Interview with Sarah Myers
Sarah Myers broke into the cake decorating scene just a few years ago, but it didn’t take long for her name to start showing up everywhere. In the last year, she has become part of the Icing Images® Spellbinders® Design Team and just recently, she launched her own line of colors with Sugar Art.
She has won every live challenge she’s competed in and plans to compete later this week at the National Capital Area Cake Show with her teammate, Karen Vazquez.
Sarah’s personality is every bit as memorable as her cakes; she’s incredibly funny and says it like it is. There are no airs about Sarah; she’s about as real as you can get. She brings a vibrant energy to her demonstrations and hopes to lure students not only for the learning, but for the entertainment value.
But, Sarah has faced a difficult road on her path to finding a job she loves. She’s toughed it out alone as a single mother and made plenty of mistakes along the way. Today, she funnels all her energy into applying creativity to her cakes and doing as much good for others as she can.
Sarah’s business, High Five Cakes, operates out of her home in Waverly, Ohio. When Sarah’s not making cakes, she’s cooking up a masterpiece dinners for her family. If you follow her Facebook page, she’ll have your mouth watering often. When asked about her cooking, Sarah claims, “I love to cook. If I failed in cakes, I would pursue cooking. “
Sarah and I had a real heart to heart about her path in the cake decorating world:
How long have you been decorating cakes?
What are your favorite types of cakes to design?
My favorite cakes to design are sculpted cakes, but I have to do more tiered cakes in my area. I just recently had an awakening and try to make them different than what people expect. This has been my way of expressing my artistic talent. I had an owl cake to make a few weeks ago and I tried to make it different. I’ll search for a subject matter and see how it’s been done and think how I can make it differently. People have been messaging me and noticed how different my cakes have been lately. I’d like to inspire others to do something different with it.
What would you consider to be your area of expertise?
Where I am, there isn’t enough opportunity for me to do it full time, but it’s always in the back of my mind. If I have higher budget clients, I try to steer them in the direction of doing something more creative. Sometimes if I really want to make something and they can’t afford it, I just do it for my portfolio.
What would you still like to accomplish?
Because I’ve been so discouraged about tiered cakes, I’ve been trying to travel more often and do live challenges. I am trying to brand myself. I just want to be known as a funny person to shed humor and light on the cattiness in the industry and make fun of it. I might get paid to demo something but they might show up for the entertainment.
Who has influenced your style?
Karen Portaleo’s style drew me to her. Karen encourages me to do something different.Those who influence me are those who make me gasp. When I have to stop and look at details, that’s when I’m inspired. But, I want to have my own style that is unique. Debbie Goard from Debbie Does Cakes has a book called “Twisted Cakes” and she inspired me with her realism. Norm Davis inspires me for his presence in the industry and personality. Sidney Galpern inspires me because she is so young and driven. And Sarah Jones inspires me for the gory, creepy stuff. Dot Klerk - who I just met in Austin - I really love her work. Some people have beautiful, clean tiered cakes and that inspires me in the cake department.
What has been the most difficult challenge for you to overcome? Realizing how my demographics limit me. No one orders what you really want to make. In the industry and how it’s affected my life, it’s difficult to maintain normalcy and travel while doing what it takes to be with my family. Insecurities are something I experience day to day. I love my personality and who I am except for my size. I think I have a bit of a natural talent and that makes me feel more confident. Trying to find my niche, my style, is a challenge.
What was the turning point in your cake career?
I founded Unruly Bakers, a group on Facebook. Everyone knows me from the group. Everyone can say whatever they want there. They can vent about a customer, use curse words. Icing Images, The Sugar Art and winning challenges have put me on the map. I’ve won every challenge I’ve ever been in.
What are your favorite cakes you have made?
The hog cake is in the top because I sold the customer on the idea and I got to do it. For the first half of the event, people didn’t know it was a cake.
Icing Smiles cakes are my favorites. Not for theme, but for the emotional feeling of delivering it. It makes you realize how lucky you are. It’s a reality check every time.
I was a troubled teen and a compulsive liar, so every day I try to do some random act of kindness. I try to demonstrate what I would like to see from others. I make myself do it. It’s selfish because it makes me feel good when I can make someone feel good.
I try to kill people with kindness rather than be rude back to people. I had a rude awakening about 10 years ago and thought I was a bad person. I firmly believe that since I turned myself around, I am reaping the benefits of it.
I cry and laugh more than any one person you know. I’m very sensitive and get upset very easily. I try to impact people in a positive way whether it’s a hug or telling someone they look pretty .I try to call out the good and sometimes people are freaked out by it. I have called the pizzeria and told them their food is great. It’s been my New Year’s resolution to recognize the good.
What tips would you like to share with other cake decorators?
The main thing is to be yourself. Do what you want to do. You only live once. You can’t care too much. You have to be conscious of your surroundings, but you can’t care too much that it controls your life. My clients love me and lord knows what comes out of my mouth with these people. Dare to be different and don’t think you have to make the fad. I won’t make baby bump cakes.
What don’t people know about you that you would like to share?
I love to cook, I’m sensitive. I had a really rough start in life. It’s not always what you see. The first half of my life was so shitty that I just knew the second half of my life had to be fabulous.
I was raised by a blind mom. She really encouraged me to not let anything stand in the way of what I wanted to do. She was born completely blind and she owned a business. She makes me realize that there are no damn excuses except those I make for myself. There is always a way to work it out.
I had my daughter at 17 and I was a single mom until she was 7 or 8. I dropped out of school and got my GED so I wouldn’t have to go to school pregnant. It made me the person I am today because I’m so grateful and I realize what I have now. I am humble. I love nice things but I work for it and sometimes I really have to pinch myself that this is how I’ve changed my life in this little bit of time. I went from being the geeky girl who was made fun of and couldn’t hold a job to save my life, to a life that is so different now. It literally happened overnight.
I watched several cake shows and then one day it occurred to me maybe I could do that. I went to school for accounting and then switched to art. I then went into the corporate world. My husband wanted me to quit my job anyway because I had to drive so far. That’s when I decided to do cakes. I put in my 2 weeks’ notice and on the last day, I came home and went on the internet. I called my mom and said you have to pull up this video on YouTube on how to make fondant and narrate it to me. I made the fondant while she narrated. I made my first cake. – my “I quit my job cake.” Then I started asking to make everyone’s cakes.
I have been accepted more in this industry than anywhere in my whole life. When I go to shows, people are happy to see me. I was going through life thinking no one was happy to see me. Just being accepted is phenomenal to me. It’s unreal. Now it’s getting so locally everyone knows who I am. People wave to me just because I have the High Five Cakes logo on my car. I went from a life of not being accepted and feeling really bad about myself to a place where I just feel accepted. No, not everyone likes me and I don’t mind, but it’s great that so many believe in me. I have met friends all over the United States and we Facetime and text to keep in touch. I want to be real and want people to know. Most of all, I am so in debt to the vendors who had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself – Icing Images, Simi Cakes, Marvelous Molds, The Sugar Art.
It seems Sarah’s only just getting started, carving her way towards finding her identity in the cake world and leaving laughter in her wake. Expect to see Sarah’s artistic talent blossom as she pushes the limits and throws all of her passion into her cakes. To see more of Sarah’s work, you can follow her on her Facebook page.
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