In this week’s edition of Bold and Beautiful, Indy Press correspondent Maduabuchi Ochi, talks with CEO and baker, Adeniji Christianah about the struggles of entrepreneurship, women in business and being an inspirational.
Could you please introduce yourself to us?
Good evening. Okay, I am Adeniji Christianah Oluwayemisi, CEO of Yummytreats by Tianah. I’m a 400-level student of Agriculture, department of Animal Science, University of Ibadan. I am a skilled and well-trained baker. A chef too.
What inspired you to get into baking, and to start selling your baked treats?
Actually, what inspired me was, um, a let me say a subject, then in secondary school—CCP. So I learned little, let me say small, about dishes and baking like that. So, when I finished my 100 level I went for the full class and that’s all about what inspired me.
What made me to start selling my own treats is because I want money. Yes. It’s because of money. And I would say, baking is my one true passion. Yes, I really love it. But… When money entered the passion, it becomes sweet. Let me say sweeter self.
Haha, I understand the feeling. It’s not often that people get inspired by school subjects. How long have you been running Yummytreats by Tianah? It must not have been easy balancing your business and your school work, so how did you do it?
Yes, actually. Yes! I’ve been into this business, officially 3 years. I started January 19, 2021; when I was in 200 level. Actually, it is not easy balancing school and business. It is not even easy. It is very hard, yes. But most times, as a home baker, I don’t have a physical place, so it’s not compulsory to open my shop everyday.
So, as home baker, most times I bake at night—when I’m back from school. Or maybe evening when I’m back, you get? And my orders, they’re on pre-order. Like, you have to message me before getting it, you get? So, that’s—let me say—that’s how I balance my own. Baking at night, pre-order, don’t rush me.
That’s quite creative. Did you take long to come up with such a system? Have you ever had close calls where your school work was almost affected because of your business?
Mm. Did I take long to come up with such system? No. At all. Not at all. I–I adapted so quick. Like, I–you know what? I’m actually ready for that lifestyle. I was ready for it. So, when everything started. It became my regular stuff. Like, I got used to it, quickly. So I did not even have issue, at first.
Yeah, the second question. Have you ever had close calls when your school work almost affected?
Yes, yes , yes. Yes! A lot of times! Sometimes—that’s why I said earlier—sometimes I miss school work. Not every time! Like, sometimes.
And sometimes I’ll be in school and my delivery people will be like they’re coming to pick it up and since I don’t have anybody to give, I’ll just have to leave school and drop it for the delivery people—the dispatch—then go back to school. And sometimes I’ll just stay at home. Or sometimes, I’ll just plead with them that they should wait till when I’m done. And sometimes, I can be so lucky to give my neighbour, or someone selling something around me to just help me give that person, shey you get?
So, it happens a lot. A lot of times, but I know how to like, do it. I know how I can like, curb it sha, not every time but it happens.
It doesn’t seem like it has been easy in this journey of entrepreneurship. Do you consider yourself as someone other ladies looking to get into business can look up to? Or are there other people you think they should direct their attention to?
It is not easy. Yes, I consider myself as someone they can look up to. Some other young bakers, some of my friends sef, I consider myself as someone they can look up to. I have gotten a lot of DMs pertaining to that. They’ll be like, I really admire your work and I’m looking up to you, you’re just like an inspiration to me and things like that. I’ve gotten a lot of things like that. Yes, I’m proud to say that. They can look up to me, yes.
It’s good to know that you’re a beacon to those ladies who wish to enter the business scene. But what do you think about the current state of entrepreneurship in UI? Do you think that it is more male-dominated? Is baking a niche that has more women than men?
No. See, left to me, I think females we are into business here in UI a lot. A lot of females. Maybe it’s because I’m a lady, I have a lot of friends. Almost all of my friends—all of my friends, my close friends—we’re into something. So I have a lot of female friends, like. To me oh, UI—UI entrepreneurship—is more of females, yes.
Is baking a niche that has more females?
Yes! It has, let me say, it has 70% of women and 30% of men. In fact, 80% of women and 20% of men cause the percentage at which women are into baking is very very large. We have a lot of men too but the female, they’re large.
That’s really eye-opening. But have you ever been in a situation where you feel it would have been better doing this business if you were a man?
No, I have never. Oh, let me say… It’s still no… But yes one time like this. It was just once that that thought came into my head. But it was not really something that gave me hard time. It was because of one work, a fondant work. Fondant is a type of icing that is very very hard, so you have to be strong before you can roll a fondant icing. So, I was just thinking that assuming I’m a guy now I will have that strength to work on fondant. But there are a lot of other icing that my clients prefer. So, it’s not a big deal.
I never knew working with fondant was so difficult. But I’m sure you’ve become quite skilled at it after 3 years. So, where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years? What plans do you have for your business and customers?
Yes, working with fondant can be so difficult, but I can actually do it. But it’s kind of stressful so I think I’ll avoid that stress. That’s why I said you know, if it’s a guy, guys they know how to like—they have that strength and when they are done with it they know how to like do stuff about it. But girls you still talk about the stress, you still feel the stress like that.
Okay, where I see my business in 5 to 10 years. I see my business as an international brand. Yes. In 5-10 years, I wish—and I pray—that my business would not only be in Nigeria. Yes, there are some bakers like that, that hey have branch in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, UK like that. So I want something like that for my business, a very big brand.
An international lady with an international business, a valid aspiration. Now let me ask this question. As a student of animal science, what sort of animal do you think best describes you and why?
Sheep. So calm. And observant.
Observant, interesting. Let’s end this on an inspirational note. What’s a quote that you live your life by?
Okay. Be intentional about your growth.
Alright Christiana, let’s be intentional about this and bring this interview to an end. Thank you for having us.
The name is Christianah. It has an h. Thank you too.