Jasmine bakes love in a jar

July 3, 2023

When Jasmine Hill whipped up her first cheesecake-in-a-jar, it was a love letter to the grandmothers she’d just lost.

Today, she shares that love with the community and beyond through her business, Jars by Jas.

Jasmine is graduate and second place pitch winner of the spring 2023 Entrepreneur Rising Academy cohort, a graduate of Greater West Dayton Incubator’s Urban Elevation Accelerator, a Dayton Score mentee, and multi-year Startup Week attendee.

We recently caught up with her to learn more about her business.

Introduce yourself — who are you and what is your company?

My name is Jasmine Hill. I am a Dayton Ohio native and natural born entrepreneur. Jars by Jas is my dessert catering business where we currently offer cheesecake in a jar.

How did your company start?

My business started December 2019, after the loss of two grandmothers and the birth of my son. Jars by Jas is a fusion of my grandmas’ famous dessert recipes packed conveniently in a mason jar. To cope with the passings and being a new parent, I thought about the feeling of comfort of being at Grandma’s house. I remember sipping iced tea, eating jalapeños and olives, catching fire flies in a mason jar. The glass brought a special element that resonated with my customers. They began asking me to bring jars to small gatherings and sell them at parties. When the pandemic occurred, I had finally felt a true connection with my son due to the time off work. I hadn’t realized my maladaptive behavior patterns. I knew the “I’ll sleep when I die” mentality. But I was now a mom, and something had to change.

Why this idea?

Through the pandemic, my business grew by bringing so many people joy in such an unpromising time. My customers hold my jars close to their hearts, and tell me how delicious they are. I know I have shared love, comfort, and nostalgic vibes! Now, being able to offer this to customers through event and curbside catering has helped me spread the Jars by Jas mission and vision.

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

ABSOLUTELY. I have always been a shot caller! I started working very young, and that eventually led to an identity crisis. When people asked where I’m working “now,” I would get so upset. It felt like everyone had their lives together while I was behind. Truth was, and is, comparison will only box you in. I was a number, and I felt muted and docile working in factories and in corporate. I never fit working for anyone else because it wasn’t me, and that’s okay. At five years old, I remember walking with my momma and pointing at a building downtown. “Mom, what’s that long word up there?” I asked. She spelled it out then said, “It’s someone who has their own business and make the rules, like Kimora Lee.” I told her “I am an entrepreneur.” It took me a moment to reconnect with that childlike faith, but I’m here.

The Launch Dayton community values are: 1. Be Bold 2. All Are Welcome 3. People First 4. Give First 5. Remove Barriers. How do you embody one or more of these values?

My entrepreneurship journey has been nothing short of a faith journey. Life is honestly a shared human experience. Stepping out on faith by starting Jars by Jas was not easy because my mind had to change. However, it has given me a sense of grace that I can extend to others. I am constantly learning and being refined. I’ve been places I’d never imagined, met great people and interviewed so many small businesses. I really want those who are scared to start to understand your dreams are tangible.

What identities or life experiences do you bring to entrepreneurship that helped prepare you for this lifestyle?

Prior to starting my business I really had to hone in on some things about myself. I don’t like wasting my time or my energy. The importance of getting things done means everything to me. Loosing loved ones is a humbling experience because it makes you question what you invest your time in and if that fits into the bigger picture. There should be a some kind of call to action when people say “you only get one life,” but after you hear that so many times, it sounds so cliche. You cannot allow for circumstances to make or break you. Knowing there will always be something I need to do as a business owner keeps me mindful of how I SPEND and INVEST my time, energy and money! I’m from Residence Park, Kings Mill Court, and Parkside. Pushing through and knowing I’m fully equipped for any season has kept my focus sharp. Traveling and putting my phone down has kept me centered as well, in that I’ve learned to quiet the noise around me. Focus on the present, instead of what’s next.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced on your entrepreneur journey?

Funding and financials are the biggest factors to solidifying my foundation for my business. This a constant learning process, and I’m glad I was able to get some help in the Entrepreneur Rising Academy program.

How was your program experience?

My experience was great! I would definitely recommend! Launch Dayton has provided so many networking opportunities and vending opportunities with my business.

Why do you love what you do?

Jars by Jas is not only catering heavenly and delicious cheesecake in a jar, we create an experience worth holding on to. Customers love buying jars for family and friends, nothing’s sweeter than passing the love along.

What advice would you offer fellow or aspiring entrepreneurs?

GO FOR IT!! If you think making a logo is hard, download Canva! Not sure about taxes, contact Emerald Sparks. If you have a business in need of refinement, contact Reginald Henderson or the GWDI. Basically, resources are out there!

How can the Launch Dayton community support you?

I need mentorship with food truck operations and financials right now.

Connect with Jas online @jarsbyjas.

Curious is Entrepreneur Rising Academy is a fit for you? Learn more and apply for our summer 2023 cohort here!