Discouraging A Cake Style.

Decorating By cakelady2266 Updated 1 Nov 2011 , 8:06pm by mariacakestoo

cakelady2266 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 2:48pm
post #1 of 21

Fountains and separations. I had two brides interested in this look last week. I hope this style isn't trying to make a comeback. I'm sure most of you remember the fountains under the cakes and the plastic column look for way back. I've done this look many times over the years but not in the past 10 years or so. I didn't like this look or set up back when it was popular.

I showed both brides some books, magazines and many photos of more modern looks. I realize I'm not the customer here but I don't want to go back to that old outdated look. Do you try to discourage a customer from a bad style idea or just do what they want?

20 replies
TexasSugar Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 2:53pm
post #2 of 21

If you can afford to turn away orders or really don't want to do the cake, then tell them that "I'm sorry, but I don't think I am the right baker for you for this style of cake."

If you need the order, then I say suck it up and do it. Unless it is something that is not structurally sound it is, in my opinion, what the bride wants for her cake on her wedding day.

There are many cakes that do not appeal to me. It doesn't mean they are a bad style or that the rest of the population shouldn't want them. As a baker you have a right to choose to do or not do a cake, but I don't think it is fair to the customer for you to try to push for them to change their mind on a style of cake just because it isn't your taste.

buttercuppie Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:02pm
post #3 of 21

I had a bride this summer who was insistent on having pillars and stairs...believe me when I said I tried to modernize it for her (even slightly indicating that the style was a bit old fashioned) but she had dreamed about this type of cake for years. At the end of the day, I took the order b/c it was a 300 person wedding and honestly, I did like the cake when it was done (I was insistent that the pillars and stairs be clear though). I also took pictures before I put the stairs on.

At the end of the day there are a couple of things to consider...Can you do the cake well...are they willing to actually pay for the cake...can you use the order...

ReneeFLL Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:21pm
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

If you can afford to turn away orders or really don't want to do the cake, then tell them that "I'm sorry, but I don't think I am the right baker for you for this style of cake."

If you need the order, then I say suck it up and do it. Unless it is something that is not structurally sound it is, in my opinion, what the bride wants for her cake on her wedding day.

There are many cakes that do not appeal to me. It doesn't mean they are a bad style or that the rest of the population shouldn't want them. As a baker you have a right to choose to do or not do a cake, but I don't think it is fair to the customer for you to try to push for them to change their mind on a style of cake just because it isn't your taste.




I totally agree with TexasSugar. If a baker tried to get me to change my mind about what I wanted because they thought it was "outdated or a bad style idea", I would drop them like a hot potato and look for another baker.

buttercuppie Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:31pm
post #5 of 21

ReneeFLL's has a point about trying to change a customers mind about a design style. This can really offend some people. But (and this is just my opinion)...I think you should understand what the customer wants and still try to put a little spin on it...and then give them the choice. Sometimes we have different ideas on how to approach a similar concept that the customer may not have thought of.

Basically you don't want to offend their style (to each his/her own) but I think you also want to be somewhat enthusiastic about working on a cake as well (believe me, working on a cake that is a design you don't like is really draining).

Again...just my opinion...there are cakes everyone where you'll have half the room that loves it, 1/3 that hates it, and the remainder really don't care...LOL.

bakingkat Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:33pm
post #6 of 21

I had a client who wanted that sleek modern style of cake where it is usually fondant and has thin real ribbon around it randomly cross crossing, you know what I mean? But she didn't want fondant and she wanted piped lines instead of ribbon. I told her it wouldn't look very good, and she insisted that was the look she liked. She said she understood if I couldn't do it, but to try and if it didn't work then use ribbon. I assured her that I could do it, I just didn't think it would look nearly as good. I got the order. I hated the cake, but she loved it, and in the end I guess that's what matters most. There is someone else who often takes the cake orders for me, and we're constantly reminding each other that it's not our cake. They may not like what we like but at the end of the day, it's our job to give them what they want....

Spuddysmom Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:37pm
post #7 of 21

The good ol' pillar/fountain wedding cake? Fortunately, haven't seen that in my area in about thirty years. Agree with the previous advice given with one huge caveat - whether or not you do this cake, please, in the name of all that's decent - do not allow this bride's fountain color to be yellow.... I had one friend insist on that and to my great and lasting humiliation, I acquiesced.... yeah, yeah, we all know what that looked like....

cakegirl1973 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:53pm
post #8 of 21

If there is a structural problem with how the customer wants the cake, and if I cannot convince them otherwise, then I do not take the order. But, if it is a design that is not my taste, as long as I feel I can execute it properly, I will take the order. I figure that as long as the customer is happy, then I'm happy, too.

FromScratchSF Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 3:59pm
post #9 of 21

If you want to create a brand for yourself like Ben Ron Isreal and Cake Girls, then you must stick to your vision and style of the type of cakes you want to make in general and specifically for any client. If you want people to look at your work and recognize you and your brand, you can't just take commissions with the idea that "the client is always right and they have cash". Being able to pick and choose is a wonderful benefit to being in business for yourself, and if you have a specific style you want to stick to, then stick to it. My question to you is why they came to you in the first place, didn't they see photos of your past work, none of which included fountains and such?

I'd never tell someone "that's dated and ugly", but I have been asked to make stuff that is not in my style or not stuff I know I could execute with the type of cake I make. I just remind the client of the reasons they came to me in the first place (scratch, organic, past photos) and let them know that what they are asking for does not fit in with the style of cake I create. I have had a few that go elsewhere, but for the most part this reminder is all we need to get the consultation and design process back on track. So yeah, I'd decline to make a cake that wanted all that stuff.

cakelady2266 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 4:03pm
post #10 of 21

In my defense, I didn't tell them their ideas were outdated. I didn't out and say you need to do something more modern. I was thinking outdated and it looks like 1987 threw up on it in my head, but I didn't say it out loud. I ask them if they would like to see some of my work, so they would know I wasn't new at this. I showed them different cake design, shape, set ups just like every other bride that walks in the door. Most brides have an idea of what they want when they come to see me but want to see more just in case there is something out there they didn't know about. Some find cakes they like better, some stay with their original idea and some ideas are designed from scratch. I'm sure most every cake person has photo examples of their work or some type cake books, photos, or magazines they show brides.

I was actually still have one of the fountains, I didn't work well the last time it was used. I have never liked the set up because it is shaky and too tall. I believe anything that stands 14 inches tall before you even get to cake is an accident waiting to happen.

tripleD Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 4:07pm
post #11 of 21

ROFLMAO! This has been my summer of Fountain cakes and stairs. I keep thinking 1978 flashback. Almost every cake this summer and fall has had either fountain or stairs or both.

cakelady2266 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 4:29pm
post #12 of 21

FromScratchSF...No specific design brand for me. I think they both found me on the internet. I don't have any photos of that type design on Facebook or my website, so I don't know how they put me and that style together. I never outwardly swayed them just gave them some other options to look at.

mariacakestoo Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 5:38pm
post #13 of 21

Lol, I wouldn't take a stairs and fountain and plastic crap order to save my life. And I have no problem (tactfully) informing a person that their "dream cake" ain't mine. And honestly people, take this approach with them. Ask them about their theme. What's her dress going to look like? Is there something interesting about the invitations or save the date card? What's the theme of the reception? Cause i'm willing to be if you put all of those things together and show them how that stupid plastic flotsam cake will clash with everything....well you'll sell them on a REAL design.

millermom Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 6:18pm
post #14 of 21

The daughters of the women who had these cakes for their weddings are now getting married.

I did one last January for a close friend's daughter. She had looked at pictures of her mom's wedding cake her whole life, and that's what she dreamed of.

I got SO many compliments from people at the wedding who remembered these; it really took them back.

Yes, the cake was old-fashioned-ish, but this bride was thoroughly modern in every other way. Her wedding was hot-pink and black. The cake was in the center of the room, and above it hung a small shabby-chic chandelier. It blended in very well with her modern decor!

costumeczar Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 6:41pm
post #15 of 21

I wrote something about this exact thing that's coming up on my blog next month (I have too many ideas and not enough time to publish them all...)

Anyway, the gist of the article is that good customer service is doing what the client wants, not what you want, BUT...at the same time, you have to decide for yourself what your limits are. I don't do fountain cakes or cupcakes, but I will refer those to other bakers. If a bride comes to me and really wants a fountain cake I tell her that I don't do those because I don't have the equipment and it isn't a style that I'm comfortable doing, but I know of XYZ bakery that does them a lot so they can do a good job for them.

If someone wants something that I think is "boring" I'll do it, the money is the same. But there are limits, and I'm not afraid to draw the line where my limit is. I'm obviously not going to tell someone their "vision" sucks, but if the style they want is slightly outside what I find interesting, oh well, too bad for me. Seriously, sometimes I feel like strangling people when they say they want swiss dots and swirls, but those are also the cakes that I can knock off in an hour, then take the afternoon off.

jgifford Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 6:53pm
post #16 of 21

I just received the strangest order for a cake - - the photo the customer gave me wasn't even a cake. It was a pile of chocolate shavings and someone had drawn an outline of Africa with a heart in the middle. She wants it to look exactly like the photo, and with nothing written on it. Honestly?

She'll get what she ordered, but I'll have to tweak it some. The customer isn't always right, simply because the customer doesn't always know.

costumeczar Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 6:54pm
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

I just received the strangest order for a cake - - the photo the customer gave me wasn't even a cake. It was a pile of chocolate shavings and someone had drawn an outline of Africa with a heart in the middle. She wants it to look exactly like the photo, and with nothing written on it. Honestly?

She'll get what she ordered, but I'll have to tweak it some. The customer isn't always right, simply because the customer doesn't always know.




That's pretty weird icon_confused.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 7:08pm
post #18 of 21

Costumeczar...I feel swirled and dotted to death too. I would love to do something new and the plastic fountains I did 20 years ago ain't it. I can say with all certainty that if the fountain look comes back in style, I'll be getting out of the cake business. I'm too old to be standing on a chair or ladder putting layers of cake on top of a plastic contraption.

After both brides had a look at all types of cakes, set ups, stands and what not, they each realized how that style would look in conjunction with their whole theme. I didn't have to say it, they figured it out themselves. I booked both weddings.

mariacakestoo Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 7:53pm
post #19 of 21

So they didn't go with the fountains and pillars?

cakelady2266 Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 8:04pm
post #20 of 21

Nope, no fountains, no pillars. One bride had a more bling themed wedding going on, and the other was more simple and understated.

mariacakestoo Posted 1 Nov 2011 , 8:06pm
post #21 of 21

GOOD FOR YOU!! And yes, caps intended.

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