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Get to Know Candace Nelson of Sprinkles

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Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, was recently in town to launch her latest delicious creations and the new Sprinkles ATM. She sat down with Arizona Foothills Magazine to share what’s coming to Scottsdale.

AFM: What inspired you to turn your love of baking cupcakes into such a successful business?

CN: I always grew up baking with my mom, and I really loved baking classic American desserts. Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, cupcakes and that was something I did because I grew up overseas and you couldn’t always get those things in local stores because I grew up in Indonesia and I had to make them myself if I wanted to eat them. So that was something I did all throughout my childhood and then I rediscovered it again after a career, small stint, in investment banking. I worked for a dot. com, I ended up going to pastry school and realized that I wanted to dedicate my life to this. I had no idea whether or not I would be able to make a living doing it, but my husband was supportive and he said “let’s give it a go” and so I just started working out of my kitchen and it grew from there.

AFM: You started your business in Beverly Hills. Are there any differences (clientele, location, etc.) you had to account for when the bakery in Scottsdale was created?

CN: Well, all of our customers are important no matter where we open. It just so happens that when we opened in Beverly Hills we had a lot of celebrities that come into our store, but the celebrities have to wait in line just like everybody else. It is very democratic, and we try to provide the best customer service to everyone. But in terms of differences between the locations, there are baking differences based on the climate. When we came to Scottsdale, I had to do a little bit of adjustment of the recipes because it is so dry and we had to make sure there was enough moisture in the cupcakes. We also developed these large Ziploc bags which we never had before. That was just when we got to Scottsdale so when people got their cupcakes they could zip in the moisture and, if it sat on their shelf for a few hours or overnight, they wouldn’t turn rock hard like what happens when you buy a loaf of bread and don’t protect it. So there are differences like that, but in terms of the clientele, all of our clientele is important.

AFM: This fall you plan on bringing the Cupcake ATM to Arizona. Can you tell us more about that?

CN: We are going to bring a single Cupcake ATM, and it will be connected to our store here. It will be the fourth Cupcake ATM. The first was in Beverly Hills, then we went to Chicago and I think Dallas will be open prior to getting open here. It’s a really special unique thing; we developed the first ever Cupcake ATM and it’s been a big hit in Beverly Hills where we opened it over a year ago. You get a freshly baked cupcake by swiping your card anytime, day or night, 24 hours a day. We have lines in Beverly Hills early in the morning, so people getting out of clubs or a late party with the munchies can now come to Sprinkles.

AFM: How do you keep them fresh?

CN: The ATMs open on to our bakery so bakery workers can very easily stock. The ATM holds up to 600 cupcakes but we never stock it that full because we are trying to keep it refreshed. There are basically only a few hours every day that they are in our store because we clean, prepare, and lock up for the next morning and the first workers get here at 3 or 4 in the morning, so there are only a few hours someone isn’t there so the cupcakes are always really fresh and that’s why it’s very important that the ATM is connected to our store.