Minnie Sprinkles is a boutique wedding and event styling/design service founded by London-based Creative Director – Clare D’Andrea.
Born out of a love of visual storytelling, Clare’s 20 years of experience styling and art directing shoots help her to bring each client’s unique story to life with an attention to detail that is second to none. Clare’s creative flair is something to be admired and we have loved following her journey. Her backstory alone is enough to inspire you to reach for your goals and step in to your own zone of genius.
We spent some time with Clare to find out more about her life behind the scenes and so much more…
Tell us about the journey that led you to launching Minnie Sprinkles…
When I was in my twenties my best friend and I used to organise fundraising events/parties for MacMillan Cancer Relief. I would get obsessed with the aesthetics, styling and details, creating visual worlds to bring the events to life.
I would try and ‘sprinkle’ some magic onto the nights, and I didn’t realise at the time, but that was the beginning of Minnie Sprinkles.
After university I kept my creativity alive by joining the advertising world as an Art Director. Once while on a sabbatical I went travelling to South America. While I was ticking off the Inca Trail I found I was completely isolated (I actually thought I was lost) when I had this lightbulb moment. I knew I wanted to work for myself and be my own boss. The world was too big to be tied down and I definitely felt my work/life balance was the wrong way around. I decided to work as a freelancer instead of being bound to an agency. I love variety and being creative in lots of different ways so the ability to be flexible and have free reign is important to me. My passion for travel and my tendency to just jump on a plane also played into this decision.
I still work as a Creative Director in advertising, but freelancing allows me the time to build up my other projects. Minnie Sprinkles had previously been my side hustle, but it was only when I found that new freedom that I could really invest the time and nurture the business.
You’re a self-titled Creativepreneur, which basically means you have your fingers in a few pies. Including the launch of your own restaurant, tell us more about this?
My sister is a chef, and we always talked about starting a business together. We have boundless ideas and the same taste in everything. Her dream was to have her own restaurant. So, we partnered up and opened The Breakfast Club. We renovated an old Italian restaurant that hadn’t changed since the 50’s. I took care of the branding, marketing and interior design, she designed a delicious menu and with a lot of hard work the magic happened, it was a success. The food was incredible, all homemade, organic and fresh. It stood out from what you were getting everywhere else for brunch, we made fresh smoothies before most people even knew what a smoothie was! We were sustainable and ethical and always used Fair Trade. They were great times and the restaurant was always packed. We’ve also collaborated on other ventures like Polar Pops, healthy fruit & veg ice lollies for kids, and next year we have another business we are launching… watch this space.
As well as these pies and Minnie Sprinkles, I work in a Creative Team with my talented writer Johnny Cooke. We’ve crafted ad campaigns for some of the world’s most famous brands in every type of media, from TV and online, to outdoor to experiential. We find the culturally relevant and ethical work especially rewarding and have been lucky enough to work for some clients that really make a difference – like Greenpeace, British Heart Foundation, Teenage Cancer Trust, and a recent campaign to Shop Small and save the highstreets.
Of all of your creative endeavours, which one gives you the most satisfaction?
Minnie Sprinkles. During lockdown I have had the luxury of being able to focus my energy on the business, picking up several new clients for next year. We featured in the September issue of Vogue and have just collaborated on two incredible shoots and I’ve met some inspiring, talented and hugely creative women on the way, and have three more collaborations to look forward to over the next couple of months.
Talk us through an average day in your life?
I would say that no day is really the same. It depends where I am. But generally, before I can function, I have to have my double espresso. I check some emails and then get stuck into work. I usually meet friends for lunch or dinner and then back to work, concepting, crafting, hustling, banging my head against the wall. That sort of thing. Then bed.
When lacking motivation, what quote do you like to read?
Put it in the f*ck it bucket and crack on.
Tell us one thing about you that people don’t usually know?
I think I’m an open book on the whole.
Looking back over your successful and ever-changing career, what has been your highlight?
I’m lucky enough that there hasn’t just been just one highlight. A few that spring to mind are doing a photoshoot in Tobago as a junior Art Director, styling a wedding in Cape Town, winning my first award for my advertising work, opening the doors of our new restaurant, and most recently being featured in Vogue. Oh, and I am about to start renovating an 1870’s coastal hotel to turn into a beach haven with my sister, whether that’s to be a highlight or not is yet to be seen, fingers crossed.
For any aspiring entrepreneurs, what advice would you offer?
Surround yourself with inspiring, positive people. Keep learning, do courses, go to talks, listen to podcasts, visit inspiring places. Build a great support network, be proactive and collaborate.
Also do not let your potential go to waste if you still don’t feel confident or ready to take a leap. You must just jump in. Now is the time. You can guarantee that people with half as much talent are making things happen while you wait to feel ready.
Also, there is a strong community of entrepreneurial females who offer support to other females wishing to grow their businesses. The great thing about the digital age is that there is so much content and resources available online. So, make the most of it.
Outside work, what do you do for fun?
I love to socialise and spend time with friends. I love visiting galleries and seeing exhibitions and keeping my creative juices flowing. I’m not much of a social planner and that’s what I love about living in London. It can be a Tuesday night and you could find 100 interesting things to do spontaneously that evening. I’m lucky enough to have a wide and diverse group of friends with different interests so I’m always busy doing something different. And if I have any spare time I like to travel. New York City is definitely my happy place.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I have been fortunate to have travelled quite extensively and met so many interesting people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. But some of my fondest memories and best adventures are from travelling around Central and South America. Not just for the scenery but for the people I met who are now some of my dearest friends. Even now, a backpack, no make-up and no itinerary is my ideal scenario (although I am a sucker for a nice hotel). I spent some time volunteering on the Jordanian/Syrian border with the charity RefugEase and Acting for Change International a couple of years ago, helping build a school for local refugee kids in Z’aatari Village. That was one of the most profoundly rewarding experiences I’ve had, and if given the time and opportunity I would love to explore more of the Middle East.
Find out more about Clare and follow her journey…