A businesswoman who studied at the University of Chester has sold hundreds of thousands of pots of jam which began with her mum’s mouthwatering recipe.
Sajmira Cairns, 31, grew up eating fig, pear and apple jams on toast made with fruit from her parents’ garden in Albania.
The former student moved to Merseyside a decade ago, where she met her husband - and it was his first visit to her parents’ house in Albania where the business idea first emerged.
Andrew Cairns, 39, was so impressed by how tasty his mother-in-law’s three jams that he took some home for his own family and began looking in supermarkets for anything similar.
When the couple realised there was nothing like it available in Britain, they decided to try their hand at selling it themselves.
The pots went down a storm at the weekly market stall they set up in Ellesmere Port, selling out in seven weeks.
They launched themselves as Mammy Jamia’s in 2010, named after Mrs Cairns’ mum Jamia, and sent Kent food firm Bennett Opie the magic recipe to make 200 pots each of fig, pear and apple jams.
Mrs Cairns, who had just finished a business studies course, was so encouraged by feedback on her questionnaires that the couple decided to approach supermarkets.
Sainsbury’s invited them to their head office and agreed to order thousands of pots, and the business really began to take off.
The couple said since then they have sold more than 400,000 pots across Britain, with the jams currently on sale in Waitrose, Booths, El Corte Ingles and in gift sets on the Mammy Jamia’s website.
Andrew’s brother, Matt Cairns - a Chester-based ex-rugby player for Harlequins and England - also joined the firm after his professional retirement, alongside his wife Sophie.
The two couples manage the firm on top of their other jobs, with Sajmira working at Liverpool finance firm Plus Group and Andrew working in medical sales.
Their range now includes raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, fig, plum, ginger, apple, pear, greengage and quince preserves.
They have also branched out into salad dressings, with flavours including balsamic and fig, balsamic and strawberry, and plum and ginger.
They said their next move will be into a new range of pasta sauces - so it will not just be jam tomorrow.