Former pastry chef, Szlivia realised she didn’t want to work on soulless mass production patisseries for the rest of her life, so turned her talent into a more personal enterprise and started making hand-decorated cookies. We talked to her about her inspiration at the Etsy rootfop Garden party…
Making decorated gingerbread is a tradition in Hungary, where I’m from. Working in the pastry industry I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever – mass production and repeating the same things day after day just isn’t for me. I like to produce something entirely of my own creation that I receive due credit for, so I was playing with the idea of starting my own hand decorated ginger bread business.
In the summer of 2013 I tried but circumstances meant that it didn’t work out and I continued in pastry. In the winter of 2013 I lost my job and understood that this was the time for me to try to create my own business, this time it worked! I was mostly self taught, but I am in touch with a lovely gingerbread artist in Hungary who gives me tips if needed. Also I was henna body artist for eight years and I found the skills very transferable. Selling on Etsy was the idea of a friend when I set up the business, and within two months it started to sell really well.
The inspiration for my designs comes from various places, it’s pretty eclectic. I keep some traditional motifs from Hungarian folk culture, some from henna/mendhi painting and I love vintage china and furniture. All of these inspirations twist together and I also try and add a modern twist to everything as well.
When I’m designing for a couple, I always work with the colour theme and if there are any main motifs in the wedding design. I always make samples for the couple and give suggestions until they are entirely happy. I’ve made biscuits before that had the bride’s lace pattern on top, invitation designs and matching the wedding cake – it’s very varied. But the sky is the limit!
My most popular design is the Bridesmaid/Maid of Honour biscuit set and the Flower Girl Gift Set (pictured). I think what made it very popular is that it’s such a detailed and personal way to ask your bridesmaids/flower girls THE question.
Advice I’d give to a couple getting married? This is tough as I am not married (yet) but I would have to say realise the importance of communication and listening to each other – I mean really listening and hearing what the other one is saying.
The first thing I’d pack for my honeymoon would probably be my freshly purchased lingerie.
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