Orange_Blossom Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 9:09pm
post #1 of

Hi all, new here, though I have been lurking for a loooong time picking up all manner of useful and awesome information from everyone. I started working with royal icing seriously about a year ago, and my piping/decorating skills are finally at a point where I am confident and have people asking if I take orders (which I don't - too many limitations for me, such as school, clinical work, and having a cat who would be very affronted if I told her she had to leave my house so I could procure a cottage license here). I have a long way to go, but suffice it to say, I am pleased with my work at this point.

I was reading some of the woes of cookie bakers who have encountered people who don't seem to understand how much work goes into decorating and balk at "high" prices, and I thought I'd share a story of my own.

I am working on a second degree and as a consequence am involved in student organizations for the second time around, despite being "older." One of the clubs I am involved in wanted to put on a bake sale - which makes sense, since it's a club for food and nutrition majors - and I volunteered to bake something for them. It was close to Halloween, so I did a spiderweb design with wet-on-wet that you'll see floating around the internet and piped on a spider. I bagged them and tagged them with clear cellophane, ribbon, and a little felt Halloween charm - Hobby Lobby had everything pretty much on sale for 50% off, so that part was peanuts. I did two dozen cookies.

I dropped them off with a friend so the organization leader (who is also "older" like me) could pick them up since I had to rush off to class, and I found out later they sold them for $.50 a cookie!!!

My friend said the leader had taken a look, and asked how much she thought they should be sold for - my friend said "a couple dollars?" and the leader apparently made a face, and said "fifty cents."

I was infuriated. I admit that my motivation was partially selfish in that I wanted my peers to see my work and show off a bit, and that it was out of my hands once the bag went to the club, but $.50! I vented to my friend that I could have just given them $12 in cash. The bake sale was in an area with lots of administrators and professionals who I know would have spent $2 on a cookie, especially when it was supporting a student org. I was hoping to give the club a financial boost.

Of course they sold out in a matter of minutes, I'm told, and of course the leader bought two for herself.

Lesson learned here for me was either accept that the only benefit here is in getting to show off, or bake drop cookies instead and send them in a ziploc bag.

Just thought I'd share. icon_smile.gif

26 replies
pummy Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 9:33pm
post #2 of

I understand how you feel. The only thing I can say is that some folks are used to going to the grocery store and purchasing decorated cookies that come 12 in a pack for $3.00. If people take the time to actually taste what their putting in their mouths, instead of just swallowing it, they would be able to taste the difference between homemade and the grocery store product. Going down maybe good, but you tend to get an after tatste that they tend to ignore. But then again some just don't care. The leader won't be your type of customer that you will gear your business towards anyway! I hope you took pics for when your ready to start your business.

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 10:31pm
post #3 of

I had that happen before too...I made six dozen decorated sugar cookies and six dozen cupcakes iced with a swirl and then a molded chocolate on top (a paw print for the school mascot) and they sold them for a quarter each. The cookies never even made it to the sale table, one of the PTA moms bought them all to use as party favors.

The next year I sent two boxes of Little Debbie cakes like most of the other mothers had done.

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 5:28am
post #4 of

Had this happen to me too. I made cheese cake and cut them and put them in little containers I bought. I brought my big cooler with ice and they sold the cheesecake for .50 a slice. There were some leftovers because I went overboard, lol. The pastor bought the rest of them for a staff meeting and borrowed my cooler... And I never got it back!!! The cleaning lady gave me a little one that was laying around. It's too little for toting my perishables around in, so I had to replace it. For the money I spent on the stuff, my time, and then replacing the cooler I should've just given them $120.

Brendabeeper Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 6:32am
post #5 of

did the same for a bake sale at work. Made santa and reindeer cupcakes, made 50 total, was tired and knew I had to go home to make still more for my son's school the next day. They were selling them 50 cents each and the sale was going to be for 4 hours,, after 2 hours they discounted everything to 25 cents, I bought what was left of my cupcakes.. it was easier to pay 25 cents for the ones I donated and cheaper then baking more. I am with you I would much rather just donate $ or drop off the easy cookies....but this is where our pride and wanting to show off gets us into this.... lol I think we have all done this

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 7:31am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendabeeper

did the same for a bake sale at work. Made santa and reindeer cupcakes, made 50 total, was tired and knew I had to go home to make still more for my son's school the next day. They were selling them 50 cents each and the sale was going to be for 4 hours,, after 2 hours they discounted everything to 25 cents, I bought what was left of my cupcakes.. it was easier to pay 25 cents for the ones I donated and cheaper then baking more. I am with you I would much rather just donate $ or drop off the easy cookies....but this is where our pride and wanting to show off gets us into this.... lol I think we have all done this




OMG, that is so sad!!

MimiFix Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 1:00pm
post #7 of

Bake Sales are like flea markets and put people in a different frame of mind. Since everything is donated the organizers, unfortunately, consider any price to be a profit. I agree with other posters, it's easier (and less aggravating) to just donate a few dollars and not spend time and money making something special.

Orange_Blossom Posted 13 Jan 2012 , 6:18am
post #8 of

Thanks, everyone. I am so glad to see that I am not the only person to have done this!

Texas_Rose, that is HORRIBLE. I am glad the organizer at my event only bought two or I would have felt like she was stealing, in a way.

mommachris Posted 13 Jan 2012 , 9:03am
post #9 of

Had this same experience with bake sale held by the auxiliary for a local hospital. Donated two 8 inch round cakes decorated to the nines with the tastiest buttercream.
They sold for $5 dollars each ...........to the lady pricing items.
Hmmm. Shall we just say there was a definite conflict of interest there.
I down sized my cakes from then on, but she always seemed to cut them off at the marking table.
I was "unavailable" the last time they called me. I'd rather send a donation than turn on my oven sometimes.


mommachris

MimiFix Posted 13 Jan 2012 , 1:02pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommachris

I was "unavailable" the last time they called me. I'd rather send a donation than turn on my oven sometimes.mommachris




My sentiments exactly. I once donated two gingerbread houses to a local organization. My retail price was $75 each. They GAVE them away as door prizes.

QTCakes1 Posted 14 Jan 2012 , 7:13pm

You know to sell them so cheap and then the organizer/s be the one to buy them, yup, I see that as stealing. This topic has me a little freaked out, cause I actually volunteered for the bake sale this year. Now I am not sure if that was a good idea.

MimiFix Posted 14 Jan 2012 , 7:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

You know to sell them so cheap and then the organizer/s be the one to buy them, yup, I see that as stealing. This topic has me a little freaked out, cause I actually volunteered for the bake sale this year. Now I am not sure if that was a good idea.




If it's a benefit for a group you support, go ahead and participate. But whatever you decide to make, just don't put your heart into it thinking it may bring you future business. Make simple drop cookies or small muffins, something inexpensive that doesn't take too much time.

mplaidgirl2 Posted 14 Jan 2012 , 7:52pm

Luckily the last Bake sale I did they had us price our own stuff. I sold cupcakes for $2 and Chocolate covered pretzel sticks for $1. People were more than happy to pay the prices and leave change behind. This was for a suicide prevention dinner. Someone sold whole apple and cherry pies for $10. Most people paid $20 they told her she priced them too cheap!

Kiddiekakes Posted 15 Jan 2012 , 1:01am

I kinda had the same thing happen last year...I donated 100 cupcakes to the volunteer tea at my daughters elementary school.They have this every year to thank the volunteers for helping throughout the year..I thought they would put the cupakes out on the tables on platters randomly etc as they do with other desserts/cookies etc that the teachers bake themselves...so when I went to the tea they had just stuck a 6 pkg clam shell on each table and opened it up..Well at the end of the tea Moms/volunteers were walking out with full 6 pk clamshells in their hands..I was so livid...If I wanted to give all the Moms free cupcakes I would have....and many knew I made them and walked by and smiled.."Nice cupcakes" (but of course never order anything)...Grrrrr I was so pissed!! Never again!!

Montrealconfections Posted 15 Jan 2012 , 4:46pm

Your story reminded me of a similar event that happened to me, every year my kids school has a holiday bake sale (the kids are the customers) the first year I got there I donated decorated minis (7 in a bag) wrapped with a satin ribbon. I was very aggravated when I found out they had been sold for $0.50 they also went quickly I swore that would NOT happen again.

The next year I bake again but I made a much simpler cookie and only put them in a Ziploc bag, I told them I wanted them priced at $1.00 which they respected. By the 3rd year I would volunteer at the event and was placed at the bake table that year I made simple snowflakes & snowman heads and I priced them at $2.00. I watched as the 100 cookies sold out within 1 hour.

This year was my 4th year brining cookies to the event, now "known" at the school as the cookie lady the kids run over to buy the cookies. This year I volunteered again and made less cookies but more elaborate designs which I priced at $3. and didn't allow the teachers to buy (due to my limited qty) and managed to sell out within the first hour again. All this to say don't be shy to speak up and say what you feel they are worth I'd rather bring my cookies back home than to have them devalued by someone who has NO clue as to what it takes to decorate a cookie.

mysonshines Posted 30 Jan 2012 , 6:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


The next year I sent two boxes of Little Debbie cakes like most of the other mothers had done.




This has happened to me, too (benefits at the kids' school, church, swim team). I don't get bothered by it too much it- everyone oohs and ahhs but ultimately it's their lost opportunity for income. Once I turn something over they can do what they like. Have to admit though- more often I am willing to do as Texas Rose because of it!

Herekittykitty Posted 30 Jan 2012 , 6:44pm

I've been lucky, twice I made things for a dance studio fundraiser and the person in charge was very generous with the pricing - charging more than I thought she should. I thought for sure nothing would sell at those prices, turns out my stuff was some of the first to go with one person buying 6 cupcakes in one fell swoop. Since I bake as a hobby I had no concept and told her to price as she saw fit; however, I would have probably been offended if she'd priced like happened to the OP.

Cakery2012 Posted 30 Jan 2012 , 7:06pm

I made.all my great nieces and nephews turkey pops and reindeer and snowman pops for the holidays . My nephews wife did say if you had to buy those out somewhere they would cost $3.50-4.00. I took It as a major compliment since Im just a hobby baker .
we have fund raisers at work and its mostly men and those who balk at 50¢ for a cupcake will scarf them up when they are free.@@

luv2bake6 Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 6:50pm

Same thing happened to me when i was asked to make cookies for a school fundraiser a few years ago. Since then, anytime i get asked to bake something, i do simple chocolate chip cookies or brownies!
I also used to make lots of freebies and gave huge discounts to people who promised to refer me or advertise for me. Not anymore! To date i've not gotten even ONE order stemming from a freebie or disounted order!

bakincakin Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 8:54pm

I was asked to make something for a benefit bake sale for a baby who needed heart surgery, so I made "melting snowmen". Got to the place where they were having it, and saw on the table where they were buried and smooshed under all the other baked goods that were there. All the icing was smeared in the bags, the noses were all broken off. I looked at the girl sitting there and told her, "I worked my ass of on these and you have them buried and smooshed!". Her reply...."everything is smooshed". I had to turn and walk away I was so mad.

leah_s Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 9:25pm

[quote="luv2bake6"] Not anymore! To date i've not gotten even ONE order stemming from a freebie or disounted order![/quote]

THIS!!!

Totally true.

Annabakescakes Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 9:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2bake6

Not anymore! To date i've not gotten even ONE order stemming from a freebie or disounted order!



THIS!!!

Totally true.




I totally have. I did a free cake for a baby shower and the lady's cousin told her mother that when she had a baby, she wanted me to do the cake. 2 1/2 years later, I did it, lol. But then the mom, who ordered for her daughter, posted it on her facebook. Her coworkers saw it, and I have easily made $3,000 from the ladies and gentlemen at the business, and their relatives.

I did a very elaborate wedding cake for about $1 a serving because I wanted to design a cake. Since then, I have done the same cake in different colors 3 times.

Annabakescakes Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 9:57pm

[quote="Annabakescakes"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2bake6

Not anymore! To date i've not gotten even ONE order stemming from a freebie or disounted order!



THIS!!!

Totally true.




I totally have. I did a free cake for a baby shower and the lady's cousin told her mother that when she had a baby, she wanted me to do the cake. 2 1/2 years later, I did it, lol. But then the mom, who ordered for her daughter, posted it on her facebook. Her coworkers saw it, and I have easily made $3,000 from the ladies and gentlemen at the business, and their relatives.

I did a very elaborate wedding cake for about $1 a serving because I wanted to design a cake. Since then, I have done the same cake in different colors 3 times. I got full price, and one was a partial redesign because I needed to add another 150 servings to it. And I have done her cousin's wedding cake and bridal shower cake and then more have stemmed from that.

I did the cakes for free because I wanted to, with gladness in my heart, and no strings attached. I think that makes a difference. If ever there were strings on a freebie, I got screwed over. I think it makes a difference.

fedra Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 10:09pm

I feel you in this one. Over the last 2 years I have donated hundreds of cookies, cupcakes, cakes and cakepops. The last straw for me was this past December when I donated 150 cupcakes (I was asked to make atleast 100) to the school movie night fundraiser. The person in charge priced them at. 50 a piece and after about 2/3 hours, lowered the price down to .25 each! Movie night was supposed to last about 5 hours wiyh several mivies shown at different times. When I returned later that night to pick up my cupcake stand, I saw that there were none left and thought oh good, they sold out. Well. Turns out that the fundraiser did not raise as much as anticipated, mostly because of no adversing. And all those cupcakes I thought were sold out were actually taken home by another PTA member because she didn't want them to go to waste. REALLY?? ALL 70-80 of them? The school made about $25 for all thag work. That was it for me!!

luv2bake6 Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 10:13pm

unfortunately, it took me too many freebies and discounts to realize this; know what i do now?
When someone asks for this, i tell them that when i get an order from their referrel, i'll be happy to offer something on their next order. That really gets 'em!

traci_doodle Posted 15 Feb 2012 , 1:16am

These replies are totally making me laugh! And I thought I was the only one. icon_smile.gif My church is having a scout dinner and auction coming up in a few weeks. A friend asked if I was going to volunteer my cake-making services for it and I just flat-out said "no". From going to past dinners, I already know that everyone who goes prides themselves on paying less than the goods are actually worth, so I can't imagine what they would think my cakes are worth, when they're used to paying grocery store prices. No thanks! I'm not giving up my weekend for some stranger knowing my contribution only made $10 for the boy scouts.

Annabakescakes Posted 15 Feb 2012 , 3:25am

If ever do another fund raiser, it will be unadulterated cupcakes from a mix and canned icing in a blob with seasonal jimmies on them. Maybe the jimmies will match the season, and maybe not icon_twisted.gif

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