“It is not just for me, it is a legacy, not just for my kids but for the wider community”.
Producing much more than stunning and delectable cakes, Vanilla Orchid Bakery creates priceless ‘sweet moments.’ Founded in 2012 by Hope Mutongwizo, Vanilla Orchid Bakery is enjoying a growing reputation as a leading bespoke cake provider for both corporate and private events. Clients have already included Kenzo, BAFTA, Matthew Williamson and the Royal Opera House amongst others.
Vanilla Orchid Bakery is an independent cake company passionate about creating the most memorable cakes for events and celebrations. With the expertise and attention to detail to create fabulous products, every cake is produced to the highest specifications. From decadent wedding cakes incorporating gold leaf, to branded cupcakes and bespoke birthday cakes, they offer something to make your event truly special.
Using only organic ingredients, Vanilla Orchid will take a brief and seamlessly create a cake that reflects the personality of the brand, event or individual. The choice of flavours is endless and includes almond, Madagascan vanilla bean, belgian chocolate, spiced carrot cake, red velvet, blueberry buttercream and more. Cakes can feature glorious ganache, fabulous frosting, glamorous gold leaf and perfect piping. In short, if you can dream it, Vanilla Orchid Bakery can make it.
A great cake will turn an event into an experience to be remembered. A professional cupcake with bespoke corporate branding can assist with message delivery at an event or be used in promotional goody bags. Bespoke Wedding cakes are created in a collaborative process with the bridal party that includes mood boards, colour themes, tastings and prototypes. Birthday cakes can be personalised with the selected flavours and colours that are most suitable for the recipient.
I know Hope personally because she made my wedding cake. She is an incredible woman and is genuinely a nice person. She went over and beyond to make the cakes for my wedding, and she does the same for her clients. Her cakes taste amazing, no word of a lie!
Thank you so much Hope for doing this interview for thatredlipstick.com.
What made you decide to leave your job?
I knew I was not living the life that I was created to live. Even though my job was prestigious, working for the BAFTA awards, I was not fulfilled. I always believed that there was more to life. I wanted to live a life that made a difference. I wanted to become a person of influence and be the change I wanted to see to inspire future generations. So I made the decision to leave and start my own business.
When did you realise that you could make a career from your hobby?
I loved Hummingbird Bakery, and I loved baking, especially cupcakes. I always knew I wanted start a business in an area where I could care for my clients and make an impact on their special day. I wanted to create an experience for my clients, which I felt was lacking in alot of companies. I want my clients to know that I am listening and I knew that I could achieve this by starting my own bakery. My clients get above and beyond what they pay for because I want to give them an experience that they remember. It is more than buying cakes, it is about the service.
(This is so true. One thing that stood out about Hope is her customer service. I remember her delivering some cakes to taste by hand at my work.)
What motivates you on a daily basis?
My ultimate vision motivates me every day, through the challenges that come with starting a business. It is not just for me, it is a legacy, not just for my kids but for the wider community. If I run a successful business I will be in a position to make a change, make a difference in the lives of young people especially ethnic minorities.
Another motivating factor is that I genuinely love it. I love my business so much and I want to see people happy as a result of this company. It brings me so much joy to see people smile when they see and taste my cakes.
Also it is important to have encouraging people around you. It helps during those challenging times.
(I love this!)
What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a business?
Research is really important. Research the area where you are thinking of starting your business. Also, have a unique selling point. What makes your business amazing? What are you bringing to the table? Make sure that it is a viable business which is sustainable and can grow. Don’t focus on the money because when the challenges come, that won’t be enough to keep you going. Focus on your lane, be the best at what you do.
What has been the highlight of your career?
That is such a tough question! I cannot think of one! Every time I deliver cakes to someone and seeing them smile has been a highlight. Being nominated for the Prestigious Star awards in the ‘Most Prestigious Event Supplier’ category has been amazing – voting opens in July 2016 so please vote!
Also, being in Huffington Posts 2013 Top Three Mince pies was pretty amazing. Waitrose was ranked at #1, Vanilla Orchid Bakery – my company was ranked at #2 and M&S was ranked at #3. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that my company was recognised amongst the top established supermarkets.
In your opinion what are the 3 keys to success?
God, that is my number #1, networking is important. I believe – meeting different people and building your network is invaluable, and have a great product.
Last question – what are the three items in your makeup bag that you cannot live without?
Ummmmmm that is a hard question. Well I dislike dry lips so I have a lip primer from Mac which I love, it also helps when you are wearing matte lipsticks like ruby woo. I love the mac blotting papers, even though the price is abit high! Also, I have to have mascara. I have no eyelashes so it is important .