The Epsom Bakehouse offers hands-on bread making classes, expertly led by skilled baker and founder Rhiannon Abbott.
Based in Epsom, the Bakehouse offers classes including:
- Introduction to Bread Making
- Introduction to Italian Breads
- Sourdough Baking
- Festive Baking
The classes have proved extremely popular so far, and previous students have left a number of positive, detailed reviews complimenting both the classes and Rhiannon as a teacher.
With prices starting at £90 per class, the Epsom Bakehouse promises its students will leave with armfuls of fresh-baked loaves, and the confidence to bake bread at home.
Customers can also benefit from joining Rhiannon’s growing Facebook Group, Bake Bread At Home, where tips and baking recipes are shared with the online community. .
We chatted to Rhiannon as part of our #WomenInSMEs campaign to find out more.
1. Hi Rhiannon, can you start by telling us why you founded The Epsom Bakehouse?
Setting up my own business came out of the blue. I’d become unhappy in my previous career in local government policy. Having left a job at the end of 2012, I was working in a temporary administrative role when I came across the Bread Angels training course. The two day course helped to improve my bread making skills, and taught me the basics of establishing a bread bakery business from home.
My first sales came at a market stall in my local town centre – I sold 70% of my breads that day and The Epsom Bakehouse was born. However, it was quite unlike anything I’d ever done before! This early success motivated me to secure a spot at my local Farmers Market and I began selling my bread to a growing and loyal group of customers.
In 2014, I expanded my business to offer bread making classes, having completed further training with the Bread Angels. My first class was a revelation - I absolutely loved teaching and sharing my knowledge and skills with the students! Today, I focus solely on teaching a range of bread making classes. I run small, friendly, hands-on classes where there is plenty of time to answer questions. I also now teach people to set up their own bread baking business from home, just as Bread Angels taught me.
2. That sounds amazing, I would love to learn how to make my own bread. How easy was it to gain traction and grow your business?
Online marketing has played a huge part in growing my business. I have learnt as I go to use the major social networks and my website to advertise my business and build a community around it. This includes establishing and managing an online network of over 1,300 home bread bakers with which I share recipes and tips. Growing my business online has also inspired me to set up a second business, Purple Loaf, to help other small and start up food businesses get found more easily online.
3. And what would you say have been your major challenges?
Of course, there have been challenges along the way. Running a business is a constant learning curve. I’ve taken on everything from managing my own website, sourcing teaching venues, to marketing the business. I’ve also become very good at problem solving, and have learnt the importance of having a good support network which I can turn to for advice when I’m faced with a new issue.
That would be my key piece of advice to anyone starting out too – build your support network early and don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you do, you’ll likely find many small business owners who have faced similar issues and can offer advice and support. It’s important to encourage other women considering starting their own businesses, and I will always endeavour to do this however I can.
4. Thanks Rhiannon, could you tell us why you wanted to get involved with our campaign?
Being a mum to two young girls now, I want to encourage them to believe that they can do, and achieve, anything that they set their hearts on. Having strong female role models will only help me do that, and that’s why I support campaigns such as #WomeninSMEs.
Connect With The Epsom Bakehouse
Facebook: The Epsom Bakehouse
Youtube: The Epsom Bakehouse