster journey, is a full mini bus full… and we’re heading off on one big adventure together.
Next week: Redefining product, redefining place.