Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Interview With TheCupcakeMint

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview presentation by Kylie of

Meet Shannon of Etsy's
TheCupcakeMint & ItsNewAgain

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

I was such a fortunate child who was surrounded by people who recognized my creativity and encouraged & supported it. Looking back, like many children, I had a wild imagination! I was always dreaming up stories and imagining little worlds. I still do to this day. As a
child, my imagination got me into trouble though.. I went through an awful phase of nightmares! I'd say I'm 50% visual and 50% sensory in my creative approach. It is no wonder I'm a photographer and lover of food! Most of the time my ideas never come to me in the kitchen. In all things I create they either come to me in a dream (really, I dream of photographs and cupcakes!) or when I'm in my most conscious state of mind & 100% present in the moment. This is usually when I'm on a run or a bike ride or sometimes even when I'm driving my best ideas will come to me.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Oh boy... delicious vegan goodies!
Cupcakes and cookies, mainly. Despite what many people initially think, we do not sell all mint cupcakes! However, when I came up with the name for the business, we were baking for a huge holiday party- all mint cakes dipped in mint fondant & topped with mint fondant snowflakes. I thought to myself, "I'm like a cupcake factory.. or.. a mint! A cupcake mint!" The mint fondant snowflake cakes were one of the original items in our shop when we joined etsy in mid December of 2008. They will make a reappearance this holiday season! In the near future we hope to be selling packs of recipe cards, so get your whisks & aprons ready!

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

I draw inspiration from everything. As strange as it sounds, the brooch on someone's jacket may show up in the color combination of my fondant cakes or the odd geometry of a table may remind me of a certain flavor combination I've been meaning to try. I'm definitely a translator. I love translating moments and experiences into photographs or foods or into anyway they can be applied to whatever project I'm working on at that moment. My endless curiosity about the world & people around me serve me well in my creative endeavors.

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

I'm a photographer as well. Back in college I would veer from photographing people to photographing my cupcakes for fun, & sometimes I found myself just baking to style and take pictures of them, not because I wanted to eat them! My roommates both loved & hated me, because there were always delicious sweets around the apartment. I also used to design t-shirts back in the day, & was a big fan of when they made their debut in 2000. I'd love to get back into screen printing t-shirts. I love sculpting & design, too. Interior design and architecture have always been interests of mine, and I could see myself eventually going back to school for either one of the two.

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

I'd love to be commissioned to craft a full-size fancy, vegan cake, eventually! I also wouldn't mind combining my two passions for baking and photography. I'd love to be photographing desserts for magazines and cook books, or even other bakeries & restaurants that need their food photographed.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

Oh boy, I've got lots! Running has become a very large part of my life, & I'm currently training for my first marathon on October 4, 2009. I always joke around that all of this baking has forced me to train for a marathon, but really I'd be running marathons even if I wasn't in the business of baking. Yoga is wonderful and I took up Bikram yoga this year which is just beyond words incredible.

I'm also a lover of languages & culture. I studied Chinese in school for 9 years, and to this day I try to keep up with my Chinese. I've been to China twice, once on vacation and once to study the language & culture. I'd like to go back some day. I was just in Japan for photography work, & I'd like to go back there, as well, and learn more Japanese. I'm realizing I have a knack for visual/pictorial languages or any form of visual communication.

Other interests... the science of food for sure. Science in general. I have my degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications, I'm little bit of a nerd!

Q. Is Etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

Etsy is a good part of our business. Outside of Etsy we also bake for parties & special occasions as well. We hope to be distributing to local restaurants and selling at markets in the near future. In terms of marketing we operate mainly on word of mouth, which has been wonderful! We do have a Facebook fan page,
check it out!

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into your life?

I've been vegan for 5 years & before I went vegan I was pescetarian for about 3 years. Going vegan was the best thing I could have ever done for my health & it has allowed me to connect with and interact with people in ways that continue to amaze me. I've made a very conscious decision in my life to lead by example and not by preaching or talking constantly about my diet. This has proven to be a great way to show people what being vegan really is all about and the people in my life have become very open to eating vegan and even cooking + baking vegan. Now if only I could find a good vegan man with a similar approach to share my life with!

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?

My vice is peanut butter. The end. The last recipe I made were the
Peanutbutter Cream Sandwiches listed in our shop. Aside from baking I keep my recipes fairly basic and simple. I actually eat a lot raw foods and miso, probably to make up for having to taste test every time I'm fulfilling orders.

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

I love
pure food + wine in new york city. I was also introduced to an awesome veggie/Thai restaurant called Pukk in NYC- I can't wait to go back there. I must admit I'm a Whole Foods & Trader Joe's addict, and I need to go into those stores at least once a month to get my fix. Other than that I don't visit many veggie blogs or websites on the Internet, so if you've got any good recommendations throw them my way!

1 comment:

FireHorse3 said...

Wonderful cakes and beautiful photos - irresistible ;-)