Michele01 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 8:32pm
post #1 of

I don't know what is going on lately with brides. I have had my licensed home bakery for 2 years now. No one has ever had a problem with my establishment, and they are usually quite pleased when they see my set up. I have pretty much booked every consultation that I have had. I know that is not realistic, but in the past two months things have changed. I have had two no shows after they found out I was a a licensed home baker. Have had people show up and tell me that they had to be honest, but they were leary about coming to someone's home. They all end up saying they were impressed with my work, and felt better about it though. Only to go home and not book. Then send an email saying they are going with another vendor, but will refer me to their friends who are getting married. Why say something like that? Your friends aren't going to order from the person you didn't order from. Then I have customers email me, ask for a quote, and request a consultation, only to ignore me after I tell them it's in my home. I don't get it. Is there an article in a bride magazine saying not to order from us, or are big bakeries bashing us with the economy? Or....maybe people are just going with the cheapest decorator. I do a thorough cleaning everytime I have consultations, so I know it's not that. I am just getting really agravated. icon_mad.gif

219 replies
indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 8:45pm
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one of the "Ten Questions to ask your (any weddingvendor)", is "are you licensed and insured?" Then usually a short discussion on legal home bakers vs. storefront bakers.

Do you have an FAQ page where you can list that you are licensed and inspected? When they ask for an appointment, do you nip it in the bud with, "Consultations are in my home as I am a legal, licensed home bakery ... just as clean, legal and licensed as any storefront bakery only without the higher overhead! If needed, I can provide copies of my license and insurance to your venue, as I know that some require that before they let just any cake come in. Now, I have Tuesday and Thursday open ... which works best for you?"

It sounds like they don't understand the difference so you just need to spend a little time educating them. thumbs_up.gif

Price Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 8:57pm
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Indy, You always give the best advice. thumbs_up.gif

Michele01 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:00pm
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I usually tell them in the email that I am insured and licensed/inspected by the Va. Dept. of Agriculture. I figured letting them know that I get inspections, they would feel better about it. I like how you have worded it, and may use that if you are ok with it. icon_smile.gif I have a FAQ page that I give them as well. I also have a portfolio where the first two pages are my business license and my inspection certificate. I just don't know.... Not going to give up though. I am still getting orders, just not as many as I would like. Thanks Indydebi.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:04pm
post #5 of

Soooooo, which bakery/storefront did ya' piss off? Your story sounds like it is the result of some doing much more closer and personal than some random magazine articles.

Michele01 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:12pm
post #6 of

Jamie, what do you mean by that? I don't even talk about storefront bakeries, other home bakeries, or any other competition. That has always been my number 1 rule when talking to customers. If you need to trash talk another bakery, you obviously aren't confident enough in your own. That is not the way to make a sale. I don't know if that is what you mean, (not saying this in a hostile tone.) icon_smile.gif Please explain.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:16pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele01

Jamie, what do you mean by that? I don't even talk about storefront bakeries, other home bakeries, or any other competition. That has always been my number 1 rule when talking to customers. If you need to trash talk another bakery, you obviously aren't confident enough in your own. That is not the way to make a sale. I don't know if that is what you mean, (not saying this in a hostile tone.) icon_smile.gif Please explain.




I don't know what you do and don't say about your competition, I have no clue. My impression, by what you said, is that this is the result of someone local to you. Sorry, that's my impression. Suggesting that this is not the result of magazines, or anything else. It's a possibility.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:19pm
post #8 of

It's possible to get the attention of another bakery by being good at what you do and being a real competitor to them. Puts them in the "uh-oh!" mentality. A small minded person would/could make "little comments" to potential customers such as "Oh yeah! She does good work. She's a home baker though ..... never know about some of those!" icon_rolleyes.gif Seemingly innocent but a jab is a jab and it plants the negative thought.

Not saying this is what's being done, but you don't hvae to flat out say anything bad about someone to tick 'em off.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:20pm
post #9 of

But you say you never mention other bakeries, so I guess that's not it. It was a thought though, because something or someone gave them second thoughts. It's just odd to hear that people are truly freaked out by something like that, especially after having visited. I think people give those magazine articles a little too much credit. I have never encountered anyone spouting that garbage at one of my consults.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

It's possible to get the attention of another bakery by being good at what you do and being a real competitor to them. Puts them in the "uh-oh!" mentality. A small minded person would/could make "little comments" to potential customers such as "Oh yeah! She does good work. She's a home baker though ..... never know about some of those!" icon_rolleyes.gif Seemingly innocent but a jab is a jab and it plants the negative thought.

Not saying this is what's being done, but you don't hvae to flat out say anything bad about someone to tick 'em off.




Yes! Thank you, this too!

Michele01 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:30pm

I don't know if storefront bakeries are bashing the home bakeries or what. I guess my only thought is that there is a bakery that just opened up down the street from me. We don't really have that many store front bakeries around here. It seems to be a chain bakery from the website. Maybe people see them and they are taking the brides. They have more money to advertise with, so maybe that is the case. Don't know, just needed to vent.

Jessica1817 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:32pm

Michele, I'm in your neck of the woods! Its interesting the customers are leary of going into someone's house--I'm leary of having the clients come to mine icon_smile.gif I hold my consults off-site; I think this takes the focus off "home-business" and onto the cakes. Sometimes I don't hear back when I'm scheduling a consult and tell them I am licensed out of my home, but I've never actually been told they are uncomfortable with me working out of my home.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:36pm

I was in a coffee shop in St Helena California just North of Napa, muy uber upscale area, and would you believe a florist was conducting a wedding consult at the big round table right next to mine--it was fascinating.

LaBellaFlor Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:41pm

I'm with Jaime & Indy. You are possing a threat to some store-front, and they may be making slight of hand comments. I'm located in Central VA and the most popular baker here is at home-based.

Or I could be wrong.

Mensch Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:46pm

You must be wrong, because sleight of hand means prestidigitation. icon_razz.gif


*just to be a know-it-all*

PattyT Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 9:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I'm with Jaime & Indy. You are possing a threat to some store-front, and they may be making slight of hand comments. I'm located in Central VA and the most popular baker here is at home-based.

Or I could be wrong.




I agree with those who suspect that a local storefront is probably saying things like that to your brides - especially since it has just started happening.

My DH worked at a golf course with a large clubhouse / catering facility. A friend told their Event Rep that another facility was telling everyone that the golf course was going bankrupt and wouldn't be in business by the time their wedding came around. Meanwhile they were flourishing and nothing could have been further from the truth.

If brides are interviewing others, someone else may be planting these ideas.

Mensch Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:03pm

Man, I just can't imagine dissing the competition publicly (what I say to DH at home is another thing....).

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:05pm

Like life isn't hard enough as it is huh--this makes me tired.

But it's only conjecture
--nobody knows for sure--so the good news is--do a little creative marketing/education like Indy suggested and maybe just consider also offering the idea of meeting at a cool coffee shop.

It might just be that they know someone in another state that got a bad deal from a home baker.

I'd try & forget the possible sabotage and be grateful for the heads up that ultimately can strengthen your business. Yes?

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:09pm

Yeah, as many can contest to in here, those that dis publicly and try to sabotage usually end up being the ones that lose. You have the license, you have the past experience and satisfied people....fugghedabout it. That new bakery might go broke soon....and back to business as usual. If that has anything to do with anything.

Michele01 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:10pm

I get leary with customers in my house as well, but I feel that holding my consultations offsite may give them the feeling that I am hiding something. When a customer goes into a bakery, they get to see where their cake is being made, to check for cleanliness, etc. I by no means at all think your way is wrong. icon_smile.gif I actually thought of doing that when I first started, but I don't think I want to try something new at this time.

Jessica1817 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:26pm

You've got to do what works best for you. I know most of the home bakers in our area hold consults at their home, but with 2 young children its a safety issue for me (paranoid, I know!), and the customers don't seem to mind. PM me with your info, I'd love to have someone else to refer customers to!

snarkybaker Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 10:31pm

I own a storefront. When we meet with brides who announce they are going to " shop around" or some such phrase, we ABSOLUTELY do remind them that -

1- We are the only baker in the area with an A rating from both the health department and Better Business Bureau

2- That we have a a staff of 5 full time pastry chefs and that most home bakers are 1 peson operations. We remind them that they should ask what happens if they get sick on the Thursday or Friday before their Saturday wedding. ( I them show them the print out we have of the CC pages pointing out that bakers and their kids get sick all the time, and they cancel cakes on short notice when they do, or worse yet, they actually make the cake when they are contageous)

There ARE benefits to buying your cake from a commercial bakery, just like their are benefits from buying from a home baker ( no overhead, usually more fexibility, knowing exactly who is going to make your cake etc.) It would be foolish of a storefront baker not to point out the upside of doing business with her. It sounds to me like you need to work on your sales pitch.

niccicola Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 11:14pm

I don't hold consults in my home because, frankly, I don't feel like putting my house on show when it's not my house I'm selling. I have 2 kids with TONS of toys and I don't feel like having to rush around cleaning my house spic-and-span before clients come over.

I meet them at Starbucks LOL

Or Panera Bread.

And I STILL don't have Brides booking with me. I don't care too much, though. Since i am a home baker, I don't NEED the business. I take business as it comes, as I feel comfortable in allotting time for.

My point is, don't take it personally. You win some, you lose some. thumbs_up.gif

costumeczar Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 11:57pm

I work out of my home and I specifically tell people that I'm licensed, but I also add "the Health inspector comes and inspects my kitchen." For some reason, people always say "REALLY?" to that. I don't know what they think I mean when I say I'm inspected, but for some reason pointing out that the health inspector actually walks through the door and look inside my house seems to be a novel idea.

This does sound like someone is bashing home businesses in general, or your business specifically. It's not unheard of, even though it's totally unprofessional.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 12:09am

My kitchen is licensed and insured but still I do feel like it turns people off. I have four boys and sometimes my kids are out playing when people come and pick up a cake and stuff...and other little things I wish could be more professional but I can only work with what I have...but anyway yeah I do think it turns some people off...maybe especially brides.

Honestly I don't know if I'd have ordered a cake from a home baker myself when I got married (for full price)! The people who do order seem like they are shocked (and happy) that their cake that they pick up actually looks professional (like the ones on my website, some say...well REALLY? haha) because I'm doing it from home.

zdebssweetsj Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 12:33am

I work from home also, not licensed just for friends and their friends and so on.... I work a full time job with a wonderful company good pay, excellent benefits. As much as I'd love to have that full time dream it's not likely to happen. When I have a referral that I don't know I usually meet them at Books-a Million coffee shop. I bring samples and and buy their coffee, I've never left without a commitment (deposit). I only have time to make 3-4 cakes a month so I guess I'm not a threat to anyone LOL

Michele01 Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 12:37am

[quote="snarkybaker"]I own a storefront. When we meet with brides who announce they are going to " shop around" or some such phrase, we ABSOLUTELY do remind them that -.[/qu

Not trying to bash storefront owners, or get into a home versus store front wars lol , just replying to her post:

Just out of curiousity, how do you know that you are the only
baker in your area with an A rating from the health inspector and BBB?

As far as people working while they are sick......I have a back up plan and would never, ever, ever cancel on someone at the last minute.Store fronts could very well do the same thing. Lets say you book enough cakes for the amount of employees that you have. 2 are sick that week. Do you have a backup plan to fulfill their orders?? Also, if my kids are sick, they are NOT allowed into my seperate bakery room. You also have sick people coming in and out of your bakery.

Not to be rude, but I don't think that I need to work on my sales pitch. I don't feel it's necesary to waste my time telling people why they need to book with a home bakery versus a store front. The one thing I do tell them is that I only do 2-3 cakes a week, so that I can focus on their cake and make it the best quality they deserve. I don't even mention storefront bakery in that sentence. I simply show them my portfolio, tell them about my experience, draw up some ideas for them, let them try samples, and give them the price. I don't push them into purchasing from me, and let them think about it. It sounds to me that you are focusing on keeping brides away from home bakers versus yourself.I really can't believe you have printed things off of CC to help yourself get a sale. If your work is good, you'll get the cake. I guess everyone has their own method though. If that is what works for you....go for it.

Loucinda Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:47am

Michele - I am betting it is the economy right now. You know what you do works most of the time. I wouldn't sweat it. I am with you, I do not put down any of the bakers in my area. Why try to make someone else look bad - I know what I think of folks that do that.

Lenette Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 3:04am

I guess I look at it as if I am not dead, the cake will be there. I got up less than 10 days after surgery because I had a wedding to do. I am a one person operation and there is no shame in that.

I did have 1 person that didn't book with me because of it and I say more power to her!

I don't think there is a need to mention the competition either. The bride is there to see what you can do. I am really amazed by some of the comments here.

Deb_ Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 3:18am

[quote="Loucinda" I am with you, I do not put down any of the bakers in my area. Why try to make someone else look bad - I know what I think of folks that do that.[/quote]

thumbs_up.gif

I couldn't agree more and as an owner of 2 businesses I wouldn't stoop to that level.

As a consumer, NOTHING turns me off more then a salesperson that bashes his/her competition....NOTHING.

As a licensed home baker myself I think we need to "advertise" to our clients the fact that we are licensed, inspected and insured. I know my clients appreciate the fact that it's just me making their entire cake in a controlled atmosphere.

Hey, BW doesn't happen to live in your town does she? I know she's NOT a fan of home bakers....... icon_rolleyes.gif Know what I'd say to her....tough! lol

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