Woman Crush: Candace Nelson, Sprinkles Founder


Name + occupation: Candace Nelson, food entrepreneur and pastry chef; founder Sprinkles and Pizzana; New York Times bestselling author of The Sprinkles Baking Book.

You made a big career change from banking to baking. Tell us about that. Why cupcakes? After several years in investment banking and an internet start-up, the bottom dropped out from the dot com boom of the late 90s. Most of my peers took this as an opportunity to go to business school; instead, I chose pastry school! Baking had been a lifelong hobby and I wanted to refocus my career on something I was passionate about. After graduating pastry school I began a custom dessert business out of my house and decided I want to reinvent the classic American cupcake!

And now pizza, too? There is a real parallel between the care that is taken in baking and the care that goes into a great pizza crust. Both are part science, part art. Slight variations in ingredients and technique can yield vastly different results! Pizzana is a Neo-Neapolitan pizza restaurant opening in Brentwood in early 2017. Our pizzaiola was raised in Naples and his technique is rooted in the Neapolitan tradition, however he incorporates fresh local California ingredients and tastes into his cooking, making it “Neo” Neapolitan.

What is a typical day for you? There is no typical day for me, which is exactly how I like it! I just returned from a several week book tour where I was in a new city each day doing local media and book signings. Now I am focused on finalizing all the design and menu details for my upcoming pizza restaurant, Pizzana.

Best habit: Lots of expressions of gratitude.  My husband and two sons and I have family dinner every night and always go around the table to discuss something each one of us is grateful for. I also try to pepper my day with little expressions of gratitude.

Worst habit: I bite my bottom lip when I’m deep in thought or sitting in traffic.  So… all the time!!

First thing you do when you wake up: Living in California, I always wake up to lots of emails from people who have a head start on me in NYC. So, I immediately reach for my phone to start returning emails.

What’s your typical beauty routine? For events and media I get a blow out to smooth my natural wave.  On less “public” days, I always allow my hair to dry naturally to give it a break.

How often do you wash your hair? Every other day.

Favorite Living Proof product: Curl Defining Styling Cream

Biggest hair regret:  Going too blond all over!  Depth in color is so key!

One thing you would never do to your hair: Go very short.

How long have you been going to your stylist? 5 years.


Who is your role model? Mrs Fields! She was a female role model for me when I was growing up in the 80s.. a ground-breaking female entrepreneur in the baking world!

What about your Woman Crush? Name yours. Gwyneth Paltrow. Her company Goop is unstoppable, her style is impeccable, and her recipes unparalleled.  And she makes it all look easy!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Focus on being the best you can be and don’t compare yourself to others.

How do you act confident (even when you don’t feel confident)? Visualize success. And if that doesn’t work…a publicist once told me before going on camera or on stage to forcefully blow out every last bit of air in your lungs.  It gets rid of a lot of the jitters!

Most life-changing innovation: I love music apps—Apple music, SoundCloud, Hype Machine and Shazam. All wonderful ways to discover new music which adds to the forever developing soundtrack of my life!

Favorite gamechanger: Having had to shimmy myself into a tight dress for the Baby2Baby gala recently, I have to take my hat off to Sara Blakely of Spanx!

What do you wish someone would invent next? I find that I am always rushing from one thing to another. I would love to get into my car and have my calendar communicate with my car to immediately pull up the best directions to get me to my next destination, taking into account traffic conditions, without having to press a button.  I can’t imagine that capability is very far off!


Curl Defining Styling Cream


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