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Is it just me or has the caking industry always been this saturated?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

Let me preface by saying that I love all the numerous AND affordable options out there; if they didn't exist I would be SOL trying to fork up the $$$$$ required for classes with the cakexperts. That said, everywhere I look there are 9,999 sites and individuals offering tutorials on just about every cake related thing you can imagine and how to turn caking into a business. From Michaels to Craftsy and similar sites to the facebook page owners who insist on clogging my homepage with the $2.99 quickie tutorials, everybody is geared toward putting out as much caking info as possible. No technique in caking is left a mystery. I noticed Craftsy even has a course for starting a cake business along with the 8,997 tutorials available. Has this always been the case and I'm just late to the party or is there indeed an increase and a consequent near-saturation of the market/webmosphere with every cake tip and tutorial imaginable? Makes me want to ask, so why does the customer need me if theres a DIY for everything easily accessible? Of course my rational mind can come up with tangible reasons but I'm ignoring lil' Ms. Rational this morning.

 

A part of me loves that I can access legendary folks like Nicholas Lodge for $19.99, another part of me is totally bummed that I can access legendary folks like Nicholas Lodge for $19.99 because it means half the population of the United States and a third of China can too! It chips away at the awesomeness some. I think it's something about accessibility and perceived value or maybe I'm just a naughty cake-toddler who doesn't want to share LOLOLOL!!!!

 

I'm feeling very ambivalent this morning (lack of sleep might be it too) I love that all the info is out there, and I hate that all the info is out there. Kinda like a sorority with no secrets; totally zaps the awesomeness factor. 

 

EDIT: In the end, I think this is more of a rant than anything. Probably should get some sleep.


Edited by vgcea - 4/9/13 at 7:07am
post #2 of 47
It probably has more to do with the rise of easily accessible self-publishing tools and the built-in global audience on the web than anything specific to the cake industry.

From an ROI perspective most bakery businesses are pretty safe from DIY competition...consider how many cakes an individual would personally serve per year vs. the investment needed to create high quality recipes and practice decorating skills. Viewing a tutorial on how to make an amazing cake is very different from actually being able to execute an amazing cake.
post #3 of 47

Almost anyone can follow a tutorial. It takes a special person with talent to then apply that know how with unique creativity in a way that makes people smile and go 'wow'. The 'added value' comes in through knowing how to work with a client and produce something special.

post #4 of 47

I love the fact that all these things are now available on the web.  Living in semi-isolated areas for most of my life I have had to teach myself most things out of books and I am sick of doing that. If I want to attend classes then I have to go to a city and not only do I have to pay for the class but also accomodation and travel and so I am priced out of that market. Now I can watch someone like Nicholas Lodge for less than the price of one of his books and it is wonderful.

post #5 of 47

I really liked reading your post.:-). I am actually one of those internet taught cakers. I still  have never had a one on one lesson ever so I am actually pretty glad sites like craftsy exist but i to have noticed a huge increase in people starting online tutorials. 

 

To answer your question  so why does the customer need me if theres a DIY for everything easily accessible?  Well, as saturated as the market is in selling tutorial not everyone likes to make cake, but im sure you know that already ;-). I can find heaps of tutorials on how to tile a floor on youtube but Im not going to do it haha, Why because it does not interest me in the slightest and im to lazy to even bother trying haha and soo many people feel this way about making cakes. We will always be needed just as ill need that tiler one day haha.

 

Also because this is our industry we will notice all  the tutorials a lot more because they are marketed towards us haha. I think craftsy pops up on just about every website I visit lol. I still have people asking me all the time that are just starting out where to go for help. Im glad I can pass them on to these online sources rather than trying to answer their million questions when id prefer to be making cake :-)

post #6 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

It probably has more to do with the rise of easily accessible self-publishing tools and the built-in global audience on the web than anything specific to the cake industry.

From an ROI perspective most bakery businesses are pretty safe from DIY competition...consider how many cakes an individual would personally serve per year vs. the investment needed to create high quality recipes and practice decorating skills. Viewing a tutorial on how to make an amazing cake is very different from actually being able to execute an amazing cake.

 

You raise a great point Jason. Anybody can put anything on the web and reach way more people than any of the previously available channels before the web.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamblur View Post

Almost anyone can follow a tutorial. It takes a special person with talent to then apply that know how with unique creativity in a way that makes people smile and go 'wow'. The 'added value' comes in through knowing how to work with a client and produce something special.

You're both right about the difference between looking at tutorials and hard core caking. I remember when I bought my DSLR, I was going to watch all the photography tutorials and food styling videos and become an expert. I only lasted 2 months; I f-stopped kidding myself (no I'm not cursing, f-stops are one thing I took away from the tutorials lol), canceled my subscription and lynda.com and switched that sucker to Auto mode. I learned great info but I'm no pro photographer and when I looked at the investment of time and effort it would take me to take photos on a near pro level, I decided I would rather spend those resources caking. When I need a pro photo shoot, my DSLR-owning behind is going to hire a DSLR-owning professional to do the job. icon_lol.gif

post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teeny82 View Post

I really liked reading your post.:-). I am actually one of those internet taught cakers. I still  have never had a one on one lesson ever so I am actually pretty glad sites like craftsy exist but i to have noticed a huge increase in people starting online tutorials. 

 

To answer your question  so why does the customer need me if theres a DIY for everything easily accessible?  Well, as saturated as the market is in selling tutorial not everyone likes to make cake, but im sure you know that already ;-). I can find heaps of tutorials on how to tile a floor on youtube but Im not going to do it haha, Why because it does not interest me in the slightest and im to lazy to even bother trying haha and soo many people feel this way about making cakes. We will always be needed just as ill need that tiler one day haha.

 

Also because this is our industry we will notice all  the tutorials a lot more because they are marketed towards us haha. I think craftsy pops up on just about every website I visit lol. I still have people asking me all the time that are just starting out where to go for help. Im glad I can pass them on to these online sources rather than trying to answer their million questions when id prefer to be making cake :-)

Hehehe. Thanks. I noticed this is the first post for you and Jamblur. Thanks for breaking the silence to join in the discussion.

post #8 of 47
I think there is still a lot of room for professionals out there, I don't think that most people who would make their own cake would probably have spent $5-10 per portion buying a cake to start with. Some people just aren't interested in baking their own cakes, some don't have the time, some just want the highest quality no matter the cost and recognize that the pros are where they get that.
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post #9 of 47

As a former Wilton instructor, I can tell you that we don't have to worry about those DIY cakers. I taught in two different stores for over a year and taught probably over 100 students. The majority of my students were just looking for something fun to do (which is why I initially took those classes with my mother) or were wanting to be able to make birthday cakes for their family. Once I opened my shop, many students became my customers. There were things they simply didn't know how to do and didn't care to learn. They just wanted to understand the basics. The one thing I did appreciate about many of my students is that they suddenly had a great appreciation for why custom cakes can cost so much. And those that considered selling their cakes really reconsidered once they saw how much time went into it. 

 

I'm thankful for classes like Craftsy. It gives me access to instructors that I would have to pay hundreds for tuition, not counting airfare or hotels if I had to travel. While it does give everyone else who can pay $20-40 access, they still have to take the time to learn and perfect the technique. Just look at some of the questions people ask; some of them are basic questions that I think the person should know before attempting sugar flowers. 

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post #10 of 47

The market is totally saturated now, more than ever, but people will still buy cakes. I sell cake decorating things on my etsy shop and most of my customers are other cake decorators, so if they don't have the time to make seashells or flowers then customers definitely don't have the time to make the entire cake.

 

But you're right, there's a lot more of it out there right now. I think that people find it easier to teach than to market the cakes themselves, so there's been an explosion of that, and with the cake shows that were on tv a few years ago everybody and their brother is a decorator. I also have noticed that people will start a business, get busy, then get burned out and start teaching instead. A notable example is the Cake Girls in Chicago who had the fire that closed their business. As far as I could see, the time away showed them that they kind of enjoyed the time away so they took it in a different direction when they restarted. I definitely can't blame them!

post #11 of 47

It takes a special talent to execute a cake.  Even watching tutorial after tutorial many don't have the patience or the time to perfect a cake.  Or people simply don't want to be creative with a cake.   Sculpting the perfect rose is not easy!

 I must say, though, I don't like the phrase from customers that starts with "I was going to do it myself ...,""  because it implies that the cake they want me to make is easy, inexpensive and not time-consuming...

I have seen some DIY cakes from those who have not practiced things like leveling, torting, smoothing buttercream...so to the professionals, no need to worry!  Also, I can watch Algebra tutorial after Algebra tutorial, and I will still not enjoy doing math...that's why I married a finance major!  

post #12 of 47
I was thinking the same thing the other day.. So many tutorials, anyone can just go and learn and be a 'cake decorator'. The thing is they don't. From my own experience to succeed you need to be COMMITED! I spent a lot of money and time learning and perfecting my skills beacause i love cake decorating, and I still don't consider myself a professional. A lot of people 'want to do something cool like this' but they won't invest the time or money. Yes you can watch the tutorials, just watching them doesn't mean you can replicate them to that standard, you will need to go and practice and practice till its perfect, unless your one the one in a million that gets if perfect the first time. So I realised I don't have much to worry about icon_smile.gif
post #13 of 47

On the same subject, with all the free tutorials, free utubes and crafty classes, I can't even get a minimum in my classes anymore.  Who wants to pay for a local class when they can go online and get it cheap froma  big name or for free? 

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post #14 of 47
I think a lot of the bloggers are hoping for a deal from it, whether a book deal like Bakerella or a Craftsy deal like Jessicakes, which is why there are so many of them.
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post #15 of 47

And as cheap as all those Craftsy classes are, many people won't even pony up that much to learn something new.

 

Liz
 

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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