Everyone's A Cake Decorator

Business By momma28 Updated 17 Jun 2009 , 5:02pm by STRAWBERRY1390

momma28 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:08pm
post #1 of 46

I have been handing out brochures and business cards to pretty much everyone I see when I am out and about and whats amazing to me is that almost every woman I hand the brochure to says " I used to do cakes" or "I do some cake decorating myself, not quite like this but you know frosting roses and such" I had one woman look at the whimsical princess castle cake in my brochure and say "Oh I made a castle cake for my daughters birthday and it was AWESOME, I bought the kit from wilton with the plastic towers. OMGoodness it was beautiful" Plastic towers as opposed to completely edible, handcarfted with hand sculpted figures? Then she said, "well maybe next time i'll just call you so I dont have to go to all the trouble of doing it myself."

ok what is the deal. do they need to act like what I do is no big deal to make themselves feel better....who knows. Kind of annoying though.

45 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:14pm
post #2 of 46

I've read this story before, on another forum.

Selling cakes is like dating, you've got to kiss a lot of toads before you get to the handsome prince.

Just don't give up.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

momma28 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:18pm
post #3 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

I've read this story before, on another forum.






Glad to know its not just me this has happened to icon_smile.gif

blu_canary Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:21pm
post #4 of 46

Yeah, I agree, kind of annoying for us. But if you look at it from their point of view (or at least this is what I tell myself)...a lot of them are doing things in their lives that aren't exciting, fun, or creative. We get to work at something we love and exorcise our creative demons. For just a few minutes looking at a brochure, they can dream it was them. But most of them know that just because they iced a cake like a caterpillar 14 years ago doesn't mean they are artists.

It happens in all creative fields, I think. I consider myself an artist in several different media. Whenever I've done a show, exhibition, etc. at least a dozen people tell me how they used to sculpt, took a stained glass class once, or took an art class in high school.

Not to dismiss scrapbooking as its own art form, but I think that's why scrapping has become so popular. Everyone can express their inner artist.

I just smile and thank my stars that it's me sitting at the table getting to look at all the lovely things I get to do on a daily basis.

Kiddiekakes Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:26pm
post #5 of 46

I've heard from every mother at school I think that they have decoarted cakes etc...yet when you go to their child's birthday party.....you see their decorated cake all right....I wouldn't worry about it!!! I just smile!

playingwithsugar Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:27pm
post #6 of 46

I can empathize.

I don't sell cakes, but I went through the same thing a couple of weeks ago. I baked and decorated a giant gift box cake for a baby shower. Three filled tiers, stacked on each other, to look like one giant gift box. No ribbon - I made a rope of chocolate clay and used it for the box tie and bow. Most people ooh-ed and ahh-ed about it, but then comes the one who says "I do cakes, too." You say "Really, that's nice." But what you really want to say is "Lady, don't even try to think we have something in common, because never in your wildest dreams would you ever be able to do what I did here today!"

Theresa icon_smile.gif

kandu001 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:55pm
post #7 of 46

I don't sell my cakes either, but I know how you feel. I'm sure that their cakes are not nearly as beautiful or yummy as yours are!

Andy383240 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 3:57pm
post #8 of 46

I have worked in various fields of artwork for years. Back when I did huge trompe l'oeil murals, many the client would tell me they'd do it themselves, but they didn't have time! I agree with blu_canary,remarks like that happen in every area of art and anything else that takes talent or skill. Maybe it's a mild form of envy or wannabe syndrome. Who knows? Smile, then ignore.

indydebi Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 4:36pm
post #9 of 46

I think it's just sharing a common ground in a short conversation. My husband does woodworking (furniture ... not craftsy stuff) but when he meets a professional woodworker, he shares "I do woodworking but nothing to the degree that you do", sharing his common ground but acknowledging the higher level of expertise of the other person.

I don't think it's anything more than you mentioning a movie you saw and someone saying they've also seen it or they plan to see it.

Just polite conversation.

momma28 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 5:13pm
post #10 of 46

For the most part I think it has been polite conversation. I just think its funny that every woman I give my information to once was a cake decorator. I know it might seem odd but in all of my business information I refer to myself as a cake artist because I think what I do (and what most of the amazing people on this board do) is art and goes past simply decoration.

I guess you're right IndyDebi, just small talk.

FairyPoppins Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 5:21pm
post #11 of 46

Whilst I sympathise with you, most people I meet are extremely complimentary about my cakes and tell me that they couldn't do that in a million years.

I did have to make that plastic Disney Princess castle a couple of months ago for a friend though. I emailed her loads of pics of beautiful castle cakes from the gallery but she was insistent on the plastic castle kit. She keeps asking me why I don't add a photo of it to my portfolio!!!!

mixinvixen Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 5:26pm
post #12 of 46

i have coached my hubby a million times that i am not a cake decorator..i'm a cake designer. i always secretly roll my eyes when someone introduces me as the cake decorator or the cake lady.

the person who does cakes at the grocery store forced to make a limited range of designs is a decorator....at least while they're on the clock. i, on the other hand, listen to my client's hobbies and loves, interpret that into a sketch then on into a custom design, and then execute that design in sugar that you will never see come off a grocery store shelf..ever. I'M NOT A CAKE DECORATOR...I'M A DESIGNER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

momma28 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 5:43pm
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by FairyPoppins

Whilst I sympathise with you, most people I meet are extremely complimentary about my cakes and tell me that they couldn't do that in a million years.




Oh they all compliment my work and say that what they did was not nearly as involved or professional. I was just thinking it was funny that almost EVERY woman I talk to used to be a cake decorator.

kandu001 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 5:46pm
post #14 of 46

I think that they think that because they can pop a cake mix in the oven and ice it with the Betty Crocker premade icing that they can decorate....WELL.....sorry to say it's not!

Peridot Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 6:15pm
post #15 of 46

I just had to laugh reading this thread---sounds like the people I work with. I have done several cakes for people at work that I "really" like and have shown a few pics of cakes that I have done for people other than work. I get a ton of compliments and oooh's and aaah's and all of that. But then there are the, "Oh my mother decorates cakes, oh my grandma has been decorating cakes for years, or my daughter decorates cakes I will have to have her give you a call if she needs help."

And then there is the gal that made this cake for her daughter's birthday and kept asking me for advise and questions on how to do this and how to do that. She was using canned frosting and I had to tell her to put frosting between the layers!! It was supposed to be some carved building or something. I wasn't there the day that she brought in a photo but she told me that it looked very professional. I really need to see this picture. I know that I sound mean and we all have to start somewhere. And she wants to get into making the roses and flowers like I do. BUT - she doesn't want to spend money on equipment and the things that are needed. But - then she wants to know if I will teach her how to make the kind of flowers that were on the last cake that I brought to work. I just smile and ignore her. She doesn't have a clue!

Then there is the gal that "used" to decorate cakes and made the comment that only another person that decorates cakes could pick out the mistakes in a cake. Referring to something that did not work out quite right on my cake - barely noticeable. So I don't know if that is what is was referring to or if it was something else that she thought she saw.

And then of course I have the ones that want me to do a cake for someone they know. The answer has always been and will always be "No, I don't do cakes to sell at this point but if I do they will cost you as I don't do Wal-Mart cakes and humm - Duff's cakes start at $1000.00." That shuts them up in a big hurry!!

umgrzfn Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 6:20pm
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

I've read this story before, on another forum.

Selling cakes is like dating, you've got to kiss a lot of toads before you get to the handsome prince.

Just don't give up.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




That's soo true! And a cute analogy! icon_biggrin.gif

diane Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 9:08pm
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

I've read this story before, on another forum.

Selling cakes is like dating, you've got to kiss a lot of toads before you get to the handsome prince.

Just don't give up.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




too funny!...but sooo true!!!

jl5949 Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 9:18pm
post #18 of 46

Next time, tell them your hiring and would love to see their portfolio. I hate it when people think that what we do is so easy.

tinygoose Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 9:33pm
post #19 of 46

I've only met one or two that really do design and decorate cakes (most just do their own kids birthdays, but WTH...cake is fun go for it) and the others... I recruite them! Keep them in your inner circle, refer business to them, when I don't want it, pick their brains, have coffee, bake together, guess who you're gonna call to help when you get that order for 900 cupcakes?

When people say that to me the first thing I say is "Hey, we should get to gether and bake!" That scares 99% of them away.

Annabakescakes Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 11:42pm
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy383240

I have worked in various fields of artwork for years. Back when I did huge trompe l'oeil murals, many the client would tell me they'd do it themselves, but they didn't have time! I agree with blu_canary,remarks like that happen in every area of art and anything else that takes talent or skill. Maybe it's a mild form of envy or wannabe syndrome. Who knows? Smile, then ignore.




What is this thing you used to do? Sounds interesting...how is it pronounced?

Unlimited Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 7:48am
post #21 of 46

Well, I'd say that handing out your brochures is working then... she did say maybe she'd call you the next time so she didn't have to do all of the work. Some people are truly talented and fully capable of decorating their own cakes, but may be too busy with work or whatnot, so if they don't mind spending money for a job they could pull off themselves, take the money! It's what you do.

On the other hand, there are those who claim they are cake artists/designers, but when it comes to executing that design it's obvious the work is not at all near professional quality. (Not trying to be mean, but I read a few posts about "artist" Stevie on the food challenge tonight... my eyes couldn't behold the beauty, I guess I don't "get it" either and I watched it twice!) I believe if you do it for a livingyour profession, you probably have quality professional results.

I'm almost afraid to say, but I thought the title of this thread would have its share of negative comments and I'm somewhat disappointed that it does because I've been a lurker for quite some time and everyone normally appears to be so polite, friendly, and helpful to one another. Peridot said it very well "We all had to start somewhere", so I'm looking forward to viewing more compassionate remarks about beginners, acquaintences, or fellow decorators especially when we don't even know what level of talent they have. Oh my... I didn't know having the title of "cake decorator" was a such a bad thing! But I don't mind... I've used it for 37 years already and I'm not offended by it. Hopefully, I'll be still using it for many more years! Happy decorating/designing/baking/caking!

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 2:31pm
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by annacakes79

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy383240

Back when I did huge trompe l'oeil murals



Sounds interesting...how is it pronounced?




You can listen to the pronunciation here, just click on the red speaker icon.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trompe%20l%27oeil

Gefion Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 2:39pm
post #23 of 46

I don't get it. They tell you they have decorated cakes, and all of a sudden it's okay to feel all superior and look down at your nose at them?
I really hope I misunderstood the tone of this thread.

Cheyanne25 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:05pm
post #24 of 46

I think that the big problem is that there are such DIFFERENT styles of working with cakes. There are many people (especially Moms) who have learnt some basic buttercream skills (maybe even some fondant) so that they can do their children's birthday cakes, maybe even some cakes for friends. But they are still only looking at the finished product as a nicely decorated cake.

Then on the total OTHER end of the spectrum is those people (including many on here and so many of the cake stars we aspire to) are those who are using cake and sugar as a medium for art. The end product is SO much more than just a decorated cake, it's really a custom work of art that has taken many many years of studying to be able to produce. It's their profession and their passion. They live, breath, and sleep cake.

I think sometimes comments like 'oh I decorate cakes too' can rub a person wrong when they are working towards becoming a cake artist/designer. It's a different focus then the people who are looking mostly just at decorating a cake and not creating art.

I would hazard to guess that the majority of people who make the comment that they decorate cakes too arn't really the type who spend hours pouring over cake ideas and hundreds on buying new supplies. That's where it gets frustrating that a comparison is being made, they really don't understand the other side, they think it's as simple as what they do. I also believe that the majority of people who do some cake decorating arn't looking to get on the path to cake artistry, it's a past time, not a passion.

I'm not knocking the birthday cakers, it's great that they have taken time to learn skills. But although both sides work with the same ingredients the focus is completely different. Everyone who cooks with food isn't going to learn how to make 5 star meals. Everyone who sews isn't going to be making run way designs. Every time I pick up a paint roller to colour a room I'm in doing a completely different project than when I pick up a paint brush to do a painting.

I know a few years ago when I first dipped my toe into caking I was kinda like...what's the point? I couldn't understand why some people who put SO much work into something that was going to be eaten. Mind you I couldn't stop myself from staring in awe at their creations. So I learned some skills and decorated cakes with some pretty shells and was happy with that.

I sat my attraction to cakes on the shelf for a few years. This time when I came back I could see that the reason it appealed to me was the artistic expression it allowed. Every cake I've made since then is so much more than a baked good to me.

Some people treat cake as food, some people treat cake as a medium. Sometimes the food folks don't realize that to others cake is art.

momma28 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:14pm
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gefion

I don't get it. They tell you they have decorated cakes, and all of a sudden it's okay to feel all superior and look down at your nose at them?
I really hope I misunderstood the tone of this thread.




ok i started this thread and this is not at all what i intended or meant by what I said. What I was expressing was the opposite of what you were saying....it seems these women are putting down what I do and the quality of it by implying that they could do it themselves or that they used to decorate cakes until they got a real job. That is the tone of some of the comments I have gotten (although some were very complimentary). I am NOT looking down my nose at anyone. Again, quite the other way around. As though this is a hobby for me like it used to be for them. I am relatively new to this artistic endeavour and am grateful for all of the support and help I have recieved from the others on this board. I would not dream of speaking to anyone on this board as though they had a nice hobby while they waited to get a real job. It was just me expressing how I felt during these encounters, I can assure you, at least my tone has been missunderstood by you

MLand Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:32pm
post #26 of 46

I have a cute (to me) story on this! My husband has family in Mexico, so we had to go to a wedding there last December. We walk into the reception area and looked at the cake. My 14 year old says, " Mom could have done that", and my 19 year old goes, " Yeah, she could have!". I laughted at them due to the fact that I had just - and I mean JUST- started to get into cakes. Their thinking on my ability is far more than mine. But they, nor I, would ever down play someone's work. Also, I hear the same thing from some people I talk to.. but mostly they have or are getting out due to not making money or feeling used.

Peridot Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:41pm
post #27 of 46

Momma28,

I don't know how this thread got off track the way it did either. I did not not think for one moment that you were being superior and I hope my previous post did not come across that I think that I am superior - cause lordy I am just a beginner. I got what you were trying to say and that is that often people say things in a tone like - oh...any one can decoarate a cake like that and they make you feel like you did it in 20 minutes and it's no big deal and that their grandma, aunt, mother, sister, the dog, the cat, the guy next door etc. decorates cakes - so what's the big deal.

I don't mind helping people either if they ask questions but I am not going to teach them how to do anything free of charge or use "my stuff". It cost me money, time, equipment, ingredients, and finding CC, etc. to get into this as it is a hobby for me at this time. Michael's does not give FREE Wilton classes!

I understand perfectly where you are coming from and I have run into the same thing and I seem to feel defensive when I hear those kinds of remarks said in a certain off handed way. I get far more compliments than the off the cuff - anyone can do that remarks but it does upset me a little also. Because I put my heart and soul into my cakes as do all of my fellow CC'ers.

Thanks.

No-goodLazyBum Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:55pm
post #28 of 46

[quote="Unlimited"]Well, I'd say that handing out your brochures is working then... quote]

I think Unlimited summed up this entire thread in one simple statement. What momma28 experienced is that group of people we call "haters" (not to be confused with "hatred"). Haters are people that wish they had done long ago what you are doing right now. There is nothing wrong with it and we have all been on both sides. When you see the "haters" start to comment that just means that you are starting to make an impact and create buzz. I see (and welcome) haters all the time and generally consider my actions a waist of time if I cannot get at least one hater to react. In the end, haters just want to know what you did to get your results but for whatever reasons their ego won't allow them to give you the compliment of just asking. Most don't mean any harm and just want to talk but have trouble being humble.

In short, a little hateration is a good thing. Momma28 must be getting close (to something).

But then again that crazy explanation is worth exactly what you paid to hear it. icon_wink.gif I've got to go razz some haters now. icon_twisted.gif

-Lazy

momma28 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:01pm
post #29 of 46

No good lazybum...that was great icon_smile.gif It made me think of a friend of mine who said how she envied what she was doing because she had always thought that cake art would be a fun and fantastic way to make a living but that she never followed through (this friend is an AMAZING artist and sculptor, I should be 1/100 as good as her so she could definately have done it) I guess I will keep that in mind the next time I encounter someone like i've described.

aligotmatt Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:07pm
post #30 of 46

Oh I so know what you mean!

I hired an ad writer last week to edit and re-write some of my website stuff. Wouldn't you know, her DAD was a cake decorator, and she's going to scan and send me some of his work so I can see what he did. Everyone knows a cake decorator. I think it is about finding common ground...

When local people say it, like moms who do their kids cakes or whatever, I ask them if they ever watch the challenges, or say, yeah, that's how I started! Or how I loved that my mom made my cakes growing up, it was so special to me. Compliment the effort icon_smile.gif

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