Owner and Baker of Babycakes Cupcakes, Etc. Anchorage, Alaska
You have always been one of the most creative people and talented artists I've known - with an Art degree and an impressive experience list including graphic design and Makeup Artistry what inspired you to start baking?
First off thank you. You are an inspiration to me as well and were a huge influence and support to me when it came to turning this hobby into a business. I started baking in 2012 as a way to pass the time while waiting to give birth to my son (I happened to have a wicked sweet tooth;)). I was still working in makeup but found I could be just as creative with baking with half the stress and more fulfillment. I found baking for others to be community building. My love for it eventually inspired me to make it my full-time job.
Describe a typical day when on a job:
Describing a typical day would probably bore you. It's a lot of routine (prep cupcake ingredients, get ovens ready, mix ingredients, bake, time, make frosting, decorate, post to social media). The fun in it comes with brainstorming new and unique flavors to experiment with and trying them out on customers to see what they think.
Any embarrassing instances on the job you want to admit?
No. Haha. I have definitely had my fair share of "baking fail" moments, but I tend to tuck those back into the far recesses of my mind and carry on as if I am the baking badass I pretend to be.
What do you look forward to most when developing a menu?
Playing with new flavors and textures/inventing new dessert items. The artist background in me LOVES to experiment and create new things so my menu is constantly changing. I still keep the classics in heavy rotation though ;)
What is your favorite season to bake for?
FALL!!! Lol. I LOVE warm, spicy flavors and fall is the perfect time to tuck in and cozy up with some sweet homemade confections.
You have such incredible style that really sets your brand apart and plays into your business - describe your style aesthetic:
Retro 50s/punk rock. I like to think of it as a combo of sweet and edgy.
How do you stay inspired?
By creating new flavors. I do a lot of research online or by reading cookbooks, finding out what other chefs and bakers are doing then brainstorming off that. I play a lot which makes it a lot of fun. I don't take myself too seriously when it comes to baking. If I had to make the same flavors over and over without anything new I'd probably go insane. The best part about this job is that I am constantly being creative and trying new ideas, and I can do that because I'm the boss!
Do you think education is important in starting a business?
Yes and no. My education background is in Fine Arts, which has helped me in certain ways (with aesthetics, creating new and interesting desserts, branding, marketing etc), but not with the business side. I think that would definitely help, but there are resources out there to help small business owners succeed even if you don't have a formal education in business.
What are ways you have seen growth as a baker and business owner over the years?
Over the years I've figured out (to some extent) what works and doesn't work. Whether it be flavor combos and executing new ideas to what may or may not appeal to customers. I feel like over the years I've polished up my baking style (a little) and the way I market my business. I've also listened to a lot of feedback. It's funny to look back and see where I started. You might not think you're making progress, but little by little it adds up.
What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Be flexible. Occasionally you will have to adjust your expectations and that's ok. You might get knocked down a few times, but you just need to roll with the punches, learn from your experiences, and get back up bigger and badder than ever.
Who are some of your favorite foodie instagrams to follow?
@passionforbaking and @katherine_sabbath are two major baking influences for me as far as baking style goes. I also can zen out on cookies decorating videos for like ever. @thehaleycakes is a good one. It doesn't stop at baking though, I love food in general. I follow restaurants all over the country and get inspiration from all kinds of different food.
I know art and music have such an importance in your life- who are some of your favorite artists and muses:
It's no secret that I love punk rock and rockabilly music and pinup culture. A lot of my cupcakes are named after rock songs or musicians or pin up/Hollywood stars. Some of My favorites would be: The Misfits, Danzig, David Bowie, Rancid, Stray Cats, Siouxie and the Banshees, Blondie, Beastie Boys, The Cure, Joy Division, NIN, Dita Von Teese...I could literally go on and on.