During her early 20’s, Wilton Decorator Emily Easterly wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do for a career – a common plight of many 20-somethings.
“I first went to college as an education major and was working odd jobs during school,” she said. “I was working at a Baskin-Robbins and they had a cake decorator on the staff. When I went on maternity leave for my second child, I started to teach myself.”
Easterly bought books online and taught herself from the materials. If there was something she couldn’t figure out, she would look up videos on YouTube for help. When she returned to work at Baskin-Robbins, the store’s decorator got a job elsewhere and Easterly took over the decorating.
After working for a few grocery stores, Easterly knew she wanted to do more and started researching culinary schools. She came across The French Pastry School in Chicago.
“The school had a program that was specifically for cake decorating,” she said. “I had no interest in baking and pastry, only the decorating because I don’t enjoy baking at all.”
She enrolled in the school and after graduating, worked as a decorator in bakeries across Chicago until she came across a job opening in the Wilton decorating room. It was an adjustment for her in some ways she didn’t expect.
“At first, it was challenging getting the projects to be photo-quality work,” she said. “I was coming from bakeries and it’s so different here because the projects are for photography and it takes a while to get that picture-perfect quality.”
During one of her first days on the job, it took Easterly six hours to ice six cupcakes. She said everything gets much easier the more you practice.
Easterly is also very involved in Icing Smiles, a volunteer organization that creates custom cakes for families with critically ill children. She has completed five cakes for the organization.
“It’s so rewarding, and it’s definitely emotional,” she said. “We have a group on Facebook for the administrative team so that we all can communicate with one another, and it’s so hard to see when a child passes. It’s difficult, but it is nice and rewarding to see the smiles.”
Easterly also teaches figure modeling at The Wilton School and is starting to do more work with online education for gum paste. Keep an eye out for her – she’ll be having video tutorials and online classes available soon.
All of the incredible cakes and sweet treats you see from Wilton come from our amazing decorating team! The Wilton Decorating Room creates about 2,600 decorating projects each year. These projects are used for photography for packaging, Wilton publications, Wilton.com, social media, in-store signage, Wilton course photography and more. This is post 7 of 7. Catch up on past posts to learn more about Wilton’s decorators and what it’s like to create and decorate cakes and sweet treats every day: