Totally Awkward Situtation - Long Sorry

Decorating By cakesdivine Updated 6 Dec 2008 , 2:56am by kelleym

cakesdivine Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 3:10am
post #1 of 25

Okay, as some of you may know I not only make cakes for a living but I am also a seasoned (31 years worth) dance educator. Well my hubby who is also a dance educator, and somewhat of a dance industry celeb decided to open a studio here in our area, since the closest studio is over 30 miles away. This area is booming now with families and 3 new schools, an elementary, jr. high & high school have all opened within a 6 mile radius of our chosen location in the last 2 years. We barely finished our website, schedule and have only put up 2 flyers in the area announcing our opening and registration. Well we got a phone call today for a mom who has 2 daughters ages 7 & 10, so I was tickled to call her back with information...

So I call the number left on my home answering machine, and get her answering machine, as I am listening to her machine I am thinking she owns a local wedding dress boutique called Celebrations...I'm thinking DOUBLE NETWORKING! YIPPEE!

Well, before I can leave a message she beeps in so I switch over and state that I was just about to leave her a message and that I am so glad she called back so quickly. I then (thinking I've hit the jackpot) ask her if she was the owner of that boutique, she said No I own Celebrations cakes! This woman is my closest cake competitor! And I had heard from others that she has trashed my cakes, but we have never met, nor has she ever seen any of my work or tasted any of my cakes. (my shop use to be across the street from hers, and I was there a full 6 months before her) We moved due to the old building we were leasing ended up being condemned after we have put over $60000 into new wiring & plumbing, and building a kitchen. So I rent a catering kitchen now and use my spare room as a gallery and consultation area...but I digress!f

Okay, so I act all excited and annouce that I was so happy to meet her as I own Cakes Divine in the area. Well at that point she started questioning my background as a dance educator as if there was no way I could do both things well. I assured her of my and my hubby's backgrounds in dance, and let her know that cakes were my second passion in life. She was excited that we were opening a facility here as they were currently driving so far to take and it was getting them home so late way past her youngest daughter's bedtime. She even stated that if she did bring her daughters that she could pretty much guarantee that she would be bringing 6 or 7 other students along too that all live in the area and aren't happy with the current studio they are with. Not that I like taking other studio's business, because I don't, but I'm not forcing them. Again, I digress...

So here is the dilema...we are currently subleasing a reception hall to teach classes while our studio is being built...The kicker, the studio is going to be built right next to my cake shop! I know she was hoping to corner a clientele base from my students for her shop. I am just really bummed right now...This could go great and I found a new colleague, but my gut tells me this is going to turn out badly. I mean she purposely opened her shop directly across the street from me, well she really didn't open a shop, she convinced the coffee shop across the street that also sold sandwiches and a daily special for lunch to allow her to use their kitchen in exchange for working for them and providing them their baked goods for free so she could launch her cake biz. She only does buttercream cakes and she is pretty good, I have no idea what her product tastes like, and actually I have sent a few clients her direction when I was booked solid. I am just really feeling insecure about it all right now. icon_sad.gif

24 replies
jlsheik Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 3:32am
post #2 of 25

Well I have advice to give as it was given to me...keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
One other piece of advice...you probably can out dance her....so out cake her as well. If she limits herself to just buttercream, that may not be so hard!
Hopefully it will work out.
Laura

dmich Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 3:35am
post #3 of 25

Okay, so here's my perspective. I went onto your website and your cakes are absolutely beautiful. You should feel very confident in your work and try very hard not to compare yourself to another decorator. No matter what you do, there are always going to be others out there that are doing a good job as well. You have no control over that. All that you have control over is your own decorating and your dance studio. If at all possible, I would try to keep the two businesses as separate as possible. However, if this other decorator is doing something inappropriate in your studio, such as continually promoting her cakes to your dance families, then I would speak to her about it. Just as you would if someone was trying to sell Amway products to all of your students' families.

You're obviously very good and experienced at what you do - both for cakes and dancing. Give yourself a pat on the back - you deserve it!

Good luck! icon_smile.gif

BlondiezBakery Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 4:04am
post #4 of 25

You've got better cakes and a better website than her. icon_smile.gif I did some investigating and checked out her stuff. I think you can easily 'take her'. Not to mention your networking and connections in town are awesome.

A thought for you: How do you know that she is not on this forum? Just something to consider.

Also, I am going to be in San Marcos this weekend. Perhaps I could stop by her shop and size up the competition. icon_smile.gif

KoryAK Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:15am
post #5 of 25

And hey maybe she didn't do the first cake shop thing for the reasons you think... maybe she just fell into a situation and the fact that her competition was right across the street just wasn't enough to sour the deal.

cocorum21 Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 10:34am
post #6 of 25

I think as long as you have a NO SOLICITING rule in your dance studio you should be fine. And have EVERY parent sign a waiver stating that they understand.

mbh724 Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 4:54pm
post #7 of 25

Don't borrow trouble where it doesn't exist. All may work out fine and you are worrying needlessly. You say you've heard from others that she trashed your cakes. You don't know whether she really did or something she said was misconstrued. And I really don't see how you could possibly know she has never seen your work or tasted your cakes. You may have felt awkward when you began the conversation but it sounds like it all went fine to me.

kbak37 Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:12pm
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cocorum21

I think as long as you have a NO SOLICITING rule in your dance studio you should be fine. And have EVERY parent sign a waiver stating that they understand.




I agree with all posters, especially cocorum21...state NO soliciting..including yourself. If it comes up in conversation just simply reply that you own the cake studio next door and leave it at that. If questions persist, ask if you can schedule a time to discuss in another venue. That way you set the standard and it will be clear...to your competitor as well that the dance studio is not the place to conduct cake business. You may attract more business that way. If she is a little underhanded in her actions, she will self destruct.

Just keep on doing what you do and dont worry about it!

leah_s Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:15pm
post #9 of 25

I actually don't even see a problem.

cakesdivine Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:16pm
post #10 of 25

True mbh724. We can only see how it will turn out. I am hoping for the best! I am even considering talking to her about a partnership when we move into the new shop. She is a good decorator with BC and I don't tend to get those kinds of cake orders any longer. So if she has a nitch (BC cakes and kit cakes) and I have a nitch (3 d cakes, fondant & gumpaste work), I might be able to convince her that the location I will be in (right across the street from the local Elem. school) would benefit us both. It will just depend on how anal she is about using her recipes for cakes in icing, since my clients expect my cake & icing product. Heck I don't even know if she does scratch or mix?

kellymarie Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:22pm
post #11 of 25

I just wanted to let you know that I went to your site and when i went into all occasion cakes I got a warning that this was an "attack site" and not safe. So you may want to check into that. It let me into the wedding cakes first, and they look great by the way!! icon_smile.gif

cakesdivine Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:31pm
post #12 of 25

Thanks...I don't ever get that happen. I have an embedded site (cakes.com) for the kit cakes I offer, it allows my clients to search all available. Maybe your security program classifies and embedded sub URL as a possible hazard. It isn't. I'll check it out though.

kellymarie Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:38pm
post #13 of 25

I think you are right, it said something about "embedded" lol. Mu husband is a Computer engineer so we have security up the wazoo!

Lovely cakes though! Don't worry about competition, like you said you two are in separate categories. As my friend always says when i worry like that " Your work speaks for itself!"

dmich Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 5:59pm
post #14 of 25

I got the same warning when I went to the "occasion cakes" link. It stated that there was malware on your site, which could harm my computer. I'm not computer genius, so I have no idea what that means! Just wanted to let you know.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 6:08pm
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

I actually don't even see a problem.




I must be missing something, because I don't see a problem either.

Kay_NL Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 6:12pm
post #16 of 25

I don't see a problem either, I can't see me ever going to dance with my girls and trying to sell cakes to the other parents. And even if she were to do that, you will still have your business and she will still have hers, both of you will get clients! It sounds like you make completely different cakes, so you are both targeting different people anyhow.

You have the added bonus that your studio is right next to the cake shop, so people will see your displays every time they come to class! icon_smile.gif

messy_chef Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 9:19pm
post #17 of 25

I hope your competitor isn't here on CC!

cakesdivine Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 11:57pm
post #18 of 25

She isn't, I have been fishing since I signed up for other decorators here in my community to connect with.

michellenj Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 12:16am
post #19 of 25

How did you find out she was trashing your cakes? What did she say?

playingwithsugar Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 12:48am
post #20 of 25

Did you ever notice that you rarely see just a McDonalds along the road? More often than not, you see at least one other fast-food restaurant, unless you're in an extremely remote area.

And shopping malls - very near me there are 2 malls and 3 shopping centers, all within a 2 mile stretch of road. Are they set up like that near you?

That same stretch of road has 6 different furniture stores and 5 different computer after-market stores.

Another road where I live is called The Auto Mile, because most of the auto dealerships are located there.

It's not uncommon for several of the same type of business to be within a short distance from one another.

My suggestion - when the studio opens, offer dance birthday parties for little girls.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Carolynlovescake Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 2:51am
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar



My suggestion - when the studio opens, offer dance birthday parties for little girls.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




That is an awesome idea!

cakesdivine Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 3:11am
post #22 of 25

Already in the plans... I offered them at my studio in Houston.

About the "trashing" tidbit, and there again it may have not been true, I am taking someone elses word that this happened. But because she is in the only coffee shop in our area it is not uncommon for one of my clients to go there often. Anyway this client said she was in there getting her morning coffee & bagel and she was chatting with the coffee shop owner, who incidentally is the grandmother of my son's best friend, and she mentioned she was heading over to me to order a cake. Well the lady was there and said my cakes were dry and nasty and didn't look good. Well the client came over to my shop after & told me that. I just laughed it off at the time, and just chalked it up to her trying to steal the order for herself. But, then again, I live in a very small country gossipville community, and the other lady may or may not have actually said that. Who knows...I certainly am not going to confront her about it. We shall see if she actually enrolls her daughters. I really hope she does.

Cakepro Posted 6 Dec 2008 , 1:03am
post #23 of 25

I loved the comment about not borrowing trouble when none exists.

I don't see a problem either.

However, I would only EVER offer a partnership arrangement to someone I knew VERY WELL.

indydebi Posted 6 Dec 2008 , 1:49am
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by adonisthegreek1

Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

I actually don't even see a problem.



I must be missing something, because I don't see a problem either.



Add me to the list of not seeing the issue. icon_confused.gif

I'm friends with a number of cake decorators here in town. We refer business back and forth frequently. One guy had his decorator quit on him 6 days before a wedding and called me to pinch-hit for him. Not all competitors are "competing" .... some work together quite well.

Don't be "huntin' " for something to worry about. It could be something as simple as she just wants dance classes for her daughter. Period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Did you ever notice that you rarely see just a McDonalds along the road? More often than not, you see at least one other fast-food restaurant, unless you're in an extremely remote area.


I actually read that the other fast food places let McDonald's do the marketing research ... and if McD's feels there is a market there, then Fast Food Company A and B(K) also build there.

kelleym Posted 6 Dec 2008 , 2:56am
post #25 of 25

It's Pizza Hut. There are very frequently Pizza Huts close to McDonald's. icon_biggrin.gif

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