Lincoln International Business School graduate, Shannon Riglin, launches new bakery business.
Shannon, who studied MSc Fashion Management, explains how her passion for baking led to her launching her own business: Tiffin and Co Bakehouse during lockdown.
What led you to start up your own business?
I had just finished my Master’s degree at University of Lincoln, we were in the middle of a global pandemic and I wanted something to invest my passions into, whilst being able to juggle looking after my young daughter.
I’ve thought about working for myself for quite a few years as I prefer a leadership/managerial role and I am quite a creative person, so I love having freedom within my work, but I’ve always found a reason not to take the plunge. I learnt a lot in relation to business and management during my MSc and I finally had the confidence and self-belief to start my own business.
Even whilst studying my MSc, I didn’t know what route I wanted to take with my career, but baking is something I have always been passionate about and I have worked in the food industry for many years (so I already had half an idea about what it would entail!)
Were there any challenges that stood in your way?
Definitely! Time is a huge constraint for me personally, as I do have other commitments as well as work. So, it has been a case of putting in the work at any time of day or night that I can.
Self-belief and confidence to take the leap has been a barrier for me for a long time. However, I found this grew during my studies when I realised I did actually have strengths in different areas and my passion of business and management was one that I actually knew quite a bit about.
A specific challenge to starting up my business (which I’m sure many are experiencing) has been sourcing suppliers for materials, due to factors such as Covid, Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage, etc. It’s made it much more difficult than it should have been, but these are all factors you need to consider when starting a business.
What is your day-to-day like?
Busy! Owning your own business entails a lot more than meets the eye.
On a daily basis I run every aspect of the business from baking to packaging products, cleaning, ordering, creating social media content, website maintenance, accounting, stock checks, daily paperwork and food hygiene requirements such as staying on top of allergen information etc.
Setting up and growing a new business is very time consuming and the work honestly never ends, some days are great and others you question your choices, which is why it’s so important to do something you’re passionate about.
What made you choose your University course?
I studied Business as my undergraduate degree with the Open University, then studied MSc Fashion Management at University of Lincoln.
I didn’t know exactly what route I wanted to take in my career, and it wasn’t until my undergraduate graduation that I started looking into doing my Master’s degree.
I chose fashion management as it was something I had studied at A Level which I really enjoyed and did well in. The creativity of the subject really appeals to me and I also liked that it tied in the business and management aspects, including marketing, consumer behaviour, event planning and strategy aspects, so it kept my options open. The complex business of fashion is something I’m really passionate about and would love to return to in the future.
How has the skills/knowledge learned from your course helped you to launch your business?
My self-confidence grew hugely whilst studying my MSc, I started to believe in myself and without this, I would never have started my own business.
Although the course I studied was fashion focussed, the management aspects of the course helped me immensely whilst planning to start my own business, knowing how to thoroughly conduct research, write a detailed business plan and marketing strategy, and digital skills such as creating a website and using apps and software for design.
Being able to do all this myself saved a lot of money whilst setting up the business, and also allowed me to create it exactly as I wanted.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue working hard to grow the business from strength to strength. I’m looking forward to a time I can grow the team, supply our products on a larger scale and hit more milestones.
What would your advice be on starting your own business/or advice to the students with regards to their future career planning?
If you’re starting a business- research, research, research.
Don’t just start a business because it’s what you want to do, make sure there is a gap in the market for it first, find your USP and work from there – despite what a lot of people think, working for yourself is 100x harder than working for someone else, so be ready to put the effort in if you want to succeed!
If you’re not sure what path you want to take in your career, don’t worry yourself too much or get yourself down over it. I never knew what path I wanted to follow but things just seem to come together, focus on your passions and put the work in, and you will find your way.
You can hear Shannon talk more about studying MSc Fashion Management, along with her fellow classmates, here.