We had the good fortune of connecting with Jean Schapowal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jean, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success has to always being true to myself and to my craft. Having the belief in myself that I could do it, no matter how long it takes. I have never played into another role, never tried to fit myself into another style or group that didnt hold myself, my values or my work in high regard. I put hard work, creativity and my pride into all of my work, It is a reflection of me and that is also true for the things I post on social media, classes I teach, or in speaking engagements. I want peoples’ experiences with me to be life lasting; that they come away from our interaction with a feeling of excitement, happiness and enjoyment.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started as a cartoonist and illustrator after graduating from The School of Visual Arts in NYC. I freelanced for a bit and then got married and started a family. I started baking and decorating cakes for my kids because I thought how hard could it be? Right? Well that was an eye opening experience for me that opened the door to where I am now. I started doing more cakes for family and friends and then people would constantly ask where did you get that cake from? So from there and fast forward 15 years my cake business has grown in leaps and bounds! I am self-taught with a Mom who was a co-author of the Weight watchers cookbook and a Mother In Law who worked in a bakery for 25 years teaching me all the baking tips and tricks! I watched videos and practiced, practiced, practiced! I made cakes with crazy designs and techniques for school board meetings, sports practices, anything I could sample my wares at! I started going to cake shows and then entering into cake competitions. I started sharing my work and getting involved in social media, traveling to different states for cake shows, taking a few local classes, showcasing more work more and more. Getting more involved with social media got my work shown to more people, which opened the doors for sponsorships, which led to being name brand instructors and affiliates. Competing consistently and placing in all shows. And through it all staying true to my style and technique. In our community people will come across my work at a show and say “oh that’s a Jean cake! ” Im known for my cartoony, pop style. Bold bright colors and creating my favorite works from TV, Sci-Fi and comic books! It took a long time and alot of hard work, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey. If you find something you have a passion for, stick with it and work hard for it. Yes it will take time but in the end the payoff can be amazing! Im still learning everyday as there is always something new to learn, or to figure out!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
New York City is one hell of a place to visit, live and sight see!! Ive lived here all my life and still have not been to every nook and cranny that is the city! I love to go on food tours, visiting small little bakeries and unique food joints. Nothing big and pretentious. Sometimes those little small and hidden gems are the best places to visit! Shows are a must but off Broadway for me, I always love then odd and unique! Thats the beauty of Manhattan is that there are so many hidden and unknown treasures throughout! And dont be afraid to take the subway to all our destinations because the subways lends to the charm of the whole experience!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to my husband and to my family for their continued support over the years in this crazy cake adventure. My husband has been my rock, always there to help with a problem, offer advice, help to build a structure, help with cake deliveries, and carry those super heavy cakes. My family has always supported my journey, from cakes, to cake competitions to TV appearances. They’ve picked up the slack in housework, helped on deliveries, shopped for last minute supplies and offered their advice when Im struggling with a project. They have all been there for me through the good and the bad and I know I could not have done it without them!

Website: https://cakeswithcharacterbyjean.com

Instagram: Https://www.instagram/momschap

Facebook: www.facebook.com/momschap

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