Well, I got a call from a potential customer after I did the cowboy cake I have in my photos. She loved the cake and wants me to do a cake for her father's 70th birthday for Dec. 27th. She wants me to replicate the invitation. Here is the website of the invitation http://www.paperstyle.com/is-bin/Product/84-LF-106.
The cakes is to serve around 70 people. So, she was wants me to replicate the invitation by doing doing 2 sheet cakes and putting them together. I told her that could be done.
here is my idea for the design of the cake:
- 2 sheet cakes side by side horizontally
- monogram in the middle
- damask design all around the monogram in rectangle format
- border in black and gold
- cake covered in white fondant sprayed with super pearl
I tell her how I would do it and asks if it will look like the invitation meaning the layout, vertically. I told her I can do it however she wants me to do it but I prefer to do horizonatally. Then she asks me why. I told her b/c I like it the old fashion way and I had done a cake for my son and I didn't like vertically. To me it's more pleasing to the eye. But that is just my opinion. She then says she wants to knwo the pros and cons of doing it this way. (WHAT the Heck?!?!) I then go to tell that she can look at the cake I did for my son that is posted on my blog. I ask if she has anything to write the info and goes on to say she's int he doctor's office and the doctor just came in. (What a coincidence.) She says she'll call me after to get the info.
I could tell from the 1st time I spoke with her that she was going to be a PITA. I honestly don't want to do the cake anymore plus it's 2 days after christmas. I don't know if offended her by telling her that I liked it horizontally instead of vertically but am I not the cake designer? I'm not going to do a cake that does not inspire me or is not my style. I've never had a problem until now. I think I'm taking this to heart but I would like to know from others what they would do in this situation.
Thanks in advance,
Well, personally, I think it depends on how badly you "need" the order. I'm not in business, but I've already sort of decided that I won't do things that I'm not comfortable with. Just not worth the headache to me.
I could definitely use the money but not the headache. We haven't even discussed price yet b/c we have been trying to decide on a design. Maybe she can't even afford me . I definitely don't want to call her again. I'll wait for her to call and I'll figure out what to tell her b/c I don't want to jeopardize my name with a design that I know will not look right.
Get the money question out of hte way BEFORE you spend any amount of time on design. Don't waste your time or hers.
I'm not going to do a cake that does not inspire me or is not my style. I've never had a problem until now. I think I'm taking this to heart but I would like to know from others what they would do in this situation.
Thanks in advance,
Well I have sure done a ton of cakes that were not personally inspiring nor were my style. Because that's the nature of the beast. You are creating for someone else's celebration and personality. I don't know.
The picture of the napkin is no longer available to view. I would not be offended if someone told me that but I might still insist on having it done my way.
b/c I don't want to jeopardize my name with a design that I know will not look right.
How bad is it gonna be?
Thanks for your advice.
I gave her my opinion but I told her that I would do however she wants me to do it but of course I will make sure that it reflects my style. I know sometimes people are so caught with the idea of something that maybe another way might be better if someone would them or tell them. Oh well.
It''s not that it is going to be bad or extremely horrible but i think it will look weird.
Why does it have to be YOUR style. Your making a cake for someone else - for their style. That's why you talk to the client, get to know what they want, the style they're going for. Honestly if I was your client, I would find another decorator. An interior designer doesn't come into your home and style if for themselves - they come in and style it to your needs.
There are a couple of really cute baby shower cakes around here, made to match an invitation, that are done vertically.
I will give my customers suggestions, but I cannot force them to let me design their cake! Recently I had a lady who gave me some color themes and I really wanted to do a certain cake I had in mind and shared that with her, and she liked it but liked a different variation better...one that I was not sure would look as good. But I agreed as she is the customer.... and the cake actually turned out nice and she was thrilled to death!
They are paying us to give them what THEY want, not always what we want. Of course its fun when they give us free reign, but some of them actually prefer to design their own. That's the beauty of a "custom made" cake.
Thank you for your comment. I'm hoping she does go with someone else because it has turned out to be a headache. Not even the wedding cake I have for Satursday has been this dramatic. She did call back and left a vm. She understands that I'm the designer and I was giving my input. I did tell her that I will do whatever she wants me to do but like I said I gave my honest opinion on what I feel would look better. I don't want her later on telling me that I should have done it the other way. And as the decorator/designer, you do have the right to give your input and suggest what may be better if done another way.
I do agree that you, as the professional, should offer suggestions but must say that the final decision is always with the customer.
My wedding dress was made by a very well known local dress designer but the design was entirely my own. She offered her suggestions and was extremely professional when I turned them down. I loved the way she handled this and told her so. This woman does not need my money and turns people away every day because she simply can't handle the workload. From my point of view, I was spending 1000's and wanted the dress just so. I picked her for the quality of her workmanship, the fact that she could source the perfect blue silk that I was after, etc. There was nothing wrong with wanting my own design and she certainly never made me feel that it was.
So I second the other people's comments that in the end, you are creating someone else's dream.
Remember the "Golden Rule": he who has the gold, makes the rules.
It's her money, give her what she wants.
All you would have to do is show her a picture of something that you did vertically, and point out why you don't care for it. People always seem to respond better when you can actually show them stuff. This is exactly what I would say:
"My goal is to create a beautiful and memorable cake for your father's birthday party. I will give you my professional opinion, but in the end, I want you to be happy. So let's look at what you have in mind. . ."
Question, is the invitation that she wants duplicated designed vertically? If so, then how can you say it will look better horizontally? The dimensions will be off and it won't look like the invitation. Generally you are providing a service for their event, so their vision is what counts, not yours. I have suffered doing some things I thought were butt ugly or just plain boring because that is what the client wanted.
If she asked for chocolate cake but you prefer the taste and look of vanilla cake, would you tell her that she needs to change her mind and pick vanilla? It's the samething with the design. We can only tell them no if something physically can't be done.
So your choice here is to either refuse the order and refer her to another cake person/bakery or bite your tounge and give her what she wants.
...but I told her that I would do however she wants me to do it but of course I will make sure that it reflects my style.
It's not your cake ..... it's her cake, it's her celebration, it's her money, it's her style.
As a cake designer, I think it is a designer's job to offer suggestions and perhaps lead the customer toward something that might look better. I would offer examples of what some customer requested and objective reasons why I didn't care for it, such as the shapes were out of balance, the colors just didn't mesh well, etc., .... and not subjective reasoning of "I didn't like it".
I do not think it is a designer's job to tell a customer that "...your idea is ugly and I will give you something more in line with MY taste, which is obviously superior to yours."
Bottom line has already been stated: Those with the gold, make the rules.
Thank you all for your fine comments, advice and suggestions. I think all in all the problem is my choice of words when I spoke to her. I will find a better avenue next time around.
I still haven't fully decided whether to pass on the opportunity to do her cake b/c I think this thing is a whole misunderstanding. I've never met the lady in person and I think once we meet face to face and draw up exactly what she wants, then all of this will be fixed.
I'm glad I have all of you to steer me in the right direction and see things in another way. Thanks again.