Along Broadway, amidst the sea of giant hotels, loud noisy traffic and a jack hammer always seeming to be drilling somewhere, a little gem stands brightly on its own. Owned by Robbie and Angie Hester Cook, CAKE Vintage along with its sister companies, Knobstoppers and Kitchen Papers reside in this perky little spot, which oozes creativity and ingenuity. You may recognize their trademark placemats and paper products, as these locally made items regularly show up in the likes of West Elm, Anthropologie and Sur La Table. But there is so much more than meets the eye with these three companies. Hedged under the larger name of Hester & Cook Design Group, CAKE and its sidekicks are regulars at the NYC and ATL markets, this year winning “Best of Floor” Visual Display as an added compliment. With so much accolade and talent associated with this company, it was clear that we needed to feature them.*
What was your inspiration for getting into this business?
Angie: When we first started dating, I told Robbie that he had great business potential. We laugh about it now because at the time, we had no idea we would get married and start our own business together! One night while renovating our historic home, Robbie grabbed an old doorknob, placed it on top of our bottle of wine, and said, “This would make a great wine stopper.” After incubating the idea for about a year, we hatched a plan for a line of hand crafted bottle stoppers, and took KnobStoppers to the Atlanta Market in 2005. We haven’t slowed down since!
Please give us an overview of your business. CAKE Vintage, KnobStoppers, and Kitchen Papers.
We have three brands under our parent company header of Hester & Cook Design Group. We have a retail storefront at 1707 Broadway, and directly behind that is our larger wholesale operation. We primarily supply to small boutiques and designers all over the country (and internationally) who retail our products to their customers. While we love our independent shops, we also do a lot of business with a select few larger chains, such as Anthropologie, Sur la Table, West Elm, etc.
KnobStoppers came first, so let’s start there. This is a full line of bottle stoppers, all handcrafted in our studios in Nashville, Tennessee. It includes everything from our original vintage doorknob bottle stoppers to vintage billiard ball stoppers to bottle stoppers that hold candles. Each piece is unique and lifetime guaranteed.
CAKE Vintage came next, and was established in 2007. This brand started with our vintage silver-plate flatware, and includes all of our linens, hand crafted lighting, wine racks, and other home accessory items.
Founded in 2010, Kitchen Papers is our newest brand. This one offers everything you need to style your table in paper. We started with one paper placemat: the Perfect Setting. This line has grown to encompass everything from the pads of paper placemats, to paper table runners, paper coasters, and everything in between. If you are looking to entertain, host an event, or just give your home dining table a different style, Kitchen Papers offer an easy yet elegant way to do it.
Everything we offer is made in the USA, and almost all of it is made right here in Nashville, Tennessee. We live here, design all of our products here, and we are happy to make them here as well.
We love your lighting. Are your pieces refurbished? How are they made? Is there a story behind them?
Thanks so much! Each piece is hand crafted in our studio on Broadway. That being the case, we are happy to work with our customers to accommodate requests for customization.
The lights are not refurbished, but they are definitely repurposed! Our most popular style, the spoondelier actually came out of us doing so much business in the vintage silver-plate flatware. When packaging the flatware into five piece place settings, we always had so many leftover teaspoons. Robbie’s wheels started turning, and he came up with these gorgeous lights as a way to use all those extra spoons.
We now have so many different lighting styles. One popular new style, the Greenhouse Light, was conceived of in a favorite restaurant in New York City. While having dinner in their back room, Robbie looked up at their skylight and had a moment of inspiration. Minutes later we were looking at a sketch on a cocktail napkin. When we returned to Nashville, it was only a matter of days before Robbie had turned that sketch into an awesome light!
Anything fun you’d like to share about your business…
We are rooted in the belief that a company can domestically manufacture quality products with innovative design, and back everything with superior customer service. We take pride in the fact that we have been able to do this for seven years now, and we look forward to where the coming years take us!
A portion of all Hester & Cook Design Group’s proceeds go to charity.
Angie & Robbie also established The Wonderful Life Foundation. The Wonderful Life Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which sponsors families of children undergoing cancer treatment at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Each December, The Wonderful Life Foundation hosts a fundraising event that is open to the public. We invite everyone to a free screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, and a post-movie party/silent auction, where 100% of all money raised goes to the sponsored families.
It has been a pleasure talking to you! We wish all of your ventures much success! For more contact information, please read below!
(p) 615.385.7254 (f) 615.385.0696
1707 Broadway / Nashville, TN 37203
*(Special thanks to Courtney Cochran at CAKE for her help in answering several of our questions!)
(All photos courtesy of Interior Canvas)
Nashville Interior Design Blog