Character Cake Pricing

Business By PiePie Updated 7 May 2009 , 11:34pm by kandu001

PiePie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:09am
post #1 of 34

I have prices for my sheet cakes and per serving price for my other cakes but I don't know what to charge for these character cakes that you cover using a star tip. What do you charge for those? They are certainly more work then a sheet. I have noticed that geographical location seems to make a difference in prices so if it helps, I live in Wisconsin.

33 replies
cakeandpartygirl Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:19am
post #2 of 34

A lot of decorators don't do character cakes because there is the issue of copyright infrigement especially Disney. You are more than welcome to do a forum search to find out more information. Unless you are doing one of the generic ones such as a horse don't bother, so you will keep yourself out of trouble.

Ruth0209 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:24am
post #3 of 34

I've heard that those pans of Disney, Loony Toons, etc., characters say specifically on the labels that they can only be used for home use because, as cakeandpartygirl says, they're copywrighted images. You don't want to get yourself in trouble with Disney. They're pretty aggressive about protecting their intellectual property.

PiePie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:30am
post #4 of 34

Wow, thank you for the tips. I just figured that because Wilton makes them that I could use them anyway that I wanted. Thanks again.

jenmat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:13pm
post #5 of 34

has anyone ever gotten busted for this? I always wondered about it.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:47pm
post #6 of 34

Yes a bakery that I used to work for got busted for copyright infringement. icon_sad.gif and they are hefty fines.

PiePie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:57pm
post #7 of 34

cakeandpartygirl, who reported them?

sweetkake Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:04pm
post #8 of 34

What if you shape your own and don't use the pans, is it still a problem?

jenmat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 7:26pm
post #9 of 34

I know of a few bakeries who did get hit with fines, but never heard of a "little guy" getting in trouble.
PiePie- where in WI are you? I'm in the Green Bay/Appleton area.

PiePie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 7:36pm
post #10 of 34

I'm in the Green Bay area too thumbs_up.gif

jenmat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 7:38pm
post #11 of 34

super cool!

cakeandpartygirl Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 11:47pm
post #12 of 34

They had a customer come in and beg for a certain character. So they ended up doing it and then next thing you know they were hit with a hefty fine.

There are so many what if I do it this way and what if I do it that way, the whole point it the image itself. I would suggest again to do a forum search for copyright images and see what info comes up.

The arguments can get heated in those threads so warning it is not for the lighthearted icon_smile.gif but if you really want the truth there is no way around it except to purchase those kits like they have at the grocery store and even with that I have read somewhere that you are supposed to decorate it in the same way as the card.

txsteph Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:05am
post #13 of 34

The reasoning behind it is this ... Wilton pays the character creator for rights to make the pans & sell them to people. When people make a cake using the pan, then sell it. Wilton nor the creator of the character get any money for it. So you can make the cakes all day long, but you can not sell the cake made from the copyrighted cake pan. They have no way to keep track of the quality of the cake being sold, and in the end .. it is all about them getting more money.

txsteph Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:09am
post #14 of 34

And it can even go as far as creating anything in the likeness of a copyrighted image, character, logo etc.... including FBCT, gumpaste, RKT etc .. and selling that.

craftyone65 Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:45am
post #15 of 34

I heard of a daycare here in Florida years ago that got in big trouble for painting disney mirals on their walls for the kids. Seems like they go alittle far to me. I'll do them as gifts for family and friends but I'm always to afraid of getting in trouble.

txsteph Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:54am
post #16 of 34

As long as you do not sell them, or use them for any personal gain, you can't get in trouble .. at least from what I understand it to be.

Mindy1975 Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:04pm
post #17 of 34

I hate doing them period! I have posted about this before, stating that they take long to do, hurt my hand, you have to buy a pan you probably won't ever use again, and they don't serve that many people, so the customer doesn't understand why you would charge what you do for them! I just state to my customers that I don' t do them at all because of the copyright law, and that gets me off the hook completely. I will occasionally put a character on a sheet cake for a close friend, or family, but that's it.

kandu001 Posted 1 May 2009 , 10:02pm
post #18 of 34

I've made some character cakes for friends, but I don't sell them. Here's where I find it stupid to get in trouble for making character cakes....Disney sells "learn to draw character" books. If I draw the character on paper or cake what should it matter to them? They sold the book to learn how to do it in the first place....

Oooh, sorry if that sounds fiesty, it's been a loooong week!

txsteph Posted 2 May 2009 , 12:36am
post #19 of 34

Nope not feisty, very true! I totally agree. It is like going to college, paying for the degree then the college expecting you to pay them each time you make money using your degree. If you choose to "teach" or sell items showing how to do things, cake pans, books, etc .. then you allow it to be used how the people bought it see fit to use it. Whether they make money or not.

littlecake Posted 2 May 2009 , 6:57pm
post #20 of 34

how much was the fine?

kinda sux that they begged for the design.

auntmamie Posted 2 May 2009 , 8:24pm
post #21 of 34
Originally Posted by kandu001

Here's where I find it stupid to get in trouble for making character cakes....Disney sells "learn to draw character" books. If I draw the character on paper or cake what should it matter to them? They sold the book to learn how to do it in the first place....

Kandu, Disney is making money directly from that book. Disney sells the book wholesale to a store, with a royalties share (most likely) from the sale of each book (store to consumer). Same thing with the cake pans - Disney sells to Wilton, Wilton sells to consumer, Wilton pays Disney a royalty. If you are making a character cake, you don't give Disney a % of the profit, do you? It is their intellectual property, and they deserve royalties on it. Now, I do agree that these characters are very popular, and have become mainstreamed in our culture. But, they are still the property of Disney.

Hopefully this wasn't harsh - I truly didn't mean it to be.

kandu001 Posted 3 May 2009 , 2:55pm
post #22 of 34

Not harsh at all, since I don't sell the cakes....

Carolynlovescake Posted 5 May 2009 , 5:41pm
post #23 of 34
Originally Posted by PiePie

cakeandpartygirl, who reported them?

No one has to.

They have legal teams of their own who search the internet, go into bakeries etc that find them.

I have had 3 students over the last 2 years of teaching Wilton classes go into business of their own. All three have given me their site info.

All three went and either scanned Wilton pictures onto their site or took them from their website and presented them as their own cakes. Wilton didn't need me to turn them in because they found them on their own in a matter of 3 months of their site going live. Wilton contacted them and told them to have their images removed immediately.

I contacted my direct report at Wilton because one of them sent me an e-mail accusing me of turning them in. She stated that they have a team in their legal department that does nothing but search by zip codes where their classes are taught to ensure their site images aren't being used. That was when I found out about the other two sites as well. I asked if I should say something in class about them but she said it's not my job to state it and if the topic comes up I can but it's not mandatory that I do. I try to but don't always remember or get the time.

The cakes you can't sell will have "for home use only" clearly imbedded on your cake pan. Any of the novelty pans "football" "flower" etc wil not have that statement on it and those you can sell.

The best way to know what you can sell is anything on this link is a NO SELL

Anything on this link you can

PiePie Posted 5 May 2009 , 6:13pm
post #24 of 34

Thank you so much for the website info. This really helps a lot.

indydebi Posted 6 May 2009 , 1:21am
post #25 of 34

See mkolmar's post in this thread: (page 2, 2nd post down)

Also, don't go with the mistaken idea that if you change it "a little", that it's now a different "character" and it's ok. I've shared this story before, but my neighbor works for Jim Davis ("Garfield"). A man thought if he made Garfield in blue, that it was different "enough" to be ok. The court system showed him the flaw in his thinking. Mr. Davis, and other owners of intellectual property, is/are very protective of their property.

cfao Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:55am
post #26 of 34

I have had my web site for quite a few years, when I first started it I had to go with .org because .com was taken. For years now I have had brides call for info and I always direct them to my web site, stressing, it's even spelled out on my answering machine, o-r-g. It's amazing how many brides just naturally go to and when they come in they ask for cake #23 or #30. I have even had couples just show up, claim they have an appointment, and when they say it was all set up via email over my web site, I now ask what the site "looked" like, were the pictures all by number or were they listed with the amount of servings, date of wedding, hall, etc. When they say we were looking at cake #2, I know the other bakery set up another appointment for a bride in my area, not theirs. Just mean on their part!

OK, that was a long lead-in, but ALL of their cakes are directly from the Wilton books, including Wilton character cakes. As I said, they have had their site for many years, so you have to wonder how Disney or any of the others narrow in on a bakery just using the internet. The other thing that bugs me is all of my cakes are mine and there have been SO many threads for posting your own cakes on your site, but this just goes to show the cake public doesn't recognize a cake from a Wilton book like we cake decorators do. These couples mention what beautiful cakes are on the site, they don't know they are yearbook pictures.

cfao Posted 6 May 2009 , 12:44pm
post #27 of 34

This should have been in my prior post, but I have a F.A.Q. page and one of the Q & A is:

Can I bring in a picture to be scanned on a party cake?
Yes and No. If your picture is of a family member, friend, your car, pet, etc. that you have taken, then yes, we can recreate it on a cake for you. We can not legally reproduce a picture of a celebrity, cd cover or any other item or logo that has a trademark or copyright. We can not copy a picture from a book, magazine or an internet site. We do keep many licensed characters in stock, so call to see if we have what you are looking for.

That pretty much sums it up when a customer is looking to have a tm object on their cake.

PiePie Posted 6 May 2009 , 2:25pm
post #28 of 34

ok, so I am confused. If I am getting this right, you can not use character pans but you can use the character kits like grocery stores do??

cfao Posted 6 May 2009 , 2:40pm
post #29 of 34


That's correct, you can't use character pans to make cakes for sale, you can use the cake kits or EI that are available from Bakery Craft, Decopac, Lucks, etc.

sahrow Posted 6 May 2009 , 4:50pm
post #30 of 34
Originally Posted by CarolynGwen

Originally Posted by PiePie

cakeandpartygirl, who reported them?

The best way to know what you can sell is anything on this link is a NO SELL

Anything on this link you can

If you have an older pan that isn't in the current line-up, you can check to see if they are for home use only using this link. Just type in the name of the pan. ((I just tried using "ninja turtle" to see if it would come up. The pan is called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pan, but the key word was all that was needed. "pooh" brought up all 6 Winnie the Pooh pans))

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