Okay ladies. I need you advice on this one....
I've been dealing with a bride, could tell from the get go that she had the potential to be difficult. She's been extremely indecisive about what she wants to do for her wedding and grooms cakes. Originally she sent me a picture of a wedding cake, 4 tiers, pretty cake but your basic diamonds and polkas and strips with a few other details like the monogram oval. She wanted to do it in squares instead of rounds and have them twisted. And for the grooms cake she had almost immediately wanted the LSU stadium cake. So we met a few weeks ago to discuss the cakes, at which time she quickly becomes undecided about what she wants. She's only expecting 100 people, which I explained the LSU cake was almost that many. I also explained that to do the squares twisted with a nice effect, I needed a certain amount of space between each tier. This meant she would probably have a lot more cake than she needed. So we discuss options, including mini tiered cakes for both of them, which she liked, because she didn't want to have almost twice as much cake as she needed, though she still continued to say she wanted it to be big. I explained we could to a great sized cake with pretty decorations that would not overload her, but still make a great presentation. We discuss doing a three tiered cake incorporating LSU, the Hornets, and the Saints on it for his cake. Then she starts looking at my Kerry Vincent book....did I mention from our conversations, it seems like she is on a little bit of a budget??? She sees the cake done in all fondant with the middle tier beveled, with a large amount of work and painted gold on it. By this time her fiance (who's been napping on my couch with their baby) is ready to leave. So she says she'll get back in touch with me and come by one day just herself so we can work it all out. Last week she contacted me about meeting today. I agree and make the plans. Now over the weekend, I do a three tiered square cake incorporating LSU, Hornets, and Saints for a honey do shower. This cake was booked with me over two months ago by my neighbors daughter in law, who's a great client. She had first questioned doing three separate cakes, but I had recommended doing the tiered cake instead with each of the elements on it. She questioned if it would look okay, and I assured her it would be great...which it was. So I posted the pics on myspace, as I do every week with new cakes and get this message from my bride...
Hey I won't be able to come over Wednesday, something came up I have to go across the lake. Hopefully we can do something another week. Is that new sports cake under ur albums the one I thought about?? I'm kinda bummed now cause someone else had it.
To which I responded:
That's okay. Just let me know when you're available. And actually I had discussed that cake with her a while back. I wanted you to see it so you could see a good example of what we can do for yours. We can change it up some though.
To which she replied:
Okay I found it ironic that someone had the same exact idea I did for the cake. I'll probably change it alot now because I don't want someone else to have my cake before we have it. Please don't share my ideas with someone else before we get married and if we come across any more ideas that you have discussed with other people just let me know because I don't want to do the same thing as someone else. I'm not sure if every wednesday is good for you but as for me I'm usually off every wednesday so I should be good to come by two wednesdays from now if thats okay. Thanks
Let me add in here that we had no cemented ANY ideas for either of her cakes. And call me snobbish, but I am sorry, I am way to busy and in demand to deal with someone who is gonna be so rude and accuse me of giving away her "ideas". Because incorporating the popular Louisiana sports into one cake is extremely original...right? I've done it before! And let us not forget the exceptionally original first cake idea of polkas, diamonds and stripes...lets look at my pics and see how many of THOSE I've done. I have not received a deposit yet. Typically I ask for a 50% deposit. I told her originally she could take care of that when we met. And then in a email not long after we met, she had asked what I wanted to do about the deposit, I told her to go ahead and do $150 for now, and then we could adjust as needed when we met to make the final decisions on the cake. The wedding is in December, and I'm thinking about turning down the order.
What would you do?
I wanted to add that the cake in question is in my pictures...
Well, I'm not seeing the rudeness as a certainty. She said she found it ironic so that leaves the door open there. I mean you suggested that idea to her. It's reasonable that maybe you did not detect that her big deal is an original cake. Then from that she forms her request that you not share any of her ideas because her big thing is the one of a kind thing. She's in the valley of decision.
She wants custom and you can charge handsomely for custom so decide if you wanna deal with her. You don't mean the Kerry cake with the crown do yah? Ten dollars or more a serving is worth a little pia huh?
So far, for me, from what you said I'd still bite on this one.
Once she finds out how much custom costs this is gonna be a whole different ball game. Either she presses someone for more moolah or we go to the diamonds and pearls.
But on my order form they can do three payments and there's no changes after the second payment is made. So just keep her ideas on hold mentally until you reach your point of no return with her. Maybe something like that?
Two meetings, no deposit and shes totally indecisive? Accusing you of giving HER ideas away? Sounds like bridezilla in the making. I would run.
I have learned my lesson...listen to the little voice inside your head! If you feel they're going to be difficult, go with it. You guys haven't set anything in stone, there is no contract, she does not have control over your ideas. And if she's looking at something in a book anyway, someboidy has had it before her! I would be booked the day of her wedding. If you feel you should run, do it!
Wow...so you have to come up with a cake that has absolutly nothing that has ever been done before?
This chick sounds nuts...sorry darlin but almost any cake you can come up with someone else has done. <to chick in question.
How original can an lsu cake be? They have been around forever and loads of people have done it to death...but oh, those strips and polka-dots and diamonds....never seen that one though!
Sorry chicky but no pitas in this bakery...strict rules...no animals and no pitas....state regs and all.
If your intuition is telling you to run, then run girl! Don't ignore your gut.
I'd run, too! I think I'd suddenly just become booked or unavailable; she hasn't put a deposit down, right? What's her hold up? Nope, sounds like a pain to me...
Cool cake by the way
No money? Do you have a contract on this cake yet? If you have no contract, then please remember that you still have the option to turn down the job.
k8memphis...yes, it is the Kerry cake with the crown, though I can tell you she is in no way going to pay $10 per serving. For a $10/serving client, I will deal with almost anything, this is not that client.
And of course, I realize that even if I never looked at any one else's work EVER, ideas that I would come up with would only be partially original. (Of course that would mean not visiting CC...NOT and option). Obviously, since this is not what she does, she doesn't get that. DH said "screw her!" But my SIL said I should send her another email and give her another chance, but not to back down and take any abuse. (She's a realtor/appraisor so she understands.)
I shall continue to mull this one over...
No money? Do you have a contract on this cake yet? If you have no contract, then please remember that you still have the option to turn down the job.
Forgot you ever met her!
I look at your photo, and I think to myself, this gal is a real sweetheart - couldn't hurt a fly. So I'm going to give you a Bi--- lesson.
First, there's no reason for you to continue torturing yourself with this. My theory about all you pros is that if you have to ask if you should run, then darn it, get those Nikes on and go!
Second - that was your design, not hers. If she questions your ethics further, then offer to show her the contract for the other cake, which will prove that the design was made for someone else on their first-come, first-serve order.
Third - you have to grow a stiffer backbone and start giving her ultimatums. First, she has to come with deposit and pen in hand. No deposit, not contract, no more conversation on cake.
Last - If she wants to contract with you, then she has to contract with you for what you can offer her in her price range - no more of this custom couture cake at supermarket prices. Have a selection of designs that you will do for her price range; cakes which can be altered a bit here and there to make them hers.
Playingwithsugar---AMEN, I couldn't have said it better!
Coule I get a direct link to the cake? I am trying to see from thumb nails and I am missing it haha.
Great cake design.
If it were me and I stayed with the order I think a PITA fee would start to go into affect.
Please. please please don't do this cake.PLEASE.
Explain to her nicely that that ideas don't have a patent, which is why she was able to get hers from other people's cakes. Explain to her as well that you work with many clients, and in this day and age (ESPECIALLY IN THE SEC< GO BULLDOGS!) that sports theme cakes abound.
Tell her you give her that advice to take with her to her next cake decorator.
To be nicer...."After much consideration, I have decided not to take the opportunity to do your cake. I think that a cake artist and a client should be a good match artistically, and I believe someone else could design a cake much more to your liking. After our meetings and the specific accusation of plagiarism on my part, I don't see how we can work together. I truly think this will be best for you and I wish you all joy and happiness in your upcoming wedding and marriage."
Complete ditto to Theresa.. if you have to ask.. then yes.. you should run. If she is dicking you around and you don't even have her deposit yet.. forget about it. You are busy enough and don't have to worry about the money for this admitted budget bride.. if she doesn't want to pay for a custom cake.. then she doesn't get one.
Thanks Theresa!!! I NEEDED that bi--- slap!!! (Did you see 50 first dates when Adam Sandler slaps the lady with the fish and she says "Thanks for the fish slap, I needed the fish slap..." sorry off topic but it just popped in my head.) But you are totally right... I am a sweetheart and wouldn't hurt a fly...intentionally...lol. I've posted below a pic of me when my buttons get pushed too far. I will don my stronger alter ego, take your advise, and respond to the bride accordingly.
Thanks everyone, especially Theresa. I just need to be reminded sometimes that I can't always be sugar and spice.
Holy Smokes! I'm glad you like me!
Just call yourself Bi--- In Training! We'll get you going in the right direction - we have ways.
I love that friggen dog.. he looks like the crypt keeper. He has passed away so now other dogs have a chance at winning the ugliest dog contest.
It won't take being pushed around too many times before you get completely okay with being that bi--h. I would at the very least tell her that she has to pay her deposit before you discuss her cake any further and she has until XX date to pay her deposit or you will have to refuse her order.
Once you get rough with someone once.. it gets much easier. I have had to do it many times.. and the first time you are all worried.. but once you do it.. it's old hat.
I guess that just goes to show how different people can look at something and come away with completely different views.
I read and reread the original post and honestly can't see/read the rudeness everyone is refering to.
I'm in agreement with k8memphis.
It's her wedding, there are a lot of choices and decisions to be made. She wants her cake to be special. What bride wouldn't want something they've never seen before. They come in with pictures because they can't come up with ideas of their own.
So she assumed that the idea discussed was new, which is exciting, then she saw that it had already been done so she was disappointed. Of course you can understand how in your meeting you decribed this cake to her and then days later she sees a similar cake on your site. Her thinking its original would make it ironic. (wow, she gave my idea to someone else before I could decide) She had no way of knowing that that cake was ordered before the meeting.
December is plenty of time to work something out, its a big/pricey decision. On top of a bucket load of other things that need to be taken care of.
I guess to each his own. I don't see her as a difficult person. But, if her personality doesn't seem to be one you can work with, it would be a waste of hers and your time.
You can't control the things that people say, but you can control the way in which you take the things people say.
I never said she was rude.. just wasting Saranichole's time. If she isn't ready to nail down a design for her cake (or at least pay her deposit so that the decorator know they are comitted before they spend tons of time working with them) then she needs to do more homework before coming to me (or anyone). She is making things more difficult than they need to be for sure.
Oh my. She crossed the line when you told her that you had designed the other cake months ago and she comes back at you with basically saying that you used her idea on someone else's cake. She didn't even believe you!
Run run run run. Life is too short for women like this!
Okay...I sent this...
I'm very sorry that you feel this way, though again, I can assure you, this order was placed with me long before our meeting. At that time, I advised her to do a three tiered cake with each tier a different theme to match the sport and team, as she was originally thinking of doing three separate cakes. I do not "share" ideas per say between clients, though I cannot be expected to tell one client, "I'm sorry I can't do a particular cake because I have an upcoming order who wants something similar or the same" or even further tell them "I need to change the design we had discussed for your order because someone else wants it to be their original. By the same token, it is unreasonable for me to be expected to contact you with every order that I could get between now and your wedding that could emulate what you've chosen so that we can design something different. Even the most original of designs are very often drawn from some sort of outside inspiration. On top of that, it's not unheard of for something you think of to be thought of by someone else as well.
I do everything in my power to please each and every client, even above and beyond the service I feel you can expect at any of the local bakeries, at which you are typically given an album of pictures to look through and pick from. I do understand the desire to have these most special of cakes be as original as possible.
At the same time, I do expect a certain amount of respect from my clients in return. To be accused of giving away "your" idea is insulting to me. I can assure you that I will, within my means, help you design and then create cakes that are suited to your style and taste and still be as original as possible. However, if your expectations include me consulting with you on every design that may impede on what you consider "your design" then it may be in your best interest to find someone else to fill this order.
That being said, the earliest Wednesday that I have available to meet with you is Wednesday, Sept 17th, as the weeks before that I have filled with wedding orders that will require a lot of time on my part, and I always put those orders with the most attention.
I'm proud of myself, but now I have an extreme amount of butterflies. I'm sure I'll get a negative response...
jkalman, you hit the nail on the head. In my business, I do wedding planning and other stuff as well, you have so many people that come to you and expect you to spend an obscene amount of time working with them and coming up with ideas BEFORE they sign a contract or pay any money. I had to learn that the hard way. You can't continue to do that. You have to let people know that your time is valuable. She needs to p*** or get off the pot!
I agree that you should ask her to pay a deposit to hold the date before you meet again. She just doesn't seem like a good match for you (or me!)...
You did what you had to do, and if you get a negative response, then so be it. Let her go drive someone else crazy for free.
And get a swatter at those butterflies. You all have to stand up to your customers at one time or another. Just figure it as your turn, and now you can pass those butterflies on to someone else.
But, if her personality doesn't seem to be one you can work with, it would be a waste of hers and your time.
I have learned to be very polite but firm.
Someone gave me a very good phrase to think of when dealing with people who seem to be challenging: "not the best match for me."
Some people have lots of questions...I answer them. I've found it helpful to imagine myself choosing something I don't work with everyday (like a custom kitchen, or custom jewelry), and thinking that I too would have lots of questions, and I too would have budget concerns.
...BUT, If it seems that the person keeps asking them not because they are new, nervous or honestly confused, then I think of the phrase, "not the best match for me."
And I realize it's time to refer them to another bakery. I finally had to do this with one customer...and believe it or not, she sends business my way! Perhaps simply give her a few bakeries you could honestly recommend.
I find thinking of it simply "not a good match" helpful...I disagree that cake designers should learn to act like...well, you know the word.
edited to add: OK, I see you emailed. Sorry -- CC keeps running slow for me.
Good luck! Hope it turns out well.