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Interviews with Shey: Justin Salinas

Shealynn Benner cakeitwithjustin cookier interview interviews interviews with shey

I followed Justin many many months ago. Someone had posted about him on their Instagram stories and he just seemed like a lot of fun. What I didn't realize is how I would come to know him in real life. I was thinking about people who I thought would be a good fit for our booth at CookieCon. After watching Justin on Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge, seeing all of his Instagram stories, and chatting with him directly, I knew I had to ask him if he would be willing to help us. Justin has the most amazing personality and is just so much fun. He gave his all helping us at our booth and I can't wait for him to join us again next year. One thing I have learned about Justin is how hard he works. He puts his heart and soul into every sugary creation he posts and teaches on Instagram. He is truly inspiring. Mr. Sheyb & I are so lucky to not only get to watch Justin's success, but to also call him our friend!

Instagram: @cakeitwithjustin

Tell me a bit about yourself. (Married, kids, hobbies, etc.)

I’m a professional baker/educator in Bakersfield, California who teaches students of every level the fundamentals of decorating! When I’m not baking - I’m always learning, myself! Youtube and my own baking community have been a huge force of inspiration to me. 

Justin Salinas

What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about making people laugh and enjoy what they do. An immediate second is perfecting the macaron, followed by eating a microwaved donut...yum.

Justin Cake

What sparked your interest in making cookies?

Cookies were not my immediate forte but if you’re in the business long enough - you get curious! I had been successfully teaching cake classes for about a year and then got an exciting call from Food Network to appear as a contestant on Christmas Cookie Challenge. As you could imagine, I had a lot to practice in a short amount of time but I made it happen and then, shortly after, Cookie Nite was made and is also a class I offer going strong 2 years now!

Justin Burger and Fries Cake

As a cookie business owner, what are you most proud of? And what has been your biggest challenge?

I’m most proud of how many students I have been able to teach and inspire. I don’t brag about being the best cookie decorator but I do have an excellent ability to create an environment of joy and acceptance - and that’s what it’s all about! The biggest challenge can come into play when I get too fixed on perfection. I find everything usually works best in the kitchen and in life when I am focused on just having fun!

Justin Bees

Do you have a logo? If yes, what is the significance of it? How did you come up with the name of your cookie business and brand image?

I do have a logo! Mine is bold; pink and white. I came up with the name with my older sister who was seeing me struggle bus it as a server at a restaurant. She and I came up with an idea to host a cake class and that’s where everything was born. The logo was something I created in an app on my phone in about 10 minutes. Before that logo, I used a service to create one for me and it was terrible. Sometimes you just know what looks best and, more importantly, what you want! Hi, Type A personality here.

Cake It With Justin Logo

How long have you been decorating cookies?

2 years!

Do you decorate and sell cookies full time? If not, what do you do when you’re not baking?

I don’t take custom orders at the moment but my time is usually spent practicing techniques, testing recipes, and spending way too much time on Instagram.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the cookie decorating process?

My favorite part is the decorating! I usually have to have a clean kitchen before I do any decorating to get me in the mood to mess it all up again. Least favorite? THE CLEANING!

Who is the biggest supporter(s) of you and your cookie business?

My mom is my biggest supporter. She shares, likes, and comments on every single photo I post! She has always been such an incredible cheerleader and was, in fact, a decorator herself!

Justin Turkey

Is there someone that has inspired you in the Cookie Industry? Why?

The people that inspire me in this industry are the people who are authentically themselves. As a fellow business owner, it’s easy for me to see who wants success for themselves. My group of support in this industry is people who have ambition not only to make an excellent product, but also to build on top of that and take their business to the top! I support that kind of work ethic because it is a lot!

Justin With Cake

How do you balance everything?(Kids, husband, activities, working out, cookies, etc)

I absolutely do not know. I think after you start spinning three or four plates, you get familiar with that and start spinning a few more for funsies! Now, i can’t imagine not working at the level I am now. Taking days off is not really part of my life anymore and I love it! Don’t get me wrong - I know how to turn this brain off. I’ll watch trashy tv and eat junk food until the cows come home. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things (not people) would you bring with you?

I’d bring an Easy Bake because they are battery powered and If i can’t eat fresh baked goods - it’s over for me anyways. I’d also bring obvious things like water and food. I’m talking about alkalized water and Popeyes. You can’t tell me those aren’t solid answers. 

What is your best advice to someone wanting to start making cookies for profit?

The for profit element can really alter how you think or perform in this industry - you have to LOVE it no matter what. This job is taxing mentally and physically but it produces astonishing and inspiring results. You never truly live until you find a hobby, get good enough at that hobby, and then make it your full time job. My best advice is to find some of the best people in this industry and just absorb as much as you can. All the answers for success are already written and are out there - just go find them. Lastly, time is the only thing you can’t change or alter. Give your craft time and whatever you want, it will come.  

Sold Out Sis

Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions, Justin! Loved learning more about you!

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