When A Potential Customer Sends You A Picture...

Business By Bethkay Updated 7 Dec 2008 , 6:07pm by -K8memphis

Bethkay Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 9:56pm
post #1 of 21

Do you ask for the source?

A couple of months back I received an email query with a picture attached of a cake a woman wanted me to make for her daughter's birthday. I declined to make the cake because I was recovering from surgery, and was only doing the simplest of cakes at the time. I recently discovered that the picture was from a website of a competitor in my city! I am sure the gal wanted me to undercut the price of the original bakery. I'm glad I didn't do the cake, because it would have felt wrong in those circumstances to have duplicated the work of someone else.

How do you all handle this? It is the first time that I am aware of that someone asked me to duplicate a cake that clearly originated in my city. Do you worry about this sort of thing? I usually don't think it is a problem to copy ideas, but when it is from a direct competitor, I think it is wrong.

Thanks for your thoughts.

20 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 10:08pm
post #2 of 21

I would have a problem with it if it was a direct, down to the details duplication. If you borrowed elements of the design, and worked in some of your own....I don't see the problem. I saw on someone's website the other day that they don't make exact duplicates of any cakes, but they would create a design "based on...".

Mom2ANC Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 10:13pm
post #3 of 21

I had someone send me a picture of a really ugly cake that they wanted.
Really, my mouth dropped open when I opened the picture, it was so ugly. There was no way I was making that!

I told the woman in an email that I would not make an exact duplicate of the cake, but that if she told me what elements of the cake's design appealed to her (and then listed several), I would make something similar and be sure to include those elements. She did not get back to me, so I assume she did not like that answer. Oh well. I thought that was fair.

smbegg Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 10:15pm
post #4 of 21

I don't have issues with it becasue I cannot, even if I tried, duplicate a cake exactly. I always state that I will attempt to make it look similar, but I do put my own touches to it. I would want the source as well to credit for that original design. I also charge what my price would normally be. I know that there are some people on CC that charge more for duplicating a design.


Stephanie

KeltoKel Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 10:30pm
post #5 of 21

Is it possible she just really thinks your cakes are delicious and would rather have you do the cake instead of the bakery?

It is so common for people to give a baker a pic of a cake and ask them to duplicate it. Brides do it all the time - esp. when they see cakes in magazines. And most of us do the same thing on this site - and then thank someone for their inspiration.

I think the only way you would need to worry is if you were putting the cake on your web site or in a scrap book in your store. You can simply put something under the pic that the cake was inspired by...__________.

tonedna Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 11:26pm
post #6 of 21

I think that cake decorators know that their cakes are going to be duplicated. Is part of this art. People like your cake and others are going to want to do it. Some people ask me to use my designs, others dont and they still do them, I have no problem with that. I think you have no choice. You are pleasing a bride and that comes first.
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 25 Nov 2008 , 11:27pm
post #7 of 21

More than half of my brides have clippings and print outs of cake pics. If I can get a source, I do (just for my own record), but most of the time, if I ask them, they tell me "Oh just off of the net" or "Out of some magazine". They've no idea.

If another bakery in town duplicated one of my cakes, I'd probably link to it with a big sign of "OH WOW LOOK WHAT THEY DID! THEY LIKED MY CAKE!! WOOOO-WHOOO!!!!!" icon_biggrin.gif

Bethkay Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 12:58am
post #8 of 21

Thanks everyone for your input. I guess I won't worry if this should happen to me again. I was really mostly concerned because the customer had obviously already approached the bakery right here in my city that created the original design and was looking for a lower price. I don't mind using other people's design ideas--in fact I have a number of times, but I do always try to give credit. This was just a little bit of a twist that I hadn't yet encountered. Ya live and learn!

Bethkay Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 1:02am
post #9 of 21

Thanks everyone for your input. I guess I won't worry if this should happen to me again. I was really mostly concerned because the customer had obviously already approached the bakery right here in my city that created the original design and was looking for a lower price. I don't mind using other people's design ideas--in fact I have a number of times, but I do always try to give credit. This was just a little bit of a twist that I hadn't yet encountered. Ya live and learn!

iamlis Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 5:41am
post #10 of 21

Gosh I just noticed you are in KC area-I sure hope it wasn't one of my cakes they wanted you to do icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 27 Nov 2008 , 1:32am
post #11 of 21

I have that liine on my website about not duplicating other's work, but I will design something different "based on." I'm hardcore about this, and I understand it's a minority opinion, but I will lose an order before I would make an exact copy.

CakeForte Posted 27 Nov 2008 , 1:56am
post #12 of 21

I'm in line with some of the others. My contract and policies say that I will not duplicate a photo exactly and I retain full artistic license to make modifications and slight changes keeping with the design.

I think you're walking into a mess saying you will duplicate a photo. If the smallest thing is off/ different, the client will come back and complain.

terrylee Posted 27 Nov 2008 , 2:26am
post #13 of 21

I don't think I could make a perfect duplicate of a cake. I wouldn't want too, any how. Good golly, I can't even duplicate my own designs....each time it is a little different, that way each bride has a cake designed for them.

I like it when they have pictures or ideas of what they want. But I make sure that they know that it won't be exact. If I work from their designs...I draw up a sketch or maybe two for their approval. I think a visual really helps.

iamlis Posted 27 Nov 2008 , 5:04am
post #14 of 21

I think it is a good point that Bethkay is making though-I was asked to do a wedding cake this year (it was my first situation where the bride left the groom hanging the day before the wedding icon_sad.gif BUT) they brought me a magazine pic. I noticed weeks later that there was a reference to Kansas CIty-looked closer and it was actually from a local decorator-I did panic-Like shoot this is the exact cake they want (but knew I would put my own twist on it) regardless, it would be obvious it was a copy cat. I felt because she was in my same town I should call, it took me 2 days to build the courage but I did, and she was SOOO nice-EVEN GAVE ME POINTERS! I felt like Bethkay because our market is pretty small, especially for us legal bakers I can look at just about any cake and know if they are copying one of my own or another-we all just have a "look" but close to us is Rebecca Sutterby whom practically everybody in the world copies icon_smile.gif So it takes me down a few notches. I would say because I know alot of my cakes I take inspiration from others I could never pull of an exact replication-but the competitive juice in me might boil if I saw someone else copy a cake in my area as competition. Just sayin-i am being honest it would make me feel like I was being undersold especially if it is an illegal kitchen posting on a website. That just kind of irks me-not to get on a soap box but I have a son to feed and I guess am just maybe human icon_smile.gif

deliciously_decadent Posted 27 Nov 2008 , 5:34am
post #15 of 21

i never realised this would be an issue?? this happens in my town all the time as there is VERY different levels in price and stature in my area and i even to the point today had an email sent to another decorator asking about ther cakes and they didn't even bother rewording or reheading the email it still had the other decorators name on the email! that did make me look twice and i know htat they are just after a price comparisson which i am not bothering with as i am not booking for mid 2010 as they would like. i have 'copied' quite a few cakes but i always explain that they will not be identical as A: i just could not straight copy a cake i like to put my own twist on anything, even my repeat orders of the cakes i have done. and B: i cannot copy any of my own designs to the exact detail so how am i supposed to get someone elses work to look the same? i explain that it will be my 'version' or 'interpretation' of another artists work. client is happy, i am happy, and from what i feed back i have had the cake artists are usally flattered that i have tried to imitate their work (but not copied) like a cake that went out today for instance, was a pic of a decorator based about 2 hrs away (i can usually pick a localish decorators work a mile away they all have little signitures that you notice) i can understand the bride did not want to pay that delivery fee as i know people in her area have asked her to do my cakes (i am a moe 'flamboyant' artist than most of the others i prefer bright colour and topsy style cakes myself!!) so anyway changed the flower colour and arangement slightly changed the dregree pattern slightly and unless you compared them you would not notice, i do more pricise edging not rounded so that is an obviouse difference and i added butterflies for a bit of oomph i also covered from head to toe in lustre to give it a sparkle!! so yea i do interperate cakes but i do not copy them! hehe

tonedna Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 4:12pm
post #16 of 21

I think that a cake that one person made can never be exactly replicated, everyone has a different touch
Edna

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 4:16pm
post #17 of 21

I tell them, "Guarenteed NOT to look exactly like the picture!" icon_biggrin.gif

Misdawn Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 4:39pm
post #18 of 21

I can't wait for the day I see that someone has duplicated one of my cakes. I'd probably jump around the house yelling, "Woo-Hoo! Woo-hoo!"

sillyoldpoohbear Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:06pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I think that a cake that one person made can never be exactly replicated, everyone has a different touch
Edna




I agree no 2 people can make a cake look exactly the same, everyone works differently. My BFF & I attended the same college & were taught exactly the same things, when it comes to cakes, but our work is nothing like each others.

When clients bring me pictures I always state that their cake will not be an exact replica, it will be my interpretaion of the design.

cakeschmake Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 5:43pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misdawn

I can't wait for the day I see that someone has duplicated one of my cakes. I'd probably jump around the house yelling, "Woo-Hoo! Woo-hoo!"



Me too!
icon_biggrin.gif
I rarely do a cake that I don't get some inspiration from CC. Usually it is a collaboration of several cakes, too, and I try to note who inspired the design. But actually, their design could have been inspired by someone else's, and so on, and so on... So it is impossible to credit everyone.

I dont' think I would replicate a local competitor, but I would love the chance to recreate a well known baker's cake, if only to show off that I can!! (giving them credit for inspiration, of course)

-K8memphis Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 6:07pm
post #21 of 21

To me the part where you did best in not taking the order is the price point. We should all try to ensure our goods are fair market value priced. That to me is far and away more important than copying an exact design.

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