Diana and I met while working for a startup in Washington D.C. In an environment filled with t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans, Diana stood out with an impeccable and effortless sense of style. While working together I learned that she had a love for not just fashion, but also marketing, writing, and baking. Although these things seem to have a correlation at all, Diana has been able to turn her passion for each one into its own business venture. From blogging to baking to traveling the world, Diana’s multipassionate lifestyle centers on growing as a person and sharing her discoveries with the world.
Q: Origin story time – what were you doing before and what led you to this?
A: Well, I’ve worn many hats in my short ten-year career. From working in corporate retail advertising and marketing to being a stylist, and now I have three different jobs. However, the baking business that I have with my mom probably makes me the proudest. I grew up watching her bake and trying to absorb everything she was doing. As I got older I started doing some baking on my own and then about two and a half years ago, we decided to collaborate, and Leola’s Bakeshop was born. On a different note, I started a travel brand this year, Roadmaps & Recipes, that speaks to my passion for both cooking baking and traveling, so I’m excited to see how that blossoms.
Q: What resources and tools helped you grow your business/brand? (i.e. Self-learning, school, books, mentors) What would you recommend?
A: I’m really big on self-learning. For my baking, when there’s something I want to learn I turn to Instagram videos, no lie, and YouTube. There are so many techniques I’ve tested and incorporated into my business because I saw someone do it and then went to learn how I could do it as well.
Q: Did you have a mentor or tribe of people you turned to?
A: My mom. My mom and I bake together, but even outside of that, my mother is my biggest cheerleader and wanting to be my best self is mostly motivated by her.
Q: What are some of the hardships and realities of being a female business owner in your industry?
A: I think this goes for any industry, but women are rarely seen as the thought leaders and the apex that everyone else should strive for. I truly don’t know why. For instance, take cooking. In Western, patriarchal culture, cooking is considered a woman’s job. However, the top chefs, those that get the most accolades are always men. And it’s this way in most industries. No matter how good you are, you’re not the best. Whoever has thoughts on how we change that, holla at me.
Q: Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.
A: Literally having so many ideas rolling around in my head that I don’t know what to tackle first. It can be paralyzing. I’m still trying to figure out how to conquer this.
Q: Time management – how do you fit it all in?
A: Time management, what’s that?🙂 I think sometimes we need to realize that we can’t do it all by ourselves. It’s important to know when to delegate and when to ask for help. You can attempt to do it all by yourself, and probably get burnt out in the process, or you can acknowledge when there are tasks that would be best completed by someone else so that you can focus on more important things.
Q: Name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experiences.
A: Getting our rum cake carried by a popular restaurant. That partnership was the first “power” move that I made by myself. I had a friend put me in contact with the owner’s fiancé, and she helped me set up a meeting with the owner, and the rest was history. Every time I read a Yelp review where someone praises that rum cake, I can’t help but smile.
Q: Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business.
A: All deals aren’t good deals; and if something makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay to walk away. I was working on a partnership to have our cake carried by a popular food truck, and after we had started customer trials, I noticed that the truck owner wasn’t willing to give us any recognition for the cake. Yes, I could have decided to brush it off and just be happy with another large consistent client, but I wasn’t comfortable with the deal, so I walked away from it.
Q: What would you tell yourself five years ago that you wish you knew then?
A: Travel and see more of the world. Two years ago I committed myself to doing more international travel, and I have but wish I had started earlier. Seeing the world has definitely altered my point of view. There’s just so much to see, experience and learn.
Diana’s childhood joy turned into a thriving full-time business. And as a multipassionate entrepreneur, she follows through with a dedication to all her creative ideas. How do you sort through all your ideas and decide what to take action on? Let us know in the comments below.
For more info on Diana, Leola’s Bakeshop, and her other projects check out the following links:
Leola’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/LeolasBakeshop
Roadmaps & Recipes Insta: @roadmapsnrecipes