There’s nothing Crystal Flynn can’t put on a cookie: characters from your favorite TV show, tacos and margaritas, or hand-painted portraits of beloved pets. As the owner of Butterfly Bakehouse, the custom cookie company she runs out of her home in Crieve Hall, Flynn has done it all.

For a '90s-themed bachelorette party, she decorated almond sugar cookies to look like boomboxes, Ring Pops and Spice Girls CDs. For a little boy’s fourth birthday, she got creative with textures to turn the edible canvas into dinosaur fossils and hatching dinosaur eggs. She’s even decorated cookies for the stars; in July, she made gorgeous flower and butterfly cookies for Karen Fairchild and Emily Weisband as the two celebrated the release of their new single, “Butterfly.”

Her books are full for the next few weeks, but she’s still taking orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she’s also hosting an online Halloween cookie pop-up for the month of October. She’ll be releasing new designs every Wednesday, and you can place your orders at butterflybakehousetn.com. “I'm slowing down the amount of orders I'm taking on for Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to an exciting baking-related opportunity that I'll be celebrating with friends and family in December,” she says. Follow her on Instagram so you don’t miss an exciting announcement. 

You started Butterfly Bakehouse just last year, in 2020. What inspired you to start the business? I first started decorating with royal icing in 2019, just for fun. By February 2020, I decided to leave my teaching job after experiencing a variety of health issues for several years. I had been working as a music and art teacher for nearly a decade in the Nashville area, so this felt like a huge and scary decision to make. I knew I needed to find a slower-paced way to make an income and to find time to express the creativity that I felt had been suppressed for a while. Once the pandemic hit, I really honed in on baking, which I've loved since childhood and has always been a dream of mine. With all this spare time that I've never experienced before, I started to watch every YouTube and Instagram video out there on royal icing. Once I nailed down my recipes, I was ready to take a deep dive into the world of custom cookies!

So many of your designs are so fun but also detailed! The dinosaur birthday cookies looked awesome with all the different textures, and the hand-painted watercolor cookies are beautiful. How long does an average set of cookies take to decorate? Depending on the number of techniques I'm using in a set of cookies, the amount of time I spend on a single cookie could range from a couple of minutes to an hour! Painting cookies is just like doing a regular watercolor painting; it takes lots of patience and time, especially on such a small scale.

You've been able to design cookies for some pretty impressive celebrities and musicians. You recently did cookies for JoJo, Karen Fairchild and Niko Moon, to name a few. Who is your dream celeb to decorate cookies for? I recently made a connection with a wonderful person at AEG Presents, so I'm looking forward to making more cookies in the near future for upcoming shows in Nashville. My dream is to keep expanding my client list to other amazing artists who live in the Nashville area, such as Jack White, Kacey Musgraves and Kelly Clarkson.

Your portfolio includes a lot of birthdays, bachelorette parties and weddings; of course, those are great reasons to have custom cookies. What is the most surprising design request you've gotten or occasion you've decorated cookies for? One of the more unique occasions I've had the opportunity to make cookies for was someone's five-year sober anniversary! I loved getting to do those for such an important and meaningful celebration.

Tell me a little bit about your Halloween pop-up. And are you taking orders for other upcoming holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas? Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I decided to give myself some time to do strictly Halloween-related cookies to celebrate the spooky season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I will be slowing down the amount of custom cookie orders I take on to celebrate those seasons, as well, but a Christmas pop up will definitely be on the way!

Where else can people buy your cookies? Crieve Hall Bagel Co. is the only shop I am selling my cookies at this time. Ben and Lizzy are the kindest and most inspiring people you could ever meet and have been supportive of Butterfly Bakehouse since the beginning. Their bagels are next-level delicious, so I am incredibly happy and honored that Nashvillians can pick up my cookies at their shop.

Photographs courtesy of Butterfly Bakehouse