This newly discovered passion heralded 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, Sarah recently 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 three bakers in the quaint artisan bakery which supplies to customers, restaurants, cafes, artisan shops and farmers’ markets.
Mr. Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at Waterford Local Enterprise Office said “Sarah is the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit in Waterford. She had reached a stage with the business where the easiest and safest option would have been to keep going as is. However, like many a great entrepreneur she was passionate about her product and wasn’t afraid to fail, so she just went for it.”
“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.”
Since LEO Waterford opened its doors in Waterford and Dungarvan in 2014, almost 1,000 entrepreneurs have availed of the myriad of support services on offer from LEO Waterford helping them take their businesses to the next level.
As part of a network of 31 LEO’s across the country, Waterford LEO works with people thinking of starting or growing a business by giving them access to the full range of State supports from different Government bodies, such as Waterford City and County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Department of Social Protection, the Credit Review Office and training bodies.
If you are thinking of expanding your business, call Local Enterprise Office Waterford on 0761 102905 or call into the offices at 35 The Mall, Waterford or The Civic Offices, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
A list of LEO support services is also available on www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford