London Entrepreneurs: Lily Vanilli, Cupcake Queen

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 85 months ago
London Entrepreneurs: Lily Vanilli, Cupcake Queen

Looking at the personalities behind London’s small businesses

Starting your own business is not a piece of cake, even for the London-born entrepreneur who has been dubbed ‘the rock n’ roll baker.’  Her unconventional confectionery has found favour with Elton John, Harrods, the V&A and Downing Street and last year she released her first recipe book A Zombie Ate My Cupcake. This Sunday, she opens her new flagship bakery 180.

How did the business come about?
It was a hobby and a passion-turned opportunity to make ends meet during the recession. I started out two years ago because I was broke, selling a small amount of cakes every week, at a market space I built with friends. We had bands and margaritas and a small crowd of mostly people we knew visiting us each week. One of the people who did visit was a food writer from the Times, who wrote a piece about my cakes and it all started from there.

How did the business develop?
It developed very naturally. No marketing, facebook, twitter, PR, no business plan or strategy. Just hard work, passion and lots of ideas.

What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Being your own boss, freedom, seeing the whole process from idea, through hard work, to being able to pay your rent & then eventually create jobs for others.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?
David Edward Wright.

Do you have advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Make sure you're proud of what you are selling. Start with quality and develop an excellent product/service. Be brave!

More entrepreneurial people lurk in our archives.

Last Updated 01 June 2011