In Tears, So Frustrated!!! Long Vent!

Business By KakesbyKris Updated 17 Mar 2011 , 4:16am by sweetaudrey

KakesbyKris Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 3:44pm
post #1 of 32

A little background...I took my first W class 13 months ago. Found myself taking my life in a whole different direction. I went to the classes with 3 different teachers and not once did anyone say how illegal it is to sell cakes out of your home. In fact they all encouraged it. Outside of class if asked directly they would tell you that you weren't suppose to do it. That was after I found out from CC that it was illegal here. They even give you advice on how to sell cakes.

I will admit that I have sold a handful of cakes, but was constantly worried about being "found out." I have always gotten rave reviews and of course the "you should sell these."

I have taken the plunge, gotten my licenses, found a commercial kitchen, done what was needed to do it "right." Now I can advertise and deliver to reception sites without worrying about being asked about legality. It is slow going though...Luckily my kitchen is rent per use so I don't have to worry about finding the money to pay for rent when I do not have orders.

Before I was legal I would be frustrated to hear about the bakers(home) around me who were sooo busy when I wasn't. It is compounded more as I have gone through the work to be legal.

Yesterday, one of the instructors who is the best around here and has recommended me for orders, posted on FB for help filling an order for this coming weekend that she is too busy to do. I contacted her to say I am free and could do it, waiting to hear from the customer if they accept my price. So after me 3 other bakers(home bakers) posted how they would love to help but were already swamped from orders. One was even saying how burned out they were on cakes because they have been non-stop busy.

This was my camel-back-breaking-straw. I just started crying. DH is trying to be supportive and saying how we'll be blessed for doing it right, but it is soooo hard to not just say why bother if no one else is. Why spend money and stress over inspections? Why? Why? Why?

I almost want to take names and turn them all in, so Frustrated!!!

This is NOT meant to start a debate, there is enough of that on here! I just needed to vent.

31 replies
jo3d33 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 4:05pm
post #2 of 32

I am sorry. Cake really is an up and down business, at least it is for me. 3 weeks ago I had to turn 2 people away because I was so busy and now I don't have any orders until the 26th. I hope things pick up for you, but remember sometimes a break is nice too.

Sandysdream Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 4:35pm
post #3 of 32

Just hang in there! You're busy days will come! In the beginning (2 years ago) I sometimes had 2 cakes a month and now I average on 3 to 5 a week. Bake some free cakes and deliver to your hairdresser, school, etc. The best advertisement is the people who has seen and ate your cakes!

LisaPeps Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 4:52pm
post #4 of 32

Yesterday, one of the instructors who is the best around here and has recommended me for orders, posted on FB for help filling an order for this coming weekend that she is too busy to do. I contacted her to say I am free and could do it, waiting to hear from the customer if they accept my price. So after me 3 other bakers(home bakers) posted how they would love to help but were already swamped from orders. One was even saying how burned out they were on cakes because they have been non-stop busy.

They are probably burned out/swamped because they do not charge the right price for the product. In the UK the laws aren't as strict and I found myself feeling burnt out as I wasn't charging enough, I now tell people that I don't turn my oven on for less than £40.

Its up to you if you turn them in or not but even if you do there will always be more people jumping on the cake bandwagon. I would listen to your DH, be happy in the knowledge that you are doing it the right way. The laws are in place to protect you. If homebaker gets sued, she won't have any legal protection. You have dotted your i's and crossed your t's so that in the (hopefully won't happen) event that you are sued you have the protection in place.

Hang in there, karma will see you through it!

sugardugar Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 4:56pm
post #5 of 32

Good for you for going legal! I took the plunge myself and feel better for it.

I understand it hurts to be waiting for business when others are busy, as I am super new, and in the same boat.

However, I try to lighten my mood by making dummies/practicing on days off. I teamed up with a wedding photographer who will photograph my cakes for me as well!! So, after my next couple of days are done and I have 3 weeks off, I'm going to make some dummy wedding cakes and spread the word.

Motta Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:02pm
post #6 of 32

Let me just share in your misery.

I see illegal home bakers advertising and their rates are way lower than I could do. I also rent a commercial kitchen and I took the time to get my food safety certificate and I pay for liability insurance, etc.

Their work is inferior (so far) but money talks and people always want a deal. I seriously don't know how they make money by selling for such low prices! They must use box mixes only and no butter, just shortening.

Anyways, I also wanted to be legal and do it the right way. I believe if you are professional and honest from the start, the good karma will follow you. I'm an eternal optimist so I do believe the people who want quality will turn to me but right now, it's hard to ignore those who do it illegally. And, by the way, now that custom cakes are fashionable, there are more and more illegals popping up everywhere!

miss_sweetstory Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:04pm
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugardugar


However, I try to lighten my mood by making dummies/practicing on days off. I teamed up with a wedding photographer who will photograph my cakes for me as well!! So, after my next couple of days are done and I have 3 weeks off, I'm going to make some dummy wedding cakes and spread the word.




Don't lose heart! Use this time to do the things that you won't have as much time for when you get busy. Practice new techniques, network with other professionals like Sugardugar has, participate in some wedding shows or competitions. Remember, building a solid business takes time. You want to profit from your work and enjoy it. You don't want to be the burnt out caker. Hugs!

jason_kraft Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:07pm
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KakesbyKris

I almost want to take names and turn them all in, so Frustrated!!!



To be honest this might be the best course of action and should result in a pretty quick influx of orders -- you will never be able to match their prices because of their lower cost structure, and until you get a reputation for quality it will be very difficult to build a customer base. If you wait for "karma" you could end up losing thousands of dollars unnecessarily.

IMO once an illegal baker starts advertising their services they are fair game. And you shouldn't feel guilty about it...in most areas the health dept will contact the illegal baker, tell them to cease and desist, and provide them with the information they need to get legal. No one will be thrown in jail over this, and fines are rare.

kelleym Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:13pm
post #9 of 32

How do you know that fines are rare? I can name several people in Texas who have been fined. Some of them are here on CC.

KakesbyKris Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:15pm
post #10 of 32

Thank you so much everyone. I know I am doing it right. It has just been hard to see the money going out to get everything set up and not having the money flow return. Especially in this economy. I am just someone who likes to have control and I can't control when the orders come in. The waiting is terrible!!

Today was just the tipping point. It was almost like the universe was rubbing it in that I have no orders right now and the illegals do when I saw the other FB posts.

I hope all of us get that good Karma flowing soon!

Motta Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:18pm
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by KakesbyKris

I almost want to take names and turn them all in, so Frustrated!!!


To be honest this might be the best course of action and should result in a pretty quick influx of orders -- you will never be able to match their prices because of their lower cost structure, and until you get a reputation for quality it will be very difficult to build a customer base. If you wait for "karma" you could end up losing thousands of dollars unnecessarily.

IMO once an illegal baker starts advertising their services they are fair game. And you shouldn't feel guilty about it...in most areas the health dept will contact the illegal baker, tell them to cease and desist, and provide them with the information they need to get legal. No one will be thrown in jail over this, and fines are rare.




Love it! I just have to say it.......I think men don't let their emotions eg. guilt, get in the way of making decisions. My husband also thinks that if illegals are advertising then they are in the game and the game is harsh. They need to play by the rules or not at all.

cathyscakes Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 6:01pm
post #12 of 32

I was wondering what you do to advertise. Do you have a web site, I didn't see one listed cc, so I would definitely do that. I don't think I ever look in the phone book anymore, always search online. Maybe these people have been doing cakes alot longer, and its just going to take you a while to get your name out there, so I wouldn't be too dissappointed yet. Now is the time to get aggressive with your advertising, boast how you are in a legal inspected kitchen, I'm sure they will come.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 8:18pm
post #13 of 32

I know the feeling! Hang in there, the orders will come! We have been slowly but surely getting more orders, but still don't stay as busy as we would like. We just chalk it up to the fact that it takes time to get your name out there and get recognition. One cool thing that happened for us is that we met another very prominent caker in our area, and she sends us jobs that she is too busy to take. Like others have said, look into advertising, and definitely network as much as possible, even with other (legal) cakers in your area.

KakesbyKris Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 8:40pm
post #14 of 32

We have been working on a website that should be up this week. DH works in the ER so he takes my cakes to work every now and then. There is a nurse there that took classes a couple months before me and sells (not legal) and she is a real piece of work.

If she hears of any one getting a cake from any place but her, she makes their lives he!!. To keep the peace people order from her even when they tell me they would rather have my cakes. A couple doctors have ordered from me but it all is kept a secret.

I have donated to some a couple schools and done some silent auctions, taken treats to the fire station and ambulance companies. Word of mouth landed me a July bride that lives 2 hours away.

I like the idea of networking with other legal bakers but I have yet to find any. I am not kidding. I found 3 kitchens to rent, they were advertising themselves and when I contacted them they all said the same thing that in the X time they have been advertising to rent I was the first to inquire about it.

I asked the 2 shops in town and they all but laughed at me and said they don't turn down any orders. I am going to do 2 upper crust farmer's markets when they start in June. Markets here are a big deal with live bands and all. The next Bridal show isn't until October, but I hope to be a part of that.

Thank you for the kind words everyone. It's just one of those bad days!

LKing12 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 8:42pm
post #15 of 32

We are in the process of becoming legal. I have baked for the sheer delight of others. My husband pointed out that my first "legal" cake will cost close to $20,000.00. We might have to adjust that a little.

KakesbyKris Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 8:51pm
post #16 of 32

LKing12- That made me smile! Ain't it the truth though!!!

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 9:35pm
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KakesbyKris

A little background...I took my first W class 13 months ago. Found myself taking my life in a whole different direction. I went to the classes with 3 different teachers and not once did anyone say how illegal it is to sell cakes out of your home. In fact they all encouraged it. Outside of class if asked directly they would tell you that you weren't suppose to do it. That was after I found out from CC that it was illegal here. They even give you advice on how to sell cakes.




First let me I am a WMI & I know as a fact they should not have encouraged anyone to sell cakes out of their homes that is not what a WMI is supposed to do...We are even taught at different seminars that if asked tell students to check on local laws & guidelines...so let me apologize to for that first and foremost.

Once word of mouth starts really getting out there your orders will increase. Yes it is true that some will find the cheapest deal in town...those are not customers you want anyway because it will be hard to get your money in the long run...& they will always try to get something for nothing or way more for less. There is a blessing for you doing things the right way.

These are a couple of things that have been me with customers is I have teamed up with a some ladies at my church they just did their grand opening & do wedding flowers, decorations & bridal jewelry etc & what I do is bake them a cake at a discounted rate & they refer their brides to me. They have even referred some friends and family to me for birthday occasions and smaller gatherings. I've also opened a FB page that is for my cakes only. It has helped. One lady said her family said she was crazy paying $55 for a cake...after they saw the cake & was able to taste the cake...They too have placed orders with me.

I can't say don't cry because I know how you feel...I had a "family" member that was supposed to go into business with me & decided not to..but didn't have the courage to tell me...it hurt but I kept going..she has gotten several complaints about her cakes & now I do more business than she does now. She refuses to get her license and I know it is a matter of time before she get caught. I don't say that to gloat but to say that when it was "my time" I started being blessed with more & more customers

So your time is coming soon hang in there.

indydebi Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 12:22am
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

Love it! I just have to say it.......I think men don't let their emotions eg. guilt, get in the way of making decisions. My husband also thinks that if illegals are advertising then they are in the game and the game is harsh. They need to play by the rules or not at all.



Double Ditto!!! thumbs_up.gif Many of you have seen my rants about "stop thinking like a woman and start thinking like a business person." It's not personal ... its business.

To the OP: Rest assured that it takes time to get a biz off the ground and a year or two is not really a long time ... especially if you are just getting the website up and running. With quality work and professional attitudes, it will come to you and sooner than you think, you'll be on here complaining about being too busy! thumbs_up.gif

lutie Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:13am
post #19 of 32

It is difficult enough to pay the rent, the insurances, etc. without losing the creative edge I have over everyone else...and if I did report someone to the "authorities", it would make me worse than that person. I choose to let people live their own lives, as mine is so eventful I do not have enough time to try to make someone else's miserable...

It has nothing to do about being 'manly'...I am an extremely good business person (have been for several decades) and do not need to do business 'like a man'...if I did, I would reduce my effectiveness as a person who owns the business and is the most creative person in town.

Don't hurt those who are trying to make ends meet from home. You do not know what chaos you would cause in another person's life. Respectfully, I disagree with being a tattletale in order to help one's personal business. You do not have to do anything to put your competition out of business...just do the best you can do and you will have a following...please note that I think we should stay out of someone else's business..the way they do their business is their business.

In fact, as you mature, you will find that it is a waste of energy to worry about someone else...just be the best you can be. Maybe you will get so successful in your business, you can hire some of those who are working from home and bring them into your store icon_smile.gif

jason_kraft Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:56am
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lutie

It is difficult enough to pay the rent, the insurances, etc. without losing the creative edge I have over everyone else...and if I did report someone to the "authorities", it would make me worse than that person. I choose to let people live their own lives, as mine is so eventful I do not have enough time to try to make someone else's miserable...



That's great, but when the decisions others make start affecting you and your business (for example, by taking money out of your pocket by undercutting your prices because they have lower costs) it's difficult to rationalize putting your head in the sand.

It doesn't take a lot of time or energy to notify the appropriate parties about violations...people usually don't take time to search out unlicensed bakers in their area, unlicensed bakers show themselves in the form of advertising in their market. An unlicensed baker making a few cakes here and there for their family is not a big deal, but in this case OP is losing business because of unlicensed bakers advertising on Facebook, and they've painted big fat targets on their back as a result.

And it's not exactly making anyone's lives "miserable"...the unlicensed baker will need to either get legal or find another way to make money, perhaps in an industry that has fewer regulations. You may even be doing them a favor, since they are probably unaware of their exposure to liability and may not be reporting their income to the IRS.

Quote:
Quote:

I am an extremely good business person (have been for several decades) and do not need to do business 'like a man'...if I did, I would reduce my effectiveness as a person who owns the business and is the most creative person in town.



I'm curious, how exactly would doing business "like a man" reduce your "effectiveness"? icon_smile.gif

Quote:
Quote:

In fact, as you mature, you will find that it is a waste of energy to worry about someone else...just be the best you can be.



Actually, when you run a business it is critical to keep tabs on the competitive landscape in order to make tactical or strategic adjustments to your business plan. Not paying attention to your competitors (illegal or no) is a recipe for leaving profits on the table at best and bankruptcy at worst.

classiccake Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 2:37am
post #21 of 32

Hang in there and be true to yourself. At least you are renting space so hopefully you are not paying for down time.

At rest in the fact that you can sleep at night and know that you are doing things legally.

I have had a cake shop for 15 years. We have a great group of repeat loyal customers and great word of mouth in the area. I had a website for quite a few years that was done by " a friend of a friend." I knew it needed a more professional look. Last year I bit the bullet and had a professional do the site for me. I told him exactly what I wanted and needed and he came through in a wonderful way. Yes, it cost me more to have it done, but it was so worth the expense. I have recouped the expense it just one year. We are getting so many more requests for custom work through the site.

Todays brides do most of their research through the internet. My advice is to get the best site up there that you can. Take cakes to other wedding vendors to let them see and taste your work. You may get referrals from them.

lutie Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:05am
post #22 of 32

An answer to this statement:
"I'm curious, how exactly would doing business "like a man" reduce your "effectiveness"? Smile"

Jason, I do business because of my ability and my talents...has nothing to do with gender...when it gets 'genderized', it reduces it back to the time when women had to count on their spouse to make decisions...by your question I am assuming that you never had to live through that period of time icon_smile.gif

We are looking at it from different points of view...that is all...neither is right or wrong, just different. icon_rolleyes.gif

jason_kraft Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:33am
post #23 of 32

lutie, I'm not sure how your last post reconciles with your earlier statement, quoted below. Could you clarify?

Quote:
Quote:

I am an extremely good business person (have been for several decades) and do not need to do business 'like a man'...if I did, I would reduce my effectiveness as a person who owns the business and is the most creative person in town.


howsweet Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:46am
post #24 of 32

You shouldn't compare yourself to people who've been in business for years. If you don't have a website or advertising how could you possibly have as much business as these other people, legal or not? You're expecting too much out of yourself. One of the biggest reasons businesses fail is lack of money to stay up the first 2-3 years. Luckily, you don't have that issue - but you do have to hang in there. Good luck. icon_smile.gif

EvMarie Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:53am
post #25 of 32

OP - no worries! Things will turn around. Just be proud of doing things the right way. As a previous poster said....advertise the fact that you're legal & insured. There's comfort in that for the buyer.

Also - I've found with my cookies...the proof is the pudding "so to speak". Don't have orders? So what - take samples to those you'd like to partner with. Are you into weddings? Approach those people who have brides/grooms to be for clients. Meet them, be your charming self & if you give them a cake that's beautiful & YUMMY...they will remember! Make sure they have biz cards.

I've read several times on here that those who search for the lowest price aren't always concerned about the best quality. So....skip those people entirely. Go to higher end hair places, venues, caterers...etc. Once you focus in on networking, you'll get the orders & you'll leave those others in the dust.

Another nugget I read on here....work SMART not HARD. One high priced cake is better than 20 piddly little ones. Keep your chin up! It's hard getting started. I'm still trying to think creatively about who I want to reach & actually reach them.

You'll do fine! Just don't give up!

KakesbyKris Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 4:57am
post #26 of 32

I know there are some who have been doing this for a while, they don't bother me as much as the ones who were in classes with me and are busy. It's also just frustrating to see the ones that have been doing this for so long illegally and doing so well. It just makes me say why bother getting legal when so many others are doing well without. That's what really gets me.

I do appreciate all the advice and kind words.

TexasSugar Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:52pm
post #27 of 32

I'm a WMI and believe me I do tell my students that it is illegal to sell cakes here in Texas.

I also agree with the person that said those that are feeling burnt out are probably under charging. They may have alot of orders because they are cheap. Do you want to be the cheap baker or the good baker?

Have a good cry, vent it all out, and then give it some time to see what happens.

doingitmyway Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 2:05am
post #28 of 32

OMG.. Good God.. all this talk about Karma and crying. Some states will allow to have home bakers. Maybe if you cakes are better than the competition then they will sell. It seems to me you think your cakes are better than everyone else but people just want a bargin. That is not true. I've been told my cakes not only look better but taste better than the bakers that have store fronts and my prices are about the same as theirs. I think you should thank God everyday that you able to sell your cakes and make a living. I lost my house to foreclosure after my job hours had been cut in half due to the economy. I started doing cakes from my "rental" little home to make ends meet and someday would love to open a shop. But I am not sorry that I sell my cakes from my home. Cry all you want. Feel sorry for yourself. I am a proud home baker, using the talent that GOD gave me and feel blessed everyday and will never feel bad that I don't have the money that you have to open a store. And I really think Karma has better things to go after than home bakers!! And Texas Sugar.... why can't cheap baker be a good baker?? If you read background stories on some of the BEST cake artist in the country right now, you will see alot of them started in their homes. If you truly have talent then your cake will sell. PERIOD!!

scp1127 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 3:10am
post #29 of 32

lutie, you are not a businessperson, you are a nice lady who does cakes. Sorry. Ask any successful businessperson to evaluate your statements and the answer would be the same. You will always be held back by your beliefs that business decisions are emotional and personal. This industry is growing every day. The market will get saturated and strong businesses will be intolerant of illegal bakers. Even legal bakers who can't compete with more experienced new businesses will fail. Those legal bakers who run their businesses on karma and feelings will be the first to go, as in any saturating market. The internet will be critical for business survival and it will be off limits for illegals. Remember when the market was filled with handymen? The market got saturated and the licensed contractors became intolerant. Today there are still unlicensed handymen, but they must stay low profile. Bidding on a job with licensed contractors is dangerous.

My Wilton instructor is an illegal baker who encouraged class members to start their own illegal business. She gave tips about cash up front and brought in her licensed character cakes to show the class before she delivered them. She still teaches a new group every month.

scp1127 Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 3:24am
post #30 of 32

doingitmyway, how can you openly flaunt your illegal activity and mention thanking "you know who" for your wonderful opportunity? But I guess your name says it all. If you are going to break the law, why not keep it to yourself? Most criminals don't rub their competing activity in the faces of those who follow the legal channels. What a poor example you are to the people watching this forum, trying to get sound business advice. I have been watching CC for two years, and from what I can see, the tides are changing. Members are becoming more intolerant as time goes by. I am sure CC members reflect the pulse of the industry. So keep doing your cakes and hoard your money because your situation will not last.

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