A woman called today regarding her daughter's 1st birthday cake and I told her I was available for her date of April 28th. She says she has some really specific ideas in mind for an elaborate cake and detailed cake and wanted to know if I could do it for her. I told her to go ahead and send me the pictures of the cakes she has in mind since its easier to have a visual of what exactly she wants. Well she sends me the email and omg...the ugliest grocery store cakes I have ever seen. They are all cluttered with toys that come with the themed cake packages at the grocery store so there would be no way I'd be able to recreate the same idea without all of the plastic pieces. I just feel like this would be more trouble than its worth, since she has such a specific idea in mind but I don't want to make a cake like this nor do I have all of the plastic figurines. Can I or should I tell her I'm not interested (in a nice way of course) or how should I handle this? Does anyone else turn down cakes they don't want to do? Especially when they'll most likely be more trouble than their worth? Thanks!!
Just a few doay ago there was another post similar to this. The problem there was the decorator thought the design was way over her skill level. Turns out the customer was mostly interested in the color scheme then the decorations and the decoratoer was able to work w/them.
It might be something similar here. Ask the customer *exactly* what it is about the pic she wants. If it's the plastics tell her you cannot get those. See exactly what it is about the design this customer wants before telling them you cannot acommodate her request.
If the cake decor has characters that have copyrights then explain that you would be unable to reproduce it due to copyright infringement. Not 100% on the accuracy of that statement, but it sounds good.
Tell her she will have to provide the characters.
Price it so high that she wouldn't possible be interested.
Or you could suggest an alternative without the gaudy plastic characters. Email her some pictures of your cakes. Maybe she doesn't know something better exist.
Ask her what about those cakes that she likes. Maybe you can build a cake that she will love more?
Tell her you can not order the plastic pieces, and suggest she visit your website to see what types of cakes you normally do.
I turn stuff down ALL the TIME and I don't feel bad about it at all. Sometimes its because I'm already busy, sometimes its because the cake they are asking about is a design I don't want to do, and sometimes I just don't like the demanding tone in their email. Yes, that's right, I won't even inquire about specifics, if I get an email from someone with "I want a 3 tiered cake but its only for 6 people and I want all the tiers different with lemon carrot and chocolate and I want sparkly pink and green but no fondant and I love Hello Kitty and here's a cake I love and I want <insert picture of a $1,000 Hello Kitty Cake that feeds 150 here> how much would that be?"
Or my favorite, "I want to come tomorrow and try your cupcakes before I order my birthday cake I want to try <insert 8 different custom flavors here> if I like them I'll order the cake for my party".
Me: "I am not available but thank you for your inquiry".
I find that my sanity, dignity and time with my family is much more valuable then dealing with people I don't want to work with doing cakes I don't want to do.
Thank you all for your replies. The main problem is that I already told her I'm available for her date and she wants to come meet at the bakery and talk details. I just hate it when someone calls and I tell them that yes, I'm available for your date, how about you email me some of the pictures you had in mind so I can get a better idea for what you want.
And then they send me the pictures and they're hideous and barely worth your time. So is there a way to tell people you don't want to make their ugly cake? lol
So, just for clarification, do you know want to do it cause the cake is ugly or cause she has a specific image in mind that you can't replicate exactly?
If it's cause it's ugly, take some of her ideas and come up with a design you are willing to do and let her know this is what you can do, not her picture. And this will also apply to not being able to replicate the exact cake image. I just spoke to a bride about some of her ideas and I told her hot to get stuck on something, to trust me to get her vision, and when we meet I'll show her. I stressed for her to trust and keep an open mind. That approach does work for me. As long as you throw ideas back and forth, you guys can come up with something the customer likes and you can do.
As the previous poster said you can usually get the customer to agree to a better-looking design if you mock it up, but if the customer is still stuck on a poor design you are well within your rights to say that you don't feel comfortable executing that design and referring the customer to a different bakery.
I also don't understand the comment about "barely worth your time"...since you control the pricing you can make it worth your time if you are OK moving forward with the design.