Retail Spotlight

Meet the Shopkeepers: CakeSpy Shop

The secret soundtrack at Cap Hill’s sweetest gift shop? Read on.

April 23, 2012

In May of 2010, Jessie Oleson founded CakeSpy, a deliciously adorable blog that would soon become one of the Internet’s most frequently-visited destinations for all things sweet. Oleson’s blog—the online manifestation of her obsession with sprinkles and frosting and anything else that you can put on a cupcake—is what she calls the ‘Dessert Detective Agency dedicated to seeking sweetness (literally) in everyday life.’

While Oleson is busy running her online treat empire and translating her baking expertise into a second book (you can find her first on Amazon), husband Danny Oleson and Natalie Samford hold down the fort at CakeSpy Shop on Capitol Hill. Samford says Danny takes care of all the behind the scenes work while she provides assistance inside the half-art gallery, half-gift shop on Pine. We checked in with Samford to see what it’s like to work in what just might be the most mouthwateringly charming shop in Seattle.

WWW: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Samford: The Joy the Baker Podcast with Tracy Benjamin from has become what I listen to all the time when I am working on projects or paperwork. When customers come in, I usually switch over to a Motown Pandora station.

What was you first job in retail? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
My first job in retail was working at Pottery Barn at University Village. I loved, loved doing floor sets and talking with customers, helping them design their homes. It is a completely different world working at a small business—you learn very quickly that everything costs something, and that the experience with customers is so different—but in the best way. You really get to take time getting to know your shoppers.

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
I am in love with these hand-embroidered hoops by an artist from Newberg, Oregon, BoBesty. Also, I am obsessed with bunnies, and I really like Ryan Berkley’s Animal Prints. Six of these guys moved into my dining room late last year.

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
All the Best is one of our neighbors, and I go there like three times a week to buy the sparkle ball that my cat loves and loses. Also, Curtis Steiner in Ballard for inspiration and Gnome Enterprises online for their shirts. I hope to have some of their awesome shirts for the shop this holiday season.

What do you love about your store’s neighborhood? What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc. do you recommend?
I love that our neighborhood is so modern and fun. I love to see new local shops in the cool old buildings, there are creative people are everywhere, and there are lots of fun places to meet friends after work. Bauhaus for coffee, Honey Hole for lunch and dinner. Sun Liquor for drinks—luckily, we are sandwiched between both locations.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
Probably when we had a flood earlier this year. I was working on pricing some new items, and all of a sudden water started pouring down all around me. Our neighbor accidentally left her bathtub running and left the room, and we flooded. I was fairly new here and called Danny, who was luxuriating at Disneyland in the sunshine, screaming about water and where our landlord’s phone number was. It was bonkers!

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