We recently connected with Jenn Morgan and have shared our conversation below.
Jenn, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Do you think folks should manage their own social media or hire a professional? What do you do?
As the one-woman-show running this small business, “Social Media Manager” is included as one of the many job titles I have to hold. Website design? That’s me. TikTok editing? That’s me. Scheduling constant posts and reels? That’s me. I know how important social media outlets are to any business and I do try to make online presence a priority. But let me tell ya… Never do I feel older than when I try to keep up with ever-changing trends and expectations in social media.
I don’t think I’m terrible at it, but I do have limitations. However, a few months ago I had a bit of luck on my side and managed to land a viral reel on Instagram. I came across this cute audio of a sing-songy phrase about how my videos never go viral and the algorithm hates me. I thought it was hilarious. So ten seconds later without thinking much of it, I paired it with a random short video I had on my phone of hot fudge sludge pouring into a pan. It has reached 2.3 MILLION views – and still going! 77K likes and hundreds of comments. (And in case you were wondering, the snooty comments start at about 500K views.) So I can officially check “15 minutes of fame” off my to-do list.
I would like to think there may be day in the future where I will be able to hire or outsource this part of my business. But until then, it’s just me and my iphone.
Jenn, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Fudge By Jenn is old-fashioned, small-batch, artisan fudge that will blow your fudging mind! I’m Jenn and I’m obsessed with fudge. I’ve been eating and making fudge since I was old enough to stand in a kitchen. I come from a long-line of fudge fiends and I’m lucky enough to have acquired the most fudging fabulous “secret family recipe” for three flavors – Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Butterscotch. For most, this may seem like all the fudge you would need – But not for me. I always knew that fudge should not be boring and there should be as many flavor choices as an ice cream shop.
Over the years, I was able to modify the recipe to take on more flavors and eventually landed on five, separate base recipes for my fudge – three of them remaining the original family recipes. For a long time I only made fudge around the holidays and gave it as gifts. But I quickly realized I had something really special and could do more with it. It was during the Covid pandemic of 2020 that I decided to officially become a brand, and a business, and move forward with Fudge By Jenn. And it’s been full steam ahead ever since!
I’m a cottage industry business and operate out of my home throughout the year (with limited capacity during summer months.) I organize home Pop Up sales, make appearances at vendor shows, and I’m currently carried in two retail locations – Bea’s Flowers in Mason, OH and The Pudgy Penguin in Liberty Township, OH.
In addition to being the most interesting, colorful and quirky fudge you’ve probably ever seen, Fudge By Jenn is also the BEST fudge you’ll every taste. My fudge has a unique smoothness along with high-impact flavor and will change any previous idea you’ve had about what fudge could be. I’ve created hundreds of flavors and combinations and continue to think of new ones every day. Let’s Get Fudged!
Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.
My number one job is a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I have been married 15 years and I have not worked outside of the home for the last eight years. We have two boys, 8 & 5, and live in a wonderful community in West Chester, Ohio. We always planned that I would go back to work once both boys were in school full time, but the growth that Fudge By Jenn has had over the last couple years has allowed me to turn my hobby into my new job.
When the boys were younger, I wasn’t able to be at the stove top uninterrupted to make large batches of fudge. But little by little, as they’ve grown older and older, I’ve been able to do more and create processes and routines for the business. Now that my youngest is in kindergarten full time, I’ve already got the blueprints laid out and can go full fudging steam ahead with the business.
I often felt discouraged, and that I was wasting my time trying to get organized while I had little ones running around my ankles. But I’m glad I stayed the course, and kept my eyes on this first season with an empty house. If I were only now sitting down to think about how to package the fudge, where to sell my fudge, how to market my fudge, I’d be years behind!
My mother always said it’s important to do what you can, when you can, with what you have, right in that moment. And she was right. If you knew her, you knew that she was your biggest cheerleader. Whether you knew her for 10 years or 10 minutes she found a way to learn about you, uplift you and encourage you.
My mother passed away from breast cancer in 2019 before she could see any of this take off. It deeply saddens me that she’s not here to be a part of Fudge By Jenn, but I know she’s still following along and I can feel her pushing me along the way. Anytime I’m feeling nervous, discouraged, or unmotivated to make a move, I think of her. I think of how she would tell me “Yes.” “Do it.” “Keep moving.” “You figured it out yesterday.” It’s important to say these things often and aloud.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Having a great product is only part of the business. As a single-member business, it’s imperative that I’m present and at the front of my product so customers feel welcome.
I think back to being a kid and drug around to Pampered Chef parties put on by a friend of a friend. We would never see this person again and it didn’t matter to them as long as they got a one-time sale out of us. But a small, community-based business is different. People buy from people and returning customers know they don’t want to deal with bad people. If I based my business on just getting lucky with one-time sales here and there I wouldn’t have an on-going business.
I’m genuinely excited about my fudge so it’s easy for me to talk about it and be confident in sales. Vendor show appearances are becoming some of my most favorite days. It’s a tremendous amount of work to prepare for a large show, but when I get to spend all day meeting new people, seeing familiar faces, and sharing the joy of Fudge By Jenn, it makes it all worth it. It is a remarkable feeling to see a returning customer visit you at your booth and hear them say, “I only came because I knew you’d be here!”
- Website: https://www.fudgebyjenn.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fudgebyjenn/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FudgeByJenn
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/fudge_by_jenn
- Other: https://linktr.ee/fudgebyjenn
Smiles By Shay