Meet the Culture Starters - juno general store
We chatted to Mhari, founder of Glasgow-based Juno general store, to find out more about the business.
When and why did you start your business?
In summer 2020 I was furloughed from work, and with a lot of time on my hands I decided to finally take the plunge and start. I'd had the idea for a while, but it's easy to always find an excuse to not do something. I knew my goal was one day to be self-employed, and figured this was an ideal time to start the process. With a lot of encouragement from my husband, I started experimenting with flavours and giving them to friends and family to taste.
What has your business journey been like?
it was exciting but also stressful starting out. I felt confident in the kitchen but didn't truly appreciate how much else was involved in terms of admin, invoicing, costings, buying packaging etc - it all takes a lot of time, and a lot of space when you are in a one-bed flat. When we got our first ever order (for Zero Waste Market in Dennistoun) it was so exciting, but it also felt like it took a lifetime to get the order ready. Thankfully they were incredibly kind and patient, and I will always be thankful to them for giving us that opportunity.
There have been highs and lows along the way, selling out at our first ever market at Park Lane was brilliant, it gave me the boost that people were enjoying my products, and spurred me on to work harder. Rebranding to juno general store in July 2021 also made a world of difference. People loved the rebrand, and a flurry of new stockists followed, which again gave us a real boost in confidence (the imposter syndrome is real at times). Going full time in October 2021 was also a great, but daunting decision. I knew there was only so much I could achieve working around a job, and my creative side was taking a hit as I was constantly tired. Going full time has allowed me to structure my week as it suits me - making stock, planning market events, as well as taking days to experiment with flavours for the upcoming season.
What have been your greatest challenges and successes?
Beginning trading during the pandemic was a concern, with so much disruption and uncertainty - would shops be willing/able to take us on? However, slowly but surely, we have built up a selection of small businesses who have been nothing but kind and complimentary of us. It's lovely to get to know other small business owners and share experiences. In terms of successes, winning a silver at the Dalemain Marmalade Awards in 2021 was a lovely surprise. Marmalade is a tricky one to get right, but I got great written feedback from the judges, and its lovely to be able to stick a silver sticker on my jars this year.
What does the future hold for juno?
The goal for this year is to branch outside of Glasgow with some of our market events, and to continue to grow our stockist list in Glasgow. We also desperately need to sort a website out! Beyond that we’re not too sure, but we'd love to have an actual bricks and mortar general store at some point.
You can buy Juno's preserves in-store or online.