Candace Nelson

Candace Nelson is an American pastry chef, entrepreneur, and television personality. She is best known as the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery, and as a guest shark on season 15 of the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. Nelson has changed the way people think about cupcakes and has established herself as a key figure in the gourmet baking industry.

Nelson was born in Indonesia and later moved to the United States. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Sociology and went on to pursue a career in investment banking. However, following a layoff during the dot-com bust, she decided to follow her passion for baking and attended Tante Marie’s Professional Pastry program in San Francisco.

In 2005, Nelson and her husband Charles opened Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, California. The boutique bakery quickly gained popularity and became a sensation, leading to the global cupcake trend. The store was unique for its high-quality ingredients, minimalist design, and innovative flavors.

Beyond Sprinkles, Nelson has diversified her entrepreneurial ventures. She co-founded Pizzana, a Neo-Neapolitan pizzeria in Los Angeles. Nelson has also appeared as a judge on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and wrote “The Sprinkles Baking Book,” showcasing some of her beloved recipes.

In 2023, Nelson joined the cast of Shark Tank as a guest shark. The show features a panel of investors who evaluate pitches from budding entrepreneurs, deciding whether to back their ventures. Nelson, with her deep expertise in the food and retail industries, offers a fresh perspective and keen insights to the participants.

Apart from her ventures, Candace Nelson frequently speaks at various culinary and business events, inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. She emphasizes the importance of following one’s passion and the rewards of perseverance.

Here are some other notable achievements in Candace Nelson’s life and career:

  • Sprinkles has expanded to numerous locations across the US and has introduced the world’s first Cupcake ATM.
  • She was listed in Vanity Fair’s 2012 “Next Establishment” list for her contributions to the food industry.
  • Nelson is actively involved in various charitable causes, especially those supporting children’s health and education.

Candace Nelson’s remarkable journey from investment banking to gourmet baking showcases the beauty of pursuing one’s passions. Her story serves as a beacon of inspiration for those wishing to meld their creativity with a keen business acumen.