Dear Sweet Readers,
Hey, CakeSpy-Jessie here. I would like to inform you that I am writing you a little love-note right now. Why, exactly?
Well, today is August 1, 2011. And believe it or not, it was on this day four years ago that I made my first CakeSpy posting. It's true. People that I know, in the duration of CakeSpy's life, have met their soul-mates, gotten married and have had babies. Babies that can now walk and talk and stuff! Like, whoa. Well, I gots no baby, but I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on my sweet little blog-baby's life.
August 2007: I remember clicking "Publish" and then eagerly re-opening the site to see..."Did it publish?". Yes, it had. My first posting was about a company that I don't think exists anymore, that made cupcakes in mason jars. I thought that was the awesomest thing ever (I still think it's a pretty awesome idea).
November 2007: I opened my Etsy store (it's no longer my primary webstore, but it is still there). I opened my store on Thanksgiving I believe, and received my first order a few days later. I remember looking at it in amazement, and thinking "I don't know this person! Someone I don't know has ordered my artwork!".
Also around this time, I received my first "Big" press--from the website Serious Eats! I remember almost fainting because it was (and pretty much still is) my favorite foodie site.
Around this time too, I learn, a little late in the blog game, that I can actually see how many people visit my site every day. I saw that one day, like 400 people had visited it! I was like, "Who are you people?". I try not to focus too much on numbers, but I am pretty sure more people than that visit my site daily now.
2008: Orders started picking up on my online store, and I began to get more and more commissions. I decided to take a scary step: to quit my day job (as an art director/product manager at a refrigerator magnet company...no, really). Well, my kind bosses talked me into cutting down to part time, and that's what I ended up doing, but by mid-2008, I had made the leap and turned CakeSpy into an LLC. I was a small business owner and on my own! OMG!
In 2008, something amazing happened to my friend Bakerella, too. She was featured on Martha Stewart and became an Official Big Deal. And - believe it or not, because of the very fact that I was linked to on her website, I received the sweetest kind of ripple-success: turns out her readers liked my artwork too, and a lot of them ordered my artwork. I am forever thankful to her--and them! We are all united in sweetness.
I was also invited to become a contributor to Taste Of Home, which I credit my friend Sandy for. It was a great artistic opportunity and I continue to do work for them!
In 2008, I also had a sweet little 1-year birthday party for my site at Cupcake Royale. At it, I met a lot of awesome people, including Peabody who continues to be a baking idol to me, and Carrie Middlemiss, who at the time was working at WAMU but wanted a career change and wanted it to somehow involve cupcakes. Not long after, she started a business called Bella Cupcake Couture. Look at her now!
This year, I also started doing a bunch of product production and started doing more art shows. This has since become a big part of my business.
2009: I am asked to become a recipe contributor to Serious Eats. OMG! I was very nervous about this because I didn't consider myself a professional baker, but they dug my "let's have fun in the kitchen" vibe and it turns out that this gig has helped me in so many ways and has helped me become a more adept (if still not very professional) baker!
I also did a personal favorite post in 2009, which is featured on The Kitchn: a lifetime history of the chocolate chip cookie.
2010: Early in the year, a local gallery in Seattle announced that they wanted to sell because the owners were having a baby. I thought "why not make that into my CakeSpy HQ and sell my artwork there?". After all, I was starting to become a little strange working from home, I thought. So in early 2010, I took on an art gallery / retail shop, CakeSpy Shop, in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The grand opening party was possibly the most epic evening of my life.
I also got to do my first bakery bathroom mural, in Minneapolis. Try saying that five times fast.
Now it's time for a slightly silly story. In the summer of 2010, I was really busy, and a little overwhelmed with all I was doing (writing, baking, artwork, etc.) -- and I actually forgot how old I was. I am totally not kidding. My birthday is on August 26. I was born in 1981. Last August, for some reason, I thought I was turning 30. I had a small mental breakdown about it. I started whining about all of the things I thought I would have done by 30. "I thought I would have a book by 30" I whined. I actually said this phrase.
But then, something miraculous happened. I realized I wasn't turning 30, I was turning 29. The reaction was twofold: RELIEF! I was still young! But also: PANIC! Why didn't I know how old I was anymore?
And so at this point, I took on a part-time store helper so I could have more time to focus on art and writing, things that were sometimes hard to work on at the store. And in winter of 2010, I got a book deal. I remember the day I signed the paperwork, because I went to bake cake pops with Megan of Not Martha and Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl. These ladies are Bona Fide internet celebrities, in case you didn't know. Shauna joked "When will you get a book deal, Jessie?". And I said, "actually...today." It was the strangest and most beautiful moment.
And now, my blog-baby is having its birthday, and later on this month, I have my birthday, too. I will be turning 30. And just this week, I received the advance copy of my book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life . I can now hold it in my hands, even if it won't be in stores til September/October. It's so weird. Weird, but awesome. I can't imagine a sweeter birthday present for me, or for my site.
So thank you, dear readers. Because none of these amazing adventures would have happened without your love, support, and voracious appetite for more sweetness.
Your Dear CakeSpy.