Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2014 Contents September 14, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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By Roslyn Carrington
"I never thought of myself as artistic. I was never really that
good at art." Surrounded by a mind-boggling array of brightly
coloured, meticulously decorated baked treats, you might be
tempted to accuse Janice Snaggs of fibbing, because if you
were challenged to describe her in five words or less, one of
them is certain to be "artistic". Two years ago, shortly after
joining her Trini husband here, the Lucian-born entrepreneur
set up the Nik Nak Sweet Shack, making cupcakes, themed
cakes, and, most notably, an incredible array of hand-deco-
rated cookies and cookie pops that are unquestionably works
of art. Each is painstakingly hand-decorated in fondant in
cooking sessions that last as long as 18 hours.
The colourful cookies portray themes ranging from video
games such as Angry Birds, to cartoons like Spongebob
Squarepants and the adorable minions of Despicable Me.
There are flower-shaped cookies on sticks, arranged into bou-
quets or stuck into planters, holiday shapes for Valentine's
Day and Christmas, and superheroes galore. "Hello Kitty sells
best, with big girls and little girls." Snaggs will also happily
supply an assortment of exquisitely detailed and very
naughty "shaped" cookies for bridal showers that are sure to
spice up a girls' lime. What makes Nik Nak different from the
other cookie artists out there? "Other cookies are Colour
Flow, a flat surface. With mine, the eyes stick out, the beak
sticks out, they are all 3D, and every single one is unique."
Her prices are reasonable enough to raise no eyebrows, even
though the amount of work she puts into her art can't be
measured in dollars and cents. "But if I really love doing some-
thing, it doesn't feel like work." And nobody complains. "I feel
that if I am charging you a certain price for something, you
should be happy with what you're getting for that money."
Snaggs moves from market to market, including UpMarket
and the Green Market, usually selling out. "We did very well at
the Mango Festival. We sold mango cookies, and cupcakes
filled with mango cream. The mango bread finished in the
She's thankful to her fellow vendors for having her back; as a
foreigner she hardly knew her way around, but they had no
problem pointing her in the right direction. "There's no com-
She also laughingly gives kudos to her husband, Kevin, who
works at UWI, St. Augustine, for being her "Chief Pot-
Washer"... or, more accurately, a pillar of support who stands
by her side at every market until the last cookie is sold.
"Without Kevin, my business wouldn't be as far as it is. He
pushes me and gets the ideas going." With a smile, she talks
of how, after a 15-hour cookie-decorating spree, she dragged
herself off to sleep, and awoke to a kitchen that was
sparkling clean and put away. "People bring me complex de-
signs they want me to make, and I would say no, but he
would always tell me to try it."
While living in St. Lucia with Kevin and her children, working
in the hotel industry, she worked at "many many many
things", from reception to bartender to waitressing to yoga
and fitness instructor. But boredom set in. "Doing the same
thing every day, over and over, that wears me out." Clearly, a
career shift was in order.
Now, Nik Nak keeps her so busy that she's unable to take the
regular visits home that she used to, but she keeps her Lu-
cian heritage close to her heart. As her teenage daughters flit
in and out, she speaks to them both in English and Kweyol, a
language of which she is justifiable proud. "I wasn't allowed
to speak Kweyol as a child. They thought that if you spoke it,
you'd have problems with English at school." Happily, that
wasn't the case, and Snaggs makes sure to pass her linguistic
abilities on to her kids.
Her dreams of the future revolve around her own candy shop,
full of colour and handmade goodness, like candy apples and
liquorice whips --- everything that's sweet and irresistible.
"People can buy sweets by the pound, by the ounce, whatever
For the candy lovers among us, that dream can't become real-
ity a moment too soon.
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