I just started my home business and getting more requests through referrals. I'm finding a few who are coming to me with very little guidance, just a theme, say Power Rangers. No other input. I struggled to get them some designs and even drew sketches and one came back and not liking them and finally sent me some pictures she found on-line. I was wondering if I am doing too much for a special occasion cake (bday). Is this normal for wedding cakes too (I have two tastings next week). Just wondering what everyone does when a potential customer approaches them about doing a cake. Do you require that they come with more concrete ideas? I want to provide the best customer service as possible but don't want to spent too much time and not getting anywhere.
Thank you so much in advance.
If someone has a general party theme, then I make the cake match the theme. Very rarely do I get specifics.
Weddings are different, brides generally have an idea of what they want. or at least what they really hate.
So would you determine the final design? Do you have the customer approve it. Maybe I'm thinking too much about this. I am finding myself going back and forth with the specifics thank you.
I make the bride ok the final design of the wedding cake.
for just a simple bday cake I just give them a few ideas over the phone (no sketch) and if they come up with something better I go with it.
You take control of the conversation. You are the expert. They are pretty much expecting YOU to tell THEM what the cake will look like.
Seriously, assume I'm a cake civilian and I tell a baker "I want a Power Rangers cake." If she sent me email after email with "what about this? what about that? How about this one?", then I'd be finding another baker. I'm a cake civilian, not a cake designer. That's YOUR job. Stop "bothering me" with the details. Just make my dang cake.
Take control. "OK...Power Rangers. Let's do a cake this size with this color and I'll do blah-de-blah-de-blah on it. That will serve 35 and the price is bloopity-bloop. Sound good? Great. I'll need a deposit and let's set a time for final pick up." Boom. You're done.
Don't spend hours on a $75 cake. You're losing money. You're overthinking it.
No I don't do back and forth. I look at the invite, or whatever photo inspiration or color scheme they send me...and coordinate that way. I don't get a final ok for a party cake.
Wedding cakes have one design session one month prior, so they have time to decide what they want. If they don't give me any specifics by the 30 day point, I design based on what was discussed at the initial consult. I don't do these last minute changes like you see on some of the cake shows.
I try to get as much information about what they want as possible before I design. What colors fit the theme? Do they have an invitation to go by? Who is it for? How old is the person its for? What do they like? Based off client info I can get an understanding of what they are going for. I usually do a preliminary sketch while im talking with them so I can see what works and explain to them what it will look like. If they really want to see it I will email it or send a picture text, but most of the time they will go with what I design. There is no back and forth.
I have found that people like when they can see an image of what their cake will look like. With brides I do a preliminary sketch at the consultation of thier concept. There may be 2 or 3 different drawings on the sheet which they pick what elements they like. After the consult I draw up a final inked and colored image to show them. They aprove the design and price and then production can begin.
I do this because I love to draw and people seem to like seeing their cake drawn up. I like having a reason to break out my copics. The final inked image goes into a sketch portfolio when im done.
This is probably why there are so many people who turn down those celebration cakes.
My email correspondence goes like this most times:
"Hello, I'd like a power rangers cake for next Friday. What can you do?"
Me- "Well, that depends on your budget- you can do a round cake for $$, a sheet cake for $$, a 2D cake for $$$ or a 3D cake for $$$$."
That is where it ends. They don't get to pick exact design unless its above a certain price point. If they say, "well, what exactly will it look like?" I come back with "If you would like something specific, feel free to Google that type of cake and I can price it for you." Otherwise, I need flavor, filling, icing and message.
You have to learn to streamline the process. Good Luck, that's why these cake can be so annoying!!!
Thank you everyone. This is all very helpful!