Hi, my name is Sam Keohane and I am the Owner and Founder of The Liverpool Jam Company. I became a Stamptastic Customer in 2017 and Fran asked me to write a little Blog piece about my Company, how it came about and my plans for the future.
First and foremost I am a Mum of 3 girls and I live in South Liverpool with my lovely Husband Quentin. Throughout my early years of Motherhood I worked full time for a very large IT Corporation as an IT Consultant, Project Manager and Consulting Delivery Manager. I was extremely busy, tired out and we had very little time together as a family as each week was taken up with working, travelling and getting ready to do it all again the next week. The impending arrival of my third baby meant that it was time for a little bit of Maternity Leave; I put my feet up and waited for her to arrive. Once she was here, time flew as it usually does and it was almost time for me to go back to work when the opportunity arose to take redundancy. I just stopped everything right then and there for the first time since I was 16 I was "Unemployed" a "Stay at Home Mum" a "Housewife". I really thought I might like this, but I lasted less than a week before I decided I needed something to do most urgently.
I knew a couple of things. I had spent a great deal of time and energy over the years taking care of other peoples business and I knew how to run a business. I had often dreamt that one day I would start my own and decided that this was my opportunity. However, the reality was I had 3 children aged 7 and below and for the next 5 years I had a below school age child to care for and little or no way to fund childcare, I needed to do something that fitted around all of that.
When setting up a new Business people often say to do something that you love or something that you know really well or that is individual to you. I have always loved cooking and catering for large groups, and had often thought of starting a Catering Business. This was not the time to do something so ambitious but I felt there was something in this idea. I started a Blog, and every day wrote about what was going on in my kitchen and what I had been making. One day a particular Blog I wrote was about Chilli Pepper Jam, I was making it as Christmas Gifts as I often did and I realised that perhaps there was something in this type of Product that could be saleable.
I started to brainstorm all of the Preserves that I knew how to make and had made over the years. They included Blackberry & Apple Jam, Lemon & Apple Curd, Cucumber Pickle as well as the Chilli Pepper Jam. I started to do Market Research in my local area to see how many people were doing something similar, what their products looked like and what gaps there were in the market. I could see that there was very little competition in Liverpool for a product with ingredients sourced as locally as possible and sold at an affordable price.
I set about completing a Food Business Registration and on 21 March 2013 I received my Environmental Health Rating (which is 5* by the way). I called my Business, 'Mrs K's Kitchen Company' as that had been the name of my Blog and I after all, am Mrs K. I put on the label that the product was 'Lovingly made in Liverpool'. I also applied for an allotment to start growing my own produce and just a month later one became available and I really felt that this idea was coming together. In my first year I attended Table Sales, School Fairs and other small local events and by the end of 2013 I had my first big customer who I still supply today, this was the catalyst to change my business idea into a viable business.
In 2017 I re-branded as The Liverpool Jam Company - Lovingly made in Liverpool in Mrs K's Kitchen. My USP is Liverpool, I source as many of my ingredients in Liverpool, Merseyside and the North West and all of my Products are made here. I am very proud of this City, its so amazing to be part of the constantly evolving independent food and drink industry here. My Business has really shifted from selling at Artisan, Farmers and Makers Markets to selling online and supplying other local independent businesses in around Liverpool and Merseyside. I continue to work really hard to source the best and most local ingredients. I have a network of fantastic friends and clients who provide me with produce from their own gardens and allotments in exchange for Jam and Chutney. I also have partnerships with other small businesses, which this year resulted in a Stout brewed with my Damson and Gin Jam!
As far as the future goes, my aim is to keep making a high quality product, by hand in my own home kitchen. Logistics and storage are always challenging! I would also like to further develop my Gift range, as this is something that is really popular and unique to me. I use my wonderful Stamptastic Bespoke Stamp to customise the gift boxes and I am known for my hand tied bows that really make an eye-catching display. I would also like to help other people who have been in a similar situation to me to setup their own small businesses through mentoring or providing opportunities for them to market their products and sell them in affordable way. Basically though, I am just going to make Jam and be happy and #loveyourjam.