Founders Blog – Lily Vanilli

Founders Blog – Lily Vanilly

Lily in the bakery with her founder’s plaque on the wall.

What is the origin story of Lily Vanilli, how did it all begin?

I started selling cakes to friends from home back in 2008 and it grew from there! Very organically and with no real plans to have a business, I just really loved baking and cakes and have remained as passionate as I was then.
Collaboration between Lily Vanilli & family-owned roller skating rink Flippers World!

Why did Lily Vanilli become a  founding member of the Guild 10 years ago?

I love my community and have had my bakery in Tower Hamlets (off Columbia Road) for almost 15 years, so a network of small businesses like mine in my area and the support of the Guild to champion and protect us was a no-brainer. I have really felt supported and really appreciate all the Guild does for our community and area.
Christmas cakes are now in the bakery!

What has been the most valuable aspect of Guild membership for you since you joined?

Feeling reassured that there’s an organisation there with your best interests in mind, and with an objective to protect small businesses from encroaching development. We all know there are always forces pushing from the other direction, so it’s incredibly valuable to have an organisation working to protect the smaller businesses that make this community great. If and when things do go wrong, I have found the Guild really supportive, I genuinely feel I have someone to turn to who has our best interests at heart.

How has your business changed in the last decade?

During the pandemic, we really grew the cakes-to-order business and also launched an afternoon tea at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, and they proved to be the two most significant changes to the business. Other than that, were very much as we were when we started – a small, creative, local bakery – baking for our own pleasure and with the seasons, while striving to make things which spread joy to the people we bake for.
Lilly Vanilli at The Theatre Royal

What do you want people to know about Lily Vanilli right now? 

We have just launched our Christmas menu for our Afternoon Tea at the Theatre Royal and we have some exciting plans for it next year too!
Meanwhile, I just launched an online school – with really affordable courses to help people become better cake makers and decorators. There are lots of beautifully illustrated and helpful course materials which we worked really hard on – I’m super proud of it and we have had great results so far – we have gift cards for courses now too!
Beautiful pink cake from 2012.
Lily at a fundraiser with the late great Barbara Windsor.
Recipe for Syrian Barazek Shortbreads that Lily donated to the #BakeforSyria campaign back in 2017.