This week we chatted with Danielle Muench, sugar flower artist and founder of Fleur & Flour, about artistic license, the little details, and making the leap to a new career.
Q: Tell us about the idea behind your company and how you launched Fleur & Flour.
Fleur & Flour has been my creative outlet turned passion. I’ve always been a somewhat artistic and crafty person, but more traditional mediums such as drawing and painting never really resonated with me. When I found cake decorating, and started to see and understand all the different tools and materials available, and saw what other designers were creating I got really excited about cake as an art form. It took me a while to decide to officially launch my own business, as running a business was never something I was really interested in; however, the more cakes and sugar flowers I made, the more I began to dream of designs, techniques, and different materials, and figuring out how to turn those inspirations into a beautiful cake. I came to realize that this was something I wanted to spend all my time doing, and that if I wanted to be able to stay true to myself as an artist it was necessary for me to make this my own business.
Q: Your cakes are stunning and you’ve really captured the intricacy and delicateness of each bloom! How do you make your flowers look so real?
Thanks so much! I’ve found there’s an interesting paradox in making sugar flowers in that the ones that are the most botanically correct don’t always look the most “real.” Adding extra movement, texture, and ultimately imperfections conveys something more organic and natural than making sure each element is completely accurate. I like to say I create sugar flowers that represent the essence of the real thing, with enough accuracy in form to be recognizable, but using my own artistic license to create something that feels right for my design.
Q: How much does your personal aesthetic impact each cake and how do you blend that with the bride’s vision?
I strongly believe in only creating work that I love, and that’s representative of me and my aesthetic. Usually I’ll ask about the client’s preferred colors and flowers, and then ask them for any inspiration they have, it can be photos of anything really, just as long as it resonates with them. We then look at some of my previous work and I show them different styles and techniques I plan to incorporate based on their vision and inspiration. I always make sure to note that creating a cake is, for me, a very organic process, and that I reserve the right to make artistic executive decisions while creating. If it seems like my style and vision aren’t totally a match for the client I’m always happy to recommend another vendor that might be a better fit.
Q: What’s your favorite flower to make for cakes? Most challenging?
Roses have become a recent favorite, probably in part because I’ve always found them to be the most challenging. A traditional rose has a very specific look, and there aren’t a ton of textured, ruffled layers to hide behind. As a result it requires a certain degree of accuracy, but when I feel like I get it right it’s really satisfying.
Q: I’m assuming each cake takes quite a long time to create. Tell us a bit about how you manage your time with multiple events on your calendar.
Each cake definitely takes a lot of time to create, and unfortunately my time management needs a lot of improvement. It’s always a challenge trying to juggle it all and get everything done, and I pretty consistently end up with a few sleepless nights leading up to the wedding. I’ve always (unfortunately) been a procrastinator, and I’d say the only upside to that bad habit is discovering how to work under pressure. With artistic endeavors especially I find that given enough time I can stare at things forever, struggling to make anything I’m happy with and agonizing over every detail, but when it comes to crunch time somehow the urgency of the situation kicks my creative side into gear and it all starts to flow and things get done.
Q: You previously worked in the medical field. Advice for other women looking for a complete career change?
I actually still work in the medical field, I haven’t made cake my full time gig quite yet. Making a total career change, especially when that change means starting your own business, is a daunting task. My advice is to seek out how to make it as comfortable for yourself as possible. Every big change takes a certain amount of risk, but some people really thrive when they throw themselves in it full force, while others (like myself) find that level of commitment to be truly terrifying. I’ve focused on finding ways to take steps towards making my business a full time endeavor in a way that doesn’t make me feel completely overwhelmed. I’ve been lucky to be able to progressively cut down my hours at my day job to allow myself more and more time to work on cake, and I always felt that by gradually wading into this, I was more free to only create work and take clients that really represented me because I wasn’t worried about making ends meet with my business alone.