Ixtli Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 3:08pm
post #1 of

How should I handle this? I'm not the one doing the bad-mouthing, its the other baker/decorator, and its starting to get really irritating...
A little background is that I started my home business 5 months ago (all is legal) and there was only one person that would do cakes other than the local grocery store so I became her competition in a small community.
I built a flash website, had quality business cards printed, made cakes for my portfolio and started off by spreading the word and hosted an "open house" tastings & consultations. I also do monthly specials, referral program and specialty desserts,
Well, right away she hosted a tasting also, added monthly specials and added same desserts. Her website looks very amateur as do her cakes and the nicer ones were photos stolen from other sites (they actually still had the watermarks from their original sites. She claims 3yrs of cake decorating schooling including wedding cakes, I don't want to sound mean, but her work is very amateurish...
I feel that there is enough business for the both of us, but now I am hearing from several people she is peddling cakes asking people where they're getting their cakes and "I hope you're not getting it from ____ cause her cakes are _____" -referring to me.
From the beginning I keep hearing from clients that they're glad I started my business b/c they needed a professional in the area, that the other lady's cakes taste blah or the decorating is not what they hoped, etc... and that they had no choice cause she was the only choice.
Anyways, I've kept my opinions to myself, specially not mentioning anything to clients, I just smile and say I let my cakes speak for themselves,
but now its really bugging me because its so junior high to be badmouthing people like that, I do not feel threatened by her at all since I already have bookings all the way into Dec and she's advertising she has most of July still free. -Maybe that's why she is doing this, but some of my clients when they mention what she is saying they also say to confront her about it, I don't know if I should or not...
Have any of you dealt with a childish competition before and how did you handle it?


sorry its so long, I tend to babble sometimes icon_smile.gif

17 replies
leah_s Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 3:13pm
post #2 of

At this point I think, just take the "high road" and do let your work speak for itself.

Denise Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 3:17pm
post #3 of

Why confront her? People like that aren't worth the waste of oxygen. Your bookings speak for themselves. The fact that your customers are telling you they have confronted her themselves is enough. Smile and be professional. You will be the bigger person and no one can twist around what you don't say!

"The Dogs May Bark But Your Caravan Will Keep On Rolling"

Rhett Butler said this to Scarlett...let the dog bark. Keep rolling in your business and good luck!

Ruth0209 Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 3:54pm
post #4 of

I'm with Leah. Let your work speak for itself. If you live in a small community, people probably already have her "number" and word travels fast when people find a good business with a good product.

And, never, ever say a bad word against her to customers.

RedDarlene Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 4:11pm
post #5 of

If you let her words get to you she wins! So when someone brings up another baker, simply say, "I cannot speak for her but I do ........." and take the opportunity to tell about yourself.

Trust me, she will get the message when she looses business. People don't want to deal with a business that is not customer friendly. Good luck!

catlharper Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 4:44pm
post #6 of

I agree...if you react to her, respond to her, then you are just stooping to her level. Keep stressing to your public that you put out a great product and eventually she'll shut up. It's like Mama always said, ignore the bully and eventually they will go away. Your way of standing up to her is by being a huge success..which if you are booked into December then you ARE a huge success!

Cat

CookieMakinMomma Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 5:15pm
post #7 of

I think the fact that you have bookings through the rest of the year and she is still trying to fill each month as it comes should be sign enough that her badmouthing isn't affecting your business at all! The best approach would be, like everyone else has said, to stay very professional about it. Privately, however, you can laugh yourself silly over the fact that she's probably hurting herself more than she'll ever hurt you!

Frankly, if I had nothing but two websites as you describe and her insults, my thoughts would be: "the unprofessional looking one says the professional looking one isn't that good? Well, even if she's right I'd rather take my chances with someone who presents themselves as a professional and not an obvious amateur!" The fact that the bad mouthing comes from her and not others automatically lessens the impact, so unless there are a notable number of people who start leaving bad reviews then her words will have little or no effect on you.

On a side note, I wouldn't look down on the fact that she started tastings and specials after you did. That is just good business sense to keep up with competition. She definitely crossed the line when she started talking smack, but being competitive is very different from tearing down others to try and make yourself look better by comparison. This may be obvious, but I just wanted to put it out there. icon_smile.gif

CoutureCake Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 5:28pm
post #8 of

Something is still bugging you about things, and don't discount that, you can let it bug you, but continue to not make an "issue" out of it when you hear about it... Just learn the eye roll and continue the response you've got of taking the high road and let whatever it is roll off of you. I had the same thing going on from time to time and you know what, people learn her as spouting her mouth off and it is what it is and don't take it too seriously. The more of an issue you draw to it the more your customers will notice whereas if you let your personality, products, and pricing speak for themselves you'll continue to get referral business.

kansaslaura Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 5:59pm
post #9 of

You will never regret being the bigger person and staying classy through this. ....think political ads!

I get so tired of mudslinging I don't want to vote for either one by the time it's over!! Sooo--never stoop DOWN to her level--obviously she's threatened by you or she'd have never started this smearing!

momma28 Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:23am

if you let what other people say bother you, you can be controlled by anyone willing to lie about you.

high road is my vote icon_smile.gif chin up sweetie, been there.

Ixtli Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:24am

Thanks ladies,
I feel that, too, giving her any attention would be going to her level. We live in a small military base where people are constantly moving in and out, and it bothers me that even one person might believe her when I have put so much work and effort into my business... and with so many people telling me I should speak to her directly, for a moment I started wondering if that would be the right thing. But your comments reaffirm my belief... just be graceful about it and continue focusing on my business...

CookieMakinMomma: I agree, I don't mind a little competition, I believe it challenges a person and pushes you to better yourself and business, but directly bad-mouthing me seems a little too desperate icon_smile.gif

CookieMakinMomma Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 1:40am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ixtli

Thanks ladies,
I feel that, too, giving her any attention would be going to her level. We live in a small military base where people are constantly moving in and out, and it bothers me that even one person might believe her when I have put so much work and effort into my business... and with so many people telling me I should speak to her directly, for a moment I started wondering if that would be the right thing. But your comments reaffirm my belief... just be graceful about it and continue focusing on my business...

CookieMakinMomma: I agree, I don't mind a little competition, I believe it challenges a person and pushes you to better yourself and business, but directly bad-mouthing me seems a little too desperate icon_smile.gif


thumbs_up.gif

weirkd Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 1:58am

I agree. And Im sure its not making her look any better. She is burning bridges big time! I hear all the time that one of my local competitors is not up to par. But I dont say a word to my customers about it. My cakes speak for themselves! And when you do take the high road, you will get much more business from word of mouth and she will get less not only for her pettyness but because her quality.

theonlynameleft Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 4:51am

I would definately just let it be "water off a ducks back". Obviously nobody is worried about what she says. I have always found when it comes to business people are only loyal to a point and at the end of the day will go to the person that does the best work for the least money! And obviously people think your work is great and thats why you are getting so much business. As for other people telling you to confront her, other people have a tendancy to love confrontation when it's somebody else putting themselves in the firing line! Its not worth the hassle!

costumeczar Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:29pm

I have to disagree. I've found that a quick phone call to someone who's talking trash will usually stop them. If it doesn't then she'll just continue to make herself look bad, but it never hurts to call and say that you're aware from customers that she's been badmouthing you, and that you'd appreciate it if she would stop, based on the fact that what she's saying is slander. She'll probably hem and haw and deny it, but as long as you stay calm and tell her that you've heard the same thing from many different people, she'll know that she's busted. Don't get mad or nasty, but confronting a bully is generally a good way to stop them. If you're worried about your business's reputation then you shouldn't just ignore it. You could also have a couple of people with you to hear your side of the conversation if you think that she'll turn around and say that you called to threaten her. If you're in a small town situation word will get around pretty fast that she's makign it up.

Loucinda Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 2:20pm

IMO, it is not the right thing to do to bad mouth anyone at anytime...I know there is a lot of supposed "anonymous" ways to do so - especially on the internet. BUT, it is always seen by someone - and gets back to others. It definately makes the ones doing the trash talking look bad, and very juvenile.

Kudos to you for taking the high ground!

Price Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 2:47pm

My vote goes to the ignore her side. I absolutely hate it when I go into a business and they bad mouth the competition. I will not do business with them because I think it is very unprofessional. My guess is alot of people feel the same way about this lady and that's why they are now coming to you! Just know that you provide your customers with a good product and good service and that's all that matters.

cakesbycathy Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 9:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I have to disagree. I've found that a quick phone call to someone who's talking trash will usually stop them. If it doesn't then she'll just continue to make herself look bad, but it never hurts to call and say that you're aware from customers that she's been badmouthing you, and that you'd appreciate it if she would stop, based on the fact that what she's saying is slander. She'll probably hem and haw and deny it, but as long as you stay calm and tell her that you've heard the same thing from many different people, she'll know that she's busted. Don't get mad or nasty, but confronting a bully is generally a good way to stop them. If you're worried about your business's reputation then you shouldn't just ignore it. You could also have a couple of people with you to hear your side of the conversation if you think that she'll turn around and say that you called to threaten her. If you're in a small town situation word will get around pretty fast that she's makign it up.




I TOTALLY agree here. It's one thing to take the high road when the PITA next door neighbor tells everyone your cakes are dry and you don't sell them just bring them to the backyard picnic. It's completely another thing when someone is trying to damage your business. You can call this woman on her behavior and still be professional about it.
I wouldn't even place a phone call. A politely worded letter from an attorney should do the trick.

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