We had the good fortune of connecting with Lara Adekoya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lara, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always had a love for cooking and baking. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom. As I have grown older, I have cherished the ability to nurture others through good food. Being in the kitchen is my comfort space; I feel safe, creative, empowered and happy. I started my small baking business @Fleursetsel in April of 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I was furloughed from my sales position at Nordstrom and had more time at home with family. When I decided to start Fleurs et Sel, I was driven by my nurturing spirit and passion for cooking and community. I wanted to bring comfort to my friends and the local Los Angeles community during these challenging times. My goal was simply to share my cookies and spread positivity and love.
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Of course! My business is called Fleurs et Sel, which means Flowers and Salt in French. Fleurs et Sel is a small locally owned baking company that makes sweet treats in small batches. I founded Fleurs et Sel just a few short months ago in April 2020 and have been baking and spreading the Fleurs et Sel love ever since! I was inspired to start my business because I wanted to spread love and positivity during these challenging times. I wanted to connect with friends, share my cookies with a larger audience, and make quarantine a little bit more ‘sweet.’
What sets me apart from others? Fleurs et Sel is proud to be a small, locally owned Black owned business. I am the Founder of CEO and I am proud to be a business owner at age 27. I always wanted to have a bakery or restaurant of my own; however, I never knew that my dreams would actualize during quarantine. I am proud to say that I am transforming the baking industry with a digital first approach and a sharp focus on giving each customer a beautiful and personalized experience. Fleurs et Sel has already set itself apart from other bakeshops in Los Angeles. Our cookies are made with simple ingredients and are known for being deliciously soft and flavorful. We have drawn lines of cookie lovers to West Hollywood and have the most loyal cookie-loving fans that show us love on a daily basis on Instagram. Above all, I believe that what sets Fleurs et Sel apart is the fact that our cookies bring comfort and are meant to be shared with friends, family and loved ones.
What am I most proud of and excited about? I am most proud of myself for preserving during these challenging times. It brings me true joy that I have been able to share my story and journey of pivoting during the Covid-19 Pandemic with others. Everyone has been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, I am proud that I have taken this time to pursue my dreams while taking care of my community, one cookie at a time. What am I excited about? I am excited for the future and growing Fleurs et Sel. I want to continue growing Fleurs et Sel and making my products more accessible.
What do I want the world to know about me, Fleurs et Sel, and my story?
I believe that our world needs more authentic, honest and vulnerable connections and as the Founder of Fleurs et Sel, that will be a top priority of mine. I feel fulfilled as an individual when I am purposeful, authentic and of service to others. I strive to achieve this type of success and fulfillment through baking and sharing my cookies with my community. I want people to know my name and share my story. I am funny and sweet, determined and hardworking. I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and put in the work. I am driven by my desire to be financially independent and as I slowly grow, my goal is to maintain 100% ownership of Fleurs et Sel. I find that this is absolutely critical as a young woman of color and small business owner. Furthermore, I want to inspire other young women, particularly young women of color, to have big dreams and follow them. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Dreams do come true but you must be ready to put in the work. The last thing that I would like to share about Fleurs et Sel is that my hope and desire is to bring comfort and happiness. Fleurs et Sel cookies are meant to be shared. The Fleurs et Sel love is meant to be spread. My mom always told me that “food tastes better when you share it” and our cookies do too.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My mom is half Japanese and growing up, we ate a lot of delicious home-made Japanese food. I admit, I am a bit biased. However, my two favorite Japanese food spots in Los Angeles are Kimukatsu (Sawtelle) and Murakami (Melrose). At Kimukatsu I highly recommend the Chicken Katsu Donburi bowl and at Murakami, my favorite is the Shrimp Tempura Roll. Oishi!
One of my favorite things to do is grab a coffee and croissant on my days off. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in France and I actually lived in France in Highschool. My absolute favorite French Bakery is Lou – The French on the Block. They are a French Owned + Black Owned business and they are located in Burbank. They make the BEST Almond Chocolate Croissant and I make a trip up there every weekend to indulge.
Lastly, my boyfriend and I love going on bike rides in our neighborhood (Melrose/Fairfax area) and we enjoy riding through Melrose Place. We also enjoy going downtown to the Arts District to hang out and shop at “The Row.”
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my lovely boyfriend James and my family — Dad, Mom Sewa, Gboyega and Seyi. They say it takes a village, and that is true! I am so thankful for all of the love and support that they continue to show me on a daily basis: always challenging me to be the best that I can be and encouraging me when I need support. I would also like to thank two very important women in my life: Aderiaun Shorter and Mindy Weiss – both of whom were my longtime customers at Nordstrom. I look up to both of these women as mentors and examples of successful Female Entrepreneurs. I am so thankful to have them in my life! Thank you for all of your support over the years and for your continued love and mentorship (and cookie orders) with Fleurs et Sel.
Other: Please find/add me on my personal account @miss_laraaya + business account @FleursetSel