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Jam the plan for South Croydon graduate's business success

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A GRADUATE from South Croydon has beaten the recession – and post-University depression – by starting up her own jam company with the help of some extra cash from a fund for entrepreneurs.

Alexandra Bailie, 25, of Coombe Lane, hit on the idea of selling her popular preserves after struggling to find a job when she graduated from university in 2010.

Known as Alex, the jam and chutney maker applied for a £4,000 start-up loan and was given the support of a mentor.

She has now started her own business - Bailie and Rose.

"Since leaving university, it has been quite a struggle to find employment," she said.

"Working for free is incredibly demoralising and depressing.

"However, if you don't do it, you can't get a foot through the door, so that was always a struggle."

Last Christmas Alex decided to make some jams and chutneys as gifts for family and friends.

"Not long afterwards friends started asking if they could get more jam, and when I would be making more chutney," she said.

"A few days into January the start-up loans company changed the age range, from 18-24 to 18-30, meaning I qualified.

"I decided to go for it and created my company and business plan and just sort of ran with it.

"I think it is quite hard to measure success just yet. I have just started making our bulk of stock, and once I have done those and our tester pots I will begin contacting local businesses in London to see if anyone is interested in stocking us.

"I have had my first order for our jams and chutneys to be wedding favours for 80 people, which is fantastic.

"I am also stocked on Farmdrop's website, a great organisation who are getting consumers in touch with their producers."

Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, said: "Alex is a shining example of how to turn a potentially desperate situation into an exciting success story. Her attitude is precisely what we need to see us through these tough economic times."

Alex's produce is available at www.etsy.com/shop/bailieandrose and for more information on start-up loans, see www.startuploans.co.uk/where-can-you-get-a-loan

Jam the plan for South Croydon graduate's business success


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