Business graduate’s jam is a recipe for success

For 26-year-old University of Chester Business Studies graduate Sajmira Cairns, what started out as an age old family recipe has sparked the sweet smell of success, for herself and her husband Andrew.

Originally from Albania, Sajmira, pictured above who graduated in 2009 with a first class honours degree was inspired to create ‘Mammy Jamia’s’, an unusual range of premium preserves, after Andrew received some jars as a gift from her mother, Jamia, in her home country. “My mother has been making jam for her friends and family for a very long time,” said Sajmira. “What struck us were the unusual but very tasty flavours that my mother created; fig as well as apple and pear. We took some to Andrew’s family in Liverpool to see what they thought and they also loved them.”

This got Sajmira and Andrew thinking and after conducting some research at local supermarkets, the couple who live in Eastham, Wirral, discovered that none of the supermarkets they had visited sold the flavours of preserve that Andrew had been given by Mammy Jamia. “We had the recipe but not the skills to make jam. We decided to send the recipes to an established producer to have some made which we would then try and sell in a local indoor market in Ellesmere Port. We got 600 jars made and every Saturday morning for seven weeks we went along and set up a stall. We sold all 600 jars in that time! “We collected questionnaires asking people what they thought of the flavours, the price and whether they would buy the product if it was on a shelf in a supermarket. The feedback that we got was extremely positive.” The entrepreneurial couple believed in their product so much so that they contacted as many supermarkets as they could supplying free samples for them to try.

Eventually to their delight, they were invited to Sainsbury’s Head Office in London to pitch to the Head of Preserve Buying. “We did a great pitch and the buyer really loved ‘Mammy Jamia’s’. She told us that we had a fantastic product and that all we needed to do was create some suitable commercial labels. We went away and did just that, and after a second pitch and lots of hard work, Sainsbury’s agreed to stock Mammy Jamia’s in 216 stores nationwide. “Sales have been really encouraging so far. We hope to get a national listing and then who knows what next!”

Locally, Mammy Jamia’s is on sale at Sainsbury’s Rice Lane, Bootle, East Prescot Road, Knotty Ash, Cheshire Oaks, Warrington, Ellesmere Port, and Chester.

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