How Do I Present Myself?

Business By ljhow623 Updated 28 Jun 2006 , 9:24pm by Jenn123

ljhow623 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:12pm
post #1 of 25

I have been asked if I would be interested in doing a wedding cake. I'm not sure on all the particulars as yet but I think it will be a 5 tier cake. First I have never done a tiered cake and thought my next practice cake I would start. The customer asked me to see the pictures of the cakes that I have already made. As you can see from my photo's I really haven't done to many. I know I can do the gum paste flowers with no problem and I don't think the tiers would be a problem either. But If I show her the pictures of my cakes that I have done how would I express that I can do this and would love the chance to show her?

24 replies
ellyrae Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:18pm
post #2 of 25

I think you should make one, at least a 3 tier cake to get the feel for it and then show the bride a photo or even the real thing! You have a good confidence about you so I bet you CAN do it!!!
Best to you!

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:18pm
post #3 of 25

- Make a dummy or practice tiered cake and take pictures. You can decorate front and back differently to make it appear to be different cakes for photos.

- Offer her a discount to be your guinea pig/portfolio builder.

- Be confident and don't stress the fact that you don't have a lot of experience.

peg818 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:50pm
post #4 of 25

I agree, make a small one, You would be surprised how many people think a small cake looks like a big one if you get close enough for the photo. Then i would strip it and re do a couple of times. before either eating it or pitching it.

jen1977 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:55pm
post #5 of 25

I agree with the dummies. I'm going to start doing some just for the photos! I also like the idea of decorating the front and back differently so you have two pictures!

jen1977 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 12:56pm
post #6 of 25

ok, I just read what I said before...I agree with making the dummies. Hope that previous post didn't sound like I was calling the other posters dummies, LOL.

ljhow623 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:13pm
post #7 of 25

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to make some dumies over the next month and take lots of pictures. I will let you know how they all come out. In the mean time, how do I explain that there are no tiered cakes in my portfolio???

jen1977 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:15pm
post #8 of 25

Why don't you make a small practice one for the portfolio before you meet with her? Take a picture close up and it will look big!

MikeRowesHunny Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:23pm
post #9 of 25

I have a 4, 6 & 8in tiered cake in my gallery that looks a lot bigger than it was - it only served about 30, but I think it looks much bigger than that! Appearences can often be deceptive icon_lol.gif !

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:25pm
post #10 of 25
Originally Posted by jen1977

ok, I just read what I said before...I agree with making the dummies. Hope that previous post didn't sound like I was calling the other posters dummies, LOL.


CakesWithAttitude Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:34pm
post #11 of 25

You know I have never understood everyone's reason for the dummies. You pay to buy them and use them. A cake mix only cost 88 cents and that is the cheap part about making a cake. the icing is the costly part; and you still have to make that for the cake dummy. And at least with the cake mix you can give it to someone to get rid of it and get your name out there. With a dummy you just redo it or toss it. How is that cheaper than a cake mix; its not and you don't get to get someone a free taste of how good your cakes are.

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:38pm
post #12 of 25

It's cheaper in time, electricity, and ingredients if you use them repeatedly. It's also good if you need it to last for display.

CakesWithAttitude Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 1:44pm
post #13 of 25

Well I know the reason for using it in a display; but it is not much cheaper for a cake. A cake is 88 cents and them a few eggs is about 25 cents and a stick of butter is 25 cents if you use that and if you use milk a little. that is less than $1.50 and a little electricity. That isn't as much as you think. MAYBE a couple of dollars. So $3.50 is what you are saving but you could be making more than that if you just bake the cake; which is only a few seconds of mixing and then it just sits in the oven for an hour; not much work there. and you get to get business b/c people have tasted your cakes and seen whatever it is that you worked so hard to practice on, so it has to be a pretty cake if you went to all the trouble to practice. so what gives. Not much money saver. So why??

Loucinda Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 2:03pm
post #14 of 25

I am relatively new at the wedding cake thing here - but I am going to give my two cents. I see nothing wrong with a bride wanting to see some of your work before hiring you.

There was a thread not too long ago about a woman who ruined the brides wedding day because of a cake that she took on that was beyond her turned out very badly. (which is a nightmare for not only the bride but for the decorator also)

What I have been doing is to meet with the bride and make sure she knows that I am relatively new to this - and she is usually getting a good deal from me for this reason. THEN we pick out a design that I KNOW is within my abilities. I then make a small 6" cake with the design that we have decided on for her to see for herself how it will look. If you do not have a contract with her for the cake yet, you can charge for the 6" - if you do have a contract, just add that into the price you are charging her. IMO - (for us new wedding cake decorators) we can show the bride how nice the cake will look, AND we have the chance to try the design to make sure it is one we are capable of doing.

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 2:04pm
post #15 of 25

I can get a dummy for less than $3.50 and use it 100 times with no more effort. If you are trying to build a portfolio in a hurry, you can do it so much faster and cheaper with dummies. If the icing is all white, you can re-use the icing too!

I understand your point about giving it away for advertising, but practice wedding cakes are not so good for this. I prefer too work with real cake, but dummies are useful for certain things. My family would be huge if I made that many real cakes!! My co-workers would expect free cakes all the time and never order anything.

donnajf Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 2:15pm
post #16 of 25

Excuse me, ljhow623
You are sOOOOOOOOOOOO ready! Your work is very creative! PLEASE - Get out of your comfort zone AND Just stack them up! CAREFULLY THAT IS icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

I'm (we) are sharing these words of inspiration with you because it reinforces your self confidence as well as ours - you are not ALONE TRUST ME (US)!

Happy decorating thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

ljhow623 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 3:01pm
post #17 of 25


Thanks for all the great advice. Quadcrew, I really like your suggestion of sitting down with the bride to be and go over everything first, then make a practice cake that is something she likes so that she can see my work.

Donnajf - Thanks for the boost. I know I can do it it's just presenting my abilities and now because of the great advice from everyone I think I can come away with an actual order in hand.

Loucinda Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 3:05pm
post #18 of 25

thumbs_up.gif (you're welcome!) And don't forget to take pics of it for your portfolio too.

I know the experienced decorators don't think the small cake is a good idea (it is more work) - I just feel more comfortable doing it that way for now.

spottydog Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 5:31pm
post #19 of 25

OMG my Dh and I were just discussing this topic last night. He got upset with me because I spent 35.oo on 3 sets of dummies. I saw it as a fantastic deal. He was thinking the cheap mix way. I'll have to have him read this tonight. icon_smile.gif

moydear77 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 8:24pm
post #20 of 25

I have all my Stand in Cakes that I have ever made with the exception of one cake. I tossed it because I melted the chcolate baseball on top. If I did a practice cake and used scrathc and mix the cost is fairly the same. As far as a stick of butter a pound will cost me about $4.00 with eggs and sugar. I can do a fabulous fake cake and have it to display or give a real cake away.I choose to practice with a fake because I can walk away and it will be fine a couple of days later.

CakesWithAttitude Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 8:25pm
post #21 of 25

I am curious to how you could possibly reuse the icing. B/c the dummy cake I made for display with royal kept getting little particles of styrofoam in it. So I think that no matter what you would have that happen to your icing. Do you cover it in plastic wrap or something?

sun33082 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 8:36pm
post #22 of 25

I haven't practiced with dummies yet, but in the long run it would definitely be cheaper. Yeah the cake mix is 88 cents, but what cake pans use just once mix?

I just bought 21 boxes of cake mix, 21 boxes of pudding, 7 dozen eggs, and 3 containers of oil to make a 4 tier wedding cake this weekend. That's $45 not including icing supplies. So I can definitely see where paying $35 for 3 sets of dummies would be a lot cheaper than the time and money that goes into baking a wedding cake.

As for reusing the icing, I've heard that a lot of people wrap the dummy in plastic wrap before decorating.

MJsmom Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 8:36pm
post #23 of 25

I would try a tiered cake for practice, and for a portfolio picture. Honestly speaking... If I were the bride, I would definitely hire you, because you're great, but might feel a little nervous if you didn't have a picture of a tiered that you've done in your portfolio. Does that make sense? Just know this- YOU CAN DO IT! I'm attempting my first tiered birthday cake next weekend, so we can swap notes! icon_smile.gif Happy baking!

jen1977 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 8:55pm
post #24 of 25

I'm going to do dummies for wedding practice because 1)my family doesn't even eat cake anymore...they're tired of it 2)in the time it takes just to bake all those cakes, I could have almost had the darn thing decorated, and I can take off the plastic wrap and reuse the icing for the next one. It's hard to take the icing off a real cake without messing it up. In the long run, it's cheaper too.

Jenn123 Posted 28 Jun 2006 , 9:24pm
post #25 of 25
Originally Posted by CakesWithAttitude

Do you cover it in plastic wrap or something?

Yes and scrape it as soon as I'm done with the pictures. I would only use it for practice, not put it back in with the good stuff.

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