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Meet Laura Ann Masura of Laura Ann’s Jams in East LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Ann Masura.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started making jams when I 1st moved to LA because of all the produce I saw around me. I made so many preserves that I would sell it at my old job to co-workers. My boss at the time was opening a breakfast restaurant and asked if I would make the jams for them. The clients liked it so much that they demanded I start making retail size jars. Los Angeles Magazine came in and purchased a jam, and submitted me for “the best of LA” issue. I was voted one of the best products in Los Angeles. When the fact checkers called me to ask where you can buy my jams,  at the time, you could only get them from the restaurant or me directly. Like, on Sundays when I was bartending country brunch at the Redwood, I would have them to sell behind the bar. The writer asked if I could maybe put up a website before they ran the article. I now have a pretty jamming web business! (thanks for the idea LA Mag!) Nine years strong and growing every day.

I also supply many local bars, hotels & restaurants wholesale preserves. They use them for donuts, ice cream, spreads, glazes as well as cocktail programs. Donut Friend’s donuts, on the grilled cheese, PBJ at your favorite cafe, Musso & Franks mint jelly (that’s me), cocktails at the Marriott to Salt & Straw’s signature LA ice cream – I am everywhere. Laura Ann’s Jams = LA’s secret ingredient!!

How did I get here?

Hmmmm. Well, I almost quit right when I first started because I was in an awful motorcycle accident that left me in a wheelchair for a while. It was pretty eye opening to realize you can’t see the top of the stove in a wheelchair. Made it hard to cook – but my friends & family rallied and helped me keep my clients while I was in recovery. They even threw a benefit concert for me – it was rad and helped me pay my bills while I learned how to walk again. That support helps keep me focused to this day. I feel like my success is because of the generosity that was given to me when I needed it the most.

When I get discouraged, I honestly think of all the love I received, and it just snaps me right out of it. I have something to prove and thousands of people I can’t let down. Now I try to give back as much as I can donating to charities, coaching other entrepreneurs and being involved in my local chambers. I used to be in a band so being a part of a community and networking is in my rock and roll blood. 😉

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?|
Besides the motorcycle accident and having physical issues to deal with – the business, you betcha! Just keeping up with tech stuff is hard for any small business. I think for me it is sourcing. I am lucky to be in California, but as my company grows, it is difficult to get hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fruit. It isn’t like it used to be, me going to the farmers market.

Now I go to the farms. Haha. (True) As you grow, there are so many things you are not expecting legally and with investing in your self. Yes, MANY bumps in the road. I have learned SO much through my journey.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Laura Ann’s Jams – what should we know?
I make artisan preserves. I specialize in delicious. I make jams, hot sauce, bitters, syrups.

I am most proud of the happiness my jams bring to people. I have some super jamfan groupies. Food is so similar to music when it comes to making others happy. You create something like a song, or some food or even painting for yourself at first, usually to your tastes – but the REAL pay off is when others get what you are doing.

Every time I pack an online order or a gift I think about how happy these people are going to be when they eat my product. It is pretty jamazing.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
See 1st ramble about my friends & family helping me through my recovery.

But business – I had two former bosses Tobin & Luis that were the most amazing mentors to me with my business chops. So supportive as I have grown. By recommending books to just a pep talk when I needed it, those two stand out for me. But, again coming from a music background my bottomless address book of connections from touring doesn’t hurt either!

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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