a little about us- Hello. My name is Stephanie McClenny and I am the owner and principal jam maker of confituras, which is simply Spanish for confiture or preserves. Here at confituras we make handcrafted, seasonal jams and preserves using fruits and vegetables grown in local backyards and on urban and rural farms all over the lone star state, including right here in beautiful Austin, Texas. We begin by sourcing our ingredients from small, sustainable farms and companies who support and share our values. We sell at farmers' markets, small locally owned shops, as well as at the Austin Flagship Whole Foods. We're passionate about supporting local agriculture and farmers in the great state of Texas and our growers supply us with the freshest and highest quality fruits, vegetables, and herbs creating a naturally delicious and superior jar of jam.
Here's what others have to say about us:
building community - Here in Austin we are part of a vibrant, local food community - we are proud members of Slow Food Austin, the Austin chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, and have been voted local heroes by the readers of Edible Austin in 2011, 2014, and 2015. We have also been recognized by the food community nationally, winning 4 Good Food Awards over the past 5 years for our seasonal preserves. The Austin Food & Wine Alliance awarded confituras a culinary grant in 2013 for our ‘Preserving Austin’ project, which is an emerging oral history program that refers to both preserving the local, seasonal bounty and preserving our own local canning history and heritage. We have cultivated meaningful relationships within our little food community and we’re making big plans to stick around and put more roots into it.
the problem - We are currently producing our handmade, small batch fruit preserves in a shared commercial kitchen space that no longer meets the demands of our retail, wholesale, and online sales. We have reached capacity in terms of actual physical space. When apples come in season, for instance, we must buy all we can during a very short agricultural window - apples are a storage crop, meaning we can buy a large amount to use over several weeks, but we must have ample space to store the fresh fruit while we hurry to get it into jars as quickly as possible! We also have issues with congruency as several aspects of our business are housed in separate areas - fruit and cooking equipment at the kitchen, shipping and packing supplies in our home office, and an ever-present pallet of jars in our garage. We often have to store equipment and cases of jars in the car simply because we don't have enough space anywhere else to store them! We have had turn down some larger wholesale opportunities due to space constraints as well.
We simply cannot keep up with the demand and with the incredible opportunities that keep coming our way using our current methods in a small, rented kitchen. In order to make run our company more efficiently we need a dedicated space where we can make, store, ship, and sell our preserves and have commercial grade equipment that allows us to produce a higher quantity, while still retaining the highest quality. We started our little jam company almost 5 years ago and we are ready to take things to the next level with a little help from you, our food community.
the project - We are approaching our 5 year anniversary as a company and as many years at the same shared kitchen space - we feel that we've had ample time to assess our jam-making needs and it's time to get our own kitchen space that best suits those specific needs. We need commercial grade equipment specific to jam making, such as a jar filler, large jam kettle burners, copper jam pots, and ample cold storage for produce. We also really want this to be a community kitchen with a real focus on the community. The kitchen we build would be shared with other local food artisans and chefs who share our values and our passion for preparing high quality, seasonally inluenced food. We also seek to create an “incubator” type of environment that will allow for collaboration, encouragement, and mentorship for emerging food-related businesses here in Austin (more on that below!). We love seeing small businesses blossom and want to be a part of making Austin a place that helps develop and support local business.
a community kitchen - Beyond just continuing to build upon our own success with confituras, we are passionate about helping other small businesses in the Central Texas area start up and thrive. There is a lack of affordable, quality commercial kitchen space to rent in the Austin area. We plan to include an incubator component to our community kitchen specifically designed to assist in supporting small women-owned businesses, offering sliding scale kitchen rental space and mentorship. This program would also provide access to volunteer professionals in the community in the areas of accounting, legal, and business matters. We know that food start-ups need an affordable place to make their food products to survive, but they also need the support of the food community in order to thrive. We feel so fortunate to have been afforded such an incredible amount of support over the years and it’s important for us to give back to the community.
a retail shop - A small part of the space will also serve as an area to retail our jam (and a little place to sit for biscuits and coffee!). We also plan to offer that same retail opportunity to the food artisans, chefs, and incubator participants who share the kitchen. Having a retail space would give all of our kitchen members a retail platform to sell any day of the week that the kitchen is in operation, meaning increased sales and exposure for them without the high overhead of a brick and mortar shop of their own.
how you can help – To date we’ve financed our business 100% ourselves and without debt. We have been successful with this financial model thus far, but to take the next step and grow this vision is a big financial commitment, and we really need your help. We are asking folks in the community - our own local community, as well as the food community at large - who want to support small artisanal makers move to the next level of operation AND give something back to the community to back our kickstarter campaign if they are so inclined. Whether you back us because you believe in us as a company, you want to support our kitchen incubator program, or you just love good, quality jam we have some wonderful jam-related rewards designed for locals and for folks all over the world to enjoy, so please check them out. Remember, all of our rewards make great holiday and hostess gifts!
Thanks so much for considering our project to build a real community kitchen and retail shop!
the rewards – Remember, a kickstarter campaign is an ALL OR NOTHING deal! What this means is that we either raise all of the funds (which we are hoping to do!) or we get nothing. You will only be charged if we raise the entire amount. Here’s a bit more about the delicious rewards you will receive if you choose to back our campaign:
what if we raise more than our goal?
Well, that would be fantastastic! Our kickstarter campaign goal ($20,000) covers the bare minimum we need to begin building our own licensed kitchen space. Additional funds would be used towards specialty jam making equipment for the kitchen and any unexpected permitting issues, delays, or costs associated with the project.
CREDITS: Video by Paul Toohey, Professional Photography by Casey Woods Photography, Amateur IPhone Photography by Stephanie McClenny, Shot Location by Springdale Farm, Moral Support by Houston McClenny & many thanks to the Austin Food Community for supporting us!
Risks and challenges
Every worthwhile project has its’ risks and challenges. While we’re pretty good at anticipating issues, construction projects have a life of their own and issues involving weather, permits, and availability of materials are all possible and could delay the opening of our space. We will meet these challenges head on and we hope to open our community kitchen space in early Spring 2016, all of the above permitting.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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