My Early Hour: Jake Schneider, Jake’s London spreads

jakes spreads

“I started by mucking around with a few breakfast spread recipes – trying to create the most marmaladey-marmalade, trying to recreate a spreadable version of a cinnamon Danish.” Jake’s London was born. We meet the skating, music and breakfast-obsessed founder, Jake Schneider…

Jake Schneider, 26, lives in St Albans with his girlfriend Victoria.

What’s your home like?
Small and peaceful. Our home centres around two things: eating and listening to music. Whilst I hate our dingy little kitchen, I love our living space – especially as that’s where our record player is. It sits on a table made by my grandad for my dad (and his record player/records). We also have lots of artwork from an illustrator called Ian Johnson who creates amazing illustrations of old jazz musicians.

What time are you up in the morning?
6.00am on the dot.

What wakes you up?
My belly usually. Followed my brain reminding me of everything I need to do that day.

How do you feel?
I would say I’m a morning person so I’m usually quite motivated in the morning, anxious to get up and start getting on.

What do you do first thing?
Put the record player on. I’ve always lived in a house where music is playing and so it doesn’t feel like the flat is awake until that record players turned on.

jakes spreads

In three words, describe mornings in your home?

Tea or coffee?
Coffee, I get bags of the current house roast at Daily Goods in Camberwell, which always changes so it never gets boring.

How might the rest of your day pan out?
I work best (after breakfast) in the morning so I tend to work from early morning until mid-afternoon. After that all I am good for is burning some energy so I’ll try and do some exercise with my preference being to go out on my skateboard if the sun is shining. Then my mind will be on dinner and what to cook.

What’s your workspace like?
In terms of the kitchen where all our products are made, we share a commercial kitchen unit in West London. it’s pretty standard, i.e. big, clean and well equipped – there are a number of small businesses there so it’s a great little community. We also have a little DAB radio that I re-purposed (stole) from my girlfriend, which keeps us going!

Tell us about your business…
JAKE’S was initiated along with two of my closest friends (Arun Gogna and Tobias Bschorr) who are partners in the business. I had worked in food for a few years and was becoming more and more disillusioned by the products and brands that were being created.

At the time we were going for breakfast a lot together and didn’t feel like there were any brands creating products that matched the creativity shown by the inner-city bakeries that were sprouting up. I started by mucking around with a few breakfast spread recipes – trying to create the most marmaladey-marmalade, trying to recreate a spreadable version of a cinnamon Danish etc. Whilst I’m bias, Arun and Tobias were creating some of the most exciting design work I had seen for a while and I’d always wanted to see what designers of their calibre would do with a food brand and so the penny dropped.

The last piece of the puzzle was the inspiration behind the branding. We were all really keen music lovers and particularly enjoyed early bluenote jazz records – they played a big part of everything we love from early skateboarding videos to hiphop samples and most importantly how putting a record on played an important role in creating the perfect weekend breakfast occasion. As soon as it clicked it was obvious to take inspiration from the amazing photos, type and design featured on bluenote covers for our brand.

Once we were setup we were given a chance by two small independents in London in Daily Goods (Camberwell) and Hucks (Walthamstow) and we’ve grown from there and now we are one year old.

jakes spreads

What’s the greatest challenge when running your own business?
For us, it’s trying to prioritise. There is always something you could be doing and opportunities you could be taking advantage of so it’s about trying to do what you can whilst ensuring the quality remains high.
We love everything that makes JAKE’S what it is, from the breakfast mixtapes we release (link on our site) to the zines we put out and the product we make. We want it all to be of the highest quality and created with thought and the ideal breakfast in mind.

What makes it all worthwhile?
Hearing from people who love our products and seeing our jars on shelves.

Are there aspects of the production that you delegate to others?
No. Everything is made by us, by hand, in London.

Three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
No one works for free.
Trust your instinct.
Enjoy yourself.

Are you a happy lone worker, or do you enjoy the buzz of a shared workspace?
I can’t work in silence and need the process of bouncing ideas off other people, which is why I love working on new ideas with Arun and Tobias. However, I get distracted really easily, even lyrics in music can interrupt my thought flow hence why I listen to so much jazz. So I like to take myself away when I need to get things done.

What’s the secret to career success?
I don’t think there is a secret, just have fun and work hard. I was once given a career talk by Sean Summers (marketing director at Twinings tea) who said something that really resonated with me and that was ‘you spend too much time at work not to have fun’. In my experience, people who take themselves and what they do too seriously are usually not motivated by the things that really matter. Plus, it’s a given that nothing comes without hard work.

At the moment I’m craving the vibrancy of an unfamiliar city, perhaps New York with its Jewish delis, massive record stores and great skate scene

Is the juggle real for you… do you find it difficult balancing relationship/me-time/time for friends/career?
I wouldn’t say so, obviously running a small business can be a strain but I’m really lucky to work with two of my best friends. Some of our most productive meetings are when we just meet up for a skate, it’s when we’ve develop some of our best ideas but doesn’t feel like work. Working with food is what I love doing so spending time in the kitchen isn’t ever draining, plus I’ve got a very understanding girlfriend!

Describe an ideal weekend?
An early breakfast by the record player with my girlfriend in our joggers, bacon sandwiches with our Salted Butter Set-Honey and a cup of coffee. Some nice warm weather. Meeting the boys early for a skate around the city when it’s quiet, maybe taking in a trip to the record store Honest Jons in Portabello Road or Reckless in Soho, followed by a few beers. Then a day of relaxation with my girlfriend Victoria, a long walk followed by some time in the kitchen to prepare a proper meal – something that takes a little while to cook and that we can enjoy for the rest of the week, like a nice slow-cooked beef brisket with slaw.

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
The answer to this question changes every day. At the moment I’m craving the vibrancy of an unfamiliar city, perhaps New York with its Jewish delis, massive record stores and great skate scene. Otherwise, I have a trip planned to Sri Lanka with Victoria and I can’t wait for all the sunshine, fresh fruit and finally getting to see where all the Ceylon cinnamon we buy is grown!

Any other comments?
Shouts to all our friends and family and especially to anyone who has supported us as we’ve grown.