In a bi-weekly series, we're interviewing female executives, founders, CEOs—basically, boss ladies—on their one "power suit" a.k.a. the outfit they wear every day for easy dressing to conquer whatever the job throws at them.
Amirah Kassem is Instagram famous. Well to be more precise, her rainbow-colored cakes are Instagram famous. Kassem is the founder of Flour Shop, the bakery based in SoHo, New York, that created the famous Cara the Unicorn explosion cake. For a period of time, this was all I saw on my Insta feed, as everyone from top editors to the Kardashians raved over the colorful dessert (this was the cake served at North West and Penelope Disick's birthday party).
"I was always making cakes for people at work"—Kassem worked in the fashion industry for Johan Lindberg at BLK DNM in her former life—"I woke up one day and decided I wanted to play with sprinkles for the rest of my life," she tells me.
In 2012 she started taking cake requests through Instagram. She made them in her apartment before her now-husband and CEO of Flour Shop, Ross Harrow, helped turned her visions into an actual company in 2016.
"He decided to leave his job and join the Flour Shop fun when I started interviewing for a business and operations role," Kassem says. (Harrow was in strategy and experiential marketing previously.) "He saw the potential for the business and how it's a brand for spreading joy and the birthday lifestyle." Kassem, who had just celebrated her own birthday one day prior to our chat, believes that her company is about creating that pure, unadulterated joy that comes with birthdays.
And her fans believe in her message—just ask any of her 22,000 Instagram followers. That connection has led to a forthcoming book, titled The Power of Sprinkles, and a collection of kitchenware with Williams Sonoma, which she promises will contain "rainbow plates and all that jazz." A second store location is also in the works. (That's all she'll divulge for now, but you heard it here first.)
So what does Kassem wear while creating all this joy and racking up all these successes? Contrary to what you might think, this baker does not wear an apron in the kitchen. Read on for insights into how she dresses for the day ahead.
Her Morning Routine
"I wake up every day at the same time before my alarm goes off, so usually 7 or 7:30 a.m. I feel like having a routine is really important. Before I even get out of bed, I blast music so it sets the mood for the day. My husband, thankfully, doesn’t complain about this. (Getting ready to Ariana Grande is key!) I also try not to go on my phone.
One thing I do every day, too, is walk to the office, which is only three minutes away. It's important for me because I think about everything I need to do and line up my day, preparing myself for what’s to come. I start by going into the kitchen first. To give you an idea of the set up, geographically, the kitchen is located in the basement, followed by the retail level, then upstairs is my office for business-related activities, which is actually a WeWork space. We do everything in one building, which is magical."
Her Getting Dressed Strategy
"I separate my closet by types of clothing, so I don't have to go through my entire closet to find something. There's a cocktail and evening section, a work section, a section for sweatshirts, etc. All my work clothes are casual and there’s almost a different attire to each floor of work, too. When I'm not in the kitchen, my outfit is glitter sneakers, a rainbow top, and jeans. Very simple, but very colorful and fun. I think the colors you wear and how you dress gives off a vibe of who you are, so dressing in rainbow helps explain to you who I am before you even talk to me. I limit myself to sneakers every single day—Vans specifically. I wear them 99 percent of the time and they're always rainbow and glittery. I tend to wear more high tops in the winter and slip ons in the summer, but Vans go with me to all three floors."
Her Work Uniform
"The most iconic thing I wear is my pink jumpsuit. I call it my work suit, my power suit. I don't like aprons because they feel temporary, like you'll get dirty only in this one area. If you see what we're doing in the kitchen, you need a full jumpsuit. This uniform gives me a sense that anything is possible and also a sense of empowerment, like "I've got this!" The kitchen can become a very serious place, so it’s important for me to remind myself why I am doing this and what I felt like as a kid to be in the kitchen, decorating cakes.
I actually had a jumpsuit a long time ago from ASOS and fell in love with that, but they weren't making that exact style anymore. I reached out to the brand and they were so amazing to then make me the jumpsuit of my dreams. The pink one-piece is now also the uniform for our workers in the store. We did 'Flour Shop them' by decorating them with patches and pins featuring smiley faces and rainbows, which make me so happy. I wear mine every day. Even when I bake at Williams Sonoma, I'll put on my pink power suit and go, let's do this. It's a feel-good outfit."
The Three Words That Describe Her Power Outfit
"Playfulness, inner child, and self expression."
"Sprinkles and smiles." And, "A woman's place is in the kitchen...of a company she built from scratch!"
If you love Kassem's casual-but-kickass work style, shop similar pieces, here:
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