Last Nov after much encouragement from my WMI I put in to become an instructor. Since then I took the plunge, found a rental kitchen, did all the paperwork, paid my fees, you know the drill and became legal. The state has been incredibly long in getting me the final paper copy of my licensing. Well, it finally came in the mail on Mon. an hour later I got a call from Wilton offering me a store and the one I had wanted to boot! I told them some things have changed and I really needed to think about it. Here we are Weds and I don't think I am any closer to a decision. My husband thinks it may help build up a reputation and the store is in a more affluent part of town. I guess I don't really know what I am asking, but maybe some pros and cons. As a legal baker has it helped your business or is it just in the way? I have subbed for some classes and enjoyed it. It is at a Michael's store if that helps.
I was a Wilton instructor for almost 2 years at a Michael's store and hated every minute of it.
The classes were not supported well by the employees or the public (mostly because the employees were clueless and would give out the wrong info). The manager was worthless. The other instructor the store had would make beautiful display cakes, story boards...and the manager would not put them out front. Instead, the displays would be in the back office for a couple of weeks and then thrown away.
To me, all the prep work, time spent to drive to and from the store, time spent to clean the back room before and after class and clean my kitchen, material cost, and the fact most people that take the class spend more time sucking icing out of the bag than piping with the icing drove me to quit. About 6 months before I quit the pay scale changed to be based on how many students were in the class instead of a flat rate pay. I usally only had 1 or 2 people per class so my hourly rate went way down. I felt my time was best spent else where - like with my husband.
I wanted to focus more on wedding cakes/higher paying cakes. Better clients, pay and I get to be more creative.
I teach at AC Moore and it is working well for me. My manager is wonderful and they let me make my own schedule. They have never insisted on me being there at a specific time, as long as I offer classes each month, they are happy. My classes are filling so they are even happier. You won't get rich doing it, but the extra money is nice and I enjoy meeting the students and getting out of the house (I'm a stay a home mom of 4). I've not had any students that I felt didn't want to be there, after all, no one is forcing them to sign up. The employees were getting the registration mixed up a bit and forgetting to give out supply lists, but I make sure I contact the students a few days ahead of time or when the sign up to see if they have the list or need any help.
I think you should try it. If your store is uncooperative or you find it makes you too busy, then move on. The first night of class I have to prep a bit (bring a cake & icing for Basics and make Royal for Flowers & Cake Design). The first few months it took me a long time to prep but I've since brought the ultimate tool caddy which I can keep all of my supplies in and then I don't have to pack and organize as much for each class. I also bake off an 8" round when I'm doing my other cakes so I never have to bake specifically for a class. Anyway, sometimes I feel too busy, but I offer 4 classes a week. My store would be fine with me doing less, its my choice and it works for me .
I really feel like the management at your store is going to make the difference as to whether you like it or not. If they make things difficult, quit.
Thanks ladies for the help!
I've been teaching at Michaels for almost 7 years, and I still enjoy it for the most part. There are a few things that annoy me, but I think that is the case with every job. My management is great, so that helps alot in my opinion.
As far as doing cakes while teaching. Most people take the classes because they want to do cakes for their kids or grand kids. Chances are they wouldn't have been your cake customers anyway. Some will also end up selling cakes while in the classes are after. They will usually sell them very cheap to their family and coworkers, so again, those aren't really the people you want as customers either.
Do you have another job or would you just be doing cakes and teaching? For me I have a full time day job, teach in the evenings and do cake here or there. On weeks when you may have several classes, that may cut in to your caking time, if you are also working another job. If it is just the two, then you can totally plan your cakes around your schedule.
Would you be the only instructor there? Michaels does require you to do demo's every free months. We had 5 total scheduled for 2011. You know about these dates ahead of time and they are Saturday afternoons, usually 1-3pm, so you may have to plan around them.
Honestly, in my opinion, being a WMI is a great part time job, especially if you can get the number of students to bump you up into the next pay range. The only down fall to the job is that I do not know from month to month how much I'll be making, since I don't know which classes will for sure make and how many students I will have. Since my full time job covers all the bills, the WMI thing is just to get out, share cake with others, and make some extra spending money. At Michaels you are treated like an store employee which means you get 25% off your purchase. As a WMI you also get 40% off orders, when order directly through Wilton.
I would say if you are interested, go ahead and try it out. If in six months or a year you don't like it or don't have time to do it with cakes, then you can always leave.
im a WMI (14yrs) and also have a legal cake business. Having classes in the evenings during the week dont interfer with my business but i find i dont schedule classes for Saturdays just because i have cake pick ups and could have a wedding cake delivery on a Saturday. I do think my business gives me more validity in my students eyes though. Depending on how many orders i have a week there are some times with the classes i am pretty busy, but that is because i dont have good time management skills!!! Good luck, both with be fun.