"I have been running Cupcakes and Cashmere for five and a half years. I just turned 30. I guess I got my start by studying sociology and media studies at Scripps College in Claremont, California—I was the head of sales at the school news...
"I have been running Cupcakes and Cashmere for five and a half years. I just turned 30. I guess I got my start by studying sociology and media studies at Scripps College in Claremont, California—I was the head of sales at the school newspaper. I would go to a cute boutique or think of a storage facility that all of the students would need to use at the end of the year, and get these places to place ads in our paper. The experience was minimal at best, but it helped me get a job after college.
During my senior year, I decided that I wanted to work at Condé Nast—I didn’t even think of having a backup plan. I looked at their journalistic integrity, the quality of their photographs, and I was just like, 'This is where I want to be.’ So I went through the magazines’ mastheads, called the LA office and said, ‘I would love to meet with the HR director.’ I didn’t have a car at the time, so even getting from Claremont to LA involved walking to the bus station, taking the Metro Link in, then the subway, then a bus, and then I walked the rest of the way. [Laughs] It was bananas how much determination I had. Even now I’m like, ‘Oh god, if I couldn’t valet my car I probably wouldn’t do it.’ [Laughs]
The day after I graduated, a really great position opened up at Condé Nast—sales assistant for Teen Vogue and Domino. My parents had driven down to Claremont to bring me back home to Marin County [in Northern California], and we stopped at Condé's LA office along the way so I could interview. I had my fingers crossed, because if I didn’t get the job, I would have gone straight to living in my parents' basement. But, I got the job.
I didn’t fit into the editorial side of things at all at Condé. My style wasn’t there yet—I’m talking Rocket Dog platform flip-flops. And I was so worried about looking like a college student that I ended up looking like a frumpy grandma in long pencil skirts and oversized blazers. I just didn’t look the part; I’ve always been more business-savvy than fashion-forward. But being there and seeing everyone in the hallways, the gorgeous racks of clothes, the Allure beauty closet, it made me step up my style game. And though I always thought my natural career progression would be on the advertising side—I saw the sellers taking people out to every meal and doing really well for themselves, and it seemed like a straightforward job—I became enamored with style. I was reading so many magazines every week, and developing my sense of what I like to wear, what I felt comfortable in.
I also knew I would get bored in sales eventually—that’s kind of where the idea started to come to me, to combine the two sides [editorial and advertising], melding my business background with defining my own editorial identity: to create a site, understand the value of it, know the demographic I reached, and then be able to monetize it. But it wasn’t until I was working in ad sales at AOL in 2008 that I got the idea for Cupcakes and Cashmere. I would get bored at work, and for fun, I'd write online restaurant reviews that encompassed the food, the décor, and the vibe. But I wanted to create an online destination that combined all my favorite things—fashion, beauty, interior design, and food. You didn’t really see all of those elements intertwining anywhere online. And, as much as 'food girls' love food and 'fashion girls' love fashion, a lot of girls share those passions.
So I designed the original Cupcakes and Cashmere. It was quite literal—I think the header was an actual cupcake and a goat to symbolize cashmere. It was absolutely atrocious. [Laughs] It’s come a long way. I had no idea what I was doing, and Googled something about HTML and back-end questions about 150 times a day. I think if you’re dedicated and proactive enough, you can really figure it all out for yourself.
I started by setting a goal to write something every day, and stick to it. It’s funny—I thought I was successful when I wrote consistently for three months. That felt great,