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Am I being selfish?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I have just started making cookies and cookie bouquets. I started selling them in December as a fundraiser for my 13 year old son who is going to Japan this summer as a Student Ambassador with People to People. We have sold a bunch and have made good money for his trip.

But now, I have friends who want me to teach them how to make and deocorate cookies. They want to come to my house and use my things to learn with. A few of them have not even helped us out in the fundraisers.

Am I being childish and selfish by not wanting to do this? I believe they only want to learn so they don't have to buy them from us and they can do their own. Which is okay but I don't want to teach them! Why do I feel like I am being ugly about the whole issue? icon_cry.gif
post #2 of 37
You could always charge them up the wazoo for the lessons. Certainly they don't expect to be taught for free? They probably have absolutely no idea the work that goes into making the cookies, and the bouquets especially. Many people, once their eyes are opened, will probably decide they'd rather pay someone else than do it themselves!
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
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The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
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post #3 of 37
Hhmm, that's a tough one. Me, having no backbone whatsoever, would probably end up doing it, grumping about it the whole time and then being mad that these people all know how to do something only I could do for a while.

Or, if I did have that backbone, I would maybe explain that I have devoted much of my time to researching how to decorate cookies, online and in books, practicing practicing practicing, buying all of the supplies etc....and that I really don't want to teach people how to do a skill that would put me out of business.

Or, I would tell them with a smile on my face, "I'm sorry, I'm just too busy, but Michael's offers cake decorating classes and I learned a lot of my techniques there," even if it's a lie, lol.

I hate it when people ask big favors like that, especially when they're not a close close friend. Then it would be different, but it sounds like these people just don't want to buy something if they think they can do it themselves. However, even if you did do it, some people are just not crafty/artistic and they're going to not do it well, KWIM? So if you're comfortable that you can do it better, do it and secretly laugh when they really suck at it. OK, that sounded really mean and I'm not a mean person, I just hate it when people try to be sneaky and make it look like they're not trying to take advantage of someone but they really are.

Good luck!
post #4 of 37
No, I don't think you are being selfish.
Tell these"friends" that so many people have asked you, that you are thinking of teaching a class. Say that you will contact them when you have determined the class fees and supply lists. That should stop them...but if they keep asking,...write down the supplies they would need...EVERYTHING...if they see that list, then they will think twice.

I don't think non bakers know about all the ingredients, tools and time that goes into the things we make. Just last week, one of my friends husbands said to me..."those cupcakes of yours are so good , I would pay $10.00 a dozen".............( that would not cover the cost of the chocolate I used in that recipe !)

Good Luck to you and your son with the fundraiser ! I hope his trip will be a wonderful experience....and what a great mom you are for helping him to dream big and reach for his goals!
post #5 of 37
Twopeasinapod ~
I totally understand where you're coming from. When I first started my business I had friends and family asking me for my recipes and techniques all the time so they could make them for their parties and events and it really bothered me! I baked for months before "perfecting my recipes" the way I wanted them and it took me a long time to figure out the best way to make my products, so why would I just "share" them like that?
I wound up just saying something like "I'm sorry ~ baker's secrets can't be revealed!" or something as equally corny. I didn't want to offend anyone, but I also didn't want to share!
"Let them eat cake!"
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"Let them eat cake!"
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post #6 of 37
You're doing this to make money... teaching all your would be clients how to do it themselves would be poor business sense.
Talk about selfish, how 'bout those people who didnt help with the fundraiser and now want free lessons and supplies.
Just say no...as nicely as possible of course.
post #7 of 37
i love KKristy's answer... go with that one.. it sounds really nice.. the ones that want you to teach them.. this is , if you have time.. will buy what they need ,for you to teach them.
post #8 of 37
JUST SAY NO!

I don't think you're selfish at all.
post #9 of 37
no your no being selfish. Why give your tallent away. Don't give your secrets. When I make a cake if people rant and rave about how good it is I never give out the recipe even if its a common one.
I have had a local grocery store come to me and ask where I learned to do fondant and what type I use. Are they nuts.... I am not telling my sources. Then I loose buisness. They have even ordered a cake from me. Then there decorater called and asked where I get my fondant she would like to try it at home. Yeah right.
cotton candy smiles ice cream dreams and cake always makes you happy!
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cotton candy smiles ice cream dreams and cake always makes you happy!
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post #10 of 37
I agree with Kris & icer101

If you want to start teaching (which can be very time consuming) it is just like any other job. You can't just "give away" your time and experience. Your time is valuable and so is your talent.

I just love your Easter cookies - that sheep makes me smile and think of Spring.

P.s it is snowing again...really sick...of...snow!
post #11 of 37
I'm a cake decorator, don't do cookies. The only time I tried making a cookie bouquet (it looked easy, right? -NOT!) was after my sister had her second baby. Although the cookies tasted great, I had more breakage than anything. So, I KNOW it's not easy to make those beautiful cookie bouquets. I checked out your pictures and you are VERY GOOD at what you do. I think anyone who is really interested in learning your craft should be willing to pay for the lessons and bring his/her own materials, as he/she would be expected at Michael's or any other class forum. And if you were to get together a class, it would help you raise more funds for your son's trip! thumbs_up.gif Lastly, I think it is daring of them to ask you for lessons without expecting to somehow pay you for your efforts, advice and wisdom, and quite frankly, inconsiderate of them. So, even if you're being a little selfish (and I don't think you are), so what?
post #12 of 37
I'm a cake decorator, don't do cookies. The only time I tried making a cookie bouquet (it looked easy, right? -NOT!) was after my sister had her second baby. Although the cookies tasted great, I had more breakage than anything. So, I KNOW it's not easy to make those beautiful cookie bouquets. I checked out your pictures and you are VERY GOOD at what you do. I think anyone who is really interested in learning your craft should be willing to pay for the lessons and bring his/her own materials, as he/she would be expected at Michael's or any other class forum. And if you were to get together a class, it would help you raise more funds for your son's trip! thumbs_up.gif Lastly, I think it is daring of them to ask you for lessons without expecting to somehow pay you for your efforts, advice and wisdom, and quite frankly, inconsiderate of them. So, even if you're being a little selfish (and I don't think you are), so what?
post #13 of 37
You are not selfish! I would explain that you are "looking into this as a business opportunity" and if all of them are doing this as well....you won't be able to make a business out of it. If they would like to pay to take lessons...you could do a Saturday school and charge them and make them bring their own supplies....just like Wilton. Or they can continue purchasing them from you!

I had this happen with my cakes. First my friend wanted me to teach her, then she wanted to just come and watch, and her 3rd attempt was to "help me out if I needed it"-whatever! Plus, I had heard from mutual friends that she thought she could easily learn it and do it herself for people!
I just had to tell her "no...this is my work and I'm sorry but if you want baking lessons, maybe that's another aspect of my work I can branch out into and start charging for". I never got bothered again!
Slave to the Cakin' and Bakin'!
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Slave to the Cakin' and Bakin'!
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post #14 of 37
I would do it. But tell them it is 50-100 dollars and you have to have 15-20 other students sign up. That would help pay for the tickets.
By the way I loooovvvveee Japan. I was stationed there for two years while in the military. Great place to see.
post #15 of 37
I would say, "Guys, this is a money-making effort for me to support my child. My efforts would be greatly hindered by giving lessons" and leave it at that. If you feel like your conscience will bother you, maybe you can give them a project page for a cookie pop from Wilton, though I wouldn't even go that far.

Here's a cute one (with tons of details and items to buy but very few instructions that won't begin to cut it to the level of what you're doing!)
http://www.wilton.com/idea/Name-That-Bloom

Most of what we do is difficult and it takes more than just instructions to perfect the skill. I've tried cookies and decided that I would stick to cakes only! icon_lol.gif

The selfishness is definitely on their part and not yours.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.
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Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.
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