Back in 2008, Anna Donado spent her days hand-painting children’s wooden peg dolls for her friend’s Brooklyn shop Goose Grease—that is, until a simple request rocked her world. As Anna recalls, “Someone came in and said, ‘Hey, can you make these for my wedding cake? And we said, ‘Yeah, that’s actually a great idea!’” The first—of many—of Anna’s bride and groom cake crowners were born.
Things took another turn in 2011 when Anna and her husband Juan officially took over Goose Grease, transforming the business into a fair-trade company with a bigtime sustainability mantra. While visiting family in Colombia, they sealed a deal with a carpenter in Bogotá, who hand-lathes the cake toppers out of responsibly forested wood and employs local artisans to jazz up the dolls with water-based paints. Just don’t get upset if guests are more excited about them than the tiered dessert underneath. —ashlee neumann