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JAM Industries, otherwise known as ‘JAM’, first opened on Island Street in Salcombe. This entrepreneurial part of town hosts the start of many successful businesses which are well known internationally, including Salcombe Dairy and Salcombe Gin. The beauty of this particular spot is its people, where local fishermen always offer a friendly hello and boatbuilders can be found building the Salcombe Yawls in their workshops. Shop fronts are warm and welcoming, as are the people that work there. It’s this ethos that made JAM Industries the perfect fit for a new and exciting Island Street boutique.
Founders Mark and Andrew Jordan strived to create a lifestyle clothing brand which embodies a surf to city style, inspired by their love of the ocean and weekend escapes – something we couldn’t agree more with! Making sure that every customer feels like a part of the ‘Jamily’ (JAM family), it was getting to know the very needs of their customers that have helped JAM Industries to be the success it is today. Now with stores in Salcombe, Dartmouth, Padstow and Chelsea, we spoke to Mark and Andrew to hear their South Devon Success Story so far.
We are first and foremost best mates. We’re two siblings of five and for some reason we have always just slotted into operating as a double act, often nicknamed the twins by mum (who also now runs JAM with us). We have complimentary skill sets and a shared goal, and as a result when we came up with the idea of building a brand that bridged the gaps between city and coastal style, we knew we could deliver it. We started in 2013 and naturally it was a bumpy start, we had a dream destination but with not much clue how to get there. To begin with we launched two t-shirts and a sweatshirt. Our only goal was to make them stylish and comfy; perfectly suited for après surf and après work. We sort of did it.
JAM is simply a combination of our initials – our surname Jordan, then Andrew and Mark. We included industries because we have always had long-term plans to evolve the business into a 360-degree lifestyle business and although our offering is very much garment focussed there are long-term plans to diversify.
Mark is the CEO. He runs all of our financials and operations; he makes sure everyone in the team is doing their job and doing it on time. Andrew is the Creative Director, he designs the concepts, the stores and subsequently the clothing that brings the brand to life. Mum controls the supply chain, and spends her life working with factories to make sure that we can transform our design visions into actual clothing! In reality it’s really important for us all to do ‘everything’. We have never been fans of official titles; they can be both limiting and self-propelling at the same time. We all work in the stores, we all work as cleaners, and in the past we’ve had to get on the sewing machines! We all have a decent understanding of every aspect of the business, and as the old expression goes ‘four eyes are better than two’.
Living in Salcombe and the South West in general is a dream come true. Whether it’s pre work surfs at Bantham or trips to the Millbrook on our infamously troublesome dory, Salcombe is our dream home, and with the shop only meters from our front door, our dream place of work! Spending our time off on the beach was always our end goal. What we could never have predicted however, was the immense support that we have gained from our local community throughout our brand journey. Living in a small town, everyone knows everyone and more importantly, everyone wants to help everyone. Starting a business can be very isolating and lonely, two things we do not feel when at home in Devon!
Our offices are our stores and by far the most enjoyable part of our day is engaging with our amazing customers.
Truthfully, Salcombe was a bit of a fluke. We had previously been operating out of a surf school in North Devon which was a great deal of fun however largely unsuccessful. We knew that we needed to try new places so we organised a road trip, popping up on various beaches across Devon and Cornwall. The final stop was Salcombe; we popped up in the Winking Prawn car park and it was a great success. We also bumped into a guy in the pub that night who had a space for us, and before we knew it, we had committed ourselves to a small unit on Island street, which remains our home today.
We knew we wanted to focus our growth on the South West (and we still do). Primarily, we love living by the beach, and it’s hard to picture ourselves working full time in a city. The aspirational characteristic of our brand is lifestyle, and living on beautiful English beaches is a part of that. We also believed that our brand would appeal to the people visiting coastal towns, giving us a captive audience from all over the UK. We are often asked by friends if we actually do any work because we look like we’re ‘living the dream’… we’ve just been trying to make living the dream a business, and actually it’s worth pointing out – it’s been harder than it looks.
‘Success’…. we still have a long way to go!
Fundamentally it’s hard work. It’s all very well having ideas, but you have to deliver them. The ‘doing’ bit of any business is always the trickiest. It’s scary, and it usually involves pushing yourselves way beyond your comfort zones. The other important lesson for any business is cash management. We started JAM with very little money which has really helped us (believe it or not). It’s forced us to do more – we have taught ourselves to do everything, from accountancy, to graphic design, to building cupboards and plastering walls. As we mentioned, we are still a long way from ‘success’, however in order to get to the next step we have to evolve as a team, it’s no longer something that just the 3 of us can run. We believe investing in our team, ‘the Jamily’, is the key to the next phase of our growth. We are keen to listen to them and use their ideas to grow the business as well as our own, and whilst increasing the number of opinions in the ‘board room’ can become challenging, the outcomes can be much better. Our team ages range from 17 to …. Mum. When designing a new collection, we now have an input from all ages and genders rather than just our own, which we hope will improve the success of the range.
Our most popular garments are the more timeless pieces. Our classic English knitwear is always popular. Generally speaking though, we feel like our customers are interested in our story, and what they really enjoy is speaking to ‘the Jamily’ and discovering what’s new. Everyone is entirely up to date on what’s happening in the business at all times, and as a result everybody that comes to a JAM shop gets to have a conversation with the ‘family’ behind the brand.
The Jamily ethos is actually really simple; treat everyone as family. Within the stores we feel it’s really important to not try and ‘sell’ to people but act as guides. Tell them where’s good for lunch, what our favourite beach is, where to watch the sunset etc. If we treat our customers and our team with the same respect we wish to receive, then hopefully we can develop long lasting relationships both internally and externally. We are well aware that not everyone is going to buy something every time they walk through the door, but we still value every visit and every conversation.
The South West is really just one big playground. There are endless activities and places to visit which helps us stay fresh. One of our favourite things about ‘beach life’ is the ability to share it with all the family; there’s no age restrictions, no class restrictions etc. It’s for everyone, and this is something we’ve tried to incorporate into our design process. We make clothes for everyone, clothes that can be shared between sexes and generations alike. We get all of this from the beach.
Be nice. South Devon is full of love and support, and it’s important to give it back. We’ve found the area to be one of the most supportive we’ve ever lived, and it generally just comes in the form of a smile. We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and we have to be happy to share it.
Expanding our team in the South West. We have dreams of building a central JAM HQ somewhere soon, which we hope will create exciting jobs in the area. We are aware of a lot of talent in the South West and would like to create enough opportunity for talent to stay, and not feel the need to hunt high flying city jobs. In an ideal world, we will bring those jobs to Devon.
The new Langland jacket made by JAM! It’s a lightweight down jacket that’s 100% waterproof… and we never know what the weathers going to do on the coast!
We hope you enjoyed reading the JAM Industries South Devon Success Story, don’t forget to check out the JAM website to find inspiration for your next South Devon holiday wardrobe. For more inspirational stories, click here to read our Q&A with Emma Vowles, Founder and Creative Director of Busby & Fox.