Limiting Business Just To Fondant Cakes?

Business By cakegirl1973 Updated 21 Feb 2011 , 10:21pm by cakegirl1973

cakegirl1973 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 3:12am
post #1 of 21

Hello! I am wondering if anyone out there has limited their cake biz to just fondant cakes. I love working with fondant and would really enjoy just focusing on this as my art.

I have noticed that no other cake businesses in my area are fondant only, probably because I find that most people I encounter in my area have either never tried fondant or they don't like the taste. Also, a lot of people do not want to pay more for fondant.

I have a legal home based biz on the side and have a day job, so cakes are not my sole source of income. So, even if my orders decrease from this switch, I do not rely on my caking to keep a roof over my head. That being said, I don't want my biz to dwindle to nothing at all because I only do fondant cakes.

If you have chosen to make your biz fondant only, how have you dealt with the "fondant phobia" to encourage people to give it a try? Also, how have you approached promoting your business to this (presumably) smaller market? If you have limited your business in other ways, I'd love to hear from you, too. Thanks in advance!

20 replies
pinkpiggie78 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 3:32am
post #2 of 21

I don't have a fondant only cake biz, but I will say that what you mentioned is true, at least in my experience. Most people either don't like the taste (or only know wilton fondant) and/or have no desire to pay for a fondant covered cake.

That being said, it's your business and if you are happy with getting fewer orders, then go ahead and go fondant only. I don't think it is much different than setting a minimum or not doing certain types of cakes/cupcakes (for example I don't do cupcake cakes or cupcake mosaics).

annie84 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 3:57am
post #3 of 21

I would also like to know if others have limited their business to fondant only cakes. I can't stand the way my buttercream cakes turn out, they always look horrible to me. I spend pretty much the same amount of time working on buttercream as i do fondant but since I think they look amateur, i can't charge nearly as much.
The "fondant phobia" is also an issue... I've tried explaining that it locks in the moisture of the cake and can easily be peeled off, as there is buttercream underneath, if someone doesn't like it but this never seems to make a difference.

cakegirl1973 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 4:09am
post #4 of 21

Re: "Fondant Phobia" -- I am making a cake for my cousin's son's birthday next weekend as my gift to him. Try as I may to get my cousin to agree to a fondant cake (again, a gift so cost is not an issue), she wants buttercream because it is "kid friendly." Even after explaining to her that there would be bc between the layers and the fondant could be peeled off. So, I will be making a sheet cake/kitchen cake (that's a whole separate issue) with buttercream. Bummer.

icer101 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 4:12am
post #5 of 21

Lots of people peel off any name fondant. It is the texture, mainly ,that they don,t like. Use enough b/c under it or ganache to make it worth peeling off the fondant. lol!!!

silverdragon997 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 4:44am
post #6 of 21

I do fondant cakes only, because I can't get a buttercream only frosted cake to look pretty enough! I need to practice more doing buttercream cakes. I turned down an order this week because they wanted it frosted in buttercream only. I know I wouldn't want to give someone a cake I'm not proud of, so for the moment, fondant only.

cakegirl1973 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 5:24am
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverdragon997

I do fondant cakes only, because I can't get a buttercream only frosted cake to look pretty enough! I need to practice more doing buttercream cakes. I turned down an order this week because they wanted it frosted in buttercream only. I know I wouldn't want to give someone a cake I'm not proud of, so for the moment, fondant only.




Do you find yourself turning down many orders because they want buttercream? Do you have to encourage many customers to give fondant a try? Do you market your business any differently than you would if you did both fondant and bc cakes? I'd love to learn a little more about your business, if you don't mind. Thanks!

BTW, I looked at your pictures and your cakes are lovely!

silverdragon997 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 5:48am
post #8 of 21

Do you find yourself turning down many orders because they want buttercream? Do you have to encourage many customers to give fondant a try? Do you market your business any differently than you would if you did both fondant and bc cakes? I'd love to learn a little more about your business, if you don't mind. Thanks!

BTW, I looked at your pictures and your cakes are lovely![/quote]

Thanks! I have on my website that I only do fondant cakes. The one last week was the first one I've had who insisted on buttercream. I have a form on my website that potential customers can fill out to get a quote. It gives me pretty much all the info I need to get a basic idea of what they're looking for. I even have it set up so they can upload a picture if they have one to give me an idea of what they want. I've changed my website about a million times, but I keep getting closer to what I think I want it to look like each time.

I've never had to encourage a customer to try fondant. They all just seem to go with it thus far. icon_smile.gif I don't market my business as fondant only, simply because it's never been a problem before last week. I suppose if I end up getting lots of requests for buttercream only, I'll either have to change my marketing or practice buttercream smoothing techniques more.

indydebi Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 10:52am
post #9 of 21

There are many many schools of thought on this and I dont' think any of them are wrong.

Many big names will only do fondant. They are also "big name" so they have the privilege of being able to say, "if you want one of MY cakes, this is what you're getting."

Decide your purpose of your business. If its an income generator, then you need to look at the market and determine "Is there enough fondant-only busienss out there to sustain this type of business?" Or "This is my marketing plan to promote and sell a fondant-only concept."

If your purpose is just to make cakes and oh by the way I can make a little money on the side, then you're in a position to be able to pick and choose what business you take on. If that includes saying 'no' to BC cakes, then that's what it is.

Lots of folks have restrictions on types of cakes they will or won't do. Some wont' do sheet cakes, or carved cakes, or naughty cakes, etc.

the key is to know your market and know your purpose ... and how you will make both of those work to your advantage.

cheatize Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 3:01am
post #10 of 21

I agree with Indydebi. Additionally, your mindset right now doesn't have to be either offer both or offer fondant only right this minute. You can move your client base gradually. Explain to them the difference in looks for the cake they want. Let them know there's a full layer of buttercream underneath. If possible lower the cost of your fondant cakes in comparison to your buttercream ones to encourage them to save themselves money while increasing their satisfaction in how it looks. You could also do as Indydebi once suggested and give them a "special discount" because "you always wanted to try this and you're willing to give them a discount for being the first person to use that design.

The biggest worry is going to be if there's enough of a market for your work. If your market simply refuses fondant, you're going to have to find the market that supports what you want to do.

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 3:12am
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

If possible lower the cost of your fondant cakes in comparison to your buttercream ones to encourage them to save themselves money while increasing their satisfaction in how it looks.


Another way to look at this ..... icon_biggrin.gif ..... is instead of thinking you have to lower your fondant price (negative thinking!), what you do is raise yoru BC price (positive thinking!) to match the fondant price. I believe one CC'er does that because she wants to encourage them to get fondant "for the same price as BC!" because she doesn't like doing BC. thumbs_up.gif

It's all in the marketing! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

btrsktch Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 3:31am
post #12 of 21

I only offer fondant cakes. I offer very, very basic buttercream cakes on the cupcake side, and if you want a wedding cake (or celebration cake) then fondant it is. No other option. If I was strongly asked by a bride to do buttercream, I would definitely charge more for buttercream cakes due to the handling and refrigeration needed to keep it free of blemishes (for me anyway, as I tend to get my fingers in everything!)

It hasn't hurt me one bit (so far) and I get nothing but rave reviews on the fondant that I use (Massa). It's definitely all in the marketing though.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 3:33am
post #13 of 21

That's my strategy... fondant is included in the price of all of my cakes and I don't discount for a BC finish. 95% of people don't even ask for BC since there is no difference in price.

They way I explain it is that the little bit of extra cost of fondant is a wash with the time it takes me to completely smooth a BC cake to perfection.

I prefer the look of fondant cakes for my own style so this is what I do. I have never had someone say "no thanks I'll go elsewhere because you do fondant cakes".

CakeandDazzle Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 4:35am
post #14 of 21

WOW I am exactly opposite! I dont mind doing fondant cakes but they are DOUBLE the work for me. All of my cakes are frosted the exact same, having to add fondant on top of an already iced cake it so much more work, coloring all that fondant, rolling, screwing up, rerolling it.... and then the cost... goodness i dont even do all fondant cakes unless requested! All SMBC with fondant accents.... I <3 my bench scraper!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 4:51pm
post #15 of 21

I do a full layer of BC underneath too (SMBC as well) with a thin (about 1/8") layer of fondant. I can smooth BC too, but it takes extra time to get that perfectly even and sharp top edge. With fondant you can can smooth your BC good enough and get it all perfectly smooth with your smoothers. It takes me no time at all to get fondant on and smoothed with a nice sharp top edge... with BC I am so anal that it takes just that much longer to get it perfect. I use a bench scraper too which is a must.

icon_biggrin.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 6:22pm
post #16 of 21

If I offered fondant only cakes I would be out of business...My customers like BC and many don't care for the taste and texture of fondant.It depends on your market like Indydebi says...Whatever works for you.

Loucinda Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 8:52pm
post #17 of 21

I am with kiddiekakes - I never get orders requesting fondant. It doesn't matter to me, I can do either one - fondant actually takes me less time to smooth out than buttercream.

I know there are several decorators in my general area that also refuse to do buttercream because they really can't get it to look nice. I think there are a lot of decorators that never mastered the buttercream skills, so it is difficult for them to do those cakes.

For a lot of folks, it seems like such a waste to have to pay for and then peel off a whole layer of fondant. In 5 years of doing wedding cakes, I have had 3 orders for fondant ones. (but I can make buttercream look as smooth as fondant!)

If you can market it, and it works for you, go for it!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 9:43pm
post #18 of 21

Yes, but if you don't charge more for it people are more apt to just go for it because they aren't losing anything by not. Most people call looking for a fondant cake though... it's requests for just BC that are few and far between.

My BC has vanilla seeds in it so it looks more rustic (which I love) and when I do do a strictly BC cake it looks great. So for me it's not that I can't do BC... I just like working with fondant. I work with a non crusting BC so it isn't as easy to get it as smooth as fondant since I can't use paper towels or rollers to get the final finish and then you have to be very careful handling it after you get it all together so you don't ruin your finish. If I were to charge more for anything it would be a BC covered cake, but that's me.

I also start cakes at $5/serving so the fondant is built into the price... it just sounds like you get it for free. icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 9:49pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmissbakesalot

Most people call looking for a fondant cake though... it's requests for just BC that are few and far between.


that must be SUCH a regional thing because it certainly NOT the case here, in my experience.

I had too many brides who walked in the shop and the first thing out of their mouth was "I do NOT want any of the fondant stuff!"

lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 10:11pm
post #20 of 21

Of course some come in with no plan, but selling fondant is part of my marketing ploy... er... I mean PLAN... heheheh.

It's really all in educating the client. I love fondant so of course I spout off about all of it's wonderful properties. Many have only ever had Wilton fondant so when they taste real fondant (and no... I don't consider Wilton to be real fondant... it tastes like wall paper paste and sugar) it isn't so bad. Some have never tasted it and only heard about how awful it is and when they are allowed to play with it and taste it they have no reservations. I put some on my tasting plates so they can pick it up and play with it and sample it for themselves.

Of course you have to do what works for you and your business, but if fondant is what you love... you can market yourself and you business so it works.

icon_biggrin.gif

cakegirl1973 Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 10:21pm
post #21 of 21

Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. They are really helpful, so keep them coming!

Just to clarify, it's not that I cannot ice/pipe with bc. I have an all bc wedding cake this weekend. I simply don't enjoy it nearly as much as working with fondant. I really think I am to the point in my caking that I am starting to develop my own sense of style with my cakes, and fondant works more with my style. Not only that, but I simply love working with fondant. I tend to think of it as an artist who prefers to work with one medium over another.

Thanks again, and keep your comments coming! thumbs_up.gif

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