Vanessa Sampson is not just into baking, she’s a cake artist, and is the owner of her own cake brand, A Cakemaker. Growing up in New Orleans, she wanted to be everything, from a writer to a singer and even a forensic pathologist. “I was so nerdy, I would read the newspaper to look for typos and grammatical errors. Surprisingly there were quite a few,” she says. An avid reader and writer, she never dreamed her calling would be cakes. “I was also in to writing poetry; I won every contest I ever competed in. I was never in to baking. You couldn’t get me in the kitchen.”
Considering that the kitchen wasn’t on her radar, she describes her path to becoming a cake maker as an accident. “I baked a cake for my daughter’s birthday at the last minute and everyone loved it,” she says. “Then I gave two cakes to a friend for her and her daughter’s parties and people started offering me money to bake for them.” But what is especially impressive is that Vanessa is a self-taught baker (that doesn’t eat sweets). She’s gotten this far because she does her research, and in the process has become particularly fond of bakers like Kathrine Sabbath, Tortik Annuchka, Angela Morrison and Carlos Lischetti. She follows and studies their work, becoming a student of the game, to continually improve her craft and remain up on any new trends. And while her business is relatively young, at least on paper, but she realizes this is her calling. “The first step I took was prayer and self-identification,” she says. “I decided who I wanted to be in the industry and I have been building on that.”
Vanessa says her biggest struggle throughout her baking career has been networking and dealing with people. “Staying in the house reading books all day and only dealing with my circle of friends doesn’t work anymore,” she says. “It doesn’t contribute to my growth. So, getting out of my comfort zone, and sharing myself and space is the challenge.” But this challenge has not slowed her down. Word of mouth has driven company’s growth and Facebook and Instagram have given her more visibility; but her work speaks for itself. From cartoon characters, to LeBron James’ likeness to a cake heart (the organ, not the shape), she’s able to create art with icing and batter. And with a catchphrase like “Eat Art,” that’s exactly what she’s encouraging her customers to do. Oh, and they taste damn good as well. “I hear people say often that they’ve had cakes that have looked good, and tasted dry and awful,” she says. “I’m breaking the mold.”
Within the next few years, expect to see Vanessa opening her own cake boutique. And while she wants her business to continue to grow, for her success means something different. “Success is an intangible concept to me,” she says. “It means peace and happiness and the invisible will to keep going no matter what. Those components can often lead to material manifestations, which can be great, but I wouldn’t consider myself successful if I owned a lot of THINGS and I was miserable.” And she says she’s happy doing what she does; to the point that she sees this happiness as her greatest accomplishment. And with that already accomplished, her goal now is to use her business and her drive as an example to show her daughter that all things are possible.
We #COSIGN Vannessa Sampson for making great cakes, appealing to both the eye and the taste, but also for putting her style and art onto a canvas we rarely see used.
Who does Vanessa #COSIGN?
Holly-Dae Burton @artsbyaaron
Krystal Andrews @pedalwithatwist
Johnathan Bailey – The Bailey Gallery @tbg.interior
Trey Scott @djholymecca
Terry Hendricks Real Estate – @mrarchitect39
Kandis Riley @exspensivetastecatering
William Ross @willdoesmyhair