Sarah Richards always had a creative streak. After graduating from the Crawford College of Art and Design, the young art student funded her fledgling painting projects through baking.
This newly discovered passionheralded a change in career for Sarah and she trained as a chef at Ballymaloe Cookery School. It was under the tutelage of the Allens that she discovered her love of bread making.
Fast forward ten years and three children later, Sarahrecently opened The Seagull Bakery, a small artisan sourdough bakery in Tramore, Co. Waterford.
From home-bakes in the kitchen to a busy town-centre bakery that produces hundreds of sourdough loaves, pastries and buns daily, Sarah’s journey in entrepreneurship was bolstered by assistance and advice from Waterford Local Enterprise Office.
“When I started baking, I had no idea where the business was going, I didn’t have a business plan or any long-term forecasts or projections, I just loved baking sourdough bread.”
“Baking at home and selling loaves at local farmer’s markets and festivals was the starting point. However, as demand for our sourdough grew, not just in Waterford but throughout the region, I realised we had a choice to make. Do we keep going as we are or do we commit to expanding, taking on new staff and investing in a new premises?”
“I met with Waterford LEO and the advice, assistance and support I received was invaluable. It took the fear and uncertainty out of expansion. While initially I felt a little out of my comfort zone, it gave me the confidence I needed to drive the business and take it to the next level.”
With the opening of the Seagull Bakery in September, Sarah now employs 3 bakers in the quaint artisan bakery.
“I have always said Waterford entrepreneurs, in particular those in the food industry, are almost zealous about providing the highest calibre of product. Sarah had the baking expertise and skills to create a wonderful product, and with some funding, mentoring and support from Waterford LEO, she was able to turn her passion into a successful enterprise.”