gothmother Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 9:40pm
post #1 of

Hi all, I am looking for opinions.

I am about to start my business from home. I live in an area that doesnt have a cake decorator for a few hundred kms. (Australia) . I am torn whether to use ready made flowers on cakes to make them more affordable to customers or whether to make all my own or should I offer a choice. Ready made would be a lot cheaper especially when it comes to filler flowers and i would still colour them myself but they save a lot of time. On an artistic level I feel like I am compromising but on a business level it makes financial sense as it is a largely rural area and people dont have the huge incomes like in the city.

What do you all think?

Neroli

26 replies
Adevag Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 10:16pm
post #2 of

imo, there is nothing wrong with using ready made flowers. There is no reason for you to feel bad about using it. You're still an artist icon_smile.gif

If I were to start a business (but I'm not) I would definitely use ready made flowers.

CWR41 Posted 5 Jan 2012 , 10:45pm
post #3 of

I agree. Once they see the price difference for handmade by you vs. what you can buy them for wholesale (even including mark up), you'd probably never get anyone to order your custom, handmade gumpaste flowers anyway. Save your time to do things that aren't available to purchase wholesale to be more profitable. Good luck!

tiggy2 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 12:23am
post #4 of

I'd show them a sample of both and give them a choice.

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 2:51am
post #5 of

Buy them! Leah_s will tell you the same.

tiggy2 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 3:08pm
post #6 of

So the customer doesn't get a choice?

CWR41 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 3:15pm
post #7 of

The customer doesn't get a choice, if it's not something you offer.

Lots of bakeries don't have unlimited choices, for example--silk or fresh flowers.

The way I view it, as a business owner--you should only offer what you feel comfortable with, what you want, what's profitable, etc.

tiggy2 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 3:22pm
post #8 of

I got the impression from OP that she did make them and could offer them. I didn't realize I couldn't offer my view point and we were limited to yours.

CWR41 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 4:50pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

I got the impression from OP that she did make them and could offer them. I didn't realize I couldn't offer my view point and we were limited to yours.




Back up the boat... that's not what I said.

The OP asked if a choice should be offered and that's simply what the responses are about. Nobody says you can't offer your viewpoint... I'm sure the OP appreciates it. If I agree with the OP (and others), the OP isn't limited to our responses--they can choose on their own. Noone determined that the customer doesn't get a choice, but if gothmother decides not to offer a choice, then there's only one answer to your question.

leah_s Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 5:16pm

[quote="AnnieCahill"]Buy them! Leah_s will tell you the same.[/quote]

icon_biggrin.gif You betcha! I never had time for that flower making nonsense. And yes I know how. I still have a tremendous inventory of white flowers that I can airbrush at a moments notice . . .

Anyway, buy 'em! I can buy a large rose for $1.75 or so and sell it for $5-6. Why would I spend my time making them? I'd rather be with my hubby.

tiggy2 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 7:53pm

And the way I view it if given a choice some people will choose quality over price. While they can be purchased cheaper you will not get the same quality of hand made. OP asked asked if a choice should be given so silly me thought it was an option.

CWR41 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 8:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

And the way I view it if given a choice some people will choose quality over price. While they can be purchased cheaper you will not get the same quality of hand made. OP asked asked if a choice should be given so silly me thought it was an option.




That's a sweeping generalization. Who says handmade is better than premade? We don't know the OP's quality, and besides that, they aren't machine made--they're all handmade by someone. (some RI flowers are machine made, but not the gumpaste/sugarpaste filler flowers and such that the OP is talking about.)

QTCakes1 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 8:56pm

Okay, I don't know why people are being so tocuhy about nothing on here, but here's my .02, do what you think will work for you. I don't think it is wrong to buy them. There are some AWESOME flowers you can actually buy on sites like Etsy. Now, I prefer to make them, but it is more cost effective for me to make them, then buy them. The really good gumapste flowers you can order are not cheap. And no, I wouldn't give a customer a choice once I decided which way I was going. I don't give a choice between a box and a scratch cake, so why do I have to do it for flowers.

LNW Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 8:58pm

Tiggy you seem a little touchy about this and I'm not sure why. I haven't read anywhere in this thread where not giving the customer the option of handmade BY the decorator is so terrible.

Personally I don't do flowers by hand. I buy them. I was asked by a bride once to show me what one that I could do by hand out of royal icing would look like. I have one of those clear plastic boxes you use to hold fishing lures with all the flowers I know how to make in each space. Mine are no where near as nice as the ones I could buy are though. That bride ended up going with organically grown roses her MIL grew for her. But like everyone else, I'd rather buy them, mark them up and re-sale them then to spend hours hunched over my kitchen table cutting, rolling, molding etc.

jgifford Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 9:00pm

I do my flowers watching tv with my dh at night. That way, I get a lot made at one time and he doesn't feel that I'm not spending any time with him.

QTCakes1 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 9:02pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

I do my flowers watching tv with my dh at night. That way, I get a lot made at one time and he doesn't feel that I'm not spending any time with him.




Same here! Sit at the table cranking them out! thumbs_up.gif

tiggy2 Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 9:18pm

"The really good gumapste flowers you can order are not cheap." That's my point, the really good looking ones aren't cheap.
LNW, I'm not being touchy, I just thought the OP was asking if she should give a choice and I gave my opinion. This is exactly why I rarely post on this site any more. Have a nice day everyone.

Unlimited Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 9:51pm

Tiggy:

Please don't get upset when you post a question that gets answered. I'd be disappointed if I posted a question that wasn't answered! Your opinion wasn't bashedyou should continue to offer it without bashing other opinions.

OP:

My opinion is whichever you chose, there's nothing wrong with either choice. Do what works for you and your business. Good luck!

costumeczar Posted 6 Jan 2012 , 11:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

And the way I view it if given a choice some people will choose quality over price. While they can be purchased cheaper you will not get the same quality of hand made. OP asked asked if a choice should be given so silly me thought it was an option.




I agree with this...If the flowers that you make are nicer, then offer a choice and let the customer decide. I make all of my flowers, I kind of enjoy the "flower making nonsense," actually. They look a heck of a lot better than premade ones anyway. I even sell them to other poeple who do appreciate the difference between handmade ones and the assembly-line ones that you get from a catalog. Give the client a choice, it doesn't hurt.

QTCakes1 Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 4:35am

But like you said, you sell yours, so there is nice gumpaste flowers to purchase out there. I wasn't talking about the ones you get from that wholesale flower site or the massed produced ones, but the ones you cam find on etsy. Why does there need to be a choice given? I think decide the way you want to go. If choose to offer quality, you won't save on price, just time.

costumeczar Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 1:45pm

I think that when most people think of buying flowers to save time and money, they're buying them from a catalog website, not from etsy, though. The prices on etsy for nice flowers (and I'll repeat, for NICE flowers) aren't that cheap, so the money savings aren't really going to be there.

I see nothing wrong with giving people a choice for anything, it's no big deal. some people will say "oh, I don't care, the cheap ones are fine" and then other people will want a really nicely done custom flower that looks better. Let them choose, no skin off my nose (not that I give them a choice, hahaha!)

I was on etsy the other day checking prices for gumpaste on other people's shops, and the notes that I have written down are like this:

"$2 per calla for ones that look like crap" "$6 per call for a nice one" "50 cents a blossom for ones that look like crap." etc etc.

The variation on etsy is HUGE, but maybe someone else will think the calla is fine even though I think it looks like crap. That's up to them.

leah_s Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 2:18pm

I bought my gp flowers from www. avalon deco .com. I think they are lovely, and by the time I get dome airbrushing and using dusts to shade them they're really pretty.

costumeczar Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 2:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I bought my gp flowers from www. avalon deco .com. I think they are lovely, and by the time I get dome airbrushing and using dusts to shade them they're really pretty.




That's what I'm saying, people will have different opinions. Give the customer a choice if you're worried about the cost. For me, the ones that I make look better than the ones you get online, but some customers aren't as concerned about it.

One of my friends was on twitter yesterday saying that she had gone to the cake supply shop to look at the flowers and see if her gumpaste prices were similar. She came back saying no way, she can't compete with $2 for a rose, but on the other hand, her roses look a heck of a lot better than the ones at the supply store.

FromScratchSF Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 4:50am
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I bought my gp flowers from www. avalon deco .com. I think they are lovely, and by the time I get dome airbrushing and using dusts to shade them they're really pretty.




Nothing to add to this thread except I'm loving all your trade secrets you've been posting lately!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

<click, bookmark> Thank you!

gothmother Posted 20 Jan 2012 , 9:58pm

Thanks everyone for all you guidance. I now feel comfortable to offer the choice. this also allows me to simply sell the ready made flowers for profit to people wishing to do their own cake or sell them the ready made flowers and charge for airbrushing to their requirements. so many more options for the customer. thanks heaps everyone.

gothmother Posted 20 Jan 2012 , 10:21pm

I just checked out an Australian supplier & I can buy Phalaenopsis Orchids 3" for $2.95 ea. they are every bit as good as I can do and when I consider the time cost there is no way I could make one for that price. Much better I spend my time making delicious cakes and fillings that cant be mass produced. I had a look at the sites other suggested too. they have some really nice flowers too.

Apti Posted 21 Jan 2012 , 3:44am

I'm a 2 year hobby baker, and really enjoy the challenge of trying new techniques. About 2 months ago I made my first gum paste flowers for a 100th birthday party for a family member. I spent so much time and effort and love creating those hibiscus and filler flowers. Everyone loved them and it was worth every minute! Those GP flowers were made with love and care for someone I love and respect. I ended up creating a "bouquet" with flowers removed from the cake which I placed in a vase and sent home with the birthday lady.

It was fascinating to objectively observe that the flowers took a LONG time to make, were displayed for a few hours (at most), then were basically discarded. Even though they are technically edible, no one will ever eat them. Although I will enjoy the hobby of perfecting my skills at various GP flowers, if I were doing this for a profit, I'd buy them wholesale in a heartbeat.

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