UPDATE: Lauren Ko's first book Pieometry is now available for purchase! The first 50 copies bought from Made in Washington's website will be signed. She also did a Facebook Live making her “No Rings Attached” smoked salmon and tomato tart recipe.
"I’m inspired by color, textures, geometrical patterns, textiles, architecture,” said Lauren Ko.
Her handmade pies are so intricate, it's hard to believe she's an untrained baker who doesn't plan or measure anything.
"Most of the designs that I have are all happy accidents,” said Lauren.
They're also supremely Instagrammable - her account @lokokitchen amassed nearly 200,000 followers in less than a year.
Lauren developed her love for food at an early age.
"I like to tell people that I come from a family of phenomenal eaters,” said Lauren. “Our lives revolve around food. We're the kind of family that's eating lunch and discussing what we're going to have for dinner."
But in all those years of home cooking, she’d never attempted a pie until a move to Seattle left her with some free time on her hands.
When she posted her first attempt to Instagram, she assumed only her friends and family would see it. She was wrong.
"If I recall correctly, it got something like 600 likes, which is totally crazy for just a regular person,” said Lauren.
Things. Got. Crazier.
"Design Milk reposted one of my photos,” said Lauren. "And then we just proceeded to watch my phone explode that day and I got 8,000 new followers in one day and then after that, it was just a snowball effect."
Lauren's work was picked up by news outlets and food accounts. She was featured in BuzzFeed and Vogue.
"I'm totally baffled,” said Lauren. “Delighted, but it's hard for my brain to process still."
And within months, what started as a cute Instagram handle became her full-time professional brand.
"Just kind of took the risk and quit my job and here I am, riding the wave and seeing where it takes me,” said Lauren.
Despite the sudden fame, Lauren stays true to her roots. She doesn't use fancy tools or spend a ton of money on ingredients. And her photography studio is rudimentary.
"I take all my photos with an old iPhone on a chalkboard from Home Depot,” said Lauren.
She also bakes every pie -- they're pretty cooked, too -- then, she gives them away.
Because in maybe the strangest twist of her entire story…
"I actually don't have a sweet tooth, I prefer savory foods any day so it's kind of ironic that I make pies for a living,” said Lauren.
Happy accidents that lead to a detour of life Lauren Ko's glad she's taking.