“We’re a team of Fashion Forward Florists with an eye for Avant Garde, daily creating bespoke flowers for gifts, weddings, events and tributes

I”m extremely delighted to start this series on amazing people that have followed their passion/talent and are excelling at it. It excites me because my desire is that we all find that thing we love and prosper at it.

My first interview is with a dear friend who I love to call the ‘Lagos Florist’. Taiwo and I met at graduate school from where she went on to a successful oil and gas career but decided to leave that to pursue her passion.

The above quotation is her company description and it encapsulates their work perfectly. She has quickly worked her way to become the go-to Florist in Lagos and definitely in the whole of Nigeria as they work anywhere their services are required.

Let’s meet Taiwo

Taiwo Debo-Akande

My name is Taiwo Debo Akande. I’m an Oil & Gas Lawyer turned florist. I’m extremely passionate about what I do. I love to read, cook, eat & learn about new things. I’ve got a two-year-old who takes a lot of my time but I won’t have it any other way! My Motto is #Youonlyliveonce! So go for it!

Tell us a little more about what you do?

I’m a florist based in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a very exciting job as we get to help people express their emotions either by showing love, gratitude, concern or paying their last respects to loved ones or remembering their loved ones. I absolutely love what I do and I’m very excited about continuing to discover flowers every day. Working with nature is absolutely rewarding!

How did you get into floristry?

As mentioned earlier, my background is in Law. Having bagged my LLB, BL & LLM in Energy Law & Policy, I proceeded to work first with a Lagos based Law firm and thereafter with an Oil company also in Lagos.
After about four and a half years of working, I decided to start my own business as I had an overwhelming urge to express my creative side. As the years went by I found that I’d much rather be putting together colours and designs for new clients home than drafting contracts and sipping tea at meetings all day!

I started Adela’s Haven in 2010 and added on Adela’s Hampers in 2012. In 2015 after a personal loss that forced me to slow down, I decided to pursue my interest in Floristry. And here we are today!
The Haven and Hamper businesses still run but they are pretty much seasonal. The flower shop meanwhile is open every day. Especially as the outlook on and appreciation for flowers has significantly increased in Nigeria over the last three years.

Can you enlighten us on the role of florists in society?

The Role of florist in society is quite significant. A florist helps society express their individual thoughts and what better way to do it than to say it with flowers! Weddings, funerals, marriage proposals, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, falling in love, heartbreak, births, Ill health – all of life’s changing scenes are hallmarked by the gift of flowers. At least for the discerning.

Tribute flowers

As such flowers play a key role in everyday life and not only do they help individuals express themselves but they also convey unequivocal messages and bring indescribable joy to the recipient.

Which florist do you identify with?

My Floristry is pretty much me. However, in terms of where I’d want my floristry to be, I’d say it’s McQueens any day!  Their style is simple, understated elegance yet they work with all types of flowers and their art is absolutely distinctive.
I took a summer course there last year August 2018 and it totally changed my perspective on Floristry & the possibilities.

Why Floristry?

As I’d said earlier, I had a personal loss in 2015 and my haven for getting through and past it was Floristry! I’d always been interested in flowers and had bought and vased flowers for my home for years but beyond that I didn’t quite know what else to do with it or how to make a business of it.
It’s been an absolute delight and such a rewarding experience getting to learn MY Floristry MY way.
I went in pursuit of the knowledge of it not knowing where it will take me but I’m so glad I’m here today doing what I absolutely love with no regrets whatsoever!! And even better, I continue to pursue that knowledge with utmost excitement for what the future holds !

What are your professional goals?

My professional goals are mainly to put my own stamp on the growing florist industry in Nigeria by continuing to create avante Garde pieces and designs whilst also expanding my business to a place where we have stores across the country and contracts with places of repute that are floral Savy!

Words of encouragement for budding florists?

Do you! Discover you! Learn your art and skill and OWN it! Floristry is a personal art. 
Never mind what anyone else is doing and DO NOT let them tell you that you can’t be you cos you are you! Go for it !

1.Flowers from Adela used as a cake topper.
2. Flowers from Adela entwined with ballons.

How do you juggle your career with motherhood?

It is HARD work!! And some days I don’t know how I do it, but I do! 
It’s a constant battle between wanting to spend all your time with your child and family and cook meals and have playdates VERSUS wanting to take on that next Challenge and perfect your art and satisfy your personal need and desire for growth. But somehow with the grace of God, it all gets done.

What are the challenges you encounter in running your floristry business?

There’s a certain temperate that flowers require to thrive. Nigeria doesn’t have that temperate, we are a tropical country. 

Hence as a Florist, we have to create/simulate the right temperate for our flowers. The process is very electricity dependent which is currently a challenge in Lagos. We, however, have had to invent other ways to simulate this temperate which allows our flowers to thrive.

Another challenge we face is a lack of understanding and appreciation for the actual cost of flowers and how much additional costs and work go into delivering the final product. Some people get it, but a larger number don’t.

This creates a challenge for us as Florists both from a creative and pricing perspective because it’s a constant battle attempting to balance my creative art and the price we put on that, bearing in mind the cost of the flowers and what clients are willing to pay.

What actions have you taken to help promote the role of florists in Nigeria

Having recognised a gap in the Floristry Industry in Nigeria, whereby the older generation of florists have not passed on their knowledge to younger or aspiring florists, we decided to open up the first of its kind in Nigeria – The Adela Flower School. 

We had our first class in July 2018 and it was a huge success. We’ve had a second class late 2018 and we are planning a full session for 2019.

Our hope is that we will be able to create opportunities and more jobs in Floristry by equipping anyone who comes to our school with the basic knowledge they require to begin their own career in Floristry. Whilst also continuing to support them with the supplies they may require.

Adela Flower School training Session.

On a lighter note, what would you do if you had super powers?

If I had superpowers, I’ll bring my Dad back to life! I’d want him to see how far I’ve come! Despite putting me through school all the way to a Masters in Law, he let me be me and pursue my floristry dream! I love him forever for that! 
He gave me a ticket to my first florist training in the UK. He encouraged, counselled and guided. 
Absolutely priceless. 💜

Follow Taiwo on instagram @adelasflowers.


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