Oluwatooni Agbaje is the founder and creative director of Tulip and Lilies Confectionery. A graduate of the University of Ibadan with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology and a Master’s in Petroleum Geology, she has been baking for about a decade now. She also worked with KPMG briefly before starting her business, Tulip and Lilies.
“There have been a couple of major highlights for me in this business”, She says when asked about moments that made her entrepreneurship journey. She recalls the pride she felt when she moved to her first rented space after working in her dad’s ‘Boy’s quarters’. She tells us about a particularly exhilarating moment etched in her memory, seeing her cakes featured on the front page of a popular newspaper. “I remember how happy and proud it made my parents, it really really made me happy to see that.”
On the challenges she faced since starting her business, she shares with us that “It has been very challenging”. She says that for a business that is heavily dependent on foreign exchange, the weekly fluctuations in the naira to dollar rate has caused the prices of her products to constantly change. These changes have proved inconvenient for her customers and have caused them to seek cheaper options. This particular challenge has however motivated her and her team to think of innovative ways to keep the business running. “We are hopeful that things would change for the better very soon”
When asked about inspirations for her cake designs, she cites several inspirations, “Nature, architecture, modern art, and even Pinterest”. She however states that her desire for excellence is what sets the standard for Tulip and Lilies’ cakes. “It is always a cake at a time that needs to be perfect for the occasion and we ensure that happens and the client is happy”
Tooni then shares a particularly hilarious story with us even though she says “I can laugh now but trust me, it was not funny when it happened”. It is about a moment when she had to deliver a three-tier cake to a client’s event venue. She was running late and so had to drive a bit faster than usual. Trying to maneuver a bend, she says “I hear a thudding sound at the back, and I know what had happened, with my heart in my hand, I parked to check the damage, and lo and behold, the 3-tier cake had fallen over. My heart dropped.” She then calls her staff for crisis management at the venue while she did some damage control to the cake. Learning from that experience, she made sure to always take an emergency kit when going on cake deliveries. “I never take chances when delivering tiered cakes.”
When asked on the most memorable situation she has faced as a baker, Tooni says “Every time our creation makes the client’s day or event brighter, or sweeter, it is memorable, every single time, just like the first time”
Tooni tells us that she loves her bakery so much that even when she is not working, she is thinking up things to make the business better. She, however, always ensures to set time aside for family. When we ask her what she would be doing if she was not thinking about work or spending time with her family, she mentions watching movies and TV shows as a favorite pastime. “I love watching movies, you will almost always find me watching a movie outside work, thriller movies, as I always want my brain working”