mimicafe Union Owner / Fondant Cake Topper Creator
Sachiko Windbiel is the owner and creative force of mimicafe Union, a fondant skills resource, based in Santa Monica, California. Sachiko’s specialty is Fondant Figure Modeling, creating fantastically life-like and expressive figures for cakes and cupcakes that become cherished keepsakes from life’s most treasured celebrations. Her artistic skills are inspired by her childhood fascination with Manga and Animation features, fueling her imagination and dreams. Sachiko likes to say that her mission is to “Spread Joy” and it’s at her fondant workshops that she feels she’s on the right path, meeting new people and working with them to develop their figure modeling skills and enjoy their own creativity.
Awards include 1st prize in the Pastry Section category at the “That Takes the Cake!” Sugar Arts Show in Austin Texas (2013), Best of Anniversary Theme Cake prize at the National Capital Area Cake Show (Fairfax Virginia), (2013), Grand Prize in the Wedding Cake Category - also at the National Capital Area Cake Show (2014), Best Cupcakes Award from Cake Masters Magazine (UK) (2014), Best Magazine Cover Award from Cake Masters Magazine (UK) (2014 & 2016) and 1st Prize in the Special Occasion Category of The NY Cake Show (May 2016), Winner of Santa's Baking Blizzard on Food Network (2019)
I grew up in Japan in Ishikawa Prefecture which is very bucolic region which is located on the West Coast of the Japan. As a child, my parents provided me with a lot of exposure to great illustrators like Osamu Tezuka (Cartoonist, Animator) as well as the Peter Rabbit stories of Beatrix Potter - especially "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles" from the Brambly Hedge Series... the seeds of my tiny inspirations all come from these books. My parents were also always encouraging to do my own drawings. I was also very, very, very interested in "Anime" too - the animation industry of Japan. When I was in college, I was interested in studying to become a copywriter or a magazine designer but somehow after college, I don't know how, I found myself in the food industry. At that time, I was interested in becoming a chef or a pastry chef but a supervisor pegged me for customer service and the hospitality end of the business, and so, I dedicated myself to the "front of the house". After many years of working in restaurant service without cooking exposure, I decided it was a time for a change and in 2008, I relocated to New York City to attend a culinary school that specialized in a vegetarian and healthful food preparation techniques. After graduating, thanks to the help of one of my instructors, I was able to land an internship, and eventually, a position at a custom made cake shop. The work there was very inspiring to me, and I felt that pastry work was a destiny calling. Obviously, the pasty industry uses a lot of Sugar, Butter, Oil, etc.; ingredients that are quite opposed to those espoused by my teachers at my uber-health conscious cooking school. I was torn as to what I should do....But alas, the charm and artistry of the pastry world won me over. And besides, I believed that pastry was a great way to make people smile and have fun and that's something that was - and is- very important to me.
After working at the pastry shop for a couple years, the next chapter of my journey made itself clear to me… to start a small business (something that I had always dreamed of). I was considering a cupcake business, but it seemed like everybody was already making cupcakes and cupcakes cafes seemed to be on every other corner. Then I had a fun idea; How about a Cupcake & Cake Topper business?-- kind of like Cake Accessories... And thus, I began mimicafe Union, a source for all kinds of Fun Fondant Cupcake & Cake Toppers.
It's great work; I really love making unique toppers for special events, toppers which customers often choose to save as sweet memory keepsakes of their special occasion. Actually this kind of fits into my philosophy of life; Live a Happy Life and Cherish your Sweet Memories, they're always good to keep nearby. If I can help my customers with these happy moments and memories, I feel I have fulfilled my mission in life.
Oh.... you may be wondering why my company is named "mimicafe Union" . Please let me tell you:
For the longest time, I dreamed of running of my own cafe, where people could meet and relax with a cup of tea and have some pastries or scones. But owning my own cafe was just not "in the cards" - plus, I now realize how difficult it is run a successful cafe!!!
And "Mimi" was the name of my beautiful cat; she was a long haired, white Chinchilla and she was very special to me. When she passed away, I wanted to honor our connection and her memory. So I decided on the name "mimicafe Union" - with Union representing the joining of my memories with my hopes and dreams. I also like to think that when I make a topper order or conduct a workshop, my clients and I have created a special bond or union. And now with my tutorials at my small studio, the atmosphere is kind of like a cafe; we enjoy some tea and some snacks and fun conversation while working on fondant skills together!!!
I'd like to tell you about My Roots!!! I can't talk about the role of Art in my Life without talking about these Artists, Books and Animation.
① Around the time I was in Kindergarten, every morning I would watch ジャングル大帝 / Kimba the White Lion by Osamu Tezuka. It started at 8:30 AM and I always wanted to see it, but I had to go to school... I would cry and cry because I always wanted to see it.... and yes, my mother was very angry with me about that!!
② When I was a child of maybe about 5 to 8 years old, I was just beginning to learn how to read, but I found this one book on my father's shelf anyway: 手塚治虫のマンガの書き方 / How to draw Manga, again by Osamu Tezuka. The book was probably 70% text, but I was more interested in the sample drawings the book offered. Osamu Tezuka also wrote and drew "Mighty Atom", which you may know better in the States as "Astro Boy"... I cannot say that I read all of Mr. Tezuka's comics, but these few works that I mentioned filled me with a lot of inspiration.
③ Between the ages of 8 and 12 years old, I was really taken by "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles" from the Peter Rabbit series and by Brambly Hedge's "Winter Story". These books are still two of my favorites and if you look through them, you might understand why I really love making my miniature fondant toppers!!!
④ As you've probably heard, Manga Comics are very, VERY POPULAR in Japan, and as a girl between the ages of 10 and 15, I was not immune. One comic that I really liked at the time was うる星やつら / Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi. I was always trying to draw in the style presented by this comic, I was so sure that I was going to be a cartoonist!!! Now, instead, I work with fondant (!) and I really love it and I really appreciate that I have this opportunity to apply these inspirations that these artists' work helped instill in me all those years ago.