A CRAFT baker is looking to take on an apprentice just two months after opening her first retail premises.

Caroline Walsh had been working on the plans for Archipelago Artisan Bakery for around a year before getting it fully up and running in February.

Now Ms Walsh, formerly a head baker at Loudons and with experience of working in Europe, expects to take someone on "soon" so allow her to work on further business development opportunities in the wider wholesale arena.

She said: "There is huge demand for what I am doing and people are really passionate about it. I need to make sure that on a daily basis I am getting x amount of money before I can take someone else on but I will take on someone quite soon.

"That is the next step to take on an apprentice and train them up on the methods that I use."

Ms Walsh also indicated a move to a larger site is part of the longer term plan for the business.

She admits to having been surprised by the demand for her bread, savoury tarts and cakes, which are all handmade each day with organic flour, from customers passing her premises on Queen Street in Edinburgh.

Alongside the retail operation the wholesale side of the business is also starting to take off.

That is being driven by an increasing demand from local cafes and delicatessens particularly for gluten-free and other allergen-free products.

Ms Walsh, who goes round establishments dropping off samples herself, said: "The business is 60% wholesale and 40% retail at the moment. We are getting more and more cafes, coffee shops and delis which want my stuff.

"The allergen-free market is a big one. No one really seems to be catching on and doing gluten-free."

She was backed in setting up the venture by Royal Bank of Scotland.

Euan Reynolds, RBS business relationship manager, said: "It's early days but I have no doubt that with her passion for baking, Caroline will make the Archipelago Bakery a success."