Sometimes I pay attention to events and inboxed messages on Facebook. Sometimes I don’t. This time I did. It was an event, stating that Tasty Buds was officially starting their holiday baskets filled with all kinds of sweet treats. I wasn’t quite sure where to even begin. I have a thing for oatmeal cookies, who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies, and let’s not start on special orders for cakes and pies. (Did I ever tell you I was a generously proportioned child?) While my mind had drifted off into a mental sugar shock of sorts, reading the "Contact Adjoa Idun" smacked me back to reality.
I’ve known Adjoa since I was about thirteen years old. Our families went to the same church. And as we have gotten older, attended different churches, and I’ve taken to passions for people and design, she has taken to catering and event planning. I didn’t email her an order at first, I emailed her for an interview. And of course like the gracious person I've known her to be, she said she was more than happy to give be interviewed about her catering and event planning service Tasty Buds.
Phreedum: Who are you in 5 words?
AI: I’m committed, ambitious, open, Life –earner.
Phreedum: What is Tasty Buds and how did you begin?
AI: Tasty Buds is a catering and event planing service. Now, I didn't initially go to school for culinary arts or event planning. I went to school for behavior health and human services, but always had a knack for cooking and hosting. I would do small functions, mostly for church and family. At these functions people would always ask do you cater? I never really wanted to spend school time for my culinary fancies but then I decided to go to the restaurant school at Walnut Hill Culinary school. I was there a year and a half but wasn't super thrilled with the direction I was going in. I appreciated the skills and learning about culinary art, but I didn't want to be in someone else’s kitchen. I wanted to be in my own.
Phreedum: But you don’t just cook right?
AI: Right. That was also part of my decision to discontinue the program. I didn't want to just cater. I wanted to create a lifestyle moment for people. I wanted to do the entire event, the planning, selecting a venue, floral arrangements, décor, and the food.I wanted to do it all.
Phreedum: How long have you been practicing your craft?
AI: I've been at this for 7 years. Recently I think I’ve gotten to a point where I am not working to define my worth, but I know what I am worthy and am charging accordingly and accepting engagements accordingly. It’s definitely been a process.
Phreedum: So as you continue in that process are there any particular events or moments that you consider to be the most successful?
AI: I can’t say there is a particular event that sticks out. I can say that when I am able to coordinate the entire event, venue election or assistance, floral arrangements, décor, menu, etc, I feel like those are my most successful events. I often have these opportunities with weddings. And, I recently was awarded the the Iron Chef Marriott Resorts winner.
Phreedum: Well congratulations on that.
AI: Thank you.
Phreedum: So, tell me about lessons you have gleaned along the away.
AI: The biggest lesson I think I’ve learned so far is the relationship between cost and production. While it may be better in terms of financial resources to have less staff, typically I find there is better production if I have more help. More help equals more money but also equals better production. I’ve learned whatever I think I am saving by utilizing less help, I’m not because I run myself ragged. So maybe the real lesson is me learning I have limits and it’s in the best interest of my business and my sanity to hire help.
Phreedum: Okay, so we talked about the success, and the lessons, but what about sacrifices. Greatness does not come without sacrifice.
AI: You know, I think it’s been a lot of the normal sacrifices that come with the territory of being an entrepreneur, especially the start up costs. A lot more goes out than stays in. I love what I do. However in all honesty, at 30 I thought I’d be completely independent and not in my parent’s home. But it makes sense right now to be here and allows me to use the money I’d be using to pay a mortgage for other things like health insurance.
AI: The Internet.
We both laugh.
AI: I do a lot a lot of research through the Internet. I do a lot of looking at companies that I hold in high esteem and learn about their path to achieving their success. I want to grow and get bigger. The research not only provides helpful concrete steps I can consider taking but also provides encouragement. I am reading about people who just like me have had to experience failures and make sacrifices. And another great resource has just been experience. I can see a lot of growth and I also take time to look at events and assess what I did well and what I can do better.
Phreedum: How have your entrepreneurial pursuits impacted your relationships?
AI: Well, most of my close friends are entrepreneurs so that has been really helpful. With my family, they are pretty involved in my business, sometimes too much, but again I’m grateful. Now, as for personal relationships, right now I can’t say I have the time right now. Tasty Buds is my husband, baby, and job.
Phreedum: Who has been the most influential in allowing you to pursue your business?
AI: My parents. Well all of my family has been supportive and the immediate family has often served as a part of my team, but my parents have been a huge blessing. They have let me turn their home into a design firm, catering company, floral factory, etc. Whatever I needed it to be in order to be successful they have allowed it to be. My sisters have also been a great help and are the backbone of my business. They , my parents and sisters, are the reason why Tasty Buds is going where it’s going.
Phreedum: One question I like to ask entrepreneurs is how does their work change the lives of others?
AI: I think there are two main things that Tasty Buds does to change people’s lives. For one, we employ people. Second, we provide excellent service. Our mantra is “Excellence is the standard not the goal.” When people leave our events they experience something different. Thy experience excellence. They know that I and my team have made the happiness of them and their guests a top priority. You shouldn’t have a special event and not feel special.
Phreedum: What has been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as you have pursued this goal?
AI: A close friend and mentor once told me, "If you don’t quit, you win."
For more information about Adjoa Iden and Tasty Buds visit their page on facebook and become a fan of Tasty Buds Catering Service or email Adjoa at firstname.lastname@example.org