Cindy Houot was positive the email was a prank.
An order for 75 ceramic cupcakes was big in itself. Add in that it was to be delivered in three days to an unnamed member of the British Royal Family and her radar hit high alert.
“I was about to call my friends and say, ‘Ha, ha, you’re not very funny,’” Houot said.
An international phone call answered by a woman with a British accent confirmed there was nothing fake about it.
“I was flattered that they liked my style and they liked my designs,” said, Houot, who worked night and day to successfully ship the products to England.
The quick turnaround was a success.
“They absolutely loved it,” she said, noting she signed her name to every single piece along with Sammamish, Wash., USA.
While all her orders might not be as prestigious as the British Royal Family, the local artist and her business, Angel Heart Designs, continue to garner worldwide exposure with recent orders sent to Mumbai, India and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Based out of her home along 228th Avenue Southeast — in the large yellow structure most Sammamish residents know as the “goat house” — Houot produces a wide variety of ceramic creations.
She officially started Angel Heart Designs as a painter in 1982 in California, but has grown the business the last 14 years from her Sammamish home.
Right now, her most popular items revolve around anything cupcakes. She makes themed trinket boxes, cookie jars, night lights, bud vases, business card holders, clocks and more.
The popularity of cupcakes has grown so much that she started another website to compliment Angel Heart Designs, called cupcakesandteaceramics.com. She also sells her products on ETSY.com, a website similar to Amazon.com that focuses on selling the work of home-based artists.
While a large chunk of Houot’s business comes from Internet sales, she also offers some other opportunities, including ceramics classes and tea parties in a goat shed turned tea room.
Those who attend classes or tea parties also get the perk of interacting with Sammamish’s most famous goats — 13-year-old Mack and the two newest additions 3-month old Rusty and 2-month old Henry.
Houot spent the last week pumping out about 100 ceramic roses, what she calls “roses that never die,” to send to the Nashville Women’s Show. The amount of items produced week to week varies on orders, but Houot never struggles to find the time or space. She works out of five rooms in her home, including her garage studio, a pouring room, a multipurpose room, an upstairs studio and the tea room.
Houot, who has been married to her husband, Robert, the last 35 years and has three adult sons, admits she couldn’t think of a better way to earn a living.
“I don’t think I’ll ever make a million dollars doing what I do, but it keeps me busy, it’s fun and it’s happy art,” she said. “I love doing it.”
Cindy Houot stands in front of her many cupcake-themed products.
One of the perks of taking classes with Cindy Houot is feeding the goats. Above, 13-year-old Mack enjoys his favorite food, carrots.