The Backstory

Julia Cohn

Growing up a runner, peanut butter has always been a staple of Julia Cohn’s diet. During her junior year of high school, Cohn began making homemade peanut butter from a recipe book called Run Fast, Eat Slow. What started out as a one-time fundraiser quickly became Cohn’s homemade peanut butter business called PB by J. When she first began her business, she would make her peanut butter in a food processor out of her apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now a senior in college, Cohn makes homemade coconut, vanilla, coffee peanut butter. Cohn makes her peanut butter out of pure vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, salt, and dry roasted peanuts.

The Process

Julia Cohn

Through her business, Cohn has created a relationship with CJ Dan Miller, a wholesale retailer from which Cohn purchases her peanuts in bulk. Each batch she makes creates three 8-ounce jars of peanut butter which each sell at nine dollars a jar. Aside from the presence of her friends while she makes the peanut butter, Cohn works alone. In terms of expanding her business, she expressed that she is not ready to give up the personal care and attention that goes into making each jar. Additionally, PB by J hand delivers each jar to its customers, a quality that Cohn feels is essential to her business. When she first began selling her homemade peanut butter, she typically sold to friends and with time, she started receiving orders from people she did not recognize.

Promoting Her Brand and Her Current Plans

At hopes of further expanding her business, Cohn recently created an Instagram account (@p.b_by_j) to further promote her product. Cohn's Instagram allows her to also share different ways her friends and customers enjoy eating her homemade peanut butter. Additionally, as a member of the University of Michigan Spoon University chapter, I was lucky enough to meet firsthand with Cohn, along with the other Spoon U members, at one of our meetings. It was so incredible to hear Cohn’s story and to receive an inside look into the creation and process behind Cohn's homemade peanut butter business, PB by J. Now, she currently sells her peanut butter locally to the Ann Arbor community and works to share her love for peanut butter with those in her community. If you are in Ann Arbor, you can order a jar of her delicious peanut butter at this link, and it will be delivered in 3-5 business days!