June 16, 2013

Lifestyle's latest maven a mix of Martha Stewart and Carrie Bradshaw

Emily Schuman writes about clothes, food, home decor and DIY projects on her Cupcakes and Cashmere blog.

By SHAN LI/Los Angeles Times

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Emily Schuman left a steady job to focus on her food and fashion blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere. Now, her Los Angeles, Calif., company pulls in 15 times her former salary.

Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Schuman also became a published author last year with her first book. "It was a tough year," she recalled. "It was quite a balancing act - writing the book and planning a wedding and keeping up with the blog."

Cupcakes and Cashmere is now a family-run business, with Schuman's husband, Geoffrey Fuller, joining last year after quitting his job at an advertising agency. He handles contracts, negotiations and the business side, while she generates new content for the blog and collaborations with brands. In January, the couple hired their first full-time employee, who previously worked as an intern, to help out with photos and the website.

"You can't build an empire on your own," Schuman said. "It's not just a blog, it's an entire company."

Schuman recently signed a deal with a licensing company to create a line of Cupcakes and Cashmere branded merchandise; she's narrowed the categories down to home, beauty, fashion and accessories. There's also talk of a second and even third book. The company already pulls in 15 times what Schuman earned at her AOL job.

"We are now coming up with pie-in-the-sky ideas and going after brands that are a really good fit - we're going to them with ideas," she said.

Schuman loves to bake and can be found in the kitchen even when she's not cooking up treats for the blog. She's also an avid cat lover, with two felines, Luna and Rocco, who make guest appearances on the site. A third cat, Cali, was just added to the family after she was discovered living under Schuman's house.

"I dedicated all my free time to laying on the pavement and wooing her out," she said.

She offers this advice for would-be bloggers: Don't think a business deal is done until everyone signs on the dotted line. Find topics you are passionate about and pursue them. Avoid blogging on subjects just because you think there's an audience. Keep your website clean and uncluttered, with great photographs.

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