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Nastyness from a fellow baker

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I recently started up a small, home-run cake business...it's slow building the customers but I'm enjoying it.  A few weeks ago, I was at a family wedding and got talking with the lady who made the cake for the wedding, a friend of the couple who runs a bakery.  She seemed nice enough to begin with but then got really quite abrupt and nasty in many ways.  We are not at all competitors (we are based about 500 miles apart!) but still, as soon as we started looking at pictures on each others' phones, the mood totally changed.  I asked if she was going to be going to a national cake fair and entering any of the competitions as a way of making conversation and she seemed to get really really defensive and abrupt. 

 

It's the first time I have actually spoken to anyone else in the 'industry' since starting up the business.  Did I do something wrong?  Or is this fairly typical behaviour?  Have to say, it kind of upset me and I can't stop thinking about it - I always try to be nice to everyone, baker or not (as far as I am concerned, there is plenty of business for all!) but feel like I may have to up my guard in the future...

Many thanks in advance x

post #2 of 24

Oh goodness - I very nearly wrote..... Are you serious?????  you call this 'nastiness'   - why?
because she didn't fawn all over you and gush about your work and suddenly want to be best friends forever?

She gave you her time - looked at your pics - she was at a SOCIAL function and probably just wanted to ... leave her work at home and ENJOY herself !!

Did she get defensive?  or was simply trying to find a way to 'shake' you so she could enjoy her night off

Forget about it - you are trying to create a storm in a teacup - cause an issue when there most likely NEVER was one.  

Have to admit to nearly snapping myself on a number of occassions - you are at a social function and you get down to the ..... so, what do you do for living?   question  - the minute I say  "I am a cake decorater"  ..... wham........ out come the phones..... ooohhhh aaahhhhh   these are MY pics  - OR  ohhhhh cool - my friend/sister/brother/aunty/mother/wife/ ??? does that too - their cakes are FANTASTIC - hhhheeeeeerrre  LOOK!! sheesh I'm waiting for somebody to tell me they have a budgie that can ganache a cake standing on one foot

Honestly, I don't want to be nasty..... but I REALLY don't care!    I don't want to waste my whole evening looking at somebody else's pictures.    How to tactfully retreat?   there isn't one !

I am sure she is not  a nasty person - probably just one that wanted a night off !

You are probably overly enthusiastic about your new found cake business - there WILL come a time when you will walk in her shoes and somebody else will be saying the same thing about you.  And you will wonder WHY they think you are nasty
 

A sense of humour is a wonderful thing  - without laughter, the world is a SUPER boring place

PS..... only smart people can read truly WITTY comments and chuckle instead of getting all miffed

Hero of all time - GODOT

 

 

www.facebook.com/applegum

Th...

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A sense of humour is a wonderful thing  - without laughter, the world is a SUPER boring place

PS..... only smart people can read truly WITTY comments and chuckle instead of getting all miffed

Hero of all time - GODOT

 

 

www.facebook.com/applegum

Th...

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post #3 of 24

AP, I disagree about the storm in the teacup.  If she wanted a night off, she wouldn't have spent the time showing her photos to the OP. 

 

I think it was jealousy.  Why else would she be friendly at first and then get grumpy when seeing another baker's photos?

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for the response ApplegumPam but I think you misunderstand slightly...she approached me, totally cold  (I guess after having a chat with someone else there who knew me) and opened a conversation with, "I need to talk to you, you make cakes".  I had never even met her before and had no idea who she was or what she did until then...I was even mid-conversation with someone else.  I forget who got out the pictures first and perhaps 'nasty' is a bit of a strong word for it but I certainly was taken aback...

post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 View Post

(as far as I am concerned, there is plenty of business for all!)

 

Maybe there isn't enough business. The marketplace is so totally saturated now, perhaps you're the 100th new business owner she met that week.  

 

Or perhaps it's just her personality and has nothing to do with business.

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post #6 of 24

In my 25 years as a cake decorator some of the nastiest, back stabbing, mean spirited people I have ever met............have been other cake decorators. 

 

From my beginnings I have always gone out of my way to be humble with others in the business longer than me.  I feel at my core that we can learn something from new decorators as well as seasoned pros.  I love learning from others, it's one of the reasons that I found forums like this along the way.

 

However many of them have been quite nasty at the thought that I am breathing their air.  I have been sabotaged at work, lied about, set up, treated like dog doo on a shoe, you name it.

 

It's a competitive world out there, and I'm sure it's worse these days (haven't been around other decorators in a number of years now).  With the Youtube classes and the TV shows cake decorators are a dime a dozen.  But the egos are a million dollars!

 

Good Luck!  It does sound like she wanted to show you how great her work was, but maybe you upstaged her.  Who knows.
 

Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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post #7 of 24

Where I live we have the Hudson Valley Baking Society. Membership meetings are twice a year, we have free member-led workshops, and an annual fundraising event for our regional food bank. (Instead of baking at home we bake together in a commercial kitchen.)

 

Anyone can join, we have no restrictions, and about half our members have a Home Processor permit from NY State. And we all get along very well. (Maybe people with certainly personalities don't join and we are left with the nicest group of baking enthusiasts I have ever met!)

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post #8 of 24

This post is cracking me up..only because I have been dwelling on whether or not to call the local baker who has been doing it for 25years to try to befriend her.

I can just see it getting nasty to save her business. Its a small town and I find it leery there are no other bakers.

 

As for the OP and your problem maybe she felt threatened by you asking if she was going to enter any competitions. I think if you asked it that way some may get offended. I am not an easily offended person, however I find A LOT of people are. So I have learned to be politically correct..lol.. I would have just said something like "Well I was thinking of entering X contest, have you ever done that contest?" Or do you like doing contests. Otherwise to me its an immediate challenge asking her if she is entering a contest.

If she says no its like she isn't at your level. ...Totally ridiculous but this is how sensitive peoples thought process goes.

As always feel free to then say "I'm sorry did I offend you?" "The tone seemed to change." This brings every conversation right back to ground zero.

Just my .02cents.

Again sometimes its more important to say sorry when not in the wrong to get back on track. Maybe just call her and say the conversation didn't sit well with you

and you wanted to apologize. At which point she will probably apologize if she knows she is a sensitive person and over reacted.

 

I once had a co-worker who said something so nasty it made me cry (about my work ethic and vigor) . I knew the person didn't mean to make me cry and was a person who spoke before she thought. I refused to let her comment continue to hurt me. Later we became very good friends. I explained what she said and she apologized. Upon talking to her she didn't realize how awful what she said was. Or that she even said it! lol. I became her good angel and helped her contain her hurtful opinions. This is an opposites example but just wanted to show that you can be really great friends with this baker just give her another chance. Obviously she wasn't rude at the beginning of the conversation so she wanted to befriend you. It seems to me something in the conversation strikes her as unfriendly.
 

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you all very much for the comments...it really does help to get an outside opinion.  Guess it's a case of being really very flexible and probably developing a slightly thicker skin in a very competitive industry!

 

I've personally always thought it is a good thing to build at least good working relationships with local bakers.  While it wouldn't really be relevant in this case (being at opposite ends of the county and all!), you never know when (heaven forbid) you get hit by the proverbial bus or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smittyditty View Post

As for the OP and your problem maybe she felt threatened by you asking if she was going to enter any competitions. I think if you asked it that way some may get offended. I am not an easily offended person, however I find A LOT of people are. So I have learned to be politically correct..lol.. I would have just said something like "Well I was thinking of entering X contest, have you ever done that contest?" Or do you like doing contests. Otherwise to me its an immediate challenge asking her if she is entering a contest.

This angle hadn't even occured to me (it really was just trying to make conversation and find out about any experiences she may had had as a more experienced baker!) but with hindsight, maybe I can see how she may have taken it this way.  She never told me her name but i know the company so maybe I'll FB them and hold out an olive branch...if it doesn't work, at least I know i have tried! :-)

Thanks again everyone x

post #10 of 24
OP maybe you touched a nerve with the contest talk, but how were you to know that!

How do most people deal with befriending the competition? I'm moving soon and I noticed someone advertising cheesecakes and cookies in the community newsletter. Cheesecake isn't allowed under the Tx CFL so I'm not sure how much business she is doing, there was no website listed either, just a phone number. I'm not going to be doing cheesecakes or cookies so I'm not going to be in direct competition with her or anything, but I think it could be beneficial for both of us to connect. I just don't know how to approach it!
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #11 of 24

Since she is 500 miles away, she is not competition and you will probably never see her again. If someone asked me if I was going to enter a competition after seeing my pics I would think they thought my work was good enough to be in one so no offense there. Was she there as a guest or vendor? If as a guest was she perhaps drinking? That can affect the tone. My big question is why you have been letting a stranger live in your head for a few weeks messing with your serenity. Let it slide...for all you know she may be going through personal problems, be a touchy moody person or have just gone off her meds..lol You will never please everyone nor make everyone like you.

post #12 of 24

There are several local bakeries in my town, and as far as I know, the town has enough business to support us all.  Whenever I meet another baker, I'm always as friendly as I can be.  Most have been super nice right back, but some just want to be snotty.  One my bestest friends is another baker in town.  We respect each other as bakers and it's nice to have someone you can call to bounce ideas off of.  And if either of us are busy, we refer business to the other.
 

post #13 of 24
I would be a little hurt by a fellow baker being rude but, then again, I absolutely love talking shop.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake View Post

... My big question is why you have been letting a stranger live in your head for a few weeks messing with your serenity. Let it slide...for all you know she may be going through personal problems, be a touchy moody person or have just gone off her meds..lol You will never please everyone nor make everyone like you.

 

Very well put, BatterUpCake. Trying to please everyone is a full-time no benefits job.

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post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake View Post

Since she is 500 miles away, she is not competition and you will probably never see her again. If someone asked me if I was going to enter a competition after seeing my pics I would think they thought my work was good enough to be in one so no offense there. Was she there as a guest or vendor? If as a guest was she perhaps drinking? That can affect the tone. My big question is why you have been letting a stranger live in your head for a few weeks messing with your serenity. Let it slide...for all you know she may be going through personal problems, be a touchy moody person or have just gone off her meds..lol You will never please everyone nor make everyone like you.


I agree with this. Some people are going to be very generous and some downright mean, even to their own customers (there's a local person who's notorious for this, but probably the most successful caker in town - go figure). If she knew you were baking from home, she may have made the assumption that you were undercharging and that can be very upsetting to anyone who supports themselves making cakes.

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