CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 9:59pm
post #1 of

So I am having a dilemma. I got a new catalog and see that pre-made sugar flowers are so incredibly inexpensive that I am wondering why I am spending hours doing it myself.

When I voiced this to my husband, he just looked at me like I had cursed on a Sunday. "What is the point of buying them? I thought you wanted to do all that stuff yourself?" - but MY point was, what is the point of making them......

One of the really nice roses I did took almost 3 hours for all of it (including the sprays of leaves, etc.) but stilll............3 hours! Now I realize I can learn to move faster but still!

They had 16 GORGEOUS 2 inch hibiscus for $16 - that is a dollar a piece for a stunning flower, hot pink with yellow accents in the middle. The list goes on and on - the Cattelaya Orchids are 4" and are 50 cents a piece.................. icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

I am already ordering the pressed sugar designs for the holidays but I was just wondering what your thoughts were one these? I was looking at Royal Cupcakes website and recognized the decorative flowers atop their cuppies at the very same......thx

58 replies
msulli10 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:05pm
post #2 of

I feel your dilemma. I always want to make everything for my cakes, but sometimes it's just not worth all the time that goes into making all the little extras. I say go for it and buy some of the premade flowers. They are still hand made.... just by someone else.

tanyascakes Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:07pm
post #3 of

I just love knowing that I made them myself. But for time's sake, I can see why you'd want to order them! I just made a Hibiscus in Jen Dontz's class that I fell in love with. Just knowing that I made it was so worth the work that went into it. I am interested in see what you are talking about though. Is there a website available to look at?

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:10pm
post #4 of

Are you in it for the art ... or for the business?

As a business owner, I know that the cost of the materials is NOT my only expense. I'm also not under the illusion (dilusion?) that everything sold in a bakery or restaurant is made by hand or from scratch. I'm not playing the pretend game .... I'm in business.

Some buy premade fondant, premade icing (from Sam's or from another supplier), some use cake mix (even bakeries who buy their mixes in 50 pound-just-add-water-bags while some of us buy our mixes in 18 oz boxes from walmart), etc. Why should the flowers be any different?

there's a saying about "I work to live ... not live to work". Spending 6 hours making flowers when you can spend 3 minutes online ordering them means I get 5 hours and 57 minutes to spend with my family .... a rare commodity in this biz.

I had a bride ask me once about if my flowers were "made by hand". I told her my BC flowers were. If she wanted gumpaste, then I'd order those. Told her, "They're made by hand by someone, just not by me."

If you're in it for the art and take a lot of pride in how everything on your cake is made by you by hand, then continue with your craft, charging enough for your talent and time.

Me? "They're made by hand by somebody .... somewhere .... just not by me." icon_biggrin.gif

shanasweets Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:10pm
post #5 of

What website are you looking at? I have seen a couple and wonder which one you are looking at?

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:16pm
post #6 of

I'm in it for the business....definitely. I use Satin Ice fondant, Sam's icing (for most cakes) and some of my recipes are dr'd so I am definitely not a purist.

I use Satin Ice because it tastes great - easy to work with. The Sam's club icing because I HATE making icing and everyone loves it. The recipes I use that are dr'd because any 'scratch' didn't taste as good. (I assembled a taste-testing panel.....otherwise know as my kids, their friends and our neighbors! good times....)

So I totally 'get' what you are saying. I was ok with it but my husbands reaction kinda threw me off. icon_confused.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:16pm
post #7 of

Sorry, it's Lucks.

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:21pm
post #8 of

Tell hubby he's welcome to spend HIS saturday and sunday making all of these flowers for you, if it's that important to him. See what he says then.

Related story (kinda): Last year, we ordered the Thanksgiving Dinner to go from Bob Evans for our family. Yes, I'm a caterer and I didn't cook on Thanksgiving. What a great holiday! Bob Evans food tastes like homemade, we spent the same amount of money and we had none of the work. Took us about 20 minutes to get dinner ready. No work, tasted great, we even had leftovers, even tho' there were 8 of us.

Hubby is complaining that "WE" are not doing that this year. Thanksgiving is POSTA be cooked (by the women!). I keep asking him, 'SOunds great! What time are you getting up to make the turkey?" Then he goes into some schpeal about what a dumba$$ I am to think that HE is making the turkey.

You either do the work ... or you shut the hell up. I've made turkeys for 32 years ... I think I've earned my break!

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:24pm
post #9 of

lmao - well, of course, you are right!! Not sure why I let him rile my cage..... but the funny thing is he totally encouraged me to order the fondant and HE is the one who makes the out-of-town Sam's Club runs for icing whenever I run low, so I don't get it. Oh well, I probably never will.

I am, however, ordering the damn flowers! icon_lol.gif

DetailsByDawn Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:29pm

My 2 cents? Your time is worth an awful lot. Why not use them when you need to and make your own once in a while just to keep your skills polished or for clients that are dear to your heart. I don't think it makes you any less of a cake artist. icon_biggrin.gif

Indydebi - you almost made me pee myself. thumbs_up.gif

Jeff_Arnett Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

So I am having a dilemma. I got a new catalog and see that pre-made sugar flowers are so incredibly inexpensive that I am wondering why I am spending hours doing it myself.

When I voiced this to my husband, he just looked at me like I had cursed on a Sunday. "What is the point of buying them? I thought you wanted to do all that stuff yourself?" - but MY point was, what is the point of making them......

One of the really nice roses I did took almost 3 hours for all of it (including the sprays of leaves, etc.) but stilll............3 hours! Now I realize I can learn to move faster but still!

They had 16 GORGEOUS 2 inch hibiscus for $16 - that is a dollar a piece for a stunning flower, hot pink with yellow accents in the middle. The list goes on and on - the Cattelaya Orchids are 4" and are 50 cents a piece.................. icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

I am already ordering the pressed sugar designs for the holidays but I was just wondering what your thoughts were one these? I was looking at Royal Cupcakes website and recognized the decorative flowers atop their cuppies at the very same......thx


I think you have to strike a balance between making or purchasing and your selling point.

It is wonderful to make everything yourself, but if you are investing more hours that the cost of the cake covers, you are in the hole. A lot depends on your market....in this video about Sylvia Weinstock, notice that she says the small two tiered cake would cost around $600! Video is here:



Now, I'd bet most of us can't get $600 for a cake that feed 20 or so people....so we can't justify the time that goes into making all the flowers.

That said, I see nothing wrong with buy flowers if needed. In fact, I but a lot of smaller flowers from unitedsugardesign.com. If you get on their mailing list, they send out sale brochures every month or so and they will have ridiculously low prices....for instance a box of roses that is normally $30 may be $6 on sale....and I stock up when they have these sales...especially on fillers and leaves which I hate making [I had a problem with my left hand and had to have surgery which now makes a lot of tedious work hard for me]!

So go ahead and buy them...you can always dust or airbrush them to add more color or to customize them the way you want.

tootie0809 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:38pm

okay, I don't want to hijack this thread, but what icing are you all talking about at Sam's? Is it BC I can buy from their bakery? I hate making icing too, so this would be a huge time saver.

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

okay, I don't want to hijack this thread, but what icing are you all talking about at Sam's? Is it BC I can buy from their bakery? I hate making icing too, so this would be a huge time saver.




Yes, it is Sam's Club icing from the bakery. It has changed my life, lol. We heard about it, tried it and loved it. And everyone, from my kids to my Mom likes it too, which is somewhat shocking. I got so sick and tired of slaving over the mixer only to have everyone say 'It's too sweet'. (Icing, by definition is freaking fat and sugar, so what in the heck do they expect it to taste like????)

Anyway, we get a 5 gallong bucket of white and another of fudge- it is awesome. I blend it 50/50 with pastry pride when I want something lighter, or when I swirl the cupcakes. (The Sam's Club icing crusts almost as soon as it pipes so I have trouble getting sprinkles to stick on the cupcakes). They are each around $32.

Sooooooooo worth it! Oh, and you can add all sorts of stuff to get other flavores, fruit, espresso, peanut butter, etc.

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:50pm

I don't see anything wrong with buying pre-made flowers, if that's what you decide to do.

Me (personally)... I like to be able to say, if someone asks, that I made everything from scratch (cake, filling, frosting, fondant, flowers, etc.). It's totally doable if I plan ahead carefully enough. icon_wink.gif I'm a hobby baker, though, so I don't have business overhead, etc., to worry about. One of my favorite cake bakers/artists/companies is Sylvia Weinstock (who I see someone above mentioned).

icon_smile.gif

Londonchic Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:09pm

I wonder who are making these flowers that it can be sold for that price?

Think about all the middlemen from when it is made to when it reaches you. And it can be sold for such a low price.

Really underpaid people somewhere in the world most likely, aka slave labour.

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:14pm

omg, I totally thought of that! I wasn't sure though........

sugarandslice Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:23pm

I'm with you Londonchic in terms of finding out where these flowers come from and whether there is any exploitation involved. Everything comes from somewhere.

I'm not saying people should feel guilty about buying pre-made flowers but it's worth a little investigation. I look into where and how clothes and shoes are made, so why not find out about flowers too? They may not be costing you much but what's the 'cost' for others?

I don't want to be controversial, everyone makes their own decisions, it's just a thought.

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:24pm

Or since that's all they do all day long, they have set up and mastered good productivity, increased their skill level and speed, enabling them to make way more per hour than I can, reducing their cost per unit, enabling them to sell them at a lower price per unit and still make profit.

I recall a thread on there that shared how Sam's/walmart buys their sheet cakes for about 50 cents a cake because these cakes are mass produced in a manufacturing environment with state of the art baking equipment and efficiencies designed in .... not made in a sweat shop in Asia.

You can't measure mass production costs by how you/me makes them in our little 'ole kitchen.

saberger Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:29pm

I wonder if these are the same ones that the decorating store here carries. I always thought THEY made it. I had considered it, but I would look at them and say "I can do better than THAT!" And walked away. There are SOME flowers out there for sale that are amazing....but pricier than what I saw on Lucks site.

I say, try it. if you like them, then you continue to order them. If you don't then you use up what you have and go back to making your own.

Teekakes Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:34pm

Well, while it may be ok to purchase premade flowers, I think the real question for any of us on an individual level is; Do I want a Hibiscus that looks like this, https://secure.lucks.com/bpcsom/nxcsc.nsf/ItemInformation?openagent&SID=2270CD3B3F230EF58825763E007FD7A2&Item=42494& , or, do I want my Hibiscus to look like this, http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1243118

To me, those purchased flowers look like they are mass manufactured and do not even compare to the ones that can be made by hand, with love. I personally would pay the higher $$ for a cake that is obviously crafted well from inside out..... over the cake that is baked with one standard and decorated by another standard.
Just another point of view icon_wink.gificon_smile.gif

Jeff_Arnett Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:42pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Londonchic

I wonder who are making these flowers that it can be sold for that price?

Think about all the middlemen from when it is made to when it reaches you. And it can be sold for such a low price.

Really underpaid people somewhere in the world most likely, aka slave labour.


Many of the gum paste flowers available by mail order are made in the Phillipines.

all4cake Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



I had a bride ask me once about if my flowers were "made by hand". I told her my BC flowers were. If she wanted gumpaste, then I'd order those. Told her, "They're made by hand by someone, just not by me."


Me? "They're made by hand by somebody .... somewhere .... just not by me." icon_biggrin.gif




That question would've had me stumped. Do they have machines that make gumpaste flowers? detective.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:49pm

Agreed..... that one from CC has been in my favorites since the day I saw it. icon_smile.gif It looks nothing like the one from Lucks.

I wasn't comparing the quality. I kind of think the Lucks one, when applied to the cake (with more brushing of color to deepen and otherwise distinguish them so they don't all look identical) would look great on a cake.....so long as the cake wasn't sitting next to the cake with that CC flower on it. icon_lol.gif

And the other thing - can everyone make a hibiscus as beautiful as that? That flower does not look easy......

Well, thanks for everyones input. I wanted to get some ideas of what the school of thought was ~ and I did! I think I will order them and see what they look like. I am placing the holiday order anyway so it won't hurt to throw in some and see if they are a good deal or if they're crap. We'll see.....

tootie0809 Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 2:16am
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

okay, I don't want to hijack this thread, but what icing are you all talking about at Sam's? Is it BC I can buy from their bakery? I hate making icing too, so this would be a huge time saver.



Yes, it is Sam's Club icing from the bakery. It has changed my life, lol. We heard about it, tried it and loved it. And everyone, from my kids to my Mom likes it too, which is somewhat shocking. I got so sick and tired of slaving over the mixer only to have everyone say 'It's too sweet'. (Icing, by definition is freaking fat and sugar, so what in the heck do they expect it to taste like????)

Anyway, we get a 5 gallong bucket of white and another of fudge- it is awesome. I blend it 50/50 with pastry pride when I want something lighter, or when I swirl the cupcakes. (The Sam's Club icing crusts almost as soon as it pipes so I have trouble getting sprinkles to stick on the cupcakes). They are each around $32.

Sooooooooo worth it! Oh, and you can add all sorts of stuff to get other flavores, fruit, espresso, peanut butter, etc.



Thank you so much for the info on that. There's a Sam's Club right around the corner from me. I am absolutley going to buy some and try it out. If I can save time making icing, I'd be a happy camper. I'd rather make fondant than BC. icon_smile.gif And your flavor ideas sound yummy!!!!

Kitagrl Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 2:27am

Sometimes I buy them but sometimes I make them...I don't make super nice gumpaste roses so if a cake needs really pretty ones I buy them...if the cake just needs a couple here or there and they don't have to be showstopping...then I make them.

Anyway its cheaper for the customer to get the premade...if I'm going to spend three days making gumpaste roses myself....then they will have to pay me for three days of work! That or $50 for me to order them.

I haven't had time to sit down and practice really doing gumpaste flowers the proper way, anyway.

Doug Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 2:53am

re bought vs. handmade: EXTREME example purposefully made extreme! --

ok... put money where the mouth is and make EVERYTHING needed to live -- i mean the car, the house, the clothes (includes making the cloth so that would entail growing the cotton/raising the sheep/blending up the polyesters and then all the picking/shearing/carding/spinning/weaving/dyeing/etc.) and everything else used to live (got an anvil? a forge? a potter's wheel? a blast furnace? the ability to make semiconductors? etc).

WHAT? Impossible? OH -- HOW SHAMEFUL! to think might have to buy what can't make.

well that puts that argument to bed doesn't it.

Not all are talented in the same ways -- and for some buying is the only option! (don't I know -- right down to paying someone to mow the lawn so I don't go into a total allergy meltdown!)

----

re: OH HORROR EXPLOITATION!!!

how presumptuous (and self-righteous to boot) to judge that it must be "slave labor" making them.

look no further than your local restaurant where the tipped servers are NOT (BY OFFICIAL ACT OF FEDERAL LAW) even covered by minimum wage. Can be paid as LITTLE AS $2.13/hour if classified as "tipped employees"!!! You do tip, don't you!?

the standards and COSTS of living in other countries are NOT the same as ours and we can NOT impute our standards, methods, laws, expectations to them. The $3 we spend on a latte mocha duper super is a months LIVING wage is some places. Further, would we deny them their source of income?

The working poor are right here in America, no need to go overseas to find them -- go talk to any single parent who is trapped in the nether world of ADC, food stamps and still wants to have some kind of job!
and it's whole families trapped there too -- many of them our military personnel!

---

GO FOR IT --- BUY THE FLOWERS (tho' i do think there are other sources to consider such as: http://www.discountsugarflowers.com/default.aspx )

____

rest in peace William Safire -- we will miss your libertarian conservative voice of reason in this overly PC world as well as your punriffic dissertations on the use and abuse of the English language.

CakeDiva73 Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 3:58am

Thanks for the link Doug - I'm going to check it out right now!

Kitagrl Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

re bought vs. handmade: EXTREME example purposefully made extreme! --

ok... put money where the mouth is and make EVERYTHING needed to live -- i mean the car, the house, the clothes (includes making the cloth so that would entail growing the cotton/raising the sheep/blending up the polyesters and then all the picking/shearing/carding/spinning/weaving/dyeing/etc.) and everything else used to live (got an anvil? a forge? a potter's wheel? a blast furnace? the ability to make semiconductors? etc).

WHAT? Impossible? OH -- HOW SHAMEFUL! to think might have to buy what can't make.

well that puts that argument to bed doesn't it.

Not all are talented in the same ways -- and for some buying is the only option! (don't I know -- right down to paying someone to mow the lawn so I don't go into a total allergy meltdown!)

----

re: OH HORROR EXPLOITATION!!!

how presumptuous (and self-righteous to boot) to judge that it must be "slave labor" making them.

look no further than your local restaurant where the tipped servers are NOT (BY OFFICIAL ACT OF FEDERAL LAW) even covered by minimum wage. Can be paid as LITTLE AS $2.13/hour if classified as "tipped employees"!!! You do tip, don't you!?

the standards and COSTS of living in other countries are NOT the same as ours and we can NOT impute our standards, methods, laws, expectations to them. The $3 we spend on a latte mocha duper super is a months LIVING wage is some places. Further, would we deny them their source of income?

The working poor are right here in America, no need to go overseas to find them -- go talk to any single parent who is trapped in the nether world of ADC, food stamps and still wants to have some kind of job!
and it's whole families trapped there too -- many of them our military personnel!

---

GO FOR IT --- BUY THE FLOWERS (tho' i do think there are other sources to consider such as: http://www.discountsugarflowers.com/default.aspx )

____

rest in peace William Safire -- we will miss your libertarian conservative voice of reason in this overly PC world as well as your punriffic dissertations on the use and abuse of the English language.





thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:34am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teekakes

Well, while it may be ok to purchase premade flowers, I think the real question for any of us on an individual level is; Do I want a Hibiscus that looks like this, https://secure.lucks.com/bpcsom/nxcsc.nsf/ItemInformation?openagent&SID=2270CD3B3F230EF58825763E007FD7A2&Item=42494& , or, do I want my Hibiscus to look like this, http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1243118

To me, those purchased flowers look like they are mass manufactured and do not even compare to the ones that can be made by hand, with love. I personally would pay the higher $$ for a cake that is obviously crafted well from inside out..... over the cake that is baked with one standard and decorated by another standard.
Just another point of view icon_wink.gificon_smile.gif





icon_surprised.gif What a great example. I'm starting to consider premade flowers, cause I notice as I (cough,cough) get up there in age my hands are starting to tighten up a bit. But I will probably spend the money at discountsugarflowers, cause they are still pretty good looking. A little more expensive, but definetly more like something I would make.

indydebi Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:42am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teekakes


To me, those purchased flowers look like they are mass manufactured and do not even compare to the ones that can be made by hand, with love.



It's a very good comparison and I see your point completely. I would venture to guess, however, that most cake civilians couldn't tell a mass produced flower from a blow torch (ok, maybe some can tell the diff between THOSE 2 things, but you get my drift! icon_biggrin.gif ).

The examples you give is also a good example of why we should shop around. My cherry blossom cake was made for a friend and she purchased the gumpaste flowers for me. After making the cake, I searched the 'net to find where she bought these flowers. I found a few sites and I recall 2 of them that I rejected immediately because I thought their flower quality was bad.

Like with anything, we should shop around for the best product that meets our personal standards. To some, that means making it themselves ... to others, it means buying the best looking pre-mades. Neither is right or wrong ... just persona' preference.

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