In quintessential millennial fashion, I found out about DJ Ursa Minor’s baking venture on Instagram. She calls it The Butter Fairy, pairing the name with a logo of an adorable Black woman fairy wearing a stunning high red biker short set. She’s set atop a psychedelic-inspired watercolor backdrop with luscious waves; it grabs your attention. The playful animation leads prospective customers (like myself) to her business’ Instagram page, where she regularly posts her rotating menu of New Orleans-inspired cookies (vegan options available), cosmic space brownies (think Little Debbie, but better), and homemade Pop Tarts (self-explanatory) with neon blue frosting and sprinkles, invoking childhood lunchtime memories.
This one-woman business infuses Rachel Harvey’s sweet memories of baking with her mother as a child with an alternative creative opportunity for the DJ that came at a time when she basically lost her job. Gigs at bars, clubs, and corporations shut down to control the spread of the coronavirus. Since her launch in February 2020, Harvey has sold over 4,700 cookies with “one oven, two racks, and one cookie scoop,” she says in a cheerful tone. Her joy radiates through the phone; she was preparing for a pop-up at the Dallas Arboretum’s Black Heritage Celebration last week. It’s said you can taste a person’s happiness and love in their food; The Butter Fairy’s adamant fanbase is proof of Harvey’s genuine satisfaction.
We spoke with the one-woman baker/DJ extraordinaire about the origins of The Butter Fairy, DJ’ing and her plans of returning to nightlife, and birth charts (#astrologygirlvibes). It has been edited for length and clarity.
Last year was extremely difficult for DJs. At the beginning of shelter in place, I had numerous friends who were unable to find work in the profession. Everything closed, immediately. Even if you weren’t someone who played in a bar, because all of them closed, (you were still affected.) The stores were closed as well, so corporate gigs didn’t happen. You’re just sitting there with nothing to do. You can’t change it, because the government told them not to open. At the beginning, it was super hard. I don’t know how many of my other DJ friends picked something else until we came back around.
In the midst of the shutdown, did you consider DJing on Instagram Live or Twitch? How did you decide on baking as your “quarantine activity”? I did a couple of live streams with friends. Number one, I saw how much work went into making it happen. Number two, I saw DJs go to Instagram, and Instagram cracked down on copyright. So, DJs went to YouTube. YouTube cracked down on copyright. Then, they went to Twitch. Now, Twitch is threatening to crack down on copyright. All of that coupled with the fact it takes so much work and capital to make it happen, because it’s not cheap to set up livestreams.
Plus, where are you about to do it? We’re used to going out and DJ-ing for a minimum of four hours. Instagram shuts people down at 45 minutes to an hour. For me, that’s when you’re just getting into a groove. It’s like, that’s when you’re going to cut it off? It didn’t sound appealing to me.
So, I said we’re going to put down the DJ tables and go back to the original thing we wanted to do, which was start a bakery. We’re going to start baking at the crib, shipping it out because you don’t have to see anybody and see what happens. See if this can pay a bill or two, because my girlfriend and I were both on unemployment.
We’re both like we don’t know what to do, because it was barely paying rent and there were other bills to take care of. I figured me, causally baking at the house, because I’m always strapped up and ready to bake, would help. And it took off in a way that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. I’ve always wanted to open a bakery. It’s been a dream of mine for a really long time. For me to just blink and now it’s in front of me is insane.
I’ve watched the growth on your business page. There’s a lot of support behind you. I’m curious about the name, The Butter Fairy. Was it a childhood nickname? It wasn’t a nickname, but that would be very cute. It came about because I have a few friends of mine who have been ordering from me for years now. They’ve known for a very long time that I bake. They’ll call me for birthday parties and events. Because I was doing those little clutch things, people were like “omg, you’re like the fairy godmother of baking!” And I was like yeah, but everything has butter in it, so I started getting my brain going. Then one day, I was like, I show up out of nowhere, with cookies, and I drop off the cookies and disappear into the night. I like the idea and image of being a whisper in the wind, and now you’re like, there’s baked goods. There’s my rant behind The Butter Fairy.
I’m a big fan of the ways people name themselves on the Internet. I like your DJ name too. It gives me very #astrologygirlvibes. Yes. Period. That’s all my tings. I have loved space since I was a little kid. Number one, if I wasn’t trying to go to the aquarium, I was trying to go to the planetarium to watch as many shows as I could. Because I loved learning about space so much. Now, it’s branched out into weird conspiracy theories and aliens. All aloof weird things that deal with space. But, yeah I’m still up there in the clouds.
Literally, I’m the queen of birth charts. Every meeting, I talk about my Leo Venus, Leo Sun, Virgo Moon, Gemini Rising. Every call, I debrief about the Full Moon. Wow, I love that. I have some friends who are super hardcore like that, too. And I always look to them to tell me what’s going on because I feel weird. I don’t like this. I think there’s something is going on in space. Can you look up there? It’s always y’all that know what’s going on. This is why it’s always good to have an astrology friend in your pocket always.
Honestly, we bring so much to life. Truly, y’all are the best.
Aww. I saw you DJ’d under Ursa Minor for seven years. Now, that vaccines have increased and spots are opening back up. Are you considering returning into DJ’ing? Actually, I have a weekly [set] that starts on May 9 called Sadie Hawkins Dance, it’s a 99’s and 00’s R&B night at Charlie’s Star Lounge. I was not interested in going back to Deep Ellum in the slightest, so they contacted me because I am the undisputed king of R&B. I said oh yes, I’m there! Yes, I’m officially going back to the streets.
When you return to the streets, are you bringing The Butter Fairy out? Is it a DJ Ursa/Butter Fairy collab? I will probably do one-off things. Hint. Hint. I have them already in the works. But, I probably won’t do it at the same time. I think it will be really interested if people come up and ask me. So, I might have a secret stash of cookies on me, in case someone asks.
It reminds me of Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion’s different personas. You have Butter Fairy. You have DJ Ursa. Then, you have the real you. Exactly. Those are three different people. We are best friends, we all talk. But, while I’m DJ’ing. No, I’m just here DJ’ing.
Haha, I completely understand. Journalist Taylor is different from actual Taylor. It’s been a delight to witness your transition on social media from DJ to baker. You’re one of the best DJs in Dallas, now you’re the Instagram baker everybody wants cookies from. I think it’s a testament for your years as a creative in the local scene. I think artists and musicians contribute more to the city’s culture than being on the turntables. Absolutely. I just started working with a guy who makes t-shirts for me. We got into a deep conversation about him moving here from Lubbock. He just started meeting people who make stuff, because when he first moved here, he thought Dallas sucked and really hated it.
Now, he’s started to meet the people who make stuff, the DJs, the artists, the people who do a million things. He was like, ‘you know what, Dallas isn’t that bad.’ I was like, ‘there’s creative people here.’ There what make the city what it is. If you get past that sheen of Dallas, there’s this underside that keeps everything afloat. And it’s us, doing all these cool things, and making sure art still happens here. That creative things still happen here. No matter what. Because if they weren’t, the city would suck.