We had the good fortune of connecting with Sydni Calais and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sydni, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Since I was little I’ve always loved to draw. I took some art classes growing up, and really enjoyed the creative process- transferring the vision in your mind to a physical surface, and something beautiful coming from that. I love working with my hands, and always knew I wanted to pursue a career that I could craft something from them. My family loves cooking, and being in the kitchen together. My grandmother owned a Lebanese restaurant for 15 years, and always poured out her love through her food. My other grandmother loved to bake for the family. She would always let me assist her with the mixing bowls, even when I could barely reach the counter tops!
When I realized that I could combine the two career fields with custom decorative cookies- I was all in, and never looked back! Cookies are the perfect combination of the magical bonding components of gourmet foods, while adding artistic ability and creativity to each set. Custom cookies make people feel so special, loved, and appreciated through all of the big or small milestones in their lives- and I love being a part of that.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started Sweets by Syd in 2013 when I was in highschool, and became full time in 2018. It’s been a sweet ride ever since, but it has certainly come with it’s hardships- as all good things do! There has been plenty of weeks where I’ll work 60-70 hours, but it makes me so thankful for my clients, and it taught me how to work skillfully & quickly. I’ve relocated & lost some clients, but in turn gained some new ones & new business connections that are more central to the downtown Houston area. COVID had brought so many cancellations & adjustments to how I run the business, but it taught me how to improvise & still be able to serve the joy of cookies to people, even during some of the roughest times.
Sometimes it can be a struggle to find a shortbread cookie that looks pretty, but that also tastes good. I’ve been told that my shortbread cookies taste similar poptarts.. a soft & chewy vanilla cookie base, with a sweet glaze donut icing.
I’m really excited to start branching into selling “Loaded Cookies”, in flavors such as S’mores, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s, Red Velvet, Fruity Pebbles, Oreo, etc. I’m creating a gourmet menu to sell weekly on my website, so that clients can purchase & pickup a sweet treat throughout the week.
My creativity in my cookie designs typically leans towards fun bright colors, pop culture & comedy references, and modern aesthetics. I’m inspired by making people feel seen, equal, included, loved & appreciated, I’m inspired by the character, diversity, art, and pride that comes from my hometown- Houston, Texas (H-TOWN BABY). The cookie community is also extremely creative & inspiring, and always so encouraging to each other. I’m blessed to be a part of it, & to share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years with new “cookiers” in the community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Where to start?! Houston has so many fun activities & places to see. There’s the museum district if you want to admire art pieces at the Fine Arts museum, or check out the artifacts at the Natural Science museum. There’s also the Color Factory, for a very “instagrammable” experience. We have relaxing parks like Buffalo Bayou (for those skyline views). Hermann Park (for wildlife & those peaceful vibes). Hermann park also neighbors the Houston Zoo. Houston is extremely diverse with food, but a few of my favorites are Tout Suite (a good spot for studying, grabbing coffee/quick bites, Tiny Boxwoods (gorgeous aesthetic, 10/10 chocolate chip cookies), & Ninfa’s (for the best margaritas/chips & salsa you’ll ever taste). Also visit Velvet Taco, RA Sushi, House of Pies, The Breakfast Klub. Night life is always a blast in the H- with a good selection of bars in the Midtown, Montrose area (Electric FeelGood, 77 Degrees, Unicorn Disco), as well as plenty of breweries in the East Downtown area (Truckyard, 8th Wonder, Saint Arnold’s).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Big shoutout to my friends & family for always stepping up to decorate some cookies on crazy weeks! Especially to my brother, Gavin, he assists me regularly with baking, flooding, packaging, content creating, etc. We’re best friends, and working with him every day is such a blessing to me. I always love to give a shoutout to my Highschool algebra teacher, Juleanna Lee. She was my very first client, helped me come up with a business name, & recommended business cards. She saw my potential when I didn’t see it myself, and always encouraged me to go for it- as she’s done with all of her students!
Facebook: Sweets by Syd
Other: Business Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Gavin Calais Photography