Name: Alasdair Corbett.

Age: 35.

What is your business called?

Easter Greens.

Where is it based?

We have two shops in Edinburgh and an online store.

What services does it offer?

100 per cent plant-based groceries. This means that everything we sell is suitable for vegans. We offer an extensive and growing range of around 1,600 products including fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen items such as meat and dairy alternatives, store cupboard essentials like pasta, rice and tinned goods, speciality items such as our gluten free range, and even toiletries and cleaning products.

Our refillable products are very popular allowing people to bring their own containers and fill them with cleaning products, shampoos, or dry goods such as beans, raisins and porridge oats.This is a great way to reuse containers and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

To whom does it sell?

We have two shops in Edinburgh serving the local communities in Easter Road and Morningside. When the country went into lockdown in March 2020 we were able to adapt how we worked very quickly. By the next day we had a website up and running that allowed our customers to place click and collect orders. We offer local deliveries across Edinburgh. Our online sales have taken off and we are now working on offering a shipping service to the whole of the UK.

What is its turnover?

£700,000 per annum and growing. We have ambitious plans to open two shops every year and expand out of Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland and beyond.

How many employees?


When was it formed?

August 2019.

Why did you take the plunge?

I decided to start following a vegan lifestyle in 2017 and was finding it really difficult when shopping for groceries. The choices were limited, particularly for meat and dairy alternatives, and I’d spend a lot of time reading ingredient labels. Speaking to other vegans I found that they were having the same problem and realised that there could be a demand for a fully vegan shop.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Managing the volunteers at the shop and cafe in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

I had some savings set aside which I put into the business and also approached the bank with my business plan and was approved for a small startup loan.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I have a great team and I love being able to help them develop and grow, not just within the business but within themselves. Knowing that their success and happiness is the key to the business being successful keeps me focused on putting people at the centre of everything.

What do you least enjoy?

I find dealing with paperwork and doing bookkeeping extremely dull but I’ve learned that some people just love this kind of thing. I’ve found that acknowledging people’s strengths and supporting them to do something they enjoy so that I can focus on areas that work for me is a great strategy for productivity.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We have exciting plans for growth over the next few years which include expanding our online operations and opening more shops. The most important thing for me through this will be to focus on the people involved. So, when new customers visit our shops it’s because their friends have told them it’s the best place to shop for groceries with very friendly and helpful staff. Also, when people apply on spec to work for us it’s because they’ve been told by existing employees that it’s a great place to work.

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

Any support that the governments can provide to help people in to work would be welcomed, particularly now. A lot of this kind of support is channelled through larger businesses so it would be great to see more support for small businesses to provide opportunities and training for people to find employment and help boost their career prospects

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

I’ve been working with a business consultant, Ewan Menzies from Castle Strategy, to help with the strategic growth of the business. He has helped me really focus on the future and taking up that leadership role rather than the manager role. He has taught me the importance of focussing on outcomes rather than simply being busy on tasks. If you’re spending all of your time dealing with the day-to-day minutiae then who’s looking after the big picture and the growth of your business? Answer: no one.

How do you relax?

Outside of working on my business I like to spend time with my husband travelling to new places. We absolutely love food and get very excited about trying out new restaurants, either at home in Edinburgh or overseas when we travel. Nowadays there are so many choices to eat out for vegans from independent fully vegan restaurants to big chains offering more and more new vegan options on their menus.

It’s a great time to be vegan!