Introducing the Kicheko Woman: Lissy Tropea

After a weekend full of fireworks and patriotic musings, I am back at it in the studio. This week, I am excited to share our chat with studio-mate, baker & business owner behind Pies & Petals, as well as our illustrious lookbook model - Lissy Tropea. With a focus beyond her years, Lissy brings intelligence, warmth, artistry, and a love for baked goodness to her surroundings. Her diverse interests range from writing poetry to writing code, playing ukulele to listening to cassette tapes, spending time with her family to growing her business. Friends, enjoy these next few minutes getting to know Lissy. 

You know the drill. Let's start with rapid fire. Who is on your playlist? TennisFránçois & The Atlas MountainsAlvvays

What are you reading right now? Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

What are you watching right now? The Netflix series, Chef’s Table. The second episode had me in tears and up to 4am writing about my love for food… So I’d say that’s up there. And Daredevil, which is also on Netflix. It’s just so crazy + good.

Most used app on your phone? Instagram!

What recipe can you not get enough of? I feel like I should give you one of my pie recipes, but my weak spot right now is Smitten Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Banana Bread. Mmmm.

Do you have a favorite Kicheko piece? I am in love with the quartz necklaces, and the blush sterling piece. Everything is so beautiful.

Next place you want to travel? Realistically, a small beach town with sandy roads and not very many people. Possibly, Vermont! However, dreamily, it would be France.

Name a style maven that you look up to. I'm not sure if you’d label her a "style maven" but I really enjoy Beth Kirby’s feed on Instagram (@localmilk). It's full of clean, bright images with lots of kitchen styling… I like her aprons. Does that count? :)

If you weren't at your current job, you would be...building a kitchen (made out of walls of windows + marble countertops) in the country.

Tell us a little about what you do. What do you like about it? Why do you do it?

I am a Junior Developer at Bittersweet Creative Group and I own a small business called Pies + Petals. With the hopes of someday selling out of a mobile storefront, Pies + Petals currently operates in Centreville, Virginia and delivers to the Northern VA and DC Metro area. I bake pies and my mom, Mary Jane of LéRoy French Flowers, crafts seasonal bouquets to accompany each order. We cater to a variety of events + weddings, and enjoy receiving custom orders. I love the excitement my customers exude throughout the process, from ordering to receiving. It is really enjoyable to witness simple happiness.

However, that’s not my only reasoning for doing it. My original intent with Pies + Petals is to create opportunity for passion, in my own life, in my friends’ lives, and in the lives of others. I’ve already seen this idea taking form, but there is much more to be done. Baking is proven to be therapeutic. In building something from start to finish your mind is allowed to refocus on the physical process in front of you - causing a healthy distraction from anxiety, past experience, and present circumstance, and immersing yourself in an activity that will produce a fruitful outcome. I would like to begin a baking therapy program that would be available to anyone who finds themselves struggling in their day to day life. The program would involve workshops, counseling, and potential employment opportunities. 

What is the best thing you learned last year? Change can be good. 

Best thing you have learned this year (so far)? Distance from your daily life improves your daily life. 

What is one unique advantage of being a woman right now? There is a large community of people devoting their time and efforts to improving life for women. In the past, I don’t think there has been as much focus on uplifting and supporting these issues.

What is one disadvantage of being a woman right now? Women are consistently battling the effects and influences of the media (including social media) and reconciling that with a moving standard of perfection. Also, balancing femininity and strength. 

What injustice breaks your heart? Sexual exploitation will always be the most gut wrenching injustice that I am aware of. I believe we were made for a wholesome existence, and taking away one’s right to his or her own body, whilst instilling fear and a false sense of impurity is life shattering. 

What companies or organizations do you love? 

Homeboy Industries, specifically Homeboy Bakery. They employ people who have been incarcerated, most of whom have been involved in gang activity in the past. These aren’t just jobs running the cash register or cleaning, but each baker is trained in one of three specific areas: cake + pastry, laminated dough, and bread + rolls. This is a perfect example of a shot at a new life with new skills and community rehabilitation.

The Gray Haven is based out of Richmond, VA, and is a a non-profit working with those who have been exposed to human trafficking. I love this organization because they not only provide a program centered on restoration, but they also perform case management, crisis response, and court advocacy tailored specifically to the needs of the victim. The Gray Haven works with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as with service providers, to do direct crisis intervention and assessment with potential victims of human trafficking. Their approach to reforming the way the law handles these situations is unique and empowering. 

What is one misconception about yourself that you would like to clear up? I’m not an early morning person. People assume that since I am a baker that I am up at the crack of dawn. Unfortunately, that is very very wrong :). I do the majority of my baking late into the evening. Someday I’d love to get that whole blissful sunrise schedule going, but for now I’ll stick with drinking an ample amount of coffee at 10am. 

What is your biggest challenge right now? Balance.

What makes your heart happy? Gardens, My mom + dad, Road trips. 

What is something silly that makes you laugh uncontrollably? Various members of my family’s dance moves. So bad, but so good. 

Best advice someone has given you or you have given someone…Tomorrow is a new day.

Photos by Erica Baker.