The Phone Stopped Ringing, Should I Go Back Down??

Business By jenmat Updated 29 Jun 2010 , 9:52pm by juststarted

jenmat Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:20pm
post #1 of 25

I have a really busy summer right now, with weddings coming out my ears.
So, I figured, raise my prices, they're too low anyway. June 1 I went from $2.30/serving to $2.45. Not a big jump, right? WRONG!! The phone calls literally stopped, and the last 3 tastings have cancelled because they "found cheaper options."

I really don't think I priced myself out of the market, average wedding cakes around here go from $1.95-$3/serving. I know the economy is blah blah blah, but is EVERYONE looking for a deal? I KNOW my cakes are good for this area, so I am not worried about quality or that my price doesn't reflect my offerings.

So vote here, do I go back down, or stay where I am? And how is raising my prices going to effect my marketing strategy?

24 replies
jenmat Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:21pm
post #2 of 25

BTW- I am talking wedding cakes only. Celebration cakes are a totally different animal for me.

Dolledupcakes Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:31pm
post #3 of 25

Your cakes are awesome, stick to your guns.

mayo2222 Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:36pm
post #4 of 25

Probably just a fluke, leave your prices where they are

tarheelgirl Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:48pm
post #5 of 25

I would leave the increase! Your cakes are awesome and your price should reflect that. Cheaper is not always better either! thumbs_up.gif

sari66 Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 6:49pm
post #6 of 25

Don't lower your prices just up your marketing. It may be just a slight bump but it'll go back to what it was in no time.

jenmat Posted 28 Jun 2010 , 9:51pm
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sari66

Don't lower your prices just up your marketing. It may be just a slight bump but it'll go back to what it was in no time.




Thank you all for the compliments. I do think I did the right thing. I just wish the brides would agree!
sari66- up the marketing- any specific advice that has worked for you to reach the right demographic? I hate to admit that I usually just go to a bridal show and plunk down my samples, displays, and the brides just come running. Now that I'm not the cheapest gal in the place, I need more guidance!!

Jayde Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:07am
post #8 of 25

Pricing for your area is always so hard. I feel for those people who ask questions about pricing and then get jumped on by other members. Pricing is not easy and there is no way that I would have clients if I charged $4-$5 for fondant work. I would be out of business before I started!

With that being said, stick to your guns, I think that $2.50-ish is a decent price as long as you are still staying competitive with your competition, and your skill level is definitely there. Here in St. Louis youd be able to charge a bit more, but its all about the delicate balance of demographics, skill, and what your overhead and costs are.

There is no right or wrong answer either, thats the sad part.

Doug Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:22am
post #9 of 25

yep - you've to the talent.

no wonder weddings "coming out of my ears"

so, they last 3 canceled -- just means a bit of a breather.

---

yes up the marketing.

push the exclusive design angle -- like the sphere cake. How many of competition can do that?

and then many of those special occasion cakes can be rebranded as groom's cakes.

which allows a package deal -- wedding and grooms.

----

the last 3 may have found a cheaper option -- but will they really get what they really wanted and what possibly only you can provide?

----

possibly develop a signature style and set of flavors that will drive competition batty trying to copy.

----

4realLaLa Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:26am
post #10 of 25

First, let me just say that your work is tremendous! Second, all businesses have natural peaks and valleys so don't stress just yet. Give it a little time bc your works speaks for itself. you are pricing closely to your competition so just hang in there. No worries.


OH I forgot to say...Market, market, market!

cheatize Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:48am
post #11 of 25

One of the reasons to increase your price is to weed out the bargain hunters. Perhaps that is what has happened. Also, perhaps right now there is a lag because those with summer weddings already have a baker and there is a holiday coming up along with vacations for people. How long ago did you enact the price increase? Do you charge for tastings? Otherwise, why would someone cancel a free tasting just because someone else gave them a cheaper price? I guess if the other person has already held a tasting, they could have booked fearing they would lose the date. Perhaps your competition is holding tastings faster before they have a chance to taste yours?

samiam22 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:57am
post #12 of 25

I have to say I have looked at a lot of people's websites in my year plus on CC and your website and it's cakes are simply stunning!! There is no way that you should be lowering those prices ..no matter where you live. I live in a small town too and would never be able to charge the prices that some people do..I wish I could but logistically I can't...but with the quality of your cakes..WOW..pack up and move to New York you could be rich..lol.lol.

jenmat Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:58am
post #13 of 25

I agree- I need to up the marketing, I just need to figure out what that is going to look like.
I think cheatize is right, I remember panicking last year because the tastings slowed down during the summer. But they didn't STOP completely.
I do not charge for tastings. I guess I should be grateful that they would be upfront with me in canceling instead of coming in for free cake. You are definitely right, I do have callers who want to come in for cake that DAY, and I just don't offer that. My schedule will not allow it, and I guess I will have to let it go if they want something so immediate.
I have also thought about going exclusive designs, Doug. I guess the pressure of doing only couture designs would be a little too much for me! I should push the higher end stuff though! Not sure exactly how, but that should be more of a focus than it is now.

jenmat Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:00am
post #14 of 25

thanks samiam- a move to New York is not in my future at this point, but hey, it would be cool!

Doug Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:30am
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

I should push the higher end stuff though! Not sure exactly how, but that should be more of a focus than it is now.




One place to start is with a web make over, especially the galleries.

Emphasize the Wedding one LOTS more. De-emphasize the rest.

Declutter and rearrange -- example give all the doll cakes their own gallery, 3D another, so less of a mish-mash.

I was surprised that when I went to your ipage and it redirected to picassa that I found personal family pictures instead of JUST cake pictures. That redirect is too informal -- separate personal from business.

Consider an overall design that plays us the architecture theme -- possibly even go so far as something that looks like a blueprint for making cakes.

While black can look classy, most of the big designers go for modern combinations of pastel colors (cool mint with a chocolate brown for example) for the blueprint theme it would sort of a cornflower blue and white.

eventually, try to get in the habit of taking photos in a stage manner (like done for CC shoot) so have a greater consistency to look (of course a talented photoshop user could rip out the backgrounds and make them more consistent)

----

good point others have made ---

your BOOKED for summer --

and it is SUMMER when things naturally slow down.

(and being WI -- are winter weddings really that popular!?!?! BRRRRRR)

all things in good and proper order! -- do the summer cakes and allow fall and winter to come as they may.

----

hmmm....possible marketing tool (besides doing a referral system) -- some type of freebie or small discount if book early for their 2011 wedding?

and it may be time to start charging a tasting fee that can be applied to cake if they book.

DetailsByDawn Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:37am
post #16 of 25

Where is SnarkyBaker when you need her? Search through some of the old forums - Man, could that girl give some good advice about sales and marketing and business in general. Will be a long read for you, but just look her up in the member's list and start reading away. Lots of luck - your product is incredible and as long as people know what you can offer them, they'll have no problem paying your prices. Those who can't... are not your customers.

jenmat Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:45am
post #17 of 25

doug- interesting points about the website. I can see how an emphasis on the wedding cakes vrs all cakes would improve visibility and a branding so to speak.
Yeah, I need to switch the picassa site. It seems to take forever on my DSL and I just don't have the will for it. Also a good point though. I guess if I want to get paid like an upper-end artist, I should start thinking like one, huh?
Yeah, we don't have very many weddings in winter- we're all hybernating.

Doug Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:09am
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

we're all hybernating.




or playing football or curling or ice fishing!!!

(grew up in central IL -- so have a fair idea of what those winters are like....
still haven't moved far enough south! -- tahiti is looking better and better!)

LuluSweetArt Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:33am
post #19 of 25

Honestly...I can't believe that you're charging so little for the amazing work you do! I know that it all comes down to where you are (out here in San Diego my fondant cakes start at $5.00 a slice, and I'm considered cheap)...but you are an amazing artist. Ride it out...you deserve to get a fair value for the work you do.

jenmat Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:47am
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

we're all hybernating.



or playing football or curling or ice fishing!!!

(grew up in central IL -- so have a fair idea of what those winters are like....
still haven't moved far enough south! -- tahiti is looking better and better!)




I KNOW! The summers here are amazing, but the winters are so brutal. We have a move in the 10 year plan (I hope). I'm not an ice-fisher-woman. I'm a put-on-ten-pair-of-socks-and-pray-for-spring woman!


I WISH I could charge $5 a slice! I guess I could. But I'd never be working!

Doug Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:53am
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

I WISH I could charge $5 a slice! I guess I could. But I'd never be working!




or you'd be working for a very different class of clientele -- the high end, cake snobby class

jenmat Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 7:57pm
post #22 of 25

lol- so update. I always do this to myself- prematurely panicking.

Today so far (its 2 pm), I've had 4 emails and calls, all ready to book, sight-unseen. (well, they saw the website icon_smile.gif

And not one of them baulked at the price!
YAY!!!
Thanks for all your support, am I EVER glad I stuck to my guns!

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 8:43pm
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

lol- so update. I always do this to myself- prematurely panicking.

Today so far (its 2 pm), I've had 4 emails and calls, all ready to book, sight-unseen. (well, they saw the website icon_smile.gif

And not one of them baulked at the price!
YAY!!!
Thanks for all your support, am I EVER glad I stuck to my guns!




icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 8:50pm
post #24 of 25

Your cakes are Beautiful!! Don't lower your prices as other will pick up on your second guessing and think you are desperate for the business.You will get busy again...

juststarted Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 9:52pm
post #25 of 25

I'm so happy it was a false alarm thumbs_up.gif

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