People Connected By Similar Obsessions

Stefani Pollack

Meet the cupcake connoisseur with her own social marketing biz on the side

In 2006, Stefani Pollack, founder of the Cupcake Project, was out to dinner with friends who were trying to decide where to buy cupcakes for their wedding. Even though she had never baked a cupcake before in her life, she surprised herself—and others at the table—by volunteering to help them by taking on this task. Even more surprising to Stefani, her friends accepted, which gave her exactly nine months to learn how to bake wedding-worthy cupcakes. “I baked a new cupcake for them every week and let them choose their three favorites for the big day,” she remembers. “My friends were the reason that I started my blog, and I am forever grateful to them for letting me do this for them.” Now her site—a place for her to create and curate sweet and savory treats—is Stefani’s full-time gig. She also has a second business, called Build Digital Marketing, where she teaches people how to grow their Instagram following. Here, the sweetest parts of her day.

On her perfect day in St. Louis. “I’d start with a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Each season brings a new, look and there are so many nooks and crannies to explore. I also love Playtime at the City Museum. Trust me, sliding down a ten-story-high slide isn’t just fun for kids. But, of course, I’d take my eight-year-old along. I’d end the day with dinner at Vista Ramen. The ramen there is bursting with flavor and the sides are incredible. I also always save room for dessert.”

On a baking hack she swears by. “When I bake cupcakes, I always bake a single test cupcake first to see how it turns out. If I don’t love it, I can adjust the batter (add more spices, chocolate, sugar—whatever is needed) before baking all of the rest. With a cake, you don’t get that chance to test.”

On the best piece of advice she’s ever received. “I was recently told that we see our possibilities based on the people we surround ourselves with. If you surround yourself with people who are obsessed with comic books, for example, then you will feel pressure to learn about comic books to fit in. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then surround yourself with people who are successful entrepreneurs—not just because they can help coach you, but because simply being with them pushes you to succeed at their level.”

On her go-to photo editing app. “My husband is a professional photographer (@jppweddings). He does all of my photography and photo editing for me. I’m super lucky! I do edit my own videos, though, and I love using Filmora. It’s a really easy tool, but it is robust enough to do a professional job.”