You guys. This months interview is a match made in dessert heaven! As soon as I got my hands on our latest clutch and saw those perfectly embroidered sprinkles, I knew I had to send one to my girl Rosie, the founder of Sweetapolita, since no one knows more about the art of sprinkles than her! She puts together the most fun and colorful sprinkle combos you’ve ever seen and we’ve been using (and LOVING!) her products here at the studio (like on our unicorn blondie sundae and our birthday cake soap!) and they are the REAL DEAL!
Rosie and I chatted all about how Sweetapolita got started and she even dished out some seriously amazing advice for those of you feeling like it’s time for a career change! When this much sugar is involved, you know it’s gonna be fun! So, keep on reading for Rosie’s fave blush; the one and only time her style has changed; and to find out when she baked her first cake from scratch (hint: its never too late to try something new)! Let’s do it!
Let’s start with the basics! Tell me about your must-have items that are always in your purse!
Well, the bigger the purse, the more items I tend to classify as must-have, but I always carry a small notebook + pen (I still insist on writing shopping lists and taking notes the old-fashioned way), emergency purse sprinkles for otherwise less-than-magical treats on the go, bubblemint gum, candy, at least one accessory or pair of earrings, tweezers, eyelash brush, hair ties, hand cream, a stack of business cards, neutral lipstick, blush (I think my blush is most girls’ lipstick–I try it in every brand/shade). Right now I’m loving Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in “Pink Frosting,” because it’s super creamy and adds such a healthy glow!
Oooh! I love the idea of emergency sprinkles. With all those “must-haves”, what’s the most random item you’ve ever found in your purse?
Being a mom, entrepreneur and vintage shopping junkie, I can say that my purse has housed ALL the things. I think the most random item I’ve ever found at the bottom of my purse is a cake topper (complete with bits of frosting and cake crumbs) from my cakelet Reese’s birthday a few weeks before, but I’ve also found everything from Barbie clothes to bubble wands. #cakeletmama
Have you always carried a purse? Do you remember your first one?
I’ve always been super girly, and I remember purses mattered to me right from the get-go. The first “purse” I can recall was actually a white and pink vinyl Strawberry Shortcake pencil case that I designated as my “purse,” when I was 6 years old (this was the original Strawberry Shortcake era–can you guess my age? hehe). I filled it with flavored rollerball lip glosses (my favorite was my Maybelline Kissing Potion in “Strawberry Swirl”), candy and coins. My first official purse was a white floral embroidered and fringed cross-body purse my parents bought me on our little trip to Manitoulin Island that same year–I had never felt so sophisticated!
Has your aesthetic changed since then? Do you feel like your personal style has influenced your brand’s style at all?
Funny enough, I think my girly style has only diverged one time since I was 5 years old, and that was only because the mid 90s happened, haha. I’ve blocked some of it out, but I can recall that a lot of black, odd denim and dark, chunky footwear was involved. Now, I would describe my style as girly, casual and playful. I do have an affinity for vintage style and pastel colors, so one might say most of my clothes have a confection-like quality! And I would say yes, absolutely, my baking style and personal style influence the other. I think that’s why my world of baking + sprinkles has always felt like a natural extension of my heart and soul. It really is a lifestyle!
Speaking of your brand, Sweetapolita, tell us a little more about how it came to be + what you do now!
While Sweetapolita has always embraced the happiness and joy of cakes and sprinkles, the day-to-day of what I do has evolved since its inception in 2010. I began as a baker/cake designer, then created my blog to share my cake recipes and dessert photography which eventually evolved into The Sweetapolita Bakebook. I have always been drawn to sprinkles and everything they represent (ie. childhood + pure freakin’ happiness), so in 2015 I found a way to make sprinkles my full-time job, by creating a new category in the baking industry–sprinkle mixes (which we call Sweetapolita Sprinkle Medleys). While I still bake and share recipes whenever possible, I spend most of my hours running the online shop and working with my sprinkle squad to create and ship our sprinkle medleys (along with many other premium classic sprinkles, luxe cake decorations + other adorable sprinkle-related stuff), all over the world. Working among thousands of pounds of sprinkles every day, and spreading so much happy, makes it literally impossible to be anything but thankful.
That sounds so fun! How did you originally get into baking?
I loved to bake as a little girl, and I remember watching in awe as my mom would bake pie after pie. I would help her any chance I could and I loved to experiment with any baking recipe in my mom’s tattered Five Roses Cookbook. I didn’t make my first cake from scratch until I was in my early 30s though. (What?!) And then I just went for it! I signed up for every baking + cake design course I could and fell in love with it. Hard. That really wasn’t very long ago, so you can see that “it” all happened really fast. Of course, now I can’t imagine life without it.
How did you decide to open a sprinkle shop in addition to your blog?
The sprinkle shop really came together in an organic way. While writing my cookbook, I started to play around with what I now call “sprinkle medleys,” by mixing together different sprinkle “components,” to create beautiful “fluff” shots for the book. I loved it so much that, at the last minute,” I created a cake for the book using one of the sprinkle medleys, and readers were begging me to sell them! As a former product creator + entrepreneur at heart (and sprinkle addict, of course), I knew I could and would make sprinkles my career. I created the first collection of Sweetapolita Sprinkle Medleys and opened an Etsy shop. It went so well, that I decided to open the Sweetapolita Shop and it’s been a flurry of business and excitement ever since. I treat my sprinkle medleys and everything we offer in the shop with great love, care and attention, and I think our customers can feel that. We care about baking and sprinkles the way they do and it’s an art form.
What advice would you give to someone looking to branch out into a new area of their career?
I want to share with people something I heard that changed my life (sadly, I don’t recall from whom, but I want to thank them!): “If your dream job doesn’t exist, you must create it.” And that is exactly what I did. I didn’t even suspect during my 20s and early 30s that I would end up here, and it goes to show that major career change (at any phase of life) is not only doable but possibly the only way to unite all of your life/career experience with what genuinely fulfills you.
Photos by Rosie Alyea
HUGE thanks to Rosie for sharing with us today! Now I just need to go get myself something sweet to eat! You can follow along with Rosie + Sweetapolita here on Instagram and you can stock up on her sprinkles for your next baking project here! Also, be sure to stay tuned to her Instagram later today because she’s going to be giving away one of our SOLD OUT toaster pastry clutches + keychains! It’s the only way you can get your hands on one so go, go, go!
And if you want to make sure to secure your spot for June’s soon-to-be revealed clutch, be sure to sign up for the waitlist here!