Five Minutes With Amy Simpson

Amy Simpson is the creator of Paddington Jams & Sauces, a range of traditional jams and condiments with a new-age twist, which came about after a COVID-19 redundancy. Fortunately, this little venture has seen success and reached its first birthday, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the local community.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I have had so many wonderful experiences, created some really happy memories and still have so much to look forward to in life. My husband, Tom, works in the mining industry in a fly-in-fly-out role so he is home one week on, one week off. Which means every second week I am flying solo with our two energetic, ‘mostly’ well behaved children who are six and eight years old. We live in really social neighbourhood in a renovated Queenslander home in the beautiful Brisbane suburb of—you guessed it—Paddington.

I feel really fortunate to live in a home and a community where I feel so comfortable with wonderful friends and loved ones. My people are my everything and the best way I know how to enjoy spending time with my people is through entertaining. Being together, sharing a laugh and a drink over an epic cheese platter or lovingly prepared meal makes me smile just thinking about it.

Tell us about Paddington Jams & Sauces:

Paddington Jams & Sauces offers locally produced, small batch jams and sauces that are unique from any mainstream alternatives. All of our products are produced with love for homegrown, wholesome goodness. We offer all of the traditional flavours that you come to know and love in a jam and sauce with a little bit of a fun, contemporary twist.

How did the business start?

Paddington Jams & Sauces was created during our first wave of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. I had just been made redundant from a new role in the tourism industry so decided I needed to take up a new hobby to get me through the chaos of being stuck in lockdown with the kids.

I’ve always been quite creative in the kitchen; one of those people who rarely follows a recipe. I love to explore using different flavour sensations and that’s why I decided making my own jams and sauces would be a great new adventure for me. After supplying our neighbours and friends with a few variations, I started to realise how much of a demand there was for locally produced, small batch condiments.

I then caught wind of how the Brisbane City Council were waiving the fee for food licence applications in support of local, small businesses, so I lodged an application and from there everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place.

What did you do for work previously?

My background is predominately in the sales & marketing industries. Having experience in these two fields has really been a massive contributor to my business’ success. It has meant that I have able to keep my labour costs down by creating aspects like the website, the label, collateral & brand design and to launch my social media channels.

Where does your inspiration for different flavours come from?

Jams in particular always seem to offer really wonderful memories for a lot of people. When I chat to people about my jams, they recount stories of making jam with their grandmother from fruit grown in their backyard, for instance. The taste of really great jam really can trigger memories from happy times shared with loved ones. And I like that—anything that sparks joy into people’s lives and onto their plate fills me with a great deal of happiness.

Each of the flavours I create typically have some personal connection. For example, I refer to Bloody Mary Cocktails as my ‘flying cocktail’. As my husband is English, whenever we fly long-haul to England, I always seem to find myself craving a ‘flying cocktail’ during our stopover. I’ve just found it to be something that is now a tradition for me and it just fills me with comfort and wonderful flavours (and takes the edge off the jet lag too). With travel being off the cards at the moment, I realised that it had been quite a long time between drinks. So, creating a Bloody Mary Ketchup was my nod to travel. It was my way of acknowledging the fact that it really sucks we can’t see our family in the UK at the moment but that there is hope and this is all just temporary.

How do you sell your products (online store for example)?

I have a website where customers can order online and have the goods sent to them directly. Our products are also stocked in a variety of outlets in South East Queensland.

Meat at Billy’s in Rosalie and Ashgrove for instance have been really supportive. Billy and his wife Sarah have been so kind to me and have really gotten behind our products. We have even started doing a regular ‘Village Pop-Up” in Rosalie Village where we invite other small businesses, similar to mine, to come and showcase their products together. These pop-ups have been such a game-changer for my business and that’s something that could never have happened without Billy & Sarah’s support. I truly believe that they just want to continue to help see small, local businesses thrive.

How many businesses now stock your products?

I currently stock a dozen products but that number is constantly changing. I also offer seasonal releases such as a Traditional Fruit Mince that I did last Christmas that I plan to do again this year.

What are your favourite ingredients to work with?

Chilli. I just love chilli. But I feel it’s important to find the right balance with chilli. I’m not a ‘blow your head off’ kind of chilli lover. I just love cooking with chilli because it adds so much to any creation.

Is there a stand-out product people keep coming back for?

Hands down it’s the Red Hot Chilli Jam. It does pack quite the punch but I feel that I got the balance right with the sweetness. What’s more, it can be enjoyed in so many different ways—on a cheese platter, in a toasted sanger, with a barbie—it’s a definite crowd-pleaser every single time.

What are your plans for the future of your venture?

PJ&S has got a massive six months with even bigger plans into 2022. The amount of interest I’ve had from so many different businesses is just mind-blowing.

There have been some really exciting conversations lately, it’s a little too early to reveal just yet but watch this space!

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