How Do We Compete With This...really??!!

Decorating By Donnabugg Updated 26 Jan 2010 , 8:15pm by cor39

Donnabugg Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 3:51am
post #1 of 33

So I went to a baby shower today and was anxious to get there and see the cake. Being fairly new to this whole caking thing I love checking out other cakes and getting an idea of what costs what. So I was told they got the cake at Sam's Club and paid $16 for this cake!! And it was good too! There's no way we could do this cake for anywhere near this price. So I look to all my fellow cakers for advice....how do we compete with this...how do we overcome this when this is what's in peoples minds? I KNOW I work painstakingly on my cakes and put all my heart into it...but in the end does this REALLY matter to people? I'm not at the point of selling cakes but not sure how I'm going to overcome the "price" thing when it does come up. Okay...sorry this was so long! Thanks for letting me get this out. icon_redface.gif

http://graphics.samsclub.com/images/051309ServBakery-Baby.jpg
(It's the umbrella shaped cake)

32 replies
catlharper Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 3:57am
post #2 of 33

Donna,

While that was cute I could do it in my sleep. What I mean by that is it wouldn't have taken me an hour to put it together, including baking. A real cake artist is viewed just as that, an artist. Check out my Winnie The Pooh Hunny Pot cake...the sister in law of the Mommy to be was THRILLED to pay 150.00 for that cake and it was the centerpiece of that party. Sure the umbrella is cute but no one will be talking about it for weeks to come, the SIL says people are still talking about the Hunny Pot weeks later. One type of cake is a nice addition to the party, the other is a work of art centerpiece. And there will always be people out there who value the artwork over the simple cake. Keep working, honing your art...there will be an audience (clientel) for you out there!

Cat

aundrea Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:15am
post #3 of 33

yes that is a cute cake. but did the actual cake look like the picutre? i ask because i see in so many stores they have a photo album to choose your 'custom cake' and the cake you get looks very different.
because the decorators at the grocery stores can never truely duplicate the one in the album.
before i stated making cakes for family/friends i would order these speciality cakes and the cake i received was never like the one in the photo.
and i see it too-example price chopper and stew leonards have sample speciality cakes on display and honestly they look horrible! they are asking min. of 50 per cake and i wouldnt pay it!
after making my own cakes/frosting for years now- i cant even stand the taste of store bought cakes. no offense to anyone who works for the supermarket chains- this is just my own opinion.
and yes- while sams club and such do charge a low price for their cakes- you have to remember, your cakes are truely custom made. let your customers (or family/friends) that noone else will have a cake like the one you are making for them. if they go into a supermarket to order their cake- that same cake has been done several (probably hundreds) of times before. their cake is unique to them.
i know its discouraging- but you are an artist and a baker and should be compensated for both.

caseyhayes Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:20am
post #4 of 33

Chin up! I've found out that people will pay extra for something different.

_Jamie_ Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:29am
post #5 of 33

Eh, looks like typical grocery store to me! So, what I do, is distance myself from annnnnything a grocery store could ever come close to. I don't offer sheets, flat designs, and I sure as heck don't do cupcake cakes (shudder). All cakes are 4.5 to 5" tall, with designs you just don't get out of a book. The closer you are to what a grocery store does, the more confusing it is for clients to understand your pricing.

LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:33am
post #6 of 33

You don't. Catlharper hit the nail on the head. My 14 year old could do that cake. I am a "CUSTOM" cake designer, not Sam's, not Wal-Mart, not any grocery store. And they are definetly not me. I make a fresh cake with fresh buttercream, made out of high quality ingredients with custom designs, specific and catered to my clients needs and wants. if they want to pay $16 they are welcome to go to Sam's.

Texas_Rose Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:46am
post #7 of 33

Think about it this way, you can go to McDonalds and get a cheeseburger for a dollar, or you can go to a fancy restaurant and order a $50 steak. They're both going to fill you up, but which one is going to be more satisfying? Or another example...you can drink Boone's wine or Cristal and you're going to get a buzz from either one, but which one is going to make you feel more special?

That's how the cake thing is, grocery store cake vs custom cake prices. The grocery store has their customers and custom bakers have theirs. There are plenty of people who will pay for a fancy cake to make a special occasion even more memorable. Then there are people who sit there and say, "It's only cake, just flour and eggs and sugar, how can it be so much?" Let those people go to Walmart or Sams for their cake while you bake for the steak and Cristal crowd icon_biggrin.gif

Kandy4283 Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:01am
post #8 of 33

your cakes are very pretty Donna! We are our own worst critics!!!! Kep your head up! They will come no matter the pricing if the cake is great! I have learned that! I just recently raised my prices and people are still coming and loving it!

madgeowens Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:10am
post #9 of 33

My ten year old grand daughter could do that haha........at 16 dollars they over paid lol....I can't imagine it tasting good...I have had walmarts crap and it is not good

dandelion56602 Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:13am
post #10 of 33

Well, I needed this thread after I just quoted $103 for a 8" round candy cake (that was the "ornate/top of the line"). I looked at prices of candy while out today & that stuff isn't cheap b/c you have to buy a pkg to get a few or a lot of candies--pkg still costs the same. But to have a lollipop bouquet & Nerds sprinkled on top, sides covered in LifeSavers & a mound of jelly beans around the bottom board (candy was $23 alone). So, I needed to hear others think the same. My fear is she'll buy the cake & decorate it herself & say I did it (b/c I sent a description to help her visualize)!

But your cakes look great & yeah, their eyeballs may pop out of their heads. But remember your cakes aren't for everybody. Just like everyone can't afford to drive a Bentley, not everyone can afford to eat your cakes. But I'd rather be known as a good specialty decorator than one that makes any sale. And heck, $16 wouldn't cover ingredients!

prterrell Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:26am
post #11 of 33

We can't compete price-wise. ALL grocery stores/warehouse clubs sell their cakes for a loss. They lose money on every single one. The bakery is what's called a "loss-leader". It gets people in the store. The store makes money off of people buying everything else they need for the party, since they're already there getting the cake.

Ultimately, it's like the difference between buying an outfit at Wal-mart and buying Haute Couture. One is custommade art, the other is not.

Donnabugg Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:33am
post #12 of 33

Thank you all...I realize the cake shown isn't anything spectacular but these people were all GaGa over it. I suppose what I needed was validation from my fellow cakers that what we do is beyond special and can't be purchased for 16 bucks in the refridgerated section of blah blah blah. Thanks again!

Mensch Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 8:28am
post #13 of 33

Aw Geez, I wouldn't even want someone to say Walmart and my business name in the same sentence.

I can't compete with the. I DON'T WANT to compete with them. I don't want to make cakes that look like my nephew went at it with a piping bag.

Honestly, someone who seriously considers ordering a cake from WalMart was never my client in the first place.

rozzle Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 9:46am
post #14 of 33

isnt that just cupcakes as well?? i have only just got into cake decorating and sorry to say think i could do something more original than that. I am no where near at a point of selling cakes nor will i ever be but im sure i could compete with that, and after all you get such a better flavour from home made cakes rather than shop bought cardboard tasting things lol

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:00pm
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnabugg

Thank you all...I realize the cake shown isn't anything spectacular but these people were all GaGa over it. I suppose what I needed was validation from my fellow cakers that what we do is beyond special and can't be purchased for 16 bucks in the refridgerated section of blah blah blah. Thanks again!




I think that people are so used to mediocre-tasting baked goods (because they get them from Walmart or wherever) they just don't know there's any difference. I know that I've had cake from Sam's and it ISN'T good, but other people still think that it is, because they don't have anything to compare it to.

It's like if you've only gone to the high school theater's production of Cabaret, and that's all you know, you think it's great. Then you go see it on Broadway and you realize that you've been missing something icon_rolleyes.gif

vagostino Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:15pm
post #16 of 33

you don't compete with them. The customers that want a Sams/walmart cake are not your target customers. Nothing wrong with either. There is different people with different taste and different budgets.
The same way Tiffany's doesn't worry about competing with "Claire's" , you don;t worry about how to compete with Sams!

By the way I just look at your pictures! You are at a whole different level girl! Don't even put yourself in the same category! BTW....you can bake from home in NC...get an inspection and start selling your beautiful cakes!

Darthburn Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:20pm
post #17 of 33

You also should consider that going to Sam's or Wal-Mart... she probably had the whopping choice of white (ohhhh, aahhhh) or chocolate (ahhhh, ohhh) cake... and that's it. Tasteless whipped frosting on top. Sure I believe it was good... cause I love sweets. But it wasn't like getting a custom flavor.

Bring her a piece of Red Velvet or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip or Tres Leches and see if she honestly thinks Sam's cake holds a candle to it. I'd rather hear my guests tell me, "This is the most DELICIOUS cake I have ever had!!" that to try and impress them with, "I only paid $16!"

Besides, how personalized can they really get? They stamp out probably 20 of those a week... same look, same writing, same everything. Coming to you will get details and intricacies custom and special to that particular person.

It's depends on how you sell it.

Donnabugg Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:50pm
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by vagostino

you don't compete with them. The customers that want a Sams/walmart cake are not your target customers. Nothing wrong with either. There is different people with different taste and different budgets.
The same way Tiffany's doesn't worry about competing with "Claire's" , you don;t worry about how to compete with Sams!

By the way I just look at your pictures! You are at a whole different level girl! Don't even put yourself in the same category! BTW....you can bake from home in NC...get an inspection and start selling your beautiful cakes!




Thank you! I am working on how to get that done...I have a dog so for now my family is "stuck" eating the cakes I make! icon_biggrin.gif

Again, it wasn't that the cake was great but more how do I get a person to go from being used to paying less than $20 for a cake to what we would need to charge for our cakes. But someone put it well..."those aren't our customers anyway". Ya'll are awesome!

tarheelgirl Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 3:07pm
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Quote:

Honestly, someone who seriously considers ordering a cake from WalMart was never my client in the first place.




Ditto!

You have to find that certain group of customers you are going to market to. Not everyone can afford me and that's fine!! Don't give it a second thought about trying to compete with the Walmart or any grocery store chain for that matter.

Smashme Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 3:32pm
post #20 of 33

i was so spoiled growing up, we had the best cake shop anywhere. And yes there cakes were cheeper, but they could make alot. It wasn't even the way the cake looked it was the taste. Anyway, when i got married my DH moved me away, and thats why i started cake decorating. I have kids now and i don't want them having the walmart cakes...i want them to be "spoiled" too icon_lol.gif

rozzle Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 3:35pm
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smashme

i was so spoiled growing up, we had the best cake shop anywhere. And yes there cakes were cheeper, but they could make alot. It wasn't even the way the cake looked it was the taste. Anyway, when i got married my DH moved me away, and thats why i started cake decorating. I have kids now and i don't want them having the walmart cakes...i want them to be "spoiled" too icon_lol.gif




i quite agree i always remember the cakes my mum used to make me but as we grew up and she went to work we ended up with supermarket cakes and tbh i dont think i remember what any of those cakes actually were but i remember every single one she made. I want my little girl remembering her cakes for how special and unigue they were

chocomama Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 4:05pm
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelgirl

Quote:
Quote:

Honestly, someone who seriously considers ordering a cake from WalMart was never my client in the first place.



Ditto!

You have to find that certain group of customers you are going to market to. Not everyone can afford me and that's fine!! Don't give it a second thought about trying to compete with the Walmart or any grocery store chain for that matter.




Exactly! And, once you find those people, they will come back again and again and they will tell THEIR friends, who think the way they do, too.

sugarjones Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:13pm
post #23 of 33

Just the other day, someone asked me if I could make them a cupcake cake. I said "No, I don't do cupcake cakes" and they said "But isn't it just a bunch of cupcakes put together with frosting on them?" So I said, "Exactly. That's why I don't do cupcake cakes". I just don't want my company name to be associated with something like a misshapen, creepy butterfly! I watch Cakewrecks, I know there are tons cupcake cakes in the archives! icon_smile.gif

lecrn Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 5:59pm
post #24 of 33

If people want to spend $16 on a cake, they deserve a $16 cake. A $16 cake would be a generic flavor & design that was mass produced to sell @ WalMart. That design has probably showed up @ many, many showers & will show up @ many more. Sure it may be "cute" to those that have never experienced a professional cake before, but it would not compare to a cake that you could create.
There's nothing wrong with buying a $16 cake, but I personally wouldn't think it would be worth the calories.

prterrell Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 7:12pm
post #25 of 33

Cupcake cake, ptewie! I curse whomever invented those blasted things.

As for how to "convert" a Wal-mart customer to *your* customer...usually it's by them being at an event where one of your cakes is. Once they see that there's a difference, they'll be willing to pay for the good stuff. If not, then they're either a miser or don't have working tastebuds. icon_lol.gif

Growing up, almost all my clothes came from Wal-mart. Then, as an adult, my mom bought me my first outfit from Coldwater Creek*. I was hooked. I *do* still buy clothes elsewhere (cause my big ol butt won't fit into everything they make, but I'm workin' on that!), namely Avenue (only store that shapes their pants to accomodate big butts...did I mention I have a really big butt? icon_lol.gif), but I'm slowly working towards having a Coldwater Creek only wardrobe. Yes, the clothes are more expensive, but the quality and styling is impeccable.

You get what you pay for.


*It's not Haute Couture, but it's the closest this middle-class American housewife will get in her lifetime. And, yes, if I were rich enough (and skinny enough!), I would buy style-house clothing and Haute Couture.

Donnabugg Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 12:58am
post #26 of 33

prterrell....Your sense of humor makes me smile! Ya'll are awesome and great "soup for the bakers soul"! Thanks so much for all your advice, encouragement and camaraderie....

Butterfly325 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 7:20am
post #27 of 33

icon_smile.gif I worked at sams during the christmas season, excited to get a chance to practice working with buttercream and I was disappointed to find out that their cakes were frozen icon_sad.gif cupcakes too. Also, there are no fillings.The member didnt have much room to personalize the cake, maybe just change the colors, but it had to look exactly like the picture in the album. I felt bad every time I told a person we couldnt do something as simple as make peace signs on the cake. We weren't allowed to change anything because of our 'low' prices and the decorators had to decorate at least 6 cakes in one hour, and it showed in their work. Not that they were bad, but they were so focused on quantity that the quality went down. We, on the other hand, put a lot of time and thought into our cakes and offer flavors other than white or chocolate. At sams we used to make the same cakes over and over again, how boring! I'm pretty sure none of us have ever made the same cake twice icon_biggrin.gif There's no competition if you ask me. They may be cheaper, but we offer a way better product. If they can't see that, then too bad for them. Let them eat thawed cake!

Lovemesomecake Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 1:20pm
post #28 of 33

Donna,
I just looked at your cakes and they are 100000 times BETTER than that cheesy Sams Club mess!!!! Maybe the people at the party aren't use to seeing YOUR cakes so they think any cake is cute.

Imagine if YOU had done a cake for the shower!!!!!!

KHalstead Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 2:35pm
post #29 of 33

I agree, you pay more for "custom" anything.......including cake!! I wouldn't pay MORE than $16 for that cupcake cake......now for a "custome" cake.......I'd definitely pay!

There's is a difference between picking out a cake from a book and designing a special cake to your specifications. You can't walk into wal-mart and tell them how you want the cake decorated. All you can do is pick one out and it will look like everyone else's cake that "picked out" that same design. BLAH! Who wants it?

djs328 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:02pm
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarjones

Just the other day, someone asked me if I could make them a cupcake cake. I said "No, I don't do cupcake cakes" and they said "But isn't it just a bunch of cupcakes put together with frosting on them?" So I said, "Exactly. That's why I don't do cupcake cakes". I just don't want my company name to be associated with something like a misshapen, creepy butterfly! I watch Cakewrecks, I know there are tons cupcake cakes in the archives! icon_smile.gif




LOL!!!!! That's exactly what I think of whenever I see a cupcake cake!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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