Q & A with Laurie Shannon
Laurie Shannon, AKA "The Icing Artist," is a baking virtuoso celebrated for turning cakes into enchanting works of art. With a flair for intricate designs and an online presence of millions, Laurie's creations inspire a global community. She's not just a baking pro; she's also a teacher, sharing her tricks through social media, cake decorating courses and e-books. And when it comes to cool collaborations, Laurie takes the cake, redefining how we see baking.
We’re so excited to introduce you to Laurie Shannon - the featured guest for our comfort club series this month!
How did you first get into baking and what inspired you to start decorating cakes?
I’ve loved baking since I was a little girl, but I also LOVED art. As an adult, these 2 things were always in the background but never a main focus. In 2012 I started to learn how to decorate cakes and was having a blast so when I came to a crossroads in my career and didn’t know where to go, I decided to try turning my new passion into something more than a hobby.
Your online presence has grown immensely. How did you transition from baking enthusiast to a renowned digital influencer in the baking world?
One cake disaster at a time! Honestly when I was starting out I didn’t know much about cake decorating, other than I had a passion for it. Over the last ten years on YouTube I’ve taken the internet along the rollercoaster of a baking journey through all my cake trend phases from the fondant craze to everything miniature to now the obsession with buttercream, all the while sharing my failures and successes.
Collaborations have played a significant role in your career. Could you tell us about a particularly memorable or exciting collaboration you've been a part of?
One of my favourite YouTube channels, Sorted Food reached out to me earlier this year to do a collaboration. I’ve been watching them for years and to have the opportunity to work with them was unexpected and so much fun! I walked them through turning a grocery store cake into a wedding cake on their channel, and they helped me with flavours and recipes on one of my most challenging cakes to date on my channel.
How do you come up with the ideas for your cake tutorials that engage and inspire your audience?
Just like all things creative, I pull inspiration from everywhere. Social media, Television, movies, real life etc. The biggest thing I look for when coming up with content is trying to answer a question for my viewers that maybe they’ve wondered about but don’t want to risk their time or resources to figure out the answer. This has led to videos such as me buying a $1000 cake smoothing machine to see if it actually works, or having AI design a crazy wedding cake and then commissioning a bakery to see if they can make it into a real wedding cake.
With the evolving landscape of social media, how do you stay current and continue to engage your audience effectively?
That is something that I have always struggled with and probably will always struggle with. The internet changes so quickly along with what people want from social media. I just try to be a chameleon, forever changing and adapting to stay current with the ever evolving ecosystem that is social media.
Baking and decorating cakes require precision and patience. How do you handle moments when things don't go as planned?
DEEP BREATHS!! And music. Music really helps boost my mood to keep me calm and positive. But when things go wrong, deep breaths are how I keep my cool. Also telling myself there’s nothing I can do about what’s gotten me to this point, I can only control how I move forward and learn from it.
Innovation is a key theme in your work. How do you keep pushing the boundaries of cake artistry and stay ahead of trends?
I saw a graph years ago that just stuck. It showed peaks and valleys like a mountain range, depicting your rise to success, hitting the top and then the decline down. Most people ride the road to success as long as they can before needing to change. But by the time they change, they’re already on the way down. The time to be innovative and think about change, is before you’ve hit your peak, while everything you’re doing is still working amazing. So when we have a content series that’s doing amazing, we don’t wait for our audience to get tired of it before introducing something new. We give them what they’re loving, while continually experimenting with new ideas to see what they’ll love next.
Looking back on your journey as The Icing Artist, what achievement or milestone are you most proud of?
We’ve been around a long time, and have had so many incredible moments and milestones it’s hard to choose one. But I think the fact that we’ve been around so long is actually the thing I’m most proud of. We’re celebrating 10 years on YouTube and the start of this business in October. We’ve seen so many people come and go in this industry. It’s incredibly fast moving and ferocious. So I am very proud we have not only survived, but that we have thrived for a decade.
Can you share a sneak peek of what's next for you and your creative endeavours?
I’ve spent most of my time in this business simply making content. I’m really excited to explore things outside of videos, and move more into courses, custom products and maybe even a cookbook. There are so many things I’d love to do.
As comfort lovers, we're always curious to know: how did you discover This is J?
My family couldn’t stop talking about This Is J and your life changing pajamas (or as I like to call my OOTD)! I got my first pair probably five or so years ago, and have since bought a few new pairs every year.
What's your This is J pajama style of choice and when was the last time you stayed in Jammers all day (AKA had the best day ever)?
I am all about the Harem sets. I love that the ankles aren’t baggy so I can throw my shoes on easily in summer or winter and not have to worry about the bottoms getting soaked by puddles when I let my dog out. But the fit around my stomach is so amazing. It doesn’t pinch or leave creases, it fits just right and is so sensory friendly (plus it has pockets!).
As for the last time I’ve stayed in jammers all day, I’ll just say this: I work from home and I have more than enough to wear a new pajama each day ;)
Lastly, it's no secret that our pajamas are nice enough to wear outside the bedroom. Where is the most interesting place you've been spotted in your Bamboo Jammers?!
Some people choose to travel in style, I choose comfort in style. I have been known to catch a flight in my comfy This Is Js, especially for long travel days! Being comfortable and cozy is really important to me, so wherever I can choose comfort, I’m in my This Is Js. <3