Natalie From Chicago!
What is your craft?
I'm a baker and a writer - I suppose it's debatable whether those are considered crafts but I feel like they're both about as DIY as it gets.
Why do you craft?
Everyone needs an outlet. I'm too clumsy for sports and too uncoordinated to sew or knit but I can beat some batter and live to blog about it..
What are your sources of inspiration?
I'm inspired by a lot of things - most of the recipes I think up are either inspired by the food I love (nachos, Girl Scout cookies, pizza, macaroni and cheese...) or by a song I have stuck in my head. But the things I do and the way I do them are heavily influenced by all the wonderful women in my life. My mom, my grandma, my sister - all my blogger friends, roller derby girls, rich ladies like Martha Stewart. I just want to make them all proud. Oh - and I can't forget my hometown Chicago. I nearly cry every day as I pass the skyline on the El train. I dare anyone to come here and not be inspired by this beautiful city.
What is your favorite beverage?
I love Americanos. I once wrote a thank you letter to a coffee shop for making me the smoothest, creamiest Americano I've ever had. I felt the lord's presence in those espresso shots.
Where do you buy your favorite beverage?
Chicago has a lot of awesome local roasters - so I like to support Metropolis Coffee Company, Intelligentsia, and The Coffee & Tea Exchange.
How did you come up with your business name?
My husband's been skating for more than 20 years, and these days he works at a skateboard wholesaler so I'm bombarded by skateboard imagery all the time. We were just up talking about this nameless blog I'd just launched one night and Bake and Destroy just sort of came out of a bunch of different ideas we kicked around.
What is your weapon of choice?
My secret weapon in the kitchen is buttermilk. If you replace the milk in almost any of your recipes with buttermilk you won't regret it - especially your favorite chocolate cake recipe.
What would you be doing otherwise?
I shudder to think what I'd be doing if it wasn't for Bake and Destroy. The success of the blog was the reason I decided to finish my journalism degree. And I was one of those people who started trouble when I was bored - and before baking I was bored an awful lot.
Do you have any advice for other crafters?
Protect your brand. I can't tell you how many times I've had to rally my troops to call someone out on stealing my name or my logo to make some crappy merchandise. Luckily I have readers literally all over the world - so if some broad in Australia is ironing my logo on to tea towels and selling it as her original work my Aussie girls are on it right away. (That happened, dude.) But it's tricky business and it can be expensive. If you can't afford to officially trademark your brand, start throwing the (tm) on your logo anyway - if you can prove you did it first that's half the battle. Another cheap way to protect yourself is to buy domains. I own BakeandDestroy.com and .net and they cost me about $40 all together. It's a small price to pay to be able to call someone up and be like, "Yeah, I own BakeandDestroy.com and you're violating my copyright so step off."
Any final last words?
I love you ladies. Seriously - I spent most of my life not knowing any cool girls and thinking I was doomed to be friends with boys and then all of the sudden, nearly 30, I find this treasure trove of women who inspire me, support me and make me laugh. It's awesome, I just want you to know that.