BABE #66: CALLI MARIE WEBB,
Food Program Manager @ BREW Five Points
Calli is one of the Babes who most inspired me to make BWH a reality. It's one thing to see people doing what they love and making a living out of it from the comfort of our Instagram feeds, but seeing it done by someone in your neighborhood changes your perspective. I think Calli inspires a lot of babes in our community (and elsewhere) to just go out there and get shit done in really fulfilling and meaningful ways. If you haven't stopped by BREW yet, first: what are you doing with your life, and second: be sure to say hello. She'll be the one covered in flour and running around with masterpieces (aka cakes and baked goods) in her hands.
Go-to coffee order?
Vanilla Bean Cold Brew from BREW Five Points of course, with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.
Go-to adult beverage?
Bulleit Rye and Ginger with a lime.
Favorite beauty item?
I don’t wear makeup or do anything to my hair because I work in a kitchen all day BUT the one item I religiously use is RMS Beauty Living Luminizer. It’s perfect for the no-makeup types like myself.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Instant Ichiban Miso Ramen. Instant ramen will always be my favorite food.
Biggest pet peeve?
When people spell my name wrong.
Favorite social media account to follow?
Taste Of Streep on IG, forever and ever amen.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Martha Stewart. Plus, she's friends with Snoop Dogg, so he can come too.
Pizza or tacos?
My family is from Texas so if I don’t say tacos I think someone might come after me.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
My last name is Webb. Seriously, I have friends who have known me for years that don’t know my last name. Now you know!
Tell us about your hustle:
The lines between the cake business and the coffee business blur more often than not. Technically, I have two jobs at one business, which I am insanely lucky that I get to do. I run the food program at BREW which involves everything from menu development to brunch cook or as I like to call it, “Nosh Queen”. I think that's my official title. On the other hand, I bake cakes for Calli Marie Bakes, which is equally as fun and amazing as my day job.
What does your typical workday look like?
You know, there is no such thing as a typical workday for me. Every day is different. That is what I love about my job and life so much. Each morning or night is an adventure. One practice I do every day is make a to-do list that is separated by 3 categories: Life, BREW, and Cakes.
How long have you been baking? When did you fall in love with it and decide to pursue it?
I have been really into baking since I was in middle school. I had a science fair project that was actually an animal and plant cell replica made out of cake. I think I fell in love with it then but with every year that goes by I love it more and more. I don’t think I would be Calli without baking.
Specifically, when and how did you decide to focus predominantly on cakes? If you weren’t known for your cakes, what would you like to be most known for baking/making?
When we first opened BREW, I was a one-woman team. I had to handle all of the cooking, baking, cleaning, ordering, and my own cakes on top of it. I couldn’t keep up and decided that I was going to take a break from the occasional cake I made. I posted about it on social media and people went nuts. I didn’t even know that everyone loved my cakes so much. I realized then that what I was doing was different and needed. I have been focusing on cakes ever since. If cakes were out of the picture, I think I would be most known for the kolaches at BREW. We sell more of those fluffy buns of goodness than my mixer can keep up with.
What is your work environment/culture like?
The BREW babies are my family and my best friends. I spend more time at BREW than any other place on this earth. I just asked one of my co-workers this question and she said, “pretty lit fam” so we will go with that. But on a more serious note, the culture at BREW is very uplifting and supportive. I have complete creative freedom with my work. We also have an open door policy that creates space for collaboration, innovation, improvement, and inspiration. That is so important.
How do you balance your time at BREW with your freelance jobs and projects?
HA. If by "balance" you mean constantly falling and getting back up again then my answer would be perseverance. The to-do list I write every day helps tremendously. If I didn’t make the space at the top of the list for “life” then I would burn out and probably cry everyday. It might seem like cakes come before BREW but it’s the other way around. BREW is always first.
What keeps you anchored to Jacksonville? What is your relationship to the community here? Specifically, what is the baking community like around here?
I love living here. I can’t even go to the grocery store or walgreens without running into someone I know. It’s a very small big city. Chefs here are all very supportive of each other. The culinary scene has really changed in the last 5 years and being on the ground floor of all of that development has been amazing. I feel like I owe it to Jacksonville to cultivate my business here. I am not leaving anytime soon.
What was the process of writing and producing your cookbook like? What has the response been like?
I walked into BREW one day and spontaneously told my friend Cari Sanchez-Potter, who would later be our project manager, that I wanted to write a book while I was still 24 years old. It was on a whim, really. She sent me a timeline and outline the next day. My friends and I wrote, designed, photographed and printed a whole entire cookbook, locally, in 10 months. The rest is history. The response has been shocking - we’ve sold over 600 books in 5 different countries since it debuted in December. We self-published this thing in our little coffee shop and now it’s in someone's kitchen in Singapore. CRAZY.
What local businesses and/or business owners do you most draw inspiration from here in Jacksonville?
Chandler Williams of Marble + Pine, Christina Karst of Christina Karst Photography, Joy Lee of Momni, and Jon Insetta of Blacksheep, Orsay, and Bellwether. I could go on and on with this list.
Who/what is your dream collaboration?
….again, MARTHA STEWART AND SNOOP DOGG. But seriously, Martha Stewart built an empire on feeding others, designing beautiful spaces, and crafts. It’s awesome.
Do you plan to ever open up a bakery or storefront? What are your future goals for your brand?
#comingsoon! I wrote a book when I was 24, and 25 will only be bigger and better.
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
About 90% of people that I run into think I bake out of my house. Totally not true! You can find me baking away at 1024 Park Street. I hear they have great coffee there, too.
What motivates you every day?
Putting smiles on people’s faces, hands down.
What helps you wind down / how do you manage stress?
I am no stranger to the term “treat yo self.” I work hard and I deserve to treat myself hard too. Bubble baths work wonders.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
If you want to write a book, write it. If you want to leave your job, leave it. If you want to travel the world, go. Do what you want. Go for it. Chase it hard. Put in the work. Tell the whole world about it. People will listen and join you.
What’s next for you?
In partnership with: StringStrangStrung
Owned and operated by Brandy Brong, StringStrangStrung is a modern string art and decor company right here in Jacksonville. Check out our interview with Brandy here, browse her collection on Etsy, and use offer code 'BWH15' at checkout for 15% off your purchase! Free domestic shipping + custom orders always available!