An Interview with.. Etty Van Urk, The Cake Dutchess!
So those that follow me will know I have a *slight* obsession with modelling (Ok, its a big obsession), and it started when I saw 'The Cake Dutchess' modelling sweet little toppers on YouTube.
I had no idea how to model when I first started out, but watching Etty, not only did I pick up the basics, but also the confidence to keep at it.
I'm a huge fan of hers, as well as a friend, so it was an honour to pin the newest Craftsy Teacher down, and learn some more about the Dutchess ;)
Tell us a little about Etty!
"I’m Etty, a 30 year old mum of two boys Ayden (4) and Luca (2) which I think is the most busiest time for a mum in her life but that will not stop me from working on Cake Dutchess. I’m originally from the Netherlands, can you see what I did there with my business name? Dutch-ess? ;) but now I live in Scotland together with my husband! I’m known for my Cake Dutchess style Cake Toppers. I specialise in doing cute animal cake toppers and I make easy to follow tutorials for them."
So how did you catch Caker Fever?
"I started Cake Decorating about 8 years ago. After 3 months backpacking in New Zealand, first I started out doing some simple jobs and ended up in a bakery where I discovered my love for baking! But there was not much creativity there. It was also a little bit of a rough time for me, so in the end I got burnt out, and the doctor told me to find something to relax. So I started to do google searches on baking, and discovered a world of fondant and marzipan! Immediately I was hooked and ordered my first cake tools. The first cake I made was a tree stump cake for my mum and from there it is like everyone else’s story. You bake for friends and family first and then orders start rolling in.
Sounds familiar! How did you know that modelling was your jam?
"I know the feeling of being so occupied with cake orders that you are decorating on automatic pilot, and not always feeling the joy of it anymore. That is a shame, and maybe a signal that you are taking on too much, at least it was for me. I never had time to do some decent modelling, it always stressed me out.
There was a point that I hated it.. Me? Hating modelling? Yes.. Because it took way too much time.. Time that I could spend with my family or do other things, time that never got paid because you can’t ask for people to pay you for 2 or 3 hours spending on a cake topper.
I created the Facebook Page Cake Dutchess about 2 1/2 years ago when I stopped the Cake Business that I had entirely, and was planning to do cakes only for my own family and some special occasions. So maybe stepping down from my Cake Business was the best thing that could ever have happened to me because it gave me the chance to really find out what I love doing most!"
Well I'm certainly glad you focused on modelling! How did you choose your style?
"I don’t think I particularly choose for this to happen, I have grown in to it. After stopping my Cake Business I realised that it was the all stress I experienced that was holding me back from the things I loved doing. I mentioned earlier that I hated modelling because it took too much of my precious time, but now that stress barrier was taken away, I started doing some modelling as a hobby with no time pressure and I really started to love it.
Because I still have trouble with spending hours and hours on the same project I keep my models as simple as possible and I discovered that this works for so many people that I have been in the same boat. So when I uploaded my first easy to follow tutorial of a penguin to an audience of 400 people on my page it was received with a lot of praise, and after that success I started doing more and more and I still can’t believe what has happened in 2 1/2 years.
My Facebook page has grown to a whooping 215,000 followers, I have filmed a Craftsy Class, and I have my own Modelling Paste!!"
Did you always want to make cakes and toppers, or did you have another path in mind?
"I’ve studied commercial arts and advertising so my original plan was to find work for an advertising company but to be honest I never really liked it though. I’m very happy with my education because it helped me to grow my page and audience."
There's no such thing as waisted education, that's for sure! What is your biggest achievement to date?
"My biggest achievement was filming a Craftsy Class, the entire process of content development to flying to Denver and filming felt like a dream that I just did not wake up from. It was an amazing experience and achieving it so early in my career is still something I can hardly believe. Dreams definitely come true, sometimes it’s a dream you never even knew you had!"
Its an awesome class for sure! What’s your favourite part of your job?
"The messages from people I receive, when they tell me they are so proud of what they have accomplished after following one of my tutorials. I love to give people that little push and confidence to start their own project. Especially in a time where it’s so easy to look up to people that you think are ‘better than you’"
Absolutely! What’s one thing you wish people knew about Cake Decorating?
"Never think about what you can't do but think of what you CAN do. I'm not great in sugar flowers, I'm not great in sharp edges, I can't do amazing wedding cakes, I'm not even the best modelling expert out there, but I do what I CAN and that got me really far!"
What’s something fun/wacky/surprising about the Dutchess that we don't know?
"I’m able to lift 100 kilo!"
Wowsers! Yeah, I can't do that ;) What is one thing you would like people to take with them after reading this?
"If you are not happy with something, change it! You are always in charge!"
Right on Dutchess! You can find all of Etty's incredible work via the links below, and be sure to check out her awesome new Craftsy Class!!
Craftsy Class: craftsy.me/CakeDutchess