Natalie of Nattycakes
Natalie's a hustler.
She's a business woman, cake baker, pastry artist, delivery person, & logistics coordinator all in one. During the three days I visited Natalie to shoot this profile, she powered through a seemingly endless stream of cakes, fillings, icings, and toppings. As a bystander it was a whirlwind just to witness all the careful planning it would take to run Nattycakes, but for Natalie, it was effortless.
Natalie knew she wanted to be a baker from the time she was 15, and now she's not only living out that teenage dream, but doing it successfully and sustainably. She inspires me to go after what I want without hesitation, and to never stop pushing through despite the challenges that may arise.
You can keep up with Natalie and check out her gorgeous seasonal cakes, cookies, and more at @lovenattycakes. Plus, wish her well on her honeymoon, which she is currently celebrating in Paris!
BAYDISH: What are your memories of cooking and baking growing up?
NATALIE: I remember baking sugar cookies with my mom around the holidays and apple pies with my grandma, and being so in love with the process! I would eat my way through every step and found myself still excited to try the end result. It became my weekend activity!
BAYDISH: When did you decide you wanted to bake for a living?
NATALIE: When I was 15 1/2 and looking for a job. My friend worked at a grocery store bakery and I thought it was so cool to be around cakes all day.
BAYDISH: What advice would you give your younger self?
NATALIE: Relax. Everyone struggles, ask for help and don’t be embarrassed when you aren’t picking things up as quickly as your peers.
BAYDISH: What's most challenging about the Bay Area food community?
NATALIE: How expensive rent is and how unaffordable purchasing a building can be. To be sustainable you need a solid foundation, and when your landlord decides to lease your space to another group without telling you, you find your thriving business, otherwise sustainable business, on a jello foundation. To be able to own a building here would solve so many problems yet who can afford $2.5 million dollars for a run down building?!
BAYDISH: What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area food community?
NATALIE: How collaborative it is! When I started Natty Cakes I anticipated a lot of tension and awkward competition. But the Bay Area has a strong food community that lifts each other up and shows you that if one succeeds, we all succeed. Those businesses that crash and burn are the ones that stole ideas along the way and didn’t lift others while on the incline. Gratitude and grace go a long way here!
BAYDISH: What are some unique challenges for women who work in food?
NATALIE: Others assume I am the delivery girl or the assistant, I couldn’t possibly be the owner as I am under 50 and female. My business is looked at as “cute “ or a side project, rather than a sustainable business I have built from the ground up without investment money handouts.
BAYDISH: What are you most proud of?
NATALIE: I am most proud of our kitchen community. I work with some of my favorite humans, who happen to be incredibly talented. Even though there are four separate businesses in our kitchen, we think as one when it comes to making decisions for our space. We all come into the kitchen each day happy to see one another and always look for ways we can help make each others’ days easier.
BAYDISH: What can we expect next from Nattycakes?
NATALIE: So much! We are on the hunt for a new kitchen and for a reasonable landlord. We are going to use this as a stepping stone in solidifying our kitchen community. I will continue to make beautiful cakes that bring me joy, and will eventually learn what it takes to balance work and home life as we start to plan for a family!