Exquisito’s journey started at the tender age of ten while watching her mother bake in the kitchen. She went to realise her baking dreams and take Ibadan by storm with her creative of sweet, healthy and savoury cakes. Her knack for knowing what each person wants and needs for their event has made her the go-to person for anything sweet.

Let’s start with your full name.

My name is Adeola Layade, born and raised in Ibadan.

Educational background

I studied Psychology at the University of Ado Ekiti. I went to Slattery Patissier & Chocolatiers, Manchester in the UK, which is a cake school. I did a lot of private courses under people like Tombi Peck. My main specialisation back then was to be a chocolatier.

How did this beautiful cake business come about?

It started as a hobby. When I was about ten years old, my mum used to bake and I took an interest. After secondary school, I learned as an apprentice at Emon novelty cakes in Total Garden, Ibadan. Then after university, I left the country to learn further.

Your background is in Psychology, but you knew you loved baking. Why didn’t you just go ahead and do that since you already knew what you wanted to do?

I studied psychology because as at the time I was in university most parents were not as receptive to other forms of work outside the professional careers. Even though I had the support of my parents, they would still want bragging rights to be able to say my daughter went to university and studied this. I think it was a good thing too because psychology helps me understand people, my environment, how to deal with my customers.

How long has it been since your business started?

Over 7 years.

Where does your inspiration come from when designing your cakes?

I get my inspiration from studying people. I like artwork, fabrics, anything around me that is artistic, I get my inspiration from.  I’m always online, I Google a lot, keep informed on the latest trends and get strength from other things and put it together to make my business better.

Who do you enjoy baking for the most?

I’d say all my clients. For kids, your creative button has to just come up. And for people getting married, no two brides are the same. I get strength from all of them.

What’s your advice for people venturing into the creative world?

For them, I would say, ‘easy does it’. You can’t force people to like you, you must let them accept your brand, let them have confidence in what you do and that takes time. People want to know if you’re capable of performing and while they are studying you, they check your persistence, they check your passion. If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, people will know. Just take things easy and put in your best. Passion isn’t money driven but money comes along because you put in your best.

How was it penetrating the system as a new business owner initially?

When I started I never worked for anyone in Nigeria. Getting to Nigeria, I started my business from scratch, so I had to learn the hard way. I went to business school as well, plus my psychology background I knew that I had to study my environment. My branding was to serve the average man. I was in the middle. Later I served the one on top, because the percentage of the people on top is far less than the middle class. Most people need to understand that although we want to serve the rich, we need to know the people in our environment and serve them first.

Any plans to expand beyond Ibadan?

We serve people outside Ibadan but we’re mobile, we go to Lagos and Osun State at the moment.  However, we pick where we deliver; the logistics have to make sense.

What makes Ibadan special to you?

Ibadan is unique for me; most people don’t know there are a lot of opportunities in Ibadan. People feel it’s hard to make it in Ibadan and that makes it special. Ibadan people know what they want. They don’t just take any trash. They look at your consistency over time. In Lagos, anything can sell, but Ibadan tells you this is what we want and this is how we want it. Most business owners don’t understand that but for me, I have come to understand what Ibadan wants. The people that succeed here have learned to understand the uniqueness and pattern of doing business here. As a part of Ibadan I give Ibadan what Ibadan wants and in return they encourage and patronise me.

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