What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

5 Amazing Female Foodie Entrepreneurs in Edinburgh

Artisan Christmas hamper giveaway

We’re obviously all for female entrepreneurship – Dickins being the product of just that with Louise setting up shop way back in 1998 with the vision of matching Edinburgh Festival visitors to beautiful Edinburgh homes. With an increasing rise in demand Dickins started offering short lets all year round in 2006. We have come a long way and we’re always happy to see other hard-working women realising their dreams of setting up a business of their own.

We absolutely love the fact that there are so many fabulous women in the foodie industry here in Edinburgh, and would like to take the opportunity to give a shout-out to five of them. We’ve asked the owners behind each shop to tell us in their own words how they got started and what it is that they do. And to make things even more interesting, each entrepreneur has promised to contribute with something delicious for a Christmas hamper that we’ll be giving away to one of you guys! Keep reading to find out how to enter…(competition is now closed)

Pinnies & Poppy Seeds

  • 26 St. Mary’s Street, EH1 1SU

pinniesandpoppyseeds edinburgh

Back in 2011, Pinnies & Poppy Seeds was just an idea. While searching for great shortbread to take home as gifts, Edinburgh didn’t have anything beyond what you could find in the supermarket (the same stuff available to people all over the world in their own supermarkets!). That idea turned into a plan – a dream, really – born out of a four year long career in confectionery and a lifetime love affair with baking.

shortbread edinburgh

It took more than a year to develop and perfect our shortbread recipes, and we believe in every little crumb! We bake in small batches, with everything made by hand! We believe so much in the little details that we even make our own beautiful vanilla extract! Mixing traditional with a little unconventional, we have an ever-changing line-up of shortbread flavours in the shop. Plus, we make a range of other treats, some favourite family recipes like our Ballantyne Toffee and Maggie’s Candied Pecans, Sea Salted Caramels and Peanut Butter Cups.We want to make the best quality product and to constantly experiment with new flavours and come up with interesting and creative ideas.

pinniesandpoppies giftbox

We want to bring the fun and excitement back to shortbread! Pinnies & Poppy Seeds is at 26 St. Mary’s Street, just minutes from Waverley Station and just off the Royal Mile!

Stay: 54 (8) St Mary’s Street – charming and calm one bedroom apartment with lovely views.

The Marshmallow Lady

  • 14 Rodney Street, EH7 4EA

marshmallow lady shop front Edinburgh

I have been making hand-made Gourmet Marshmallows since 2010, which unfortunately makes me the definition of a ‘hipster’ as I started making Gourmet Marshmallows before they were even a trend!

I fell into confectionery and being a business owner completely by accident and also out of necessity. I graduated with a useless degree in English Literature in 2009 which was not the best time to find a job. I have now guaranteed I’ll never have a “proper job” again, I am almost definitely unemployable by any standards defined by any recruitment agent. But now this way of life is the only one I can fathom. Taking risks and being rewarded, and then in turn being stressed beyond belief is certainly a great way to feel alive!!


Every marshmallow is made on site in the shop on Rodney Street, I also make all the caramels, sauces, peanut butter and purees. Then the mallows are hand cut and hand packaged to be sold instore, online and at many markets and events around Edinburgh.

We make innovative and quirky flavours; such as Key Lime Pie, Maple Bacon and Reverse Rocky Road, as well as “old-school” firm favourites like Cookies n’ Cream, Raspberry and Irn Bru. Come and try them!

Stay: 75 East Claremont Street – fantastic one bedroom pied-a-terre close to the trendy Broughton Street.

Mary’s Milk Bar

  • 19 Grassmarket, EH1 2HS

marys milk bar edinburgh shop

I set up Mary’s Milk Bar to simply create a nice place to work. I’d tried applying for various jobs without much luck and thought learning a new skill (making gelato) would be fun. I opened six months later. Many people said selling ice cream in Scotland wouldn’t work but I had no doubts (perhaps rather foolishly!) It turned out that the people of Edinburgh were as excited as I was about flavour combinations and stretching the idea of the nation’s favourite ice creams of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.


My favourite part of the job is making new flavours – the selection of ice creams changes everyday keeping it fresh and interesting, not only for customers but for me as well. Among my top scoop choices are Black Sesame, Dill, Fig & Hazelnut, Rosemary & Lemon Curd, Blue Cheese & Walnut Butter…but these change constantly from season to season.

marys milk bar inside Edinburgh

My aim for the future is to keep on scooping – introducing new combinations, special sundaes and keeping the atmosphere relaxed and friendly. I think the hardest thing to do with a business is keeping up quality and consistency – I want the Milk Bar to remain independent and small so that its unique charm doesn’t disappear. Wish me luck!

Stay: 6 (3) King’s Stables Road – warm and inviting one bedroom home only moments away from the Grassmarket and Edinburgh Castle.

Union of Genius

  • 8 Forrest Road, EH1 2QN

union of genius shop front edinburgh

Union of Genius is entirely due to one cold wet hungry lunchtime in Manchester. I was working there, and really, really wanted proper soup for lunch – the sort of soup that leaves you feeling properly fed, warm and happy. I couldn’t find any, and in a tizz I thought that my ideal would be a cafe that sold only soup – different flavours each day, with really great bread to match. And the idea lay fallow for years, but never quite went away. Years later, when I moved back to Edinburgh, the idea bubbled up again, and thanks to a team of fabulous soupmongers, the support of an amazingly lovely bunch of customers, and a lot of hard work, here we are.


We make all our soup by hand; we sell soup in our Forrest Road cafe and our van Dumbo on George Square, and we supply soup to a lot of cafes across Edinburgh. Reading reviews and seeing tweets about soup-related pleasures is such a joy! The best part is creating new recipes and then letting your new creation out into the world and seeing the reaction – I just love that. Soup is a wonderful thing, and it shouldn’t be boring or dull. It should be vibrant with bright zesty flavours, and hearty enough to make you feel you’ve had a decent cuddle.


I believe that businesses have a responsibility to be as ethical as they can, and while we compost all food waste (vegetable peelings etc), we also run the first recycling-based loyalty scheme in the UK. We use only Vegware compostable packaging, and when a customer returns their used packaging to us for composting, we reward them with points towards free soup. If a Vegware pot goes into a bin destined for landfill, it won’t compost, it’ll just sit there for years.

As Union of Genius generates packaging waste, I feel it’s our responsibility to minimise the impact of that waste as far as we can. We also reward customers for bringing us their own containers to fill with soup, because using no takeout packaging is a lot better than using even compostable pots. As part of our social responsibility, we support the City Care Van by donating soup to feed Edinburgh’s rough sleepers each night. We’re delighted to host The Real Junk Food Project in Union cafe each Sunday, where they create marvellous meals from intercepted food, and we also support Edinburgh Soup with soup donations. What started out as a simple idea is now a complex organism and it gives me nothing but pride to see Union of Genius develop and grow.

Stay: 15 a Buccleuch Place – unique and welcoming two bedroom home with a private walled garden.

Twelve Triangles

  • 90 Brunswick Street, EH7 4AQ

portobello shop

Twelve Triangles on Brunswick Street opened it’s doors in March 2015, and actually came from the same baking team behind the ever so popular Lovecrumbs in Edinburgh.

maple pecan doughnuts

The bakery has a strong focus on slow ferment sourdoughs, handmade pastries and doughnuts, whilst serving coffee roasted by Steampunk in North Berwick.
Since then a second site out in Portobello has been opened, and our range of seasonal products has grown, with products like the gingerbread doughnut and chocolate chestnut sourdough coming in as firm seasonal favourites this December. Do pop in to one of our shops and try for yourself!

Stay: 9 (9) Huntingdon Place – a lovely home located in a modern development with two double bedrooms and private secure parking.

Win a Christmas Foodie Hamper!

As we mentioned earlier, each of the shops above have kindly donated something tasty for us to give away to our followers. We will put these goodies in one of our beautiful and practical Dickins canvas bags. Here’s a list of what will be in the bag:

  • Pinnies & Poppy Seeds: A festive shortbread gift box
  • The Marshmallow Lady: Two bags of gourmet marshmallows (mulled wine & lemon souffle)
  • Mary’s Milk Bar: A Christmas stuffing flavoured chocolate bar
  • Union of Genius: A soup voucher that entitles you to soup and artisan bread
  • Twelve Triangles: A bag of Florentines

The competition starts at noon on Tuesday the 13th of December 2016 and ends at noon on Sunday the 18th of December 2016. The competition is open to everybody over 18 in the UK.

How do I enter the competition?

There are several alternatives.

1. You can comment on this blog post.

2. Head over to the Dickins Facebook Page and comment on and share the competition post.

3. Pop over to the Dickins Twitter Account and follow us and retweet one of the competition tweets.

4. Visit the Dickins Instagram Account and comment on the competition post.

5. Email [email protected] stating your full name.

Make sure you follow us on social media so you don’t miss out on our competitions!



  • Rachel

    December 31, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    So brilliant of you to highlight these Female Food Gurus. You and they are an inspiration to this city.


  • Pia Stephens

    December 18, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I’m already looking for travel websites, this article definitely got me drooling!

    Thank you for the very lovely chance of winning a hamper too! x


  • Angela Cringle

    December 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Lovely next time i am in Edinburgh i will be visiting all these lovely shops


  • Terrie-Ann Wright

    December 18, 2016 at 10:19 am

    This has made me incredibly hungry


  • Deborah Curwen

    December 18, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I knew about Pinnies and Poppy Seeds and The Marshmallow Lady having bought gifts there before but not yet tried the others. Absolutely love this article – support for female entrepreneurs and local business. Mouth is watering! Wishing them all the best for the next year!


  • Eve ogden

    December 18, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Love Scotland and would love to visit Edinburgh to see all these lovely shops


  • Debbie Henderson

    December 18, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Wow, amazing!!! – I would love to be your lucky winner!


  • Emma H

    December 18, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Yummy giveaway x


  • Helen Best

    December 17, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Great article fantastic ideas to be a successful business & sounds very tasty


  • lyn

    December 17, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    What a wonderful prize.I do appreciate Local Artisan food & produce


  • Helen Broddle

    December 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Brilliant article and some delicious flavours my mouth is watering now!


  • Laura H

    December 17, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Great to hear about all these small, independent businesses and know women are behind them.xx


  • Hanna

    December 16, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Great article and fab businesses. I am now drooling!


  • Lynsey Buchanan

    December 15, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Fantastic Giveaway


  • Rachel smith

    December 15, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Great article!


  • Fiona

    December 15, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Oh wow feeling hungry now after reading about all the lovely places
    Great article 🙂


  • Mairi Black

    December 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Long live the small businesses of Edinburgh. They keep the visitors coming back to stay and spend here. And us natives love their local distinctiveness, especially at lunchtime!


  • Natalia

    December 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I love all these places! Kudos to the brave, hard-working, creative women who made them happen! So proud of you all!


  • Jess

    December 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    This sounds amazing and so scrumptious. I am a huge fan of all of these delicious places and can’t think of a better gift to share around the fire on Christmas day…Mmm YUM!


  • Lillian Walkup

    December 14, 2016 at 7:39 am

    What a great article, unique concepts will make the businesses successful and generate happy loyal customers.


  • Ildiko Rusvai

    December 13, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Such a lovely post on local female entrepreneurs! I’d like to enter your giveaway


  • Ellie Smith

    December 13, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Great prize, looks delicious


  • Veronica

    December 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Sounds like a great gift for a foodie!
    I was at the Christmas foodie festival in Edinburgh and tried the famous flavoured marshmallows – they were truly amazing.


    • Dickins

      December 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      They are, and there are so many exciting flavours to try as well 🙂

  • steven young

    December 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I’m Edinburgh born and bred and, ashamedly, haven’t heard of these shops until now.


    • Dickins

      December 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Well now you do 🙂

  • Kathryn MacKinnon Cook

    December 13, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    These ladies are fab! LOVE Mary’s Milk Bar!


    • Dickins

      December 13, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      We do to!!

  • Sharon

    December 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Those shops all look great especially the soup cafe.Will get to Edinburgh again oneday.x


    • Dickins

      December 12, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      They are all fantastic, and Union of Genius is definitely the place to go if you want a hearty bowl of soup! x

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