Should I Say Something?

Decorating By powers4god Updated 21 Aug 2010 , 1:53am by smokeysmokerton

powers4god Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 2:41am
post #1 of 32

I have been making cakes for family and friends over the past year to gain experience to one day open a shop. I have never taken a decorating class and I think what I can do naturally is close to what professionals can do. I've taught myself everything and I practice constantly giving away cakes all the time! I only recently started taking pictures, which I wish I did previously. But, anyway....
Recently, a friend thought it would be neat to learn what I am doing so she went to take a Wilton's class. She's making cakes for people and selling them and they are crappy!! She's advertising to the same people that I know and I'm not advertising, but I would like to have them as customers one day. Today, she posted a cake on her Facebook page and it had rhinestones on it and a rhinestone appliqué. It was just one of those peely bling things and I know those shouldn't be put on cakes!!! She's stuck other non-edible and non-food grade items on her cakes before. Should I say something to her about it and how would I go about that?

31 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 5:15am
post #2 of 32

Don't say anything to her.

Looking at your photos, your work is nice and clean, very professional-looking. Do you live in a state that licenses home bakeries, or would you have to open a shop?

Where I live, home bakeries are illegal. Sometimes I am jealous of the people I see selling their cakes illegally...mostly, I'm jealous that they're comfortable breaking the law and that it gives them such an opportunity to practice their skills. There's one person who started advertising on Craigslist two years ago selling (ugly) three tier cakes for $40. She's built her business to the point that she's about to open a shop in an expensive part of town. It makes me feel like I'm stupid for not just going ahead and selling cakes...if I had started when she did, maybe I could have a shop now too...but I'm not a lucky kind of person, I would probably get ticketed and fined and any other sort of trouble possible would come my way.

If you're really worried about the food-safety aspect of your friend's cake business, then you might say something...but ask yourself first if you're jealous that she's doing what you have too much sense to do.

thatslifeca Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 5:29am
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Don't say anything to her.

Looking at your photos, your work is nice and clean, very professional-looking. Do you live in a state that licenses home bakeries, or would you have to open a shop?

Where I live, home bakeries are illegal. Sometimes I am jealous of the people I see selling their cakes illegally...mostly, I'm jealous that they're comfortable breaking the law and that it gives them such an opportunity to practice their skills. There's one person who started advertising on Craigslist two years ago selling (ugly) three tier cakes for $40. She's built her business to the point that she's about to open a shop in an expensive part of town. It makes me feel like I'm stupid for not just going ahead and selling cakes...if I had started when she did, maybe I could have a shop now too...but I'm not a lucky kind of person, I would probably get ticketed and fined and any other sort of trouble possible would come my way.

If you're really worried about the food-safety aspect of your friend's cake business, then you might say something...but ask yourself first if you're jealous that she's doing what you have too much sense to do.





I'm with Texas_Rose on this one. I don't live in the states and don't know your laws, but Texas sure makes a great point.

fondantgrl Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 6:18am
post #4 of 32

If it was me , no I would not say anything.. Let her get in trouble. And when she does, that is her problem. There is really nothing you can do about it. If you say something she would say that your are probably jealous and take it the wrong way. Here in CA , we cannot sell anything we bake at home and I know some people who make them at home and sell them. If they get caught, then they have to deal with the consequences. I wouldn't make it my problem.. icon_smile.gif

mayatlan Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 6:25am
post #5 of 32

Hi:

Don't worry about what she is doing, its not worth risking a fine, or knowing in your heart that you are not doing the right thing

If you do the right thing your time will come when you will be able have your bussines, God will bless you with more clients than you can accept.

Just keep learning more and practicing new techniques, everything will come into place.

powers4god Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 11:56pm
post #6 of 32

I'm in FL and it's technically illegal for home bakeries. However, when I called to ask about it I was told that as long as I'm not publicly advertising, only selling to family and friends, and if I"m not making an amount that would require me to pay taxes on the earnings then they see it as a hobby. I was shocked at what I was told! In my mind a rule is a rule. So, I do not "sell" my cakes. Yes, I have people ask for specific cakes, and in those cases I do ask them to pay for the ingredients, any new supplies I may need, etc. But, I do NOT sell my cakes and I often make cakes and just give them away to friends or family for their special occasions. Part of what bother's me is that people are buying her cakes and they don't look good nor are they quality baked goods. Why wouldn't those same people ask me to make them a cake when mine are much better? (and I'm not just boasting people, I'm not a boastful person) I mean they're crooked, she doesn't know how to properly level it, the fondant isn't smooth at all, and she uses grocery store mixes and icing!! She didn't know there were other brands of fondant besides Wilton's, and Duff's since she saw it in Michael's, and she asked where I buy my fondant. What she does is put together a cake in a few hours and I spend all day long on a cake to make it as perfect as possible! We talk "shop" frequently and I cringe when she tells me what she's doing. As far as the $, I feel like she has more "respect" so to speak because she's charging for her cakes. A close friend of mine bought a birthday cake for her son from her and when I asked why she didn't ask me her reply was one she lives closer, well yes she does, much closer, and also that she felt she should support her "growing business" while I don't have a business yet and I will not be trying to open a shop as soon as her. "She's more serious" I couldn't be more serious, but I'm finishing my midwifery degree and while a cake shop is a dream my plan is to wait until I'm through with school and then we will open a family shop, my hubby like to bake, since I don't have time for more than one or two cakes a month right now. Even as a practicing midwife I'll have more time than I do now for cakes. It just irks me in all aspects of the situation! The only jealousy I have is that she's making money from the people we both know! My fear is that she'll open a shop and then in a few years when I open a shop she'll have mutual friends as customers and it will become a competition between us and change the friendships I have with those mutual friends. But, I can't imagine having a successful shop with the work she does now.
I guess now I'm just venting!! Grr!!

myslady Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 2:58am
post #7 of 32

A lot of people use grocery store mixes and icing. I see nothing wrong with that.

It's hard to see someone realizing your dream before you do. Just because you make cakes, does mean that the people you know are obligated to buy from you when the time comes. From what you wrote, they are supporting her by growing her business, when your time comes, they may do the same for you.

TexasSugar Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 3:51am
post #8 of 32

If you are receiving money then you are *selling* a cake. *Selling* a cake is not defined by making a profit off it.

My question for you would be what do you think you would get out of saying anything to her? I think the best thing would be to keep your thoughts to your self.

There is plenty of room to have more than one decorator in town. If she isn't putting a great product people will figure that out. And some people won't care. To some people cake is just cake and not that big of a deal, especially if they aren't paying a lot for it. How many people buy grocery store cakes just so they can have a cake at an event?

Yankie Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 4:33am
post #9 of 32

I'm wondering why would they go to her and pay when they can get them for FREE from you.

LuluSweetArt Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 4:42am
post #10 of 32

I know how you feel. I am completely self taught and am struggling to get my business off the ground and I have a friend who went to culinary school. Her cakes are just awful, the latest one, a wedding cake, had poisonous flowers stuck in it and was crooked. I would have loved to say something. But I didn't. At this point, what good would it do? It only serves to make me sound bitter that she is getting more business than I am. When you look in the mirror every day you have to be happy with yourself, know that your products are superior, and have faith that someday the world will see how brightly you shine. It's what I have to tell myself.

Texas_Rose Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 8:56am
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by powers4god

But, I do NOT sell my cakes and I often make cakes and just give them away to friends or family for their special occasions. Part of what bother's me is that people are buying her cakes and they don't look good nor are they quality baked goods. Why wouldn't those same people ask me to make them a cake when mine are much better?




That's the heart of the issue, right there.

The reason they ask her to make a cake is that it's a business transaction. When they ask you, it's a favor. Since you won't take money, they'll owe you a favor. There are a lot of people who won't ask anyone for any favor, no matter how much they need (or want) it. Some of those people are buying ugly cakes because you can't (or won't) sell yours. If you had them pay for ingredients and tools and called it selling the cake, instead of calling it reimbursing you for supplies, they would be more comfortable asking you for cakes.

indydebi Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 9:00am
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by powers4god

But, I do NOT sell my cakes and I often make cakes and just give them away to friends or family for their special occasions. Part of what bother's me is that people are buying her cakes and they don't look good nor are they quality baked goods. Why wouldn't those same people ask me to make them a cake when mine are much better?


This is a unique problem! icon_biggrin.gif Most threads on here are venting about family and friends who take advantage of a baker, who are ALWAYS wanting a free cake from the baker!

Texas has a valid point. Evidently you have friends who are considerate and don't want to take advantage of you by always asking for a freebie.

powers4god Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 11:58am
post #13 of 32

So, if I buy a large turkey for a family get together and some family members "chip in" to help pay for it, I'm "selling" my turkey? Which, BTW, our family does this sort of thing all the time, hence the reason I do the same with cakes that I am ASKED to do. The ones I give to friends, I give away, it's a gift for their birthday, anniversary, or whatever.
The same thing applies to my husband who makes dry erase boards for some of our home school friends. They buy the supplies, shower board and wood trim, and he'll build it for them. He uses his own equipment, nails, glue, etc. He is not selling white boards. I disagree with this "selling" theory.

I do have considerate friends. I am blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of Christian families! But they're also loyal. If she were to open a shop and then I open one a year or so later, most likely they will not jump ship to order from me. It's just like how I have several friends who are Stampin Up Consultants, but I only buy from one. I feel like if I bought from someone else I'd be turning my back on the one that I've always worked with. Even though the others are friends, they understand this loyalty.
I feel like if I want to even have a shot, I have to start "charging" for my cakes.

cakeprof Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:17pm
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by powers4god

So, if I buy a large turkey for a family get together and some family members "chip in" to help pay for it, I'm "selling" my turkey? Which, BTW, our family does this sort of thing all the time, hence the reason I do the same with cakes that I am ASKED to do. The ones I give to friends, I give away, it's a gift for their birthday, anniversary, or whatever.
The same thing applies to my husband who makes dry erase boards for some of our home school friends. They buy the supplies, shower board and wood trim, and he'll build it for them. He uses his own equipment, nails, glue, etc. He is not selling white boards. I disagree with this "selling" theory.




The turkey example would not be the same kind of situation as selling a cake for cost. First you did not produce the turkey, you purchased it and family members are helping you defray the costs by offering to help you pay for it. At no time are you selling anything, you and your family are pooling resources to buy something.

Your husband's actions would be a donation. He is offering his labor and supplies for family. Given your description he is not receiving compensation and is even donating supplies to complete the project. If he bought all the components and supplies crafted them and then received $ even if just to cover his costs, then yes he would be selling dry erase boards. Profit is not required for a transaction to be considered selling. This would be akin to you buying ingredients making a cake and then having individuals compensate you for the costs of ingredients.

This kind of interaction is not a donation. Donations are characterized by acts of charity or giving freely--in this case your friends would not be giving freely, nor would you, because to bake for "cost" is a transaction--you are exchanging goods and service for money. It is not a barter situation--you are exchanging your goods for cash. Put another way you are giving up property for something of value.

In the turkey example you do not give up the turkey, either it was an agreed upon shared transaction (you decided ahead of time to share the cost) or your family engages in acts of charity (they give you money to help pay for the turkey without expecting anything in return). You are not selling the turkey.

In the case of your husband he engages in an act of charity giving up his labor and supplies to build something to family and friends. He is not exchanging his labor for money, he is offering freely to family. The comparable situation would be for your family to buy all the ingredients and you bake the cake for them. You would be donating your labor--which is a cost--plus any other expense (for instance gas or electricity if you do it in your home). In either case no money is offered for either service. However when an individual buys the ingredients and makes a cake and then offers it for costs, they are offering a good for money. This is all that selling entails--profit is not necessary. You take a loss, but you still receive monetary compensation.

I empathize with your situation. I am not in the same situation but I do share a similar dream. It is frustrating. But keep in mind people will pay for quality. Loyalty matters but only goes so far. Also right now your potential clients buy from her because she is selling. There is no other alternative, if you were selling now they would likely buy from you. In other words, try not to overestimate loyalty, or rather try not to underestimate the loyalty of these potential clients to you. They buy from her because they have to, while they may want to buy from you--but cannot. Thus buying from her is not necessarily a sign of loyalty but rather the results of limited options. And if you did open a shop, they would just buy from the person they wanted to buy from all along, and probably not view it as jumping ship.

tiggy2 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:35pm
post #15 of 32

Exactly what would you say and how would it benefit you? Do you value your friendship with this perosn?

kansaslaura Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:42pm
post #16 of 32

A wise person once told me... "If in doubt, don't"

foxymomma521 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:53pm
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

A wise person once told me... "If in doubt, don't"



Ooooh, I like that! thumbs_up.gif

thatslifeca Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 2:58pm
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

A wise person once told me... "If in doubt, don't"




Perfect!!!!

powers4god Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 4:43pm
post #19 of 32

"you purchased it and family members are helping you defray the costs by offering to help you pay for it. At no time are you selling anything, you and your family are pooling resources to buy something"

This is exactly how I have "sold" those couple of cakes. I do use much of my own things. My own pans, my own electricity, flavorings, colors, tools, etc. as well as any ingredients I have on hand. The only thing they do is pay for what I need to make the cake they asked for. It is paid by family member or a friend, no one else.
My husband knows what to buy. how much it costs, and then the family gives him the money to buy the board and wood. They do not supply it themselves by delivering supplies to him because they have no idea what to buy or how to have it cut for that matter to fit it in their car. It is a donation. Of time, talent, resources he already has and service. The exact same thing with the cake.
As for the turkey, it's an ingredient basically just as if I were to buy a cake mix. I still have to dress it, make stuffing, stuff it, season it, and bake it. I put it all together for a finished product just as a cake would be. In one case of a cake my friend wanted the imprinted Happy Birthday cake she saw in my Wilton catalog. She physically went out and bought the mat for me. I used all of my own ingredients that I already had in my house. The only exception was the fondant, which I had to order. She paid for it. She didn't know what to buy or where to buy it, but I do, so I made the purchase for her. This is not selling!
I know the subject is a sticky one, but this is what I believe. I believe it is ok, and not wrong in principal, to make cakes and have family or friends pay for any item I may need. I am in no way breaking any rule. In my rule following, Christian mind, I do not have any guilt. I have made dozens of cakes as a gift vs. only a few that someone has specifically asked for and they pay for what I need to complete the project. So, no I am not selling cakes.

As for my original topic, I have no idea what I would say. I just wanted opinions. It was intended to be about speaking with her about her actually selling cakes, since it's technically illegal to do so, and using inappropriate items on her cakes. I've decided to only approach the topic of the safety of the inappropriate items and leave the business thing alone.

myslady Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 12:09am
post #20 of 32

If she is a friend of yours, you should tell her that you found out it's illegal. It's a hard conversation to have, but one that should be had. If a friend knew I was doing something illegal and didn't tell me, I would be more bothered that my friend didn't tell me than actually getting caught.

DefyGravity Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 2:01am
post #21 of 32

I'm going to be in the minority and say you should tell her. Maybe she knows it's illegal, maybe not. If she's really your friend, shouldn't you be honest with her instead of setting her up for failure because you're mad at what she's doing?

3GCakes Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 2:02am
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefyGravity

I'm going to be in the minority and say you should tell her. Maybe she knows it's illegal, maybe not. If she's really your friend, shouldn't you be honest with her instead of setting her up for failure because you're mad at what she's doing?




I agree. Well said.

vtcake Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 7:59pm
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by powers4god

I'm in FL and it's technically illegal for home bakeries. However, when I called to ask about it I was told that as long as I'm not publicly advertising, only selling to family and friends, and if I"m not making an amount that would require me to pay taxes on the earnings then they see it as a hobby. I was shocked at what I was told! In my mind a rule is a rule. So, I do not "sell" my cakes.




That sounds to me like you've gotten permission from someone who should know. I'd call again, ask same question, and write down the name of the person who told you if you get the same response.

If someone within that department tells you these qualifiers, then why are you resisting?

kimblyd Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 8:26pm
post #24 of 32

How about suggesting she join Cake Central?

Chances are she will figure everything out for herself.

icon_biggrin.gif

kansaslaura Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 9:57pm
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimblyd

How about suggesting she join Cake Central?

Chances are she will figure everything out for herself.

icon_biggrin.gif




Bravo!

4realLaLa Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 4:07am
post #26 of 32

My sister has bought me more ingredients than I probably have. She always wants a cake for something or another. Not to mention my friends. If I need unsalted butter I will not hesitate to tell them to buy me some and I will make them a cake. This is not selling cakes.

4realLaLa Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 4:12am
post #27 of 32

Oh I would tell her. It is for the safety and health of the consumers. Speak the truth in love.

julesh268 Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 4:20am
post #28 of 32

I have to say I was very relieved to see the tone of the posts change by the end. If she is your friend you should to do her what you would want a friend to do to you. Tell the truth. Maybe someday you two could be partners if her skills improve with practice.

Honestly, if you know she is putting non-food safe items on her cakes, take the high road and tell her. What goes around comes around in my book!

BTW...you make lovely cakes!

ChilliPepper Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 9:24am
post #29 of 32

I agree with the latter posts. Forget the fact that she has a business and just query whether she knows some of the items she is using are not to food standards. And do tell her to join Cake Central - I've found it to be a great source of info, tips, etc.

CP x

margaretb Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 6:13pm
post #30 of 32

Well, that sounds like a frustrating situation. It would be difficult to tell her -- stop selling cakes -- it's illegal and you aren't very good at it! It might be easier to say, "June, you realize it is illegal to sell cakes from home, right?" Or if what she is doing is not going to get her in trouble except for the advertising, then, "June, you know that the health department goes after illegal home bakers who advertise, right?" Or do the indirect thing -- "June, I'm dying to know how you got licensed to sell cakes. I always thought it was illegal for home bakers to sell in this state." If you often "talk shop" with her, this might work. (I kind of want to try that with a business around here that sells homemade chocolates where they advertise that they are made "at our kitchen table" which is ILLEGAL -- you can't use your domestic kitchen as a food production facility! -- although I'm more interested in finding out if the public health inspector actually cracks down or if we also have one of those situations where they let it slide if it is on a small scale. But admittedly I am also annoyed at them for not following the rules because it is awfully easy to look them up enough to know not to use your home kitchen). Those are about the only ways that I would approach the subject with her, and probably none of them are a good idea. Well, maybe for the poisonous flowers, you should actually say, "Jane, just for future reference, those are considered poisonous flowers."

What I would do, and I actually DO do, is tell people that I cannot sell cakes because it is illegal and I do not have a seperate licensed kitchen. (I also mention that people probably wouldn't pay what I would have to charge to make minimum wage -- but I throw that in so just in case I ever DO start a business they will be prepared for some sticker shock compared to grocery store cakes). So if someone asks why you aren't selling as well, tell them. At least then someone else is getting educated that illegal home bakeries are illegal. Maybe they won't care -- after all, the legal risk is on the baker, but maybe they will, or at least they will be aware of the difference when you open a shop or start a business. And quite frankly, if she is opening a shop but has all her customers used to cheap cake at no-insurance, no-licensing, no-overhead prices, she might be in for a rude awakening on pricing and how much her clients are willing to pay.

As for the turkey/cake debate -- for one thing, if you are eating the turkey too, then it's for your own consumption. It's a little different than selling it to a third party, in which case it probably would be illegal to make it at your home. But also, for some of these things, the LEGAL rule is not always the common sense rule. After all, LEGALLY a corporation is a PERSON and can own property and enter contracts. But it's just a bunch of papers filed and registered, so if you look at it in a common sense way, you would never think of that as being a PERSON. I know our home baking rules make some exceptions for "non hazardous foods" so I could bake bread to sell at a farmers market, but not cake. What's the difference, especially if it was an undecorated cake? That's just the rule that must have seemed best to whoever set up the regulations.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%