Name: Rachel Morgan.

Age: 32.

What is your business called?

Twelve Triangles. The name was inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem.

Where is it based?


What does it produce, what services does it offer?

We are an artisan bakery making sourdough breads and pastries: from loaves and croissants to a range of seasonal doughnuts and other treats. Each of our three outlets has a bakery counter and small café area.

To whom does it sell?

Mainly we sell through our own shops based in Leith and Portobello, Edinburgh. Both are very residential areas so we have a lot of daily customers popping in for a loaf of bread and a coffee.

We also sell to a few high-end restaurants and wholesale customers including Hawksmoor, The Little Chartroom and the Iain Mellis cheese shops.

What is its turnover? £800,000.

How many employees? 22.

When was it formed?

I first took on the bakery site in 2011 making wholesale cakes. The business grew gradually but it wasn’t until 2015 that we decided that actually what we really wanted to focus on was high-quality sourdough breads and viennoisserie.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I’ve always been interested in food and while I was at university I worked at Edinburgh Farmers Market but my professional background is actually costume design.

After training in this, I worked in London at the Soho theatre. The nature of theatre work is that it can be sporadic so needs to be supplemented with other work so I always had other cookery jobs on the go at the same time.

Eventually I grew to love the food and drink work more than the day job and decided to return to Edinburgh. I did a course at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, followed by private chef work: catering for house parties, shooting parties, dinner parties etc. When I applied for permanent jobs, I was given the head baker job at Cuckoos Bakery in Edinburgh.

This was a new start so I worked on all the recipe development before starting my own bakery and tearoom, Lovecrumbs, in the Old Town.

The focus here was very much on cakes with everything baked for the shop from our bakery with an emphasis on sweet treats. When we started, no one else in the city was doing this kind of thing. There was a gap in the market. Now a lot more small independent bakeries and coffee shops are baking like this.

I left that business and started work on Twelve Triangles in 2014. After a period of research, and recipe development, we opened the doors to our Brunswick Road shop in March 2015.

My business partner Emily and I had a lot of conversations about creating a bakery with real longevity.

We had started baking more sourdough and wanted an outlet that could produce and sell high- quality breads and pastries without improvers, stabilisers etc. The emphasis was to be on baking bread that people could buy daily.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

A combination of a small bank loan and personal funds. Bakery equipment isn’t cheap so there was a lot of scrabbling around for second-hand equipment: we got our first bakery oven from someone’s garage in the east end of Glasgow!

What was your biggest break?

It felt like everything had really shifted around the end of last year when I realised that we had outgrown our bakery. Getting to the stage where you are at capacity, making as much as you possibly can is both brilliant and terrifying.

What was your worst moment?

Working through a 30-hour shift! It had been one of those days where everything had gone wrong: I’d started at 4am, kept powering on through the day and then went out on deliveries again the following morning, going home to bed around 10am on the following day. After that I realised it was time to get another baker on board.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I really don’t like sitting still so constantly having a task to be doing or exploring the possibilities of a new project is probably what I enjoy most about it – there’s always a to-do list.

What do you least enjoy?

Trying to balance everything, juggling a growing business and balancing a family life is hard.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We are currently in the process of expanding the bakery and opening a fourth shop later in the summer. The longer-term plan is to create a teaching space so we can pass on what we’ve learnt about bread over the last four years to our customers.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish Governments do that would help?

I’d really welcome a changed attitude to the way local government treats small businesses. I feel that some regulations have become so punitive they are simply a way of raising money through fines. City of Edinburgh Council, for example, gives just a two-hour window to businesses in the city centre for putting out their bins.

It has also recently banned businesses from putting out A-board on pavements. These are a simple, cheap and effective way of signposting your business and really do make a difference.

Our Brunswick Road store is just off the main thoroughfare of Leith Walk and although we’re lucky in that we’ve built up a loyal customer base, it’s the kind of thing that can make a real difference for newer businesses trying to cut through and get themselves known.

What is the most valuable lesson that I have learnt?

Don’t pay too much attention to what other people are doing. Don’t be afraid of making unpopular decisions for the good of your business. Grow a really thick skin.

How do you relax?

With difficulty and wine.