Jackie MacIntyre, based in Alyth in east Perthshire, set up Bourtree Jams
and Preserves in 2018 after leaving the family business that she had worked
in for most of her career.
Jackie produces award-winning artisan jams, curds, marmalades and
chutneys that are free from colourings, preservatives and additives.
Initially giving these as gifts to her friends and family, she now sells
hundreds of jars a month and supplies a range of local shops and
She credits GrowBiz with cementing her desire to make a business out of
her passion for preserves after she took part in a two-day workshop run by
the community-based enterprise support organisation.
Since then Jackie has attended a number of its networking meetings and has also had one-to-one support from some of the team of experienced enterprise facilitators at GrowBiz.
Jackie spent most of her working life in the family business, a janitorial and cleaning supplies company based in Blairgowrie. She says she was “taking a breather” after leaving the business and had no plans to start her own enterprise.
But she had always wanted to try making jams and chutneys, and with her new-found free time took the opportunity to give it a go.
She says: “From my very first batch of marmalade I was addicted and my business started from nothing more than a love of producing jams and marmalades.
“To start with I was giving it all away, but it didn’t take long until everyone I was giving it to all had more than they could cope with.
“That’s when a friend suggested that I should try selling it, so I created a page on Facebook, put a selection of jars and an honesty box on my doorstep, and from there things just grew.”
The enterprise journey
Bourtree Jams and Preserves is still a relatively new business having started in June 2018 and Jackie says that while she is still learning a lot, she is pleased with how far the enterprise has come in just 18 months.
And she says that collaborating and working with others has been one of the things she has enjoyed most and is most proud of having achieved.
Jackie explains: “From teaming up with Pitlochry-based Badvo Gin to create Badvo Gin Marmalade, producing jam for McIntyre’s Fruit Farms seasonal shop, to creating own label Ivybank Lodge jam for a local guesthouse, I take great pride in working with other great local businesses and entrepreneurs in Perthshire and the surrounding area.”
With no additives or preservatives, Jackie also uses local berries and other ingredients as far as possible.
She is also part of an innovative local ‘neighbourfood’ market programme which enables people to purchase goods direct from local producers and suppliers.
She says: “Everything about my jams is local, from the produce I use, to the people that I collaborate with and the markets where I sell it.”
It was this spirit of collaboration that first brought Jackie to GrowBiz.
She says: “Alison Jones from Alison’s Kitchen introduced me to GrowBiz. I then took part in their ‘dreams into practice’ workshop and took so much away from that experience.
“I would absolutely recommend GrowBiz to others, I think that we drew the lucky straw being in an area where GrowBiz is!
“Organisations like GrowBiz are fundamental to the rural economy - not only do they offer all the services for free but they also make sole traders or would-be sole traders feel they can do it and that they are not alone.”
Jackie is also grateful for the support she has received in her venture from her family, and says that while starting a business can become “all-consuming” she has now reached a point where she feels she is starting to get a bit of work-life-balance back.
She says: “At times it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Doing it on your own means you are the producer, salesperson, book-keeper, delivery driver and everything else on top.
“But it helps to have a passion for what you’re doing and I am having so much fun doing what I’m doing!”
Looking to the future
Jackie is keen to continue to grow and develop Bourtree Jams while at the same time maintain a balance between her family life and her business.
She says: “I’ve just started working with one of the enterprise facilitators at GrowBiz who is helping me to focus on and decide what my priorities for the next year and beyond are, but I’m so excited about the future.”