So, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Sarah from Tiny Sarah's Cakes, all about feminism in the wedding industry, what it's like to be self-employed, and her dream cakes! She specialises in quirky and creative vegan wedding cakes, and her studio is a joy to visit (especially when she's handing out tastings!)
Cakes are literally joy made in sugar. They have no nutritive value, people only eat them because they’re freaking yummy. They are something for people to share and enjoy, have a good time with - the question should be, why not?!
If you had absolute free reign and no technical or budget limitations, what kind of cake would you make and how would you display it?
In the middle of a huge floral installation would be a DREAM. I absolutely love flowers - as if you couldn’t tell from my gallery - and I think a cake on a see through plinth, with flowers cascading down and all around it, even with some hanging from the ceiling above, would love absolutely FABULOUS. I’ve recently started working with wafer paper and covering a cake of little wafer flowers would look absolutely fantastic.
What are three things that make you feel happy inside? Why?
Some of my favourite things are:
Being in bed with cats on my lap - I love spending time with the cats I live with, they’re my family. We usually snuggle up all together in bed in the evenings and I fall asleep listening to their purring.
Drinking tea with a friend - cause there is nothing better than tea and friends are everything.
Hiking - I love being in nature and walking. It really helps with any sort of anxiety because the purpose of the task is literally what it is: walking. It’s also a way to physically reach a goal - which feels amazing. Going on week hikes and sleeping in a tent is just one of the nicest things you can do for your mental health.
If there was one thing you’d change about the wedding industry what would it be?
How white, thin, able-bodied and straight it is. A massive change HAS to happen in terms of inclusion and diversity - suppliers of colour have to be put forward, weddings of different religions, traditions, people, have to be shown. When is the last - or first - time you saw a same sex Indian wedding online? Or a wedding with someone in a wheelchair? Or in an orthodox church? But these happen. They exist. They have to be shown, they are as valuable as any other.
What does feminism mean to you within the wedding industry?
Promoting other women’s business, especially women of colour. I have a “Wedding supplier of colour” highlight on my instagram for those who want to hire - or see the work of - people of colour for their wedding.
But it also means denouncing modern slavery, fast fashion - most of those who are exploited to make cheap wedding dresses, stationery, and all that shit from supermarkets and stuff are women.
Of course it means veganism too. I don’t believe any female should be exploited, whether they are humans or not. And on a larger scale, because I am an eco-feminist, it also means being as respectful as possible of the planet, what we buy, who we employ.
What are the main perks and downfalls of being a solo cake business?
The perks are being able to do my own shit. I have worked for other people before and never want to do it again - especially when you work for people who are not trained bakers. They don’t necessarily take decisions that make sense, they agree to ridiculous things, and it can get very frustrating. I am also a bit of a control freak so I like controlling everything. Being able to decide to take a day or an afternoon off is also really really nice. I didn’t use to feel like I could but lately I’ve been doing it more and more and it really helps productivity!
There are obviously some downsides too - like being alone most days, and having to do everything isn’t always the best. There are some areas that are not fabulous - I sometimes get massive email anxiety for example! Having someone just to type them would actually really help. I also bloody hate trying to keep on top of my finances, and sometimes I do wish I had someone with me to do the inventory for me!!
What’s been your hardest lesson?
I had a massive breakdown last year due to burn out, not enough rest and not prioritising my mental health. I’m trying to work really hard to take some time off and off my phone, spending time with my friends and kitties, exercising and not forgetting how much better I feel when I move my body. I am trying to also take the time to stretch, eat - I used to not eat due to lack of time - meditate, and even have normal working hours. I have been working so hard the last two years that for me starting at 6am and finishing at 1am has become normal.
What fires you up?
Creating and working with a team. That’s why I love doing photoshoots - they really allow me to create a cake that reflects how I feel at that exact moment.
Also bringing people joy. That is my main motivation in life.
Where do your dreams take you?
I would LOVE to have a tiny little shop front in Reading - one day, maybe Paris?! - and just deliver little cakes to sell fresh, everyday, from there.