Love for the Land
Liz Butcher has always felt a strong connection to the land. Her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy and became farmers on the East Coast. Her husband grew up in a farming community in Northern California. When they got married, he told her he wanted a garden. They began growing produce together and selling it a local farmer’s market. When the recession hit, they noticed all of their neighbors began growing produce on small plots and flooding the market with cheaper produce.
Liz had been canning and making jam with her excess produce for years. Her son has autism and special needs, so she had always made her jams with no added sugar. She took a chance and brought her canned goods to the market one week instead of the produce. She sold out the first week. A specialty shop owner from Salt Lake City approached her a few weeks later. He tried her jam and ordered 48 cases for his store. She quit her job to focus on jamming full time.
Ask for Help
One of the biggest challenges Liz has faced in running her business is not taking things personally. She runs a family business and it’s very personal to her, so if a store drops her product, it’s hard not to feel hurt. She is lucky to have a supportive business partner in her husband, and he often handles the difficult accounts so she won’t have to.
Liz has never been shy about reaching out for help. She didn’t learn about many of the free resources available to her as a business owner until later on, but before that she knew the people. Ann Marie Wallace, State Director of the Women’s Business Center of Utah, offered her help and advice along the way. Later, she discovered SCORE and her local BRC. She pays it forward and always helps others who approach her with questions.
One of the most rewarding aspects of owning a business for Liz has been the validation. People like her products and they want to buy them. Companies now come to her with opportunities. She finds it so cool that she gets paid to make these products and run her business the way she wants, with respect for the farmers and the food. She involves her whole family; her son comes up with names for each of the jams.
Just Do It
Her advice for women thinking of starting a business: when you think, you’ll doubt yourself and go backwards. Just do it.
What’s next for Liz Butcher? Retirement! She jokes. Her husband has been losing his vision and she feels so blessed that she’s able to employ him. If he worked for someone else or in a different industry, he might not be able to do his job properly. She is able to work with him and keep her family business running smoothly.
You can find Butcher’s Bunches at Cost Plus World Markets nationwide, Standard Market, Whole Foods, Smith’s, select Fred Meyers, as well as smaller stores in Utah and surrounding states. She’s excited to be selling in Salt and Honey at the Gateway in Salt Lake City. Follow her on Instagram @butchersbunches and www.butchersbunches.com.