Marking the first in our inaugural 'WONDER WOMAN' photo journal series we meet up with self taught baker and radical creative business owner Hayley McKee, founder of Sticky Fingers Bakery in Melbourne.
Hayley has been creating her unique blend of custom designed cakes and all kinds of baked delicious treats since 2010. With a background that includes time spent as one-half of local garage duo Super Wild Horses, music has a huge influence in Hayley's creative baking process. With the music turned up, Hayley can often be found playing records in the kitchen, taking song requests for orders; whisking, kneading and nodding to the beat.
Employing locally sourced ingredients and homegrown herbs, Hayley creates unique flavours in exciting and thoughtful ways. We think Hayley's approach to success is radical - constantly mixing courage and creativity to launch new projects and adventures.
For this photo essay, shot by Yes! Journal Chief Photographer Breeana Dunbar, we met up with Hayley at the Preston Market where she was sourcing ingredients for yet another amazing creation. YES!!
Tell us a little about your work, what do you do? Why do you do it?
Hello, I’m owner and baker at Sticky Fingers Bakery in Melbourne. Custom cakes full of creative ingredients and memorable flavours are what I’m best known for. I’ve had the pleasure of creating amazing cakes for clients who want a show-stopping centrepiece for their event. Some of my favourite commissions have been for Frankie Magazine, The Australian Ballet, Romance was Born and Alice McCall.
You may have spied my cakes in international editions of Glamour, Rookie and I Heart, or more locally in Renegade Collective, Frankie, Yen and Home & Garden. You can even see a prized cake in Beci Orpin’s ‘Find & Keep’ book.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have any work rituals or habits you follow?
I have a pretty constant weekly routine. Cakes are normally required for weekend events, so the tail end of my week can be very busy. I handle admin Mon – Wed and then stock up on market ingredients on the Thursday, before baking up a storm and delivering my creations over the weekend.
Lists are very important to me! I need to visualize my orders and cross off each element as I’m baking. Plus, I always have music spinning on the record player to help keep my energy up and fill the cakes with sweet serenades.
Describe your work environment. How does the space influence you?
I work from a small, cosy kitchen that can get cramped very fast! The tiny space means long days as I juggle orders one by one. I have a long bakers bench filled with all my tools and ingredients, which constantly inspire me to embellish cakes with an extra pinch or sprinkle of something delicious.
What is one thing in your life you are proud of?
I’m a bit of a horoscope nerd, and my favourite astrologer is Susan Miller. She recently said that a great way of finding out what you’re most proud of is to think of occasions where you’d achieved your best. What was the common theme that allowed you to reach these achievements? For me, it was having a mix of courage and creativity to launch projects and adventures without thinking about whether they might fail. I guess I’m most proud of that trait.
What does being ‘radical’ mean to you?
Being radical means standing out from the crowd with your passion and resilience. It’s wanting to cut through the clutter to make an impact in a colourful, imaginative way.
Check out and order Hayley's new recipe book 'Sticky Fingers Green Thumb' here.