Treat time in the Tatty Devine studio just got real… we love tracking down snacks as sassy as ourselves: enter The Whimsical Kitchen where you'll find leopard print marshmallows (scream!) and Willy Wonka-esque creations that'll fit through your letterbox. We just *had* to find out more about Jackie Neat, the woman behind our current favourite treats, so get comfy on your sofa, help yourself to a Parma Violet Blondie and get ready for all the tea!
CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT YOU DO IN FIVE WORDS?
Rainbow Maker, Sassy Baker..... I know that's only 4 but I'm just gonna add a YAY as the 5th!
FROM PODCASTS TO PLAYLISTS, WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO INSPIRE YOU?
I've been part of Leona Thrift-ola's Indie Roller Community for almost a year now, and we have access to a bank of resources including Lives with some incredible business owners sharing their no BS approach to running a business. I love getting busy in the kitchen whilst listening to past live chats with other indie biz owners, literally screaming “YASSSS!!” whilst whipping up a sugar storm. Vicky's Donuts was one of my faves for obvious reasons… My Spotify is full of 80s Classics and always puts me in a great mood if I need a little energising, who can resist a little Whitney?
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BAKING AND CREATING?
I get asked this a lot and I never really know how to answer it without it sounding boring. I'm completely self-taught, I've learned by making mistakes and investing in good quality ingredients. I can be quite hard on myself but I think that pushes me to always up my game. I just started creating things that I liked to eat then starting experimenting with flavours and obviously, colours. I'd love to have a magical tale about when I was invited by unicorns to learn sugar craft in the land of Glitter & Rainbows but maybe one day…
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE THEMES FOR YOUR EDIBLE WONDERS? DO YOU PLAN WAY, WAY AHEAD OR JUST GO WITH THE FLOW WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES?
I'm so impulsive so when I have an idea I head straight for the kitchen and just whip it up and hope for the best. Sometimes it works and sometimes I tell no one about the disaster that just occurred. I've got some crazy ideas for Marshmallows that I haven't had a chance to do, but I'm planning a big photo shoot this year and I'd love to pull off my ideas so I can use them as props. Think BIG mallows...
Can I pick two? Haha... Last week I launched my pastel version of my popular Rainbow mallow and I LOVE how they turned out, the colours are just so cute together and definitely make me smile even after a 12 hour day in the kitchen. So perfect for Spring.
Around the same time, I also launched my Marshmallow filled Easter eggs, I couldn't believe the response they got, it was amazing!! They are half a Cadburys egg filled and topped with any chocolates of your choice then my Vanilla Bean mallow poured in to fill. So much fun to make and I love it when people go wild with the toppings. I'd love to do these again next year but maybe as a collaboration and fill eggs made by an independent chocolate genius, sadly I wasn't organised enough this year.
IF YOU WEREN’T WHIPPING UP EDIBLE RAINBOW CREATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I would probably still be working with children, I was a practitioner for many, many years and absolutely loved the energy of the job and the innocence and freeness that the children had was magic, however my son has quite complex needs and I was struggling spinning lots of plates: single parent, hospital appointments, job, home... you get the picture. So, when the opportunity came up to start my own business I had nothing to lose, the flexibility of being there when he needs me has been the main reason to keep going. I'm not sure I could ever go back to working for someone else again now.
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY REGARD AS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
It has to be my children: my eldest son Jordan is 21 and Marley is 12. I've managed to raise them both by myself and stay relatively sane! I had to homeschool Marley last year, alongside running the business and it was one of the hardest most challenging times of my life but we got through it alive!
WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
Starting my own business hands down. As much as I'd love to know how much money I have to pay my bills each month, the freedom it gives me is priceless. I've been so amazingly lucky to have found a community of creatives to share the wins with and that has my back when times aren't so colourful. The best advice I could give anyone thinking about starting a business would be: don't think about it, just do it!! Otherwise, you'll talk yourself out of it.
I'm sure there's been a few but I guess they have got me here now? it's all part of the process, as long as we keep learning.
WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COLLAB?
OK, WE’VE SIGNED UP FOR ‘THE WHIMSICAL SUBSCRIPTION’, NOW WHAT?!
Firstly, YAY!! Within a week of signing up, you will receive your 1st box in the post. It fits perfectly through the door so no more red cards!! In each box, you will receive 6 slices of the most popular/newest flavours. Each month I feature another indie biz that I think my subscribers will like so its generally very colourful and I pop in an extra treat from them. It can range from reusable rainbow face pads to badges & prints. Your box will then come around the same time each month and is completely in your control as to how long you keep it going...
WHICH TATTY DEVINE PIECE IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
I adore your new collection and I've been swooning over the limited edition Pop Leopard Head Necklace in Pink, it's just so beautiful.
WHICH WOMEN ARE YOU WATCHING RIGHT NOW?
Emily Coxhead. She's had the most amazing year and I'm just buzzing with excitement for her. Jameela Jamil is a must, Emma from Little Pig Jewellery Design who just fills my feed with all the colour and her infectious smile. I love seeing Women helping each other up the ladder of the business world, offering advice & support and generally being good humans.