Need To Vent....hating Caking Right Now

Business By tootie0809 Updated 26 Dec 2010 , 8:47pm by eXtremecakes

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:24pm
post #1 of 53

Im struggling right now. Ive been in business for just about 18 monthsnot long, I know. But I have been so incredibly busy this past year and business has been so good, that Im tired, burnt out, and now getting to the point that I have just about completely lost all love for anything with cake. I have a bakery in my home, and on most days I have to force myself to go and start working.

Ive never been a people person, and for the most part I dont enjoy people. Some I get along with really well, but I just dont love talking with people. Its not my thing. Just doing tastings/consults, etc. that it requires to book a cake is exhausting for me most days. I have 2 bridal shows coming up in January that I have already committed to months ago and cannot get out of them without losing all my money, and I am already cringing to think of doing them, all the work that goes into it, and all then all the social skills and being on that it takes to talk with so many people.

I know Im in need of a good break. I have 3 wedding cakes to get finished this week and then I am taking the rest of the year off (sounds better than 2 weeks, which is what it really is). I am hoping I can get some clarity and find my love for caking again during this downtime, but I dont know. There are more days than not that I want to just close my business down and tell off a good number of people in the process.

To top it all off, I had my first really, really unhappy customer call me last night to berate me and try to make me feel as horrible as she possibly could about how bad she thought the wedding cake for her precious daughters wedding was. Ive been feeling so uninspired and struggling to find my cake joy way before this lovely woman called me, and this has just been that tiny straw that broke the camels back.

I feel horrible to feel this way about something I wanted so badly. I keep repeating the saying Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it over and over in my head. I am grateful that my business has been growing and Im doing well that way, but what happens when you get what you want and now dont know if it really was what you wanted?

Sorry, I just needed to vent a little bit. Even though it doesnt solve anything, it releases a little pressure, so thanks for listening!

52 replies
kimmisue2009 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:36pm
post #2 of 53

I am no pro, so you won't get pro advice or golden words of wisdom. But, first of all, I looked at your cakes and find it impossible to believe that you put out work bad enough for a tongue-lashing. Your cakes are beautiful. Some people are not. I think there is a very tricky dynamic that goes along with caking. It seems so very light and frivolous on the surface. After all, it's just cake, right? You eat it. It's gone. BUT there is a tremendous amount of pressure that comes with having what amounts to a very important centerpiece of people's special events.

No one realizes the time and pure BLOOD that goes into these cakes. I was gonna swoop in and save the world with cake. And the joke was on me. I couldn't sell my cakes legally, but there is not such an exhorbitant amount of money in them that I couldn't afford to give them away. It was fun at first. But people have no problem taking your very last vestige of time and energy. And they have no problem letting you know if you don't measure up. I did not have the level of responsibility with mine that you do, because I was giving the stuff away. With paying customers, they feel like they've bought you in a sense. At least a part of you.

Maybe just take a step back, give yourself a break and reassess after the holidays. You are an excellent caker.

Merry Christmas!

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:48pm
post #3 of 53

I posted a photo in my photos of the cake she absolutlely hated. I liked it, but apparently I'm incompetent, the cake ruined the photos at the wedding, and am a major disappointment. It's the cake with gold bows.

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:54pm
post #4 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmisue2009

I am no pro, so you won't get pro advice or golden words of wisdom. But, first of all, I looked at your cakes and find it impossible to believe that you put out work bad enough for a tongue-lashing. Your cakes are beautiful. Some people are not. I think there is a very tricky dynamic that goes along with caking. It seems so very light and frivolous on the surface. After all, it's just cake, right? You eat it. It's gone. BUT there is a tremendous amount of pressure that comes with having what amounts to a very important centerpiece of people's special events.

No one realizes the time and pure BLOOD that goes into these cakes. I was gonna swoop in and save the world with cake. And the joke was on me. I couldn't sell my cakes legally, but there is not such an exhorbitant amount of money in them that I couldn't afford to give them away. It was fun at first. But people have no problem taking your very last vestige of time and energy. And they have no problem letting you know if you don't measure up. I did not have the level of responsibility with mine that you do, because I was giving the stuff away. With paying customers, they feel like they've bought you in a sense. At least a part of you.

Maybe just take a step back, give yourself a break and reassess after the holidays. You are an excellent caker.

Merry Christmas!




Thanks Kimmie! You said some things spot on that I feel. People think once they pay you for something then it gives them the right to abuse you. I appreciate your sympathy! I know only other fellow cakers can truly understand the ups and downs of caking. Merry Christmas to you too!

FrostingKrista Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:58pm
post #5 of 53

You are an AMAZING caker! A couple of weeks off is just the thing you need!! I work in a Real Estate Office and the one thing I have learned is that you need to pencil in time for yourself everyday before you burn out icon_smile.gif I was feeling the same way about cakes as well - I have agreed to do so many that I no longer have my weekends off and regret agreeing to do them for people lately (not to mention most weeknights I am doing something in preparation for them- I have no desire at all to do the cookies or the cakeballs that I was going to do for the office for Christmas).
I hope your Christmas off will make all the difference and you will rekindle your love of Caking!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

UpAt2am Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:00pm
post #6 of 53

i can totally relate...with a few things you said. i launched 18 months ago too and my business exploded! it was great b/c i'm doing so well...i never lack for customers, and i'm turning people away every weekend. BUT, i wasn't prepared for it! i have two toddlers at home (i work out of my legal home bakery) and i can't afford a nanny of any kind to help me. so i work during nap times, and at night after they go to bed. and when i'm cranking out 6-8 cakes a weekend, i'm not getting much sleep. plus, it's hard that i never leave my work...it's always staring me in the face. my home is my office, my office is my home. to put it simply, i'm barely keeping my head above water. i am a people person and love consults and maybe that's b/c i have a 100% booking rate right now icon_smile.gif

here's what i've found that helps me...doing free cakes once a month. not for customers ever, but for charities, my minis birthdays, my daughter's preschool staff, a surprise cake for my mom b/c she's awesome, etc. and although it's hard for me to squeeze in a "free just because" cake, when i'm making it, i'm so happy. i get to pick the design, i have no pressure if something doesn't turn out perfectly, if i don't finish every detail, etc. it reminds me why i loved caking to begin with! and b/c these people don't expect the cake, their reactions are priceless icon_smile.gif

and at the end of the day, i try to remind myself how lucky i am to be able to have a job that keeps me at home with my minis...a lot of moms can't say that and i know some wish they could. so i don't want to take that for granted. hope you feel better...your cakes are beautiful!

jackmo Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:02pm
post #7 of 53

tootie, your cakes are beautiful!!! i believe that person who berated you was doing that beacause she did not want to pay all that money she shelled out. people can be so wicked now days. you need a sabbatical . get you some rest away from caking for awhile untill you are ready to come back to it.

floral1210 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:11pm
post #8 of 53

You seem as though you are truly discouraged and unhappy. If that is true, and baking is what is making you so, by all means, give it up. There is no shame in admitting your dream wasn't what you had hoped. You have a talent, and that talent will come out in some other way, if not through caking. If the thought of just throwing in the towel makes you feel as if a weight has been lifted, then it is the right thing to do. We only go around once in this world (at least, I THINK we do), and usually it is too short a time to be saddled to what makes you miserable. Your work is lovely (couldn't find the cake you posted about), and anything else you pursue in the artistic vein will be lovely as well. You will find what makes you happy and comfortable, as long as you don't let yourself be trapped by "obligation". If you can afford to lose the money, bail on the wedding shows, too. No sense attracting more business that you really don't want.

tazmycat Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:12pm
post #9 of 53

I gave up making cakes years ago for that same reason. Now I only do one when I want to and for free (office parties, family, etc.) Haven't regretted it.

On a different note, do you have anyone reliable who could stand in for you at the bridal show so you won't have the stress of having to deal w/ all the folks asking questions?

cakesdivine Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:15pm
post #10 of 53

If you are doing that well then hire some help! Get yourself a great PR person who can learn or already knows caking, and can be a positive front for your biz. Sit down and look at what actually it is that drives you batty about your business. If it is the "front of house" hire a competent person to handle that for you (sounds like this is your main issue). Your current attitude is coming through in your caking. You are not a people person yet you threw yourself into an industry that people to people contact is paramount in your success. So start there. If you can't stand the bookkeeping aspect hire an office manager to handle the "biz" part of your business. If you hate the baking process but love the decorating process hire someone to bake for you. If it is the otherway around then bake and hire a decorator. All those positions can be very part time to start, but it sounds as if they are necessary to save you from yourself...LOL!

Lizzard1 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:22pm
post #11 of 53

I totally undertand how you feel, except I don't have a booming business like yours. icon_smile.gif I keep going back and forth whether or not I wan't to commit to it. I love doing cakes and the ones I do are for people I know and I don't sell them.

I am not a people person, the idea of just consults with someone I don't know terrifies me. I have to applaud you for your courage. icon_smile.gif That is the main reason I can't commit to a real start-up business. You give me hope that someday I can 'get over my self'.

I truly hope things get better for you after the holidays. You are so talented and your cakes are beautiful. I love the gold bow cake, its classy and gorgeous. That women is out of her mind and is most likely on a power trip and she probably thinks people are beneath her. (ehhh people)

Keep doing what you do because you're awesome!!

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:26pm
post #12 of 53

LOL! I made a mention to my husband just last night that isn't it funny that I decide to get into a business where dealing with people is such a huge part of the business and I am one that doesn't enjoy people! We laughed about how ironic that was. I've thought about hiring someone, but even though business has been very good, I'm still in the early startup stages of business and I actually don't have a lot of extra money. I am lucky to pay myself a few hundred dollars a month. Because the business is still new and I'm still paying back money that I depleted my savings account with, etc. I actually don't make a lot right now. So while business is booming, extra money is not. Just about everything is going back into the business. I am seriously toying with the idea of just trying to suck it up through the end of the next busy summer wedding season and then call it quits after that. We've been thinking about starting a family anyway, so maybe this is my sign that it's time to actuall take the plunge and do it!

Thanks for all the words of wisdom, opinions, and understanding. It is much appreciated!

cakedout Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:32pm
post #13 of 53

Sorry to hear about how you are feeling. I've been there as well. Take the time off, and do as suggested earlier: assess your business. If you would like to continue caking, hire someone to do "front of house" jobs. I hired a PT baker when I had my business. I couldn't pay her much but she saved my sanity. thumbs_up.gif

If you just want it over, don't feel bad about closing. You had a dream and you gave it a go - and it was successful! Well done! Better to go for your dreams, then never try and regret it for the rest of your life.

Have a wonderful 2 weeks off! icon_smile.gif

StephsCakes72 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:32pm
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

If you are doing that well then hire some help! Get yourself a great PR person who can learn or already knows caking, and can be a positive front for your biz. Sit down and look at what actually it is that drives you batty about your business. If it is the "front of house" hire a competent person to handle that for you (sounds like this is your main issue). Your current attitude is coming through in your caking. You are not a people person yet you threw yourself into an industry that people to people contact is paramount in your success. So start there. If you can't stand the bookkeeping aspect hire an office manager to handle the "biz" part of your business. If you hate the baking process but love the decorating process hire someone to bake for you. If it is the otherway around then bake and hire a decorator. All those positions can be very part time to start, but it sounds as if they are necessary to save you from yourself...LOL!




I agree with cakesdivine. I have a business painting art for children's rooms. I love painting, but I was getting stress answering emails from my retailers and direct customers. I couldn't sleep at night and I literally got a knot in my stomach answering the phone. A friend of mine took over all of this. I did pay her, but she was part time. In no time, I began to love painting again. Recently, my fiance's niece has helped me as well. She is happy with some money in her pocket and a full belly.

I hope you find your love for this again. You truly have a gift.

cakesdivine Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:36pm
post #15 of 53

Hmm, I still say find a PR person who can learn the caking front end well enough to be your "face & voice". Make them a sales consultant and pay them on commission and on a very part time basis. Maybe for working a bridal show they get a flat fee to be your company rep. Then any sales that actually generate from the shows (ie: actual paid bookings), he/she gets a commission. If you are cranking out the cakes as you say you are or you are turning biz away, then hiring a part timer to help will most times make you more money because you aren't having to turn away business. It sounds scary at first I know, but you might be surprised. Plus, if you hire now it could free up some time for yourself and your family.

But if you do decide to "give it up" if you are in a storefront business, contact a business broker and sell your biz, don't just walk away empty handed.

kimmisue2009 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:45pm
post #16 of 53

Oooh oooh! I changed my mind! I vote make a baby! They are sooooooooooo much more fun than cake!

Chasey Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:49pm
post #17 of 53

I totally agree that you should take a break and then give it one more shot. If you can make it through wedding season and you still hate it...hang up your apron and get to baby makin'! icon_biggrin.gif

BTW, what did they hate about that wedding cake? It looks elegant and vintage to me. What did she say she wanted? Were you duplicating a picture? How did she describe it?

I am very curious to know what image was in her head. Surely it was the mental visual that didn't line up right because the execution looks fantastic!

Spuddysmom Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:54pm
post #18 of 53

cakesdivine has excellent business sense; but it does sound like you are ready to give this up for several reasons. Sense you hate dealing with customers and cannot afford to hire someone to do the consults, make only a few hundred a month after 18 months of a "booming" business and are sort of planning on quitting after next summer why bother with the bridal shows? You say goodbye to the money you put down but then you don't have to bother with more stress than necessary. Do you have a pal that can sit with you at the show if you have to do it? If you decide to continue in caking as a career - you do need a people person as a type of mediator. Your work is wonderful and you can always do that just for the art of it, while pursuing other interests.

cai0311 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 5:06pm
post #19 of 53

Have you thought about a price increase? People preach on here all the time when you are swamped, raise your prices. Usually you end up with the same amount of money but less orders, so less stress. If the orders keep coming at the same rate you will have some extra to pay a PR person.

VaBelle Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 5:12pm
post #20 of 53

Since you can't pay much, have you thought about recruiting a teen or college person or someone just interested in gaining some experience? I'm new to cake decorating and learn better from someone than trying to figure it out on my own and would love to work a few hours a week for someone in trade for experience. If a few bucks were thrown my way here and there as a bonus or something, so much the better. If they're a people person, they'd probably be more than happy to help out with the clientele and trade shows.

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 5:30pm
post #21 of 53

The cake was actually a copy of my own design. They didn't like the placement of the bows.....say it was so far apart that it will ruin the pictures. And yes, the bows are about 1.5 inches wider than the original cake design, but I've done this same style cake at least 10 times and always put the bows where I feel they look best and have never had anything but rave reviews on them. Then their other issue was with the color of the gold. They think it is too brassy. The lighting in their venue was very, very dark and gold as it is, so I tried to explain the power lighting has on colors. It was a perfect gold shade in my lighting in my bakery. I do have in my contract that they signed that lighting affects colors and that I have no control over how a color may look in my lighting versus the venue's lighting. So the placement of the bows and the color of the bows and ribbon were what made this cake unacceptable and "ruined the beautiful room."

I admit I need a break bigtime. I am a very emotional person, and while I'm pretty hot right now after talking wtih this woman last night and also just feeling burned out from a long year, I know that a break may be the ticket. I have 2 weeks off. Then 2 weddings early January and a bridal shows the first weekend of January. Then I'm off to Maui with my mom and sisters for 12 days. Then back to another bridal show immediately when I get home. I don't have another wedding cake until early February, so I am really hoping with this time off, vacation, and reduced work schedule over the next several weeks that I will pull my head out and come back to find my original love of caking. As for people, I mostly grin and bear it, but there are days I have a hard time not wanting to strangle someone. Maybe I need to take up drinking to deal! icon_wink.gif I kid, I kid! LOL!

jenmat Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 5:45pm
post #22 of 53

Tootie, if you could write MY biography right now, you wouldn't need my help.

I find people draining. Don't get me wrong, there are some people I adore, but there are those that get their energy from people, and there are those that need to recharge after an evening out. I am the latter, and I assume you are too. If I never had to answer the phone or another email, I'd be happy. My business is booming, but I still don't see the profits I should, because I'm not charging enough. I throw my heart and soul into every cake I do, and the creative energy expelled on each and every cake is leaving me a hollow shell. I miss my little girl, and my hubby is tired of being "babysitter" instead of a family.

The only difference is I am in the biz for 3 years on my own, and I'm SO burnt out that I am finally ready to make some big changes.
We are going to straight wedding cakes, and celebrations over $125. It was either that or hire someone, and honestly, in my small bakery, another person would both be expensive and DRAINING!!!
You're right, the time off will help a lot. It won't help forever, but it will definitely allow you to recharge your emotional and creative batteries. Be VERY protective of that time, don't let people push you towards taking orders just because you don't feel like arguing with them. Don't apologize for needing that time- cake design is like any art- it is very emotional and personal.

And that stupid lady who called and complained is being ridiculous. Don't cave in and don't let it bother you. (and I know if you're anything like me, you won't be able to let it go, but TRY!!!)

Chasey Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 6:16pm
post #23 of 53

Wow, I think she (MOB or bride) was being very dramatic with the "ruined" the look of the room comments! Thankfully your contract states you can't control lighting of the venue. That is an awesome statement that covers such an exact complaint, I am impressed it's in there!

As far as the bows being larger and too far apart, you managed to take a picture that showed them off very well. How many freaking pics of the cake do they need that show every inch of it in every picture?! icon_confused.gif Two good shots for the album and the rest should be focusing on the bride and groom WITH the cake. That's my opinion anyway.

Were they picky at the consultation? Are they asking for a refund? Did they eat the cake? I know this is just the straw that broke the camel's back, but I don't want it to take all of the wind out of your sails. That was terrible timing to get negative comments when you are already feeling this way! It sounds logical with the info you've shared that this complaint is over the top picky and the drama of it "ruining" pictures is made up.

Your trip to Mauii sounds fabulous! And for what it's worth, you come across online as being a people person. Maybe you are shy or dislike the center of attention? Either your cake is phenomenal or you're more of a people person that you give yourself credit for since you book so many orders! I think it must be both. icon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 6:24pm
post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311

Have you thought about a price increase? People preach on here all the time when you are swamped, raise your prices.



I second this. If you have reached your capacity for a specific week, you need to turn away any additional orders for that week. If you find yourself turning away orders left and right, either expand your production capacity or raise your prices until you have just enough business to keep you busy without being overworked.

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:16pm
post #25 of 53

She hasn't asked for a refund......yet. After listening to her complaints on the phone, I politely asked what I could to do make her happy. She said she wasn't sure and wanted to talk to her daughter first. She also made mention that she wanted to see how the photos turn out because she's sure they couldn't get a good photo of the cake with both bows. I left it at that. She said she'd call me back, so who knows if she's going to complain if the photos don't turn out right and now it's my fault that the wedding album will be ruined with unacceptable photos of the cake. She did tell me that, while she didn't get a chance to have any of the cake because it apparently was all eaten, she did say she heard from the guests that it did taste very good. That was the only positive thing she had to say. So I know the cake was eaten and enjoyed. I had even thrown in a free cake for the bride and groom to take with them on the wedding night to be enjoyed later. I also didn't even charge her for the bows to begin with, but if she does decide to ask for a refund, I am thinking it would only be fair to offer her a refund for what I would have charged for the bows, since that was her main complaint. We'll see what happens. I just want to get it done and over with. I don't want to worry about when she will decide to call back.

And please don't get me wrong, I don't loathe everyone! LOL! I do enjoy a lot of people. Some of my clients have been beyond wonderful to work with. It's just crazy how you can have 5 or 10 pleasant people, but you get those 1 or 2 that make you hate all humans, and that's not fair thinking, but I get that way sometimes. My husband pointed out this morning all the lovely, lovely people I've worked with. I went back through several emails and comments I've saved from past clients that write back to tell me how much they loved their cakes and how happy I made them or how much the cake exceeded their expectations. That helped me a lot just doing that. I had over 100 customers this year, and this is the 1st one of all of them that I've heard negative comments directly from. I've had about 20-30 of those customers this year who have called or emailed me with thanks and praise. My hubby is helping me put into perspective that I need to focus on all the happy people, not the miserable never-will-be-pleased people that are out there. I've still had some difficult clients in the past that made it hard for me to love the process of doing their cake, but I either didnt' hear from them after the event or did hear from them and they turned out to be happy with the outcome, so this was the first time I had someone turn into a diffucult person after the event.

I just went for a 10-mile run to clear my mind and try to get some happy endorphins through my system. I am feeling a little better now. Trying to to keep rehashing the conversation from last night. I am also trying to focus on the absoultely adorable bride's cake I am doing this weekend. She is a joy and her cake has been one I have been looking forward to the past couple months, so maybe doing her beautiful cake will pull me out of this funk.

Thank you all for the help and support. It means a lot! icon_smile.gif

Chasey Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:21pm
post #26 of 53

What a gem of a hubby you have! Enjoy your runner's high and your upcoming cake. icon_biggrin.gif

diamonds-and-rust Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:22pm
post #27 of 53

Sorry, but this woman is an idiot. Your cake is gorgeous and very elegant. She is obviously just looking for a way to screw you out of your well-desered money. I wouldn't refund her a single cent.

tootie0809 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:28pm
post #28 of 53

Chasey, I just have to say your signature line is just hilarious! I love it! I have to borrow this and tell it to my mom and married sisters. So funny!

cakesdivine Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:44pm
post #29 of 53

tootie, don't give her any refund. The item was beautiful, and completely eaten. She has absolutely NO grounds for a refund. If Judge Judy heard this complaint she would laugh at that woman and throw the case out. And if you counter sued due to harrassment, she would probably rule in your favor...LOL!

You delivered exactly what they ordered and all of it was consumed...END OF STORY! Put this PITA biotch out of your mind, and if she does call again, don't answer the phone!

costumeczar Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 7:46pm
post #30 of 53

Tootie, are you sure the woman you talked with didn't call me up last night right after she hung up with you? I had the same kind of experience with a MOB complaining about the wedding cake, and she basically told me that she was going to trash me all over because of it. I know the cake was fine because I used the same cake batches to do tasting appts on Sunday. She mentioned that she had spent a lot of money on the wedding and had hired a band, and that everythng was really expensive, so I think she was just out to recoup some dough, and when I told her I wouldn't refund the cost of the entire cake she flipped out. The venue where she had the reception also told me that she followed them into the kitchen and told the chef to cut the cake pieces really small so that she could take the extra home. She denied that, but told me that the entire bottom tier was left over, then said that it wasn't, then said that it was, etc etc etc.

Even though you know they're being irrational it still gets to you. I already had to have wedding wire take down a 0 out of 5 review that she posted up there under a phony name. They couldn't verify it, so it came down. I'm all irritated about it because I know that I'm going to have to watch out on all the review sites to see where else she decides to post something for the next few weeks.

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