Jennifer Cramer, Co-Founder of The Spice Lab
Jennifer Cramer, co-Founder of The Spice Lab, wasn’t a single ingredient success story. One special spice included her husband Brett Cramer, who was fascinated with sea salts. Their story is similar to many other family businesses but this mixture of seasonings heats up very quickly.
Jennifer was an Interior Designer by trade. Like many young woman she put her career on hold, started a family, and became a full time mom. Jennifer soon realized she needed more and began to assist her husband with his computer business. As Brett’s business grew, so did Jennifer’s responsibilities, all along having her daughter Charlotte by her side.
Jennifer told me, “We have always been business-oriented people. We both grew up around family businesses.” Jennifer started working with her father in his insurance office at the age of thirteen and her father-in-law was a contractor. This husband and wife team understands the importance of hard work and dedication!
“Work, work, work, work, work-hard, work-smart. It is not always about the money. The money will come. You have to understand the time it takes and you have to be dedicated.”
Brett had an opportunity to sell his business and the Cramer’s thought they would enjoy semi-retirement for a while. Once the computer business was sold they thought it would be ideal for them and the family to buy a little retail shop. The goal was to keep it very family friendly and have the children around. During this time, Brett’s fascination with salt grew from Holiday gifts to selling products on Amazon. Before they knew it, they had orders to fulfill and the retail shop would go by the wayside, for now.
- Taste the World of Salts
- The Spice Lab Pink Himalayan Crystal Bath Salt
- The Spice Lab Aloha Sea Salt Hawaiian Premium Gourmet Tasting Sample Salts Collection
- Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler 2 – Explore the World of Salts
Jennifer describes their partnership as “two halves make a whole.” Brett is the energetic one and Jennifer is slow and steady. The fact that they are opposites makes them a great team. Now that they have grown their business to (50) employees, she is proud her team is a “super tight-knit” family business. Frequently you will see the Cramer children running around and that is exactly how Jennifer wants it. Jennifer explained that they have many husband/wife duos, mother/son duos. In fact, her mother was her very first employee and her brother-in-law also works for the company. Jennifer feels that all the duos actually help with attendance.
Jennifer and Brett have created a family atmosphere, one that is fun and feels good. She wants people to want to come to work. Family is very important to Jennifer and she explained to me that when someone comes to work with her, they become part of the family. She told me a story about a young man who use to work for her but wanted to get his A/C license. Instead of holding him back from his dream, she encouraged him to make it happen. He would bike 20 miles to take classes. When he was finished the program, he needed help with his resume and turned to Jennifer. She was proud to say, “He received the first job he applied for.”
I asked her to give new entrepreneurs advice on what it takes to be successful. “Work, work, work, work, work-hard, work-smart. It is not always about the money. The money will come. You have to understand the time it takes and you have to be dedicated.”
Jennifer does have flexibility with her schedule but she explained she works a 2nd shift at night once the kids are tucked in. She expressed there wasn’t enough hours in the day and you have to just keep going.
This past October, the Cramer’s opened their 1st retail shop, which was almost a full seven (7) years after starting The Spice Lab. Her company is on track to make $10 million in revenue this year, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
Although Jennifer understands the value of work, she also stated that you have to have fun and you can’t be serious all the time. Jennifer doesn’t strive to be the most important person in the room; it’s about being part of a team, getting the project done, and making people happy.
Right now Jennifer is passionate about the retail shop. She loves projects and buying beautiful objects. I’m sure that is the Interior Designer in her. When I asked her about her future and what she wants to do next she simply replied, “Jennifer…just keeps moving forward.”
- Did you always believe in yourself? I have always had a good work ethic. I just keep moving forward no matter what until I get to the end. Does that mean believing in myself? If it is not, I think I would have given up long ago.
- Did you ever think about giving up? If so, what kept you pushing forward? Pure willpower keeps me moving forward. Just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
- If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? Regrets, I have had a few. I always try to do the right thing and the kind thing that way I do not keep myself up at night worrying about how I could have been better or done something differently.
- What are you extremely passionate about? My family, our business, and helping the underdog.
- If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? Get a business degree – you are going to need to learn a second language.
- What are your secrets of success? Teamwork, passion, and a great sense of humor. Somedays if you do not laugh about the “emergency” of the day, you will never get out from under.
- What do you like to do for fun? When I am not working, which is virtually every second of the day, I just like to settle in, watch TV, and forget my house cleaning needs.