“It only takes one piece of content to change the course of your life”. Gary Vaynerchuck

I’ve accidentally discovered Olga Noskova – author of unique “glossy cakes” and confectioner from Ufa, Russia – while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed.

Well, it was hard to ignore it… Her cakes were all over Facebook. Buzfeed’s video about her glossy cakes got 30 million views and more than 20 thousand admiring comments. And Olga got 600 thousand new Instagram followers in less than a week.

And as a “cherry on top” (ha!), Britney Spears posted about Olga’s cakes on Facebook.

While putting together my questions for this interview, I was sure we’d focus on Instagram marketing strategies and insanely huge role of social media in our lives.

But our conversation revolved around other things: true calling, passion, power of visualization and dreams.

Hi, Olga. What an inspiring story! It looks like Instagram has definitely changed the course of your life..

You know, your story is every entrepreneur’s dream. To be discovered and appreciated by millions of people all over the world.

So my sincere congratulations on your international success. More than 30 million people watched Buzfeed’s viral video about your “glossy cakes” and left more than twenty thousand excited comments on Facebook.

You now have more than 600 thousand followers on Instagram (big leap from 15K you had prior to this).

Dozens of blogs all over the world published your glossy cakes’ pictures.

You’ve been invited to the most popular TV show in China.

And finally – the one and only Britney Spears posted about you on Facebook saying that your “cakes are almost too pretty to eat”.

Did I miss anything? Was there anything else that struck you the most? And don’t you have a feeling you’re living in a dream right now? :)

Morning on May 12th didn’t go as planned. I woke up without an alarm, as my phone died (although it was fully charged before I went to bed).

And you know why… Because I got more than 8 thousand new followers from all over the world on Instagram overnight! And most of them – from outside of Russia.

Buzfeed's viral video about glossy cakesBuzfeed’s video about Olga’s glossy cakes got 30 million views
and more than 20 thousand comments on Facebook

People left me tons of messages, posted a lot of questions, asked to update my Instagram pictures to add captions in English. I couldn’t answer any of those questions (as I don’t speak English) and it would have taken me ages to translate all of it…

Yes, I have more than 600 thousand followers now. And I’m stunned and humbled by it.

But I’m so grateful to everyone for the kind words and positive energy we’re exchanging with each other!

Blue glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

In your TV interview in Ufa (your home town in Russia), you said: “I’m just doing what I truly love”.

As far as I know you have a bachelor degree in economics and you’ve started your cake business full-time not that long ago – in March 2015.

Can you tell us a bit more how your business was born and what inspired you to continue your baking experiments?

It all started with a dream. My dream was to find a job that didn’t actually feel like a job. Something I’d really look forward to waking up every morning.

Olga Noskova, author of glossy cakes, on TV show in Ufa, Russia    Olga Noskova, author of glossy cakes, on TV show in Ufa, Russia

Olga Noskova on a TV show in Ufa, Russia

Prior to my cake business I owned an Italian clothes store. Then during my maternity leave I started thinking about my true calling and discovering my passion. I dreamed of finding a job that would give me the chills.

I created a vision board and pinned a lot of pictures that represented “rich life”, “dolce vita” to me. Pictures of red carpets and Walk of Fame.

To me “rich life” and “dolce vita” meant mostly financial prosperity and success at that time. And it turns out I’m living my “dolce vita” life now. Cakes, cookies, baking experiments. But financial success proved to be less fulfilling than the opportunity to do something I truly love, that I was meant to do. Than the excitement of talking to people from all over the world.

I always loved to cook. Macarons (Italian cookies) were my first passion, I joined a masterclass, started to read a lot about it. Once I started baking, my friends and family tried everything I baked. They supported me all the way and inspired me to keep going.

Olga Noskova, author of famous glossy cakes

Olga Noskova, author of glossy cakes. Photo: Olga Noskova

But most importantly – I believed in my dream. I believed it would come true. I’ve put all my energy and thoughts into it. I’m sure that everything we dream about we can manifest sooner or later.

If you want something really badly, if you work hard, if you share your wishes with the universe… your dreams may come true rather unexpectedly.

“Independent”, Buzfeed and many others called your glossy cakes “Incredibly unique”, “essentially flawless” and “real artwork”.

But your famous glossy cake’s recipe wasn’t born one day one, right?  

I looked through your pictures on Instagram (going back to March of last year, when your business was born) and you posted many different cookies, macarons. But there was no sign of your famous marble cake back then.

You’ve mentioned baking is a very creative process for you. And constant experiments are a huge part of it. How long did it take you to perfect your glossy cake recipe? And what’s more important to you in your cake – taste, ingredients or appearance?

I’ve been perfecting my glossy cake’s recipe for the last year and a half. It’s 1,5 years of daily experiments.

I’m a perfectionist, I’m very particular about every tiny detail. So it’s all equally important to me – taste, ingredients and appearance.

Yellow cupcakes by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

Some people commented: “Yes, these cakes are gorgeous. But they must be totally inedible and tasteless…”

Since your cakes are so perfect and aesthetically pleasing, it’s impossible not to look for a flaw in it :)

And are you willing to sacrifice your cake’s taste for its perfect look?

Taste is incredibly important to me. If my cakes weren’t tasty, nobody would have ordered them the second time or recommended to their friends. Perfect picture is not enough.

Green marble cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

So from the very start I’ve been closely watching all my clients’ feedback.

If I haven’t heard from a client for two days, I called them myself to ask what they liked and what they didn’t like in cake’s taste, colour, décor.

And I constantly worked on the recipe based on the feedback. And thanks to my constant adjustments I’ve managed to mix cake’s taste and unique appearance into one great product.

I’ve always checked the reaction if someone tried my cake for the first time. The exact moment when someone takes a bite of my cake. There’s usually a range of emotions – from joy to amazement! I live for moments like these…

When we were filming a TV show in China, TV hosts tried my cakes and let the audience also get a bite. And all I could recall – eyes full of amazement, joy, happiness. I’m getting chills even thinking about it now.

Olga Noskova on a TV show in China

Olga Noskova on a TV show in China    Olga Noskova on a TV show in China

Olga Noskova on a TV show in China

Why did you pick Instagram as your main social platform to show off your gorgeous cakes?

Usually when someone decides on the social platform to promote their business, they either follow their “ideal clients” (and choose the platform their prospects are on) or they pick the social media they’re familiar with – the one they personally like and use on a daily basis. In a perfect scenario it’s both – they’re familiar with and like the platform where their potential clients hang out.

In your case, you’ve been using Instagram to keep in touch with your friends, right?

Yes, I’ve been using Instagram to keep in touch with my friends.

Olga Noskova, author of glossy cakes, in Saint-Petesrburg

Olga Noskova in Saint-Petersburg, Russia (photo from Instagram)

Then I started posting pictures of my cakes. And it was such a pleasure to read all the comments.

Interest for my cakes grew each month and over time my page turned into an online journal of my work.

You have more than 600 thousand followers on Instagram now. Almost every photo gets around 30 thousand likes.

So it’s especially interesting to look back now when you didn’t’ have as many followers.

How did you get your first followers? Did you have a certain strategy?

For instance, I’ve noticed you used giveaways. Your first giveaway happened about a year ago. In order to get your signature cake your follower had to post your cake’s picture on their page signed “I want a cake from @noskovaa” and leave a comment on your page to get a lucky number.

Did those giveaways help you promote your page, increase your following and grow your cake business? Perhaps, you used other strategies which proved to be more effective?

I didn’t have any specific strategy. Since March of last year (when my cake business was born), I haven’t followed any accounts (apart from my friends’) or liked any pictures. Can you believe it?

I didn’t even use hashtags. It was all intuitive.

My friends asked me to host a giveaway. They said: “Olya, let’s make someone happy. Can you imagine how thrilled they’re going to be?” And it was a real blast to surprise people like this.

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

All in all, I had maximum 3-4 giveaways during that time.

By the way, these giveaways were meant only for people from your city – Ufa. So all of your customers are from Ufa?

It’s absolutely essential to me that people could try my cakes while they’re still fresh. I can ensure this by delivering my cakes to people in Ufa, since we live in the same lovely city.

Map of Russia with Ufa

City of Ufa is 1,300 km away from Moscow (capital of Russia).

Ufa’s population is 1.1 million

But my cakes are not just a pretty picture. I’m thinking of baking my cakes in different countries and let everyone try my cakes as well.

It’s amazing how many people all over the world feel passionate about my glossy cakes. I guess it’s because it has become a trend, a new concept, in a way.

Just recently a well-known coffee-shop in Germany has gotten in touch with us. This coffee-shop’s baking traditions are over hundred years old. And glossy cakes are just mind blowing to them.

Red glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

Overall, if we look at my Instagram followers – most of my followers are from US (LA and New York), London, Moscow, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

Surprisingly, China was the first country to invite us to its TV show, although people don’t have access to Instagram over there.

And who takes the pictures of your magnificent cakes? Is it you? I think that if your pictures were different, it wouldn’t have such a success all over the internet.  

Is the quality of your pictures important to you? How much time do you spend capturing your cakes?

Yes, I’m taking the pictures myself with my iPhone. It usually takes 5 minutes :)

Glass cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

I’ve never taken any photography classes. I just feel which picture will get the most interest and attention. Which cut and angle is better to post.

But to be honest, I’m very particular about the pictures. I’ll only pick one picture out of twenty.

At this point I’m lucky to have my team who’s helping me. Thanks to these pictures people from all over the world could appreciate my work and send their comments. It’s so inspiring!

How often do you post your pictures on Instagram? Every day?

Do you use any apps? For instance, to schedule your posts?

Yes, I post pictures every day. I don’t use any apps, all my posts are in real time.

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

I’m just following my gut — I know when to post, so that my followers could see it. I know which picture is awesome (to me) and which will definitely get a lot of interest.

You often thank your team for help and support. How big is your team?

I have three people on my team now. These are friends, who supported me from the very beginning. And now they’re actively involved in the business.

My friends really supported me – they were always happy to try my cakes and inspired me to keep experimenting with the recipes.

I have a friend, Louise. She’s an incredibly talented designer and decorator. She runs her wedding business (you can check her amazing work here).

Glass cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

Louise often praised my cakes and recommended it to her clients. And thanks to her newlyweds have become my customers as well. They, in turn, referred me to their friends. People started ordering cakes for birthdays – for wives, husbands, kids, bosses. Bosses referred me to their teams. So my clients’ list grew instantly.

I have a team now that supports me in all I do. It freed up my time for creative work, baking tests and experiments. For perfecting and developing my skills as a confectioner, which is essential to me.

Ok, let’s talk about the most interesting bit – how did you find out that your amazing cakes had gone viral? Did any of the sites contact you before publishing an article about you? Or was it a total surprise?

And where were you when you heard that Britney Spears had posted about your cakes on Facebook? :)

Britney Spears' post on Facebook about glossy cakes

Britney Spears’ post on Facebook got 54 thousand likes

Everything happened very quickly and unexpectedly.

Where was I when I heard about Britney Spears’ post?

I was at home. I switched on the music and just started dancing. It was all I could do to keep my emotions under control.

After several days you posted: “What a week! Trying to keep my emotions in check and keep on baking”.

What was the most overwhelming thing for you during that week? What struck you the most? Attention? Number of calls, messages and comments?

I didn’t get much sleep during the first couple of days. It was such an emotional roller coaster.

I couldn’t work, I could barely fulfill my current orders.

It was tough to deal with such an information overload. I got hundreds of personal messages from people all over the world with lovely comments and positive emotions.

I translated the messages, tried to reply to all of them… but it took almost all of my time during these days. And I still had a lot of unanswered messages and they kept on coming in…

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

I was really sorry I couldn’t respond to everyone who took the time to send me their amazingly kind messages.

Tens of thousands of comments about your marble cakes on Facebook, Instagram, various blogs… I thought most of the comments fell into one of these categories:

  • «Oh my God, they’re beautiful!! Too perfect to eat»
  • «Please send two of these to Brazil (US/Australia) tomorrow. It’s my birthday!»
  • «Share your recipe please!»
  • «Don’t share your recipe, dear! Keep it to yourself, you’ve deserved it».
  • «I’m proud to live in the same country (city/building) with you!

Were there any comments that you remembered the most?

Comments that I remember the most are from people who were inspired enough to change their life. These comments are very special to me.

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

For example, one lady from US would like to come to me to Ufa (Russia) to learn how to make my glossy cakes. I’m just blown away by her eagerness to learn something new in a different country.

Other people were inspired to try and make marble cakes. Or to start their own baking experiments. Perhaps, my story will motivate someone to start their own business?

If we look at the stats, your story looks even more incredible:

  • May 9 – 15,000 Instagram followers
  • May 10 – Buzfeed and Boredpanda posted about your glossy cakes
  • May 11 – dozens of blogs all over the world picked up your story
  • May 11 – 100,000 Instagram followers
  • May 14 – Britney Spears posted about your cakes on Facebook
  • May 19 – 500,000 Instagram followers
  • Today – more than 600,000 Instagram followers

So it all happened pretty fast? Almost within a week?  

Yes, you can say that. On the one hand, it was quick – just one week. On the other hand – it’s a result of my everyday thorough work during the last 1,5 years.

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

So, what’s next? What’s the best to way to use this totally deserved by unexpected interest from all over the world to your advantage?

I’ve been thinking what I would have done if I were you and my first reaction was — to personally deliver a dozen of cakes to Britney, then to arrange international delivery to China/US/UK etc. In other words, I had a bunch of unrealistic ideas :)

Perhaps the lowest hanging fruit here is to seize the moment and capture your local market (Ufa + Russia)?

Or do you have any plans to expand internationally? You’ve recently created your YouTube channel in English…

Screenshot Olga's youtube channel    Screenshot Olga's Youtube Chnannel

Olga Noskova’s Youtube channel

Olga Noskova’s video on her Youtube channel. 

Right now my team and I are discussing various opportunities to start producing my cakes in different countries. And we’re finalizing our travel plans, as we speak.

So exciting! Are you considering franchising your business and let others sell your cakes under your brand name? Which countries are first in line?

I’d love to share the taste of my cakes with the world – that’s my ultimate goal.

By the way, there are a lot of different glossy cakes’ recipes all over the internet, which claim to be mine. None of these recipes are mine, actually.

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

In any case, you won’t be able to get the same result if you just follow my recipe. There are so many nuances, you just need to live and breathe it. Besides, you have to carefully pick local ingredients, tools and appliances in every country, maintain the quality.

So it’s much easier for me, when people are willing to come to Ufa to learn and master my recipe over here. My production process is all set here, all necessary ingredients and tools are just within reach.

So right now we’re talking to entrepreneurs from China, Saudi Arabia and possibly US to start production in these countries.

But I’m open to any opportunities and projects that have positive energy and good intentions.

Yet… have you tried to get in touch with Britney Spears?

Yes. In fact, we’ve contacted Britney Spears. We’d really love her to try our glossy cakes to prove they’re not «too pretty to eat».

Glossy cake by Olga Noskova

Photo: Olga Noskova

I’m sure Britney will respond after this interview! :)

You know, I’ve shared your story with several entrepreneurs in US and UK, who also use Instagram to market their products and grow their businesses. And there were very inspired by your success and your story.

To be honest with you, I thought this interview would be about advanced Instagram strategies, social media’s role in our lives, viral content.

But we’ve talked about totally different things that truly mattered to you – discovering your passion and believing in a dream.

If someone told you a year ago (when you’ve just started your business) that your cakes would be admired all over the world, would you believe them?

I’ve never dreamt of success at such scale. But I wanted my business to blossom and always believed in myself.

I’ve been working and experimenting with my cakes 24 hours a day.

All I could think about were my cakes — how they should look and taste.

For instance, I could spend all day planning and thinking about a cake for a new client – figuring out its colour, filling, décor. Then I’d go to bed still thinking about it.

And when I woke up in the morning I knew exactly what the cake would look like. I could literally see it in my head.

I know for sure – if you send a request to the universe, you will get your answer… no doubt.

That’s why it’s so crucial to believe in your dream, to raise your vibrations of happiness, love and joy.

Universe has everything you need in abundance. Pick what you need and believe in yourself!

Olga Noskova, author of glossy cakes

Olga Noskova pointing at a sign “Happiness” (in Russian)

It was such a pleasure talking to Olga. I hope her story inspired you as much as it inspired many people from all over the world.

If you know someone, who’s building their business and could use a little inspiration, please share this article. They’ll be grateful to you, no doubt.

Do you have any questions to Olga? Or do you have an advice on how to get a response from Britney Spears? :) Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Useful links:

Olga Noskova on Instagram
Olga Noskova on Facebook
Olga Noskova on Youtube 
TV show with Olga Noskova in China 

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