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Spotlight on Diane Olatunde

Updated: Aug 26, 2018

Meet the author of Women Participation and Representation in Nigerian Politics: 1999-2009:Gender Issues in Nigerian Politics. She is fast becoming one of the best upcoming Nigerian gourmet chefs.

Diane Olatunde - Founder of Sweets & Treats Gourmet NIgeria

Who is Diane Olatunde:

Diane is her mother’s daughter, a sister, wife, mother and an all-round simple proudly Nigerian woman. She loves life and she loves being a catalyst for change. She is drawn to anything, any initiative that is cause focused, designed to carry people along on a journey to self- discovery, development and discovery of one’s purpose in life. I do believe in the saying of ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ I think that’s is the only way that we can all come out tops. Diane also loves the simpler things in life like being a mum to her three lovely daughters…..girl power!, travelling- discovering new places, and yes…..cooking, especially when I have the liberty to experiment with ingredients and flavours. I guess that is why I have slowly but surely fallen in love with baking.

My Project and how it started:

Well I wouldn’t necessarily call it a project. I would say it is an innate talent that I’m slowly letting out. I guess my years of working on projects to help people uncover their passion or talent has finally sort of helped me stir myself in a direction that I never thought I would look at.

Like I mentioned earlier, I am a secret experimental ‘chef’ and I discovered my love for baking not too long ago, when I started having children. I felt the need to make more wholesome and nutritious treats for my children and I also saw it as an avenue to bond with my girls since one is often busy with other things in life. Slowly I became that person that always brought the desserts at parties and picnics. Until a friend asked me why I wasn’t turning my talent into something bigger, another source of income. I guessed people liked my treats but I didn’t think to the level of buying it. Did I mention that I’m self -taught, no baking school, just books and the internet, tv and my imagination. So yea with much harassment and pushing from friends and family my little business as Nigerians would call it, Side hustle, came to be…..Sweets & Treats!!

I basically make quality and unique desserts, regular and healthier options and I believe I make it stand out because I love working with quality products, quality over quantity.

What is the greatest challenge developing this new idea?

As in most businesses, the monetary aspect is a normal challenge, especially in my case where I have chosen to go the gourmet route where the quality of the ingredients is key, it can be a challenge when you need every little you can get. A more personal challenge would be the fear of failing, talking the talk and not walking the walk. The fear of being judged by people outside my safe circle, where they now have to part with their cash for what you’ve got to offer…..what if they don’t like it, what if they think it’s worse than the cheap stuff, how do I handle the criticism?

Again, balancing this new-found love with other things going on in my life. In the course of developing this new venture, someone close to me asked me one important question, and that was…is this what you want to be known for, you ve got two masters, you’ve always been a professional kind of person and not the business type, is this the route you want to take?...... Yea, that got my mind racing, but one thing I know is that even if I can’t quite answer that question completely and honestly at this stage, I’d say that no talent is a waste, we should never shy away from what we love even at that moment when it feels like we do not fit the mould. Hey, even if it’s not the main platform, it could always be the safety net.

One thing is sure, the main thing venturing into this has taught me is that I’ve been able to overcome my fears, inhibitions, self-doubt by basically saying I’m putting my talent where my mouth is, for the greater audience to taste and judge what I make. It has taught me so much and has helped me grow in many ways.

About the confident ladies’ event-Future First Ladies:

As mentioned when I tried to define Diane, I said that I am a change agent, I delight in helping people and myself in the process to enhance their inner super person. I am biased when it comes to women and the girl child I must confess because I believe they have that bit of a challenge in really unlocking their inner super heroes. So, in line with that drive, part of my daily hustle is as a Team member of a wonderful lifestyle consulting firm, that help people develop and hone the soft skills that would set you apart in all you do, polish and project your image to match your dreams. And part of our programs is our annual event called the Future First ladies training, a five week event (Saturdays only) and by that I don’t mean being the wife of a president or anything along those line. It is simply equipping young ladies to be confident, have the mannerism fit for a 21st century lady that is ready to be the first and the best in their area of speciality (whilst still being a lady about it/in an elegant style), for the younger ones, to give them that confidence or that boost to tackle the business world post school. I am fortunate to be a team mate to the people that put the event together, all the planning and the management that goes on in the background. I also get the opportunity to facilitate every now and again. It is a wonderful and fulfilling project……we call it our highly subsidised finishing school.

How do you manage business and family?

I believe everything we do requires planning, conscious and systematic time management and part of that principle is about weighing your options and knowing it’s okay to let go of some, say no to some and push yourself more. I push when I have to, I plan strategically, my middle name is note books and sticky notes. I try so hard to fit things and when it’s going to be an impossible stretch I do my process of elimination. It sounds like a lot of stress but in the long run, it saves you even greater stress. I believe in doing a little very well than doing a lot poorly.

My husband is very supportive and I make every time I have with the children count. Our bonding session could start from our drive to school, I make them tell me all. They help me out where they can, my oldest actually loves baking now, she’s always asking to try out a recipe. She goes to visit her friends and if their mum bakes what she likes she goes to ask for recipe for us to try out at home. So, I believe we don’t have to wait for a specific time to have family time, we can incorporate it in the things we do if we make the people around us part of it.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

I would love to say spend time with my kids but sometimes mummy needs some ‘me’ time, so in that sense, I love to just hang with myself, I enjoy listening to the radio, it is soothing. I love going to the movies or just relax and watch tv. I read but to relax it has to be on the lighter side, look at interesting recipes etc. I love to get all dolled up and go out, to the movies or just go out, occasional spa day when I can afford one.

What is your motto in life?

people often say think of what you are good at…i would say try as many and through a process of elimination, identify that which you are good at. Sometimes it is fascinating and not so daunting when you are thinking but a different ball game when you actually try it out. Eliminate the fear factor by spending less time thinking instead of doing. Who says you are a failure when you do not succeed at first? Just keep trying, as my daughter taught me in her poem titled ‘head held high’ ‘stand up, dust it off, breath in breath out’…..try try again.

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