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Small business spotlight: The Stirling student baking up a storm

In the first of a new series, Brig’s food section speaks to Hannah Coyle about her fully gluten free business Wildflower Bakes.

Hannah, 25, is originally from Alloa. She now studies English and Journalism at Stirling whilst living in

Her business journey began back in early 2022 when she was diagnosed with coeliac disease – an
autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own cells when gluten is consumed.

“I was constantly ill with stomach pains, migraines, fatigue,” Hannah explained.

“I was deficient in almost everything and severely anaemic. I was under weight and my health was a
serious concern.”

Hannah’s story will be familiar to many coeliacs: mysterious aches and pains, unexplained
deficiencies, and exhaustion for months on end. Finally getting a diagnosis can be a massive relief.

There’s just one catch: never eat gluten again.

She said: “After getting my diagnosis and the right treatment to get my body working properly again
my next task was to change my diet entirely.

“As someone who has severe sensory challenges when it comes to food, it was no easy change. But a
year and a half on I can proudly say I’ve come a long way since getting my diagnosis.”

It was her coeliac diagnosis that inspired Hannah to get busy in the kitchen in the first place:

“I decided to start when I realised I was quite talented with a pipping bag to be honest.

“I got Becky Excell’s cookbook for Christmas in 2022 and went from hating the kitchen to thriving
cooking food from scratch, food that was safe for me and tasted even better than any takeaway out

Once she’d perfected main meals, Hannah quickly moved on to baking sweet treats.

“I spent weeks creating and perfecting my gluten free vanilla sponge,” she said.

“Once I’d done that I moved to chocolate, red velvet, and then I got creative with blueberry and
lemon, tray bakes, cookies, you name it I have a recipe for it.

“I soon realised that decorating was a skill I had and that practice sure did make progress.”

Hannah continued: “I went from avoiding the kitchen at all costs to my partner having to drag me

“Creating and baking my own cakes, coming up with new and exciting recipes, and decorating ideas
scratched my brain in a way I didn’t know I needed.

“I have a hard time with sensory issues and overstimulation and baking allowed me to slow down, to
focus on something that had a step-by-step process.

“It’s helped me in more ways than I could have imagined, but best of all baking calms my nervous system. And when you find something that does that you shouldn’t let it go!”

She soon realised she wanted to share the deliciousness with the world, so set up her own business,
Wildflower Bakes.

“My business aims to make all those who have coeliac disease feel joy around food again!” Hannah

“Food is such a huge part of socialisation in our culture and when you have an autoimmune
condition and have to be careful of what you eat, it can become really isolating.

“It sucks to miss out but missing out over something you can’t control can have a negative effect on
your mental health! I know what that feels like and I wanted to do something to stop others feeling
like that.”

Wildflower Bakes currently offers a variety of gluten free celebration cakes, cupcakes, and cookies
baked to order.

Follow the business on Facebook and Instagram @wildflower_bakes08 for more information.

Interested in sharing your own small business story? Contact

Feature image credit: Wildflower Bakes

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