In conversation with Pretty Shitty Cakes founder Jasmine Archie

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In Conversation with Pretty Shitty Cakes founder Jasmine Archie

In Conversation with Pretty Shitty Cakes founder Jasmine Archie

On stumbling into fake cakes, and why people can’t get enough of it

I’m from Nashville, Tennessee originally but now I live in Austin, Texas. Right now my days consist of my business, Pretty Shitty Cakes. It's kind of taken over my life. I'm first and foremost a photographer, but I started my business in late December and it kind of just blew up. It’s my life now and I spend most of my days at my studio there.

My birthday was in January and I wanted a cake, but I don't really like cake. So I was on Etsy looking for a ceramic cake, and then I stumbled upon fake cakes that look real. I looked it up on YouTube, got all the supplies and started making a bunch. I posted about it and people kind of went crazy. I started selling them immediately and then I'm here six months later. It just has never stopped. Like the second I posted, people were just like “I want one!”

Everyone is always like, “I didn't know I needed a fake cake.” I'm like, yeah, I didn't really either. It's just literally this random piece for your home that you would never think you needed. But once you know it's there, you really want it.

On giving people what they want

I do a mixture of both custom and my own designs. Right now, I take 50 customs a month but then I do site drops where I drop about 10 cakes. I make cupcake magnets as well, like you can stick on your fridge or really anywhere there's metal, and those are all my designs. But customs, big site drops, and there's a bunch of new stuff coming. Then I also do pop-ups in Austin.

On the beauty of turning dislikes and vulnerabilities into a burgeoning career

I can't bake for shit. I don't cook, I don't bake. I just kind of learned how to pipe as I went. And that's where the name came from. Because I wasn't good at it at first, and I knew that going into it. So I didn't really want to give anyone the room to be like, “oh my god, this is so shitty.” So I got ahead of it. But I’m really good at piping now. I definitely want to start trying to bake and make real cakes because it would be really fun. I get to eat it.

I have a huge sweet tooth. It's just cake has never been my sort of been my thing, which is so funny that my business is that. But that's beautiful that I could turn something that I don't like into my career.

On intentional photography and alternate realities

I'm a freelance photographer so I go where the money’s at. I basically do everything, but definitely more portrait-based. A lot of lifestyle, and a lot of work for different magazines, different brands all over the place. My favorite type of work has always been more editorial work, for sure. I lived in LA for a brief moment before we moved to Austin and I was doing a lot of editorial work there. That's definitely my favorite.

I am very intentional. I don't carry my camera around. I like to set intent behind my shoots. I plan them out. I prop them, I stage them, and then I shoot. I like to create a kind of fun, otherworld with my photography. It isn't really reality-based.

On unearthing a love for home design in the absence of creative stimulation

When we moved to Austin, I didn't really have work for the first year. And I was just super bored. And that's when my love of home design came about. I started to get really into decorating my home and that became my creative outlet for sure. I always loved furniture and it was always in the back of my mind. My mom loves to decorate. She always had great furniture — not my cup of tea, we're definitely on different ends of the spectrum — but she is definitely intentional. And she cared for it, loved it. So deep down, that’s definitely where I derived from. My love of it just kind of came to me when I had nothing else to really put my creative juices into.

On unearthing a love for home design in the absence of creative stimulation

When we moved to Austin, I didn't really have work for the first year. And I was just super bored. And that's when my love of home design came about. I started to get really into decorating my home and that became my creative outlet for sure. I always loved furniture and it was always in the back of my mind. My mom loves to decorate. She always had great furniture — not my cup of tea, we're definitely on different ends of the spectrum — but she is definitely intentional. And she cared for it, loved it. So deep down, that’s definitely where I derived from. My love of it just kind of came to me when I had nothing else to really put my creative juices into.

On unearthing a love for home design in the absence of creative stimulation

When we moved to Austin, I didn't really have work for the first year. And I was just super bored. And that's when my love of home design came about. I started to get really into decorating my home and that became my creative outlet for sure. I always loved furniture and it was always in the back of my mind. My mom loves to decorate. She always had great furniture — not my cup of tea, we're definitely on different ends of the spectrum — but she is definitely intentional. And she cared for it, loved it. So deep down, that’s definitely where I derived from. My love of it just kind of came to me when I had nothing else to really put my creative juices into.

On achieving spontaneity in a fixed home environment

If I could uproot my life and move somewhere every year or six months I would, but that just can't happen right now, especially since COVID. I just like to change it up. I'm a sporadic person, I like to have different things around me 24/7, so I can't just sit in the same space. I’m a renter right now, and I'll move houses every year on purpose because I like to put myself in new situations. But with this house, I'm not letting go of it until it's time to buy. So I had to get more creative, move stuff around and just buy new furniture every six months. For me, it's never going to be perfect, and I'm okay with that.

On achieving spontaneity in a fixed home environment

If I could uproot my life and move somewhere every year or six months I would, but that just can't happen right now, especially since COVID. I just like to change it up. I'm a sporadic person, I like to have different things around me 24/7, so I can't just sit in the same space. I’m a renter right now, and I'll move houses every year on purpose because I like to put myself in new situations. But with this house, I'm not letting go of it until it's time to buy. So I had to get more creative, move stuff around and just buy new furniture every six months. For me, it's never going to be perfect, and I'm okay with that.

On achieving spontaneity in a fixed home environment

If I could uproot my life and move somewhere every year or six months I would, but that just can't happen right now, especially since COVID. I just like to change it up. I'm a sporadic person, I like to have different things around me 24/7, so I can't just sit in the same space. I’m a renter right now, and I'll move houses every year on purpose because I like to put myself in new situations. But with this house, I'm not letting go of it until it's time to buy. So I had to get more creative, move stuff around and just buy new furniture every six months. For me, it's never going to be perfect, and I'm okay with that.

On getting back to socializing in a post-pandemic world

It's been really hard to navigate. Because obviously you want to be safe, but we've been so cooped up. Everything has definitely been opening up here in Austin and we've been diving in, going out. We're so excited to be out in the world again. I mean, I definitely have been going out and having fun. And it's more of a peer pressure thing, because everyone else is doing it, I'm like, okay, maybe I feel safe doing it now, too.

I was joking with my partner about how we went to this underground tunnel party. It was a few days ago and it was so weird. I forgot how to communicate with people. Talking to people, being around that many people, just being overstimulated because we haven't been in so long. It's just been crazy to navigate. But long story short, yes, I'm definitely ready to get out in the world and I have been, respectfully, as much as I can.

And, a lightning round, starting with shooting with digital or film

Digital, but I do love film as well. I'm just such an instant gratification kind of gal and that's the only reason why. Film is always better but digital is just quicker.

Austin vs. Nashville

Austin. Any day. Austin. I love Nashville, that's where I'm from. I love it there and I love going back, but always Austin. Nashville still has a lot of growing to do.

Cakes vs. cupcakes

Cakes. I love the cakes. The cupcakes, it's just a cute little side. It's more there for people that don't want a whole cake. Just like a cute little side thing.

Corn tortillas vs. flour tortillas

Corn all day.

Go-to veg-out food

Oooh. Honestly, just tacos. From the little trucks at the gas stations. They're crazy here in Austin. It's the best tacos I've ever had. I've never eaten so many tacos in my life since moving to Austin. The breakfast tacos are crazy too. But it's just tacos all around: breakfast, lunch, dinner. All tacos from the gas stations. They're insane. That's definitely the go-to.

Go-to veg-out food

Oooh. Honestly, just tacos. From the little trucks at the gas stations. They're crazy here in Austin. It's the best tacos I've ever had. I've never eaten so many tacos in my life since moving to Austin. The breakfast tacos are crazy too. But it's just tacos all around: breakfast, lunch, dinner. All tacos from the gas stations. They're insane. That's definitely the go-to.

Jasmine Archie is an Austin-based photographer and creator of Pretty Shitty Cakes. You can follow Jasmine and Pretty Shitty Cakes on Instagram.