So it may surprise you to learn that founder and CCO Lisa Stelly doesn’t subscribe to the traditional definition of “fancy” (even as she incorporates cheeky nods to it with her sprinkle blends), and she sure as hell doesn’t fit the fancy mold.
“Fancy doesn’t mean better than you or prettier or unattainable or expensive,” said Stelly. “Fancy really is just a feeling for me. I describe it as the feeling of when you’re in your car and you’re listening to Beyoncé, and it’s a sunny day and the window’s down. You've got sunglasses on and you’re having a really good skin day, and you just catch a glimpse of yourself in the rearview mirror and you’re like, ‘Damn, I am that b*tch.’”
For Stelly, a single mom of three girls who has been open about her struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety, getting to a place where she is living that truth for herself has been all about finding confidence and self-love — and she doesn’t sugarcoat the messy journey it took to get there.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work on my own self-confidence and my own image issues for the last year, and I’m not ashamed to say that, because I don’t ever want anyone to look at me and think, ‘ugh, she’s further along in life than me,’” said Stelly. “For so long I have seen influencers’ picture-perfect Instagrams and thought, damn, I’m fat. Oh my god, my kids’ hair is never brushed, we never wear matching pajamas. It would just make me feel like shit as a mom. I was like, at what point do I stop following these people because all of this is fake anyway. Their kids are screaming behind the scenes. They had a terrible flight to Bora Bora, let’s be honest.”
Stelly, who described herself as the “least confident person in the world” when she was younger, is here to remind you that it starts with focusing more on how you perceive yourself than how others perceive you. “If I feel confident and comfortable in something, I’m gonna put that energy out and someone is gonna pick it up. I’m a huge proponent of wearing what makes you feel sexy. I feel sexiest in streetwear, honestly. Like, leggings, sneakers, and like a cool jacket. That’s how I feel like a million bucks. Just do what makes YOU feel good.”
Wearing something that makes you feel good is one thing, but doing something that makes you feel good is huge. When Stelly hit a low point in 2015, it was discovering cake decorating that helped her find her own confidence and eventually led to her founding Fancy Sprinkles. This is the inspiration behind the company’s tagline: Inspire, create, consume.
“Inspire, create, consume just felt really solid to me because hopefully we’ll inspire you to not just create something, but also just inspire you in life and with the community, and maybe you’ll make some friends, and you can find a way to boost your confidence and your self-esteem, expanding your talents,” Stelly said. “I’m just all about hobbies because I feel like it saved my life.”
Today, Stelly is proud of the company she’s built and the confidence she’s gained along the way, and she wants her customers feeling themselves, too. Here’s what Stelly told me over Zoom, in her oversized DaBaby shirt she got on Amazon because she saw Justin Bieber was wearing it, no makeup, between forkfuls of her takeout dinner:
“I’m at the point now in my life where I’m like, you know what, I’ve had three kids, I have an incredible boyfriend, I have a great job, I’ve built something amazing, I love everyone that I work with, I’m building something great, I’m showing my girls what it’s like to be a strong woman, and I should be f**k!ng proud of that.”
[Louder for the people in the back.]
For so many of of us, feeling fancy in 2020 — whether in the literal sense, like dressing up to go somewhere, or as a state of mind — has felt especially unattainable. Besides pouring Prism Powder over all our lives meals (which honestly, doesn’t sound like a bad idea), how can we find our own fancy when we’re really not feeling it? To start, Stelly is a firm believer in fake it ‘til you make it: “Do and the reaction will follow.” And at the end of the day? “It’s just giving yourself permission to be like, ‘you know what, I’m f**k!ng awesome.’”