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Our duty as decorators - Page 3  

post #31 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

there have been more and more where I'm screaming at the screen , "NO WAY, you delivered THAT?!"



LOL, You're not the only one thinking that! icon_wink.gif
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #32 of 141
I also have noticed something I thought a bit concerning before the cake is even made, but as a (not great) hobby baker I thought it might have been just me... the posts you read saying things along the lines of... "I have been baking and decorating for three months now and just got my first wedding cake order. The bride wants this cake (with a hugely elaborate picture of a, say fondant, cake) serving 600. Please help the wedding is in 6 weeks. I haven't used fondant or stacked cakes before (or whatever techniques are vital for the pictured cake)"
post #33 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer353

I also have noticed something I thought a bit concerning before the cake is even made, but as a (not great) hobby baker I thought it might have been just me... the posts you read saying things along the lines of... "I have been baking and decorating for three months now and just got my first wedding cake order. The bride wants this cake (with a hugely elaborate picture of a, say fondant, cake) serving 600. Please help the wedding is in 6 weeks. I haven't used fondant or stacked cakes before (or whatever techniques are vital for the pictured cake)"



Yes! I am more of a lurker on the site, but I am seeing that more and more. No one should take an order that is above their skill level - you will set yourself up for disaster! While we all have dreams of doing absolutely fabulous cakes, you won't get there in one Wilton course or 6 weeks of experience...pace yourself, and maybe, just maybe, you will cut down on the vents and HELP ME! posts! Not there is anything wrong with venting or asking for help, but it is important to know when you are in the wrong for trying something outside of your skill level.
post #34 of 141
Oh my gosh, OP you read my mind! I was thinking of how to formulate it so as to not offend...but you did that so well. One thing I wanted to add is I hate when I read "it was good for the price they paid" with the caveat that the customer "should be happy they got that". I'm here screaming at my computer screen - REALLY!???

As a professional, EVERY cake you send out the door should be the cleanest, prettiest, most decorative, perfect cake you can make. It is not the customers fault if you under-priced the cake, you can not then decide to limit the decorations because the expenses were running high. (and then write a thread that they can't believe the customer was upset she didn't get all the decor originally discussed.) Part of being professional is fully understanding how to accurately price. Another big part of being professional is providing the BEST EVERY TIME.
post #35 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaniNicole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer353

I also have noticed something I thought a bit concerning before the cake is even made, but as a (not great) hobby baker I thought it might have been just me... the posts you read saying things along the lines of... "I have been baking and decorating for three months now and just got my first wedding cake order. The bride wants this cake (with a hugely elaborate picture of a, say fondant, cake) serving 600. Please help the wedding is in 6 weeks. I haven't used fondant or stacked cakes before (or whatever techniques are vital for the pictured cake)"



Yes! I am more of a lurker on the site, but I am seeing that more and more. No one should take an order that is above their skill level - you will set yourself up for disaster! While we all have dreams of doing absolutely fabulous cakes, you won't get there in one Wilton course or 6 weeks of experience...pace yourself, and maybe, just maybe, you will cut down on the vents and HELP ME! posts! Not there is anything wrong with venting or asking for help, but it is important to know when you are in the wrong for trying something outside of your skill level.



There's nothing wrong with not having a professional skill level (we've all been there) BUT....if you don't have a professional skill level, you can't charge what the professionals charge!!!! I think that's one of the biggest problems...people getting on here, asking professionals what to charge, and then charging a customer a high price for a novice cake.

My pricing has definitely gone up as my skills have gone up (starting at $20 for an 11x15 sheet cake for friends back 10 years ago)....and it seems to be something people avoid here, to avoid hurting feelings...but whenever someone asks me about pricing, I tell them that one of the factors is their skill level and experience.
post #36 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaniNicole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer353

I also have noticed something I thought a bit concerning before the cake is even made, but as a (not great) hobby baker I thought it might have been just me... the posts you read saying things along the lines of... "I have been baking and decorating for three months now and just got my first wedding cake order. The bride wants this cake (with a hugely elaborate picture of a, say fondant, cake) serving 600. Please help the wedding is in 6 weeks. I haven't used fondant or stacked cakes before (or whatever techniques are vital for the pictured cake)"



Yes! I am more of a lurker on the site, but I am seeing that more and more. No one should take an order that is above their skill level - you will set yourself up for disaster! While we all have dreams of doing absolutely fabulous cakes, you won't get there in one Wilton course or 6 weeks of experience...pace yourself, and maybe, just maybe, you will cut down on the vents and HELP ME! posts! Not there is anything wrong with venting or asking for help, but it is important to know when you are in the wrong for trying something outside of your skill level.



There's nothing wrong with not having a professional skill level (we've all been there) BUT....if you don't have a professional skill level, you can't charge what the professionals charge!!!! I think that's one of the biggest problems...people getting on here, asking professionals what to charge, and then charging a customer a high price for a novice cake.

My pricing has definitely gone up as my skills have gone up (starting at $20 for an 11x15 sheet cake for friends back 10 years ago)....and it seems to be something people avoid here, to avoid hurting feelings...but whenever someone asks me about pricing, I tell them that one of the factors is their skill level and experience.



I agree 100%!
post #37 of 141
I wish I could "like" all these posts! I think you all nailed it on the head. Folks need to be honest with themselves and their skill level before they accept an order. I think that sometimes this can be hard to do, especially when friends and family are telling you how wonderful, beautiful your cakes are. But there is a huge difference between making a cake for family and friends vs a paying customer or someone's wedding cake.
Check out my cake blog at: http://adventuresofacakediva.com
Check out my cake blog at: http://adventuresofacakediva.com
post #38 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMaster2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

there have been more and more where I'm screaming at the screen , "NO WAY, you delivered THAT?!"



LOL, You're not the only one thinking that! icon_wink.gif



I'm usually sitting there saying "Holy S#^$&!"
post #39 of 141
IndyDebi, boy I know what you mean about not forgetting - When I was a bride (20+ years ago), I did EVERYTHING for my informal wedding - flowers, dress & veil, groomscake, carved watermelon, food trays - EXCEPT for the Bridal Cake, my mom said - I will take care of that for you. I got married in a pink dress so I decided to take two little bears and dress them to match us and use for a topper. I sent the lace covered base to the bakery so that the flowers would definitely match and when the cake arrived... DUH DUN DUUuunn... The flowers on it were lilac, not pink, not burgandy but light purple. I can honestly say that it was the worst decorating job ever on a two tier stacked cake. It was pound cake with LARD frosting and was so sweet it almost made me sick.

I will never forget that feeling and have a horror of it happening to any of my family that I have made cakes for. I myself do not take on wedding cakes that I can't handle but I can understand the messes that bakers get into both hobbyist and professional when they get pressured to do something based on a personal/friend/family relationship.

I learned to do cakes on my own, reading everything I could get my hands on (including some spiffy 1959 Scandinavian Maid magazines a friend gave me) because I wanted my daughter to have "special" birthdays and in the past 17 years I have done fairly well. Because of this I am asked frequently to cake and I say no to virtually everyone except my neices and nephews (I have around 35+ of them so I have plenty to do). Its hard to tell someone no when you know that it will make them angry or hurt their feelings. That does come into play into several threads on here lately where the "client" has been gifted something that they do not appreciate and the baker has been "guilted" into taking on more than they can chew.

Maybe it would be really helpful for some of the professionals here to start or repost a thread on here that would help us newbies/hobbyists learn to deal with the customer from the start....What do yall think.
post #40 of 141
For a business owner, perhaps this insight from a customer's perspective, will make a lot of sense.

When I deal with a business, if an employee makes a mistake,or treats me badly, I am much more forgiving than if the owner or manager does the same thing to me. I hold the owner or manager of a business to a much higher standard. Here are my 'for instances.'

1. Manager at one Joann Fabrics location yelled at me and treated me horribly. I didn't go back to that location for many years and I told all my friends to not go there. The nasty manager is now gone, so I sometimes go there, but every time I walk in that door, I think about the bad experience I had.

2. Furniture store. The delivery guys didn't want to take the sofa through the kitchen as I asked, so they decided to remove the door stop on the wall. The sofa was too wide for that next doorway, it pushed the door against the wall and the knob inched through the wall. We called the store to report it and the manager showed up at my house and stood in my living room,telling my husband and I we were liars and yelled at us. We tell every person we know to not shop there.

3. We had some kind of problem at a restaurant with the waiter. The waiter thought we were causing a problem and reported us to the manager. The manager came over to ask us what the problem was and we told him that the server was being nasty when we asked for one of the meals to be remade (some kind of problem, we were very polite.) the manager actually apologized, gave us the meal for free. The server was let go for (I'm assuming this was not the first time) and we continue to go to that restaurant. That was 6 years ago.

I've also been to stores and such where the employee has not treated me well, but I realize that person is just one employee and has no power, so I still go to the store. In fact, my exterminator has an employee that I cannot stand, but I like the owner and his son, so we continue to use their services, and I even have two friends whose husbands are exterminators, but I still use this other company because the owner has treated me so well for many years.

I've also dealt with other small businesses where the owner is arrogant and thinks they are better than me, and treat me like an idiot. I never go back.
post #41 of 141
Thank you for this post! I hope everyone reads this. It's just like this friend I have on Facebook. Lately she's been posting cakes that she's been making. Most of them are the shaped pans/star-tipped cakes, or "naughty themed". Just recently she's been making posts about how she's starting to sell them, and get her name out there, and what she should call her business. I want to reach through the computer screen sometimes and shake her! What are you thinking??!!! Not only are the cakes "not great looking" (to put it mildly!), but she's going into a "business" without knowing a thing about it! I'm in the process of getting my legal business of the ground and it's been a long process because of financial reasons. Every time I read one of her posts, I want to scream and I also want to scream at the people who are commenting that her cakes are good and encouraging her and giving her a big head. I feel the same way when I'm reading some of the posts on here. I have no problem with you making cakes for someone and work on your skills. But either don't charge them, or just charge supplies for goodness sake! Beyond the design of the cake, your cake shouldn't have uneven tiers, lumpy fondant, and sagging corners. You may be the best decorator, but if you don't have a nice "canvas" to start with, it's going to make any decoration look like garbage!!! Ahhhhh....thanks for the vent! lol
post #42 of 141
I think it also comes from being humble enough to know our limitations. Humble enough to listen to criticisms. I don't do tupsy turvy cakes... I will love to, but I haven't had a chance to practice. I don't carve anything because I am not patient enough.
All too often people want to rush the process. Perfection takes time. Some of you are there because you have invested that time. Some of us look at your pictures and think we can do it and charge the same prices forgetting we are not there yet.
post #43 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose

Indydeb's Ten. Years. Later. reminds me of a similar story I still tell 24 years later!!! I was in the drive thru of a certain ice cream/hamburger chain's restaurant ordering a chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles. I noticed the back door propped open and the owners daughter sitting on a stack of buckets decorating the ice cream cakes. Piping bag in hand.

Pipe on the cake, squirt in the mouth (lips touching the tip!!!), pipe on the cake, tip in the mouth. In full view of everyone driving through the drive-thru!!!



Ugh.... THAT TOTALLY MADE ME ILL. YUCK! thumbsdown.gif
I wasn't going to do anything today so far I'm right on schedule.
I wasn't going to do anything today so far I'm right on schedule.
post #44 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakingpw


As a professional, EVERY cake you send out the door should be the cleanest, prettiest, most decorative, perfect cake you can make. It is not the customers fault if you under-priced the cake, you can not then decide to limit the decorations because the expenses were running high. (and then write a thread that they can't believe the customer was upset she didn't get all the decor originally discussed.) Part of being professional is fully understanding how to accurately price. Another big part of being professional is providing the BEST EVERY TIME.



YES, exactly. If you underestimated, that's your fault, and you need to suck it up and DO WHAT YOU PROMISED regardless of how much it cuts into your profit. That's business.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #45 of 141
We can only hope that these inexperienced bakers with poor customer service are our competitors!! Kidding.. but it is funny how you can do a business analysis of your area and write off the 80% that don't have these skills. I think they compete with each other because the pros don't even include them in mix as part of the local industry. I am speaking for myself, but I am sure the bakers/business pros know what I mean.
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