Amirah Kassem isn't just a professional baker. She's a happiness creator, a crafter of smiles and a firm believer in the power of sprinkles. But, above all, Amirah is a dreamer. And it's her larger-than-life dreams, seemingly endless energy, and unwavering dedication that helped her launch FLOUR SHOP in 2012. From viral explosion cakes to an uplifting book collection to colorful product collabs, Amirah has made a career out of treating every day like a birthday. And now, she's spreading the love to VANS.
Partnering with the iconic skate brand, the 33-year-old has made a fun and bold splash in the world of footwear and apparel. Her line is full of good vibes and includes rainbow-emblazoned Sk8-His, glitter backpacks, and cheerful tops that are guaranteed to make you smile. But this isn't Amirah's first rodeo when it comes to fashion. One year before founding FLOUR SHOP, she moved to NYC to work at Interview Magazine. Soon, she accepted a position alongside designer Johan Lindeberg to launch the denim and leather label BLK DNM.
But once she decided to pursue her love of cake baking full time, she never looked back. Today, FLOUR SHOP is essentially an empire complete with two bakery locations, a cookware line with Williams-Sonoma, a home line with Pottery Barn, and more. But it's her VANS line that may just be her most inspired yet.
Ahead, discover more about Amirah's journey in her own words, how she came to work with her dream brand, and why she'd rather set dreams over goals.
POPSUGAR: You do so much! From owning your own bakery to running multiple Instagram accounts to writing and collabing, it seems like you enjoy wearing many different hats! Is this how you've always envisioned your life?
Amirah Kassem: Yessssss! I have always been one to get involved in all school sports and activities. Wearing many hats keeps my creative juices flowing, but most importantly, when an opportunity comes, I always jump in VANS first!
PS: You started out in fashion and then switched gears to baking. What inspired you to make that change?
AK: I grew up baking in Mexico and it was always second nature and so much fun! I found myself baking before and after work. It turns out that was my passion, and so I decided to play with sprinkles for the rest of my life!
PS: What initially drew you to creating these colorful cakes? Is that still your favorite part of the job?
AK: I would say it's a mixture of my childhood in Mexico and my background in fashion. Baking is so much fun. I love it and it will always be my passion, but expanding the cakes beyond the kitchen and getting to apply them to some of my favorite products like VANS is also pretty cool.
PS: What first steps did you take when going after your dreams?
AK: Believing in yourself! I know that sounds cliché, but unless you actually give it a shot and believe in yourself, no one else is going to make that happen for you.
PS: Could you explain why you use the word "dreams" over "goals"?
AK: Yes! When you are young, you have dreams and you use your imagination where anything is possible, rather than when you grow up and start setting goals, you start to limit yourself and the magic can get lost.
PS: You opened a bakery in NYC without any formal training! What was that like and what empowered you to say, "I can do this!"?
AK: I actually started by baking out of my apartment, and taking the leap into a physical bakery was new and scary especially since I had no experience, but I found that the most important thing isn't what you know, it's whom you surround yourself with. My whole team is so empowering, especially my business partner/husband, Ross the Boss.
PS: What's the most memorable advice you've ever received?
AK: Learn to say no. Everyone asks creatives to do free work, but everyone's work has value, and you should value yourself.
PS: What inspires you and moves you forward during times of self-doubt or stress?
AK: I remind myself that one day I was dreaming about where I am today. Remembering past achievements can help drive confidence for future achievements.
PS: From Pottery Barn to Williams-Sonoma, you've done multiple collaborations. What do you love most about collaborating with other brands?
AK: From a creative standpoint, it allows me to put all of my designs and creativity into a new framework. Getting to take the FLOUR SHOP birthday lifestyle and applying it to all my favorite apparel, home decor, kitchenware, and more feels like I'm bringing the birthday joy into your everyday life! But after going through the design process for a year, I freak out every time when I finally get to see it IRL and hold it.
PS: How did your collab with VANS come to be?
AK: Do you mean how are my dreams coming true?! I have always been a VANS girl and have now worked with them for about seven years on the cake front, events, and VANS Custom Culture. It was always a dream of mine to create my own pair, and when we started designing, I just sat in the checkered parking lot pinching myself to make sure it was really happening.
PS: When getting dressed every day, what’s most important to you? How does VANS fit into that vibe?
AK: HAPPINESS! The birthday lifestyle to me is all about creating your own happiness with your surroundings. So, it's extremely important for me to dress in the clothing and shoes that will set the mood for my day, which for me is rainbows, glitter, and unicorns! VANS has always been that choice for me because they are "Off the Wall" fun, but at the same time, I feel like I can conquer the world in them because I am always running around and on the go, so comfort plays a big part as well.
PS: Why do you think FLOUR SHOP and VANS are such a great fit?
AK: VANS is a huge supporter of all things creative, and from the first time I met them, they felt like family. The VANS culture is one of my favorite things about them, especially Steve Van Doren [the son of one of the founders of VANS] — his smile alone makes you feel right at home. So, if the shoe fits, wear it!
PS: What was your inspiration for this collab?
AK: SPRINKLES AND SMILES! I want everyone wearing the collection to spread joy, feel magical, and have the most fun ever! To be able to walk in my shoes if you will!
PS: What are your favorite pieces from the collection?
AK: OMG, that's like asking me what my favorite ice cream flavor is — that's so hard! But if I must choose, then in no particular order, EVERYTHING!
PS: What's your advice to others looking to accomplish their dreams and live their happiest life?
AK: Don't look at what others are doing. Draw inspiration from within and focus on your originality!