Cakey Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 6:29pm
post #1 of

Hi all, I really need some feedback from professionals here. I just got my first order for decorated cookies (they are the crayon cookies my photos) and prior to pricing them I read some forum posts here about decorated cookies and what people charge. Well, it looked to me like most people charged $1.00 per inch so I figured that I would do 20% less than that for my first customer. These were large cookies, 4 1/2 to 5 inches, and I charged her $3.75 per cookie, which included bag and ribbon, and I met her in the grocery store parking lot where she was shopping to deliver them to her there since that was most convenient for her. So the total was $57.60 for 16 cookies, and I gave her three free for her family, too. She wrote me a check for $60.00 with no complaints (I had told her the price on the phone previously) and she raved about them, but then today she sent me this message:

Hi there!! The cookies were beautiful and taste great! A big hit!!! However, I just wanted to give you some feedback on the prices.....I REALLY APPRECIATE the discount but wanted you to know that all of the places I order from are substantially less money including your discount and even after a 12$ shipping charge. I just wanted you to know so that maybe you would be more competitive in the cookie dept. I would prefer to order from you first! I always try to purchase from friends/locals first. Just wanted you to know and take a look around Etsy at different shops.
I hope this doesnt upset you as it is not meant that way at all! And maybe you just cant do them for any less b/c of your costs involved. Again just wanted you to know in a very friendly way smile Thanks again for your absolute perfection on the cookie order!!!
Sweetly, Jenn

THE TALENTED COOKIE by thetalentedcookie on Etsy
www.etsy.com

I looked at this link she sent me, and yes, the cookies are cheaper, but they are also smaller and being shipped, so they are not as fresh. Is she right that I should lower my prices? Or is she just being a bi*ch?

TIA for any feedback on this. I feel really upset that she said anything at all about the price after the fact.

56 replies
jason_kraft Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 7:06pm
post #2 of

What are your costs for the cookies, including ingredients, labor, and allocated overhead? This will give you a better idea of how much you can charge and still make a decent wage and profit.

Your prices are actually pretty similar to the etsy shop you mentioned, including shipping 3-4" decorated cookies are around the $3.50 range. Mini cookies are of course a lot less, you can bring this up (along with the freshness issue) when you write a response to the customer.

I really don't think the customer was being a bitch either, she just isn't comparing similar products. It's actually great to get this kind of detailed feedback from customers instead of "you're too expensive".

KoryAK Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 7:15pm
post #3 of

I concur. I think the customer tried to make it clear she just really wanted to help you out because she likes you. I would just reply back with something along the lines of thank you for your feedback and concern, I did look into those other products and because of my high quality ingredient costs and larger size blah blah blah reflects the local market situation blah blah blah our prices are what they are. Nicely, of course icon_smile.gif

Leauna Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 7:59pm
post #4 of

I agree with jason_kraft. I too looked at the other products on etsy. The mini's are less, but the ones that are about the size of yours are around $2.50 to $3.00. Plus your customers are getting fresher product with not having to wait for them to be shipped.

Cakery2012 Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 8:27pm
post #5 of

Really Id explain that your prices are your prices .Being shipped not only means that they arent as fresh but they are coming from a different area where cost of ingredients may differ.
Bottom line she loved your cookies she wants to pay less for them .
I'm so over people thinking that they can dicate to bakers /decoraters what they want to pay.Or their stories of how the cake was bad and they want a refund .Where else would people do that on a regular basis .
Ya'll stick to your guns and prices .If you deliver a great product they will pay the price .icon_wink.gif

m_mckinney1 Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 8:58pm
post #6 of

A little off topic... But did anybody else notice the statement "They are my own original design please do not copy in any way, these cookies are copyrighted and belong to The Talented Cookie!" at the bottom of each cookie design? I am so surprised to learn a baker on etsy holds the copyrights for Hello Kitty, Lego, red & yellow apples, strawberries, etc. icon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 9:05pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakery2012

Really Id explain that your prices are your prices .



In this case the feedback from the customer is especially valuable, since it sounds like OP doesn't really have a pricing strategy. Once she does more research on her costs and the local market she may discover that she does have room to lower her prices.

BlakesCakes Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 9:43pm
post #8 of

When I look at the Etsy vendor, I see--generally--smaller cookies, an upcharge for bags & bows that doesn't specify if it's per order or per cookie, and a hefty shipping charge. So, I don't really think it's a completely fair comparison.

I think the e-mail from the customer was pretty "nice", but in my equally nice reply, I'd mention the things that I pointed out in the above paragraph. I'd reinforce that my cookies MUST be fresher too because there is no shipping time and no danger of damage or loss possibly due to shipping.

I'll pay a little extra for personal service & peace of mind icon_wink.gif

JMHO
Rae

costumeczar Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 9:45pm
post #9 of

I'd just thank her for the information, but that since your costs are what they are that determines the price of your cookies.

Did Florida pass a cottage food law recently? If not, I have no doubt that's an illegal business and violates Etsy's terms of service. The claim that she owns a copyright on someone else's characters is also a violation of Etsy's TOS, but that's a different issue than what you're dealing with.

I don't know about shipping food across state lines, but I bet the FDA is interested in that. I have an Etsy shop and the issue of illegal shops is a hot topic on there since they drain sales from legitimate businesses.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 9:53pm

FL passed a cottage food law last year, but it does not allow sales over the internet or mail order, so if the Etsy shops in FL are running out of home-based kitchens they are in danger of being shut down.

If underpricing from mail order Etsy shops does become an issue, contacting the health dept in the relevant county is one potential tactic to level the playing field.

Baker_Rose Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 10:04pm

I think that you can easily say that your customer received 25% more cookie for the money! If you add up ALL the charges (assuming the "bow" price is NOT per cookie, but per order) then yes, she is technically cheaper by roughly $ .25 per cookie. BUT, and a really big BUT, your cookies are bigger, I don't know the math to figure out the % difference between a 3-inch circle and a 4 1/2-inch circle, but that isn't something to scoff at.

I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

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costumeczar Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 10:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose



I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

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that's exactly what she's doing...

Cakey Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 10:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose

I think that you can easily say that your customer received 25% more cookie for the money! If you add up ALL the charges (assuming the "bow" price is NOT per cookie, but per order) then yes, she is technically cheaper by roughly $ .25 per cookie. BUT, and a really big BUT, your cookies are bigger, I don't know the math to figure out the % difference between a 3-inch circle and a 4 1/2-inch circle, but that isn't something to scoff at.

I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

icon_confused.gif




Thank you!!! I totally agree. This woman is not actually a friend but just someone who is in a moms group I'm in and is well known for her condescending comments. I didn't mention it because I didn't want that to color the responses, but you read her totally right on, Baker Rose, and she is just trying to jerk me around with a big smile on her face. She is the type who would be my best customer because she always has the biggest, most expensive parties for her 3 year old son and loves to show off the goodie bags and party favors she gives out on Facebook.

Anyway, I was just going by the $1.00 per inch rule that most people on Cake Central seem to go by, so that's how I arrived at $4.50 each for 4 1/2 to 5 inch cookies and then I gave her a 20% discount from that. Our town is pretty small and I don't think there's another place or person in town doing cookies like this so I don't really have anywhere to call around and ask about pricing and I guess that's why she's using Etsy. Plus, I had to make the crayon cookie cutter because I didn't have one and couldn't find one within a 100 mile radius, and I did five different colors of crayons for her, red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, and each crayon also had white and black icing on it, so really three colors per cookie if that counts at all when pricing cookies. I think I'm just going to explain the pricing to her and then tell her I won't be offended if she wants to use the Etsy person because her cookies really are beautiful and then leave it at that.

costumeczar Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 11:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakey

[ I think I'm just going to explain the pricing to her and then tell her I won't be offended if she wants to use the Etsy person because her cookies really are beautiful and then leave it at that.




Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.

Cakey Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 11:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.




Oh, that's perfect! Her son's birthday is coming up in October and I bet she purposely will not call me for a cake.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 11:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakey

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.



Oh, that's perfect! Her son's birthday is coming up in October and I bet she purposely will not call me for a cake.



Yep, she gets mad and you lose business. Everybody wins! icon_lol.gif

shanter Posted 31 Aug 2012 , 11:51pm

If a "regular" cookie is 3 inches and your cookies are 5 inches, your customer is getting 40% more in each cookie.

costumeczar Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 1:35am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakey

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.



Oh, that's perfect! Her son's birthday is coming up in October and I bet she purposely will not call me for a cake.


Yep, she gets mad and you lose business. Everybody wins! icon_lol.gif




Oh Jason, you're such a boy...You don't understand the type of woman this client sounds like. Wait until your baby is old enough for you to get involved in the PTA, and you'll see. There's one in every crowd.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 1:55am
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

You don't understand the type of woman this client sounds like. Wait until your baby is old enough for you to get involved in the PTA, and you'll see. There's one in every crowd.



I'm well aware of what you're talking about, I just don't feel that escalating the situation (or stooping to their level, depending on how you look at it) is the most productive course of action.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 2:15am
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter

If a "regular" cookie is 3 inches and your cookies are 5 inches, your customer is getting 40% more in each cookie.



Cookies with custom decorations are typically priced by the complexity of the decoration rather than size, since labor costs will be a much bigger component of the final cost than ingredients. We've sold 2-3" cookies that were significantly more expensive than 4-5" cookies simply because the decorations on the orders with the smaller cookies took longer.

That's why it's so important to accurately account for your costs when setting up a pricing structure instead of winging it or relying on others to set your prices.

costumeczar Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 2:25am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

You don't understand the type of woman this client sounds like. Wait until your baby is old enough for you to get involved in the PTA, and you'll see. There's one in every crowd.


I'm well aware of what you're talking about, I just don't feel that escalating the situation (or stooping to their level, depending on how you look at it) is the most productive course of action.




It's not escalating the situation if you say it with a smile, bless your heart. icon_wink.gif

SweetSouthernBakery Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 2:28am
Quote:
Originally Posted by m_mckinney1

A little off topic... But did anybody else notice the statement "They are my own original design please do not copy in any way, these cookies are copyrighted and belong to The Talented Cookie!" at the bottom of each cookie design? I am so surprised to learn a baker on etsy holds the copyrights for Hello Kitty, Lego, red & yellow apples, strawberries, etc. icon_biggrin.gif




I'm wondering the same thing. How is it she holds the copyright to ALL of her products (it's not limited to the cookies)?

shanter Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 2:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter

If a "regular" cookie is 3 inches and your cookies are 5 inches, your customer is getting 40% more in each cookie.


Cookies with custom decorations are typically priced by the complexity of the decoration rather than size, since labor costs will be a much bigger component of the final cost than ingredients. We've sold 2-3" cookies that were significantly more expensive than 4-5" cookies simply because the decorations on the orders with the smaller cookies took longer.

That's why it's so important to accurately account for your costs when setting up a pricing structure instead of winging it or relying on others to set your prices.



I didn't say anything about price; I was simply doing some math about the size difference. Sheesh.

HalifaxMommy Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 3:37am

mmmmm stale mail order cookies. Sounds delish.

I can't fathom paying for cookies that are then shipped across country, beat up by postal machines and expect them to taste remotely fresh. Nor would I pay for overnight shipping. I won't even buy the fancy iced cookies (royal iced and in cello baggies) in the stores - they could have been made months ago and just sitting on the shelf.

I personally would pay her no mind, bless her heart.

HalifaxMommy Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 4:14am

mmmmm stale mail order cookies. Sounds delish.

I can't fathom paying for cookies that are then shipped across country, beat up by postal machines and expect them to taste remotely fresh. Nor would I pay for overnight shipping. I won't even buy the fancy iced cookies (royal iced and in cello baggies) in the stores - they could have been made months ago and just sitting on the shelf.

I personally would pay her no mind, bless her heart.

EvMarie Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 5:29am

OP - There are people who want something for nothing. If you got a bad vibe from this person....you're probably right on. Don't let it be the cause of questioning yourself.

Figure all your costs, including sufficient labor. Get some prices locally at all levels. Grocery store bakery, fancy pants bakery...etc. Perhaps look around online for similar product. There ARE some variations due to area...

I find that since I'm not a superb sales person, as long as I'm confident in the quality of my product & know for fact how much my cookie costs- - - these comments make less of an internal "stir". I can educate the customer when questioned.

I've seen the $1 per inch standard here on CC. It may be the crowd of people I'm "in" but it doesn't fly. I did see another NE Ohio baker say the same. There's a fancy pants bakery in the area who charges $1.50 for a monogramed favor (bag & ribbon). No border I think though. I'm not sure exactly how big they are, but in order to be big enough to be a favor...I'm sure they are at least 3 inches.

So....we're back to trust your gut. After you've done some info gathering that is. icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 12:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSouthernBakery

Quote:
Originally Posted by m_mckinney1

A little off topic... But did anybody else notice the statement "They are my own original design please do not copy in any way, these cookies are copyrighted and belong to The Talented Cookie!" at the bottom of each cookie design? I am so surprised to learn a baker on etsy holds the copyrights for Hello Kitty, Lego, red & yellow apples, strawberries, etc. icon_biggrin.gif



I'm wondering the same thing. How is it she holds the copyright to ALL of her products (it's not limited to the cookies)?




She doesn't...people dont understand copyrights. There's a woman on Etsy who has an entire paragraph telling people that she invented the idea to use a diecut machine to cut butterflies out of wafer paper, so nobody else can do it. Uh, no.

Someone else on there wrote a bunch of us on Etsy a long letter saying that we were selling edible buttons and they had done it first, so they had the rights to it. After a little back and forth where they said that they'd trademarked " candy button" I wrote to Necco and told them that someone was using their trademark. People think that if they put a copyright or a trademark on something then nobody else can do it, but unless it meets a lot of other qualifications that won't hold water ( originality being one of the requirements.)

http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-you-copyright-cake.html
I wrote about this on my blog a while ago since it irritates me.

Cakey Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 12:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakey

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.



Oh, that's perfect! Her son's birthday is coming up in October and I bet she purposely will not call me for a cake.


Yep, she gets mad and you lose business. Everybody wins! icon_lol.gif




I totally know what you're saying, not to be immature about it. And you're right. I'm really not going to be. It's just fun to fantasize about responding to people like this and sticking it to them in return, but in truth I will just simply explain the costs to her in a straightforward way and be nice, but not phony about it. I'm sure I will have other customers like this and I just need to be thick-skinned and not take it personally.

But like someone else said, there's a mom like this in every group! She makes withering comments to everyone with a big smile on her face, like as long as she's laughing it's "just a joke" and all that. So I guess that's what's getting to me, but really this is just her personality and I need to just treat her like a regular customer, not someone who has pissed me off in the past by being rude to me and my friends. The truth is, I am kind of dreading doing anything else for her.

Thanks for your support, everyone! I just needed some good feedback on this, and I really appreciate all your help.

Cakey Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 5:20pm

Okay, how does this sound? I haven't sent it yet but I do need to respond and this is a pretty small town and she knows lots of people so I need to get on her good side, regardless of whether I like her as a person or not.


Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for your feedback. It made me realize that I donât have an explanation of my pricing structure on my Facebook business page, and Iâm so sorry I didnât give you the details when you placed your order. For large decorated cookies with three colors on each cookie and a variety of colors in the order, my price is $1.00 per inch, and the crayon cookies were 4 ½ to 5 inches. Itâs completely my fault for not going over all of this with you and just part of me being new to charging for my baked goods. I looked at the Etsy shop you mentioned, and her cookies are beautiful! I found her Hello Kitty cookies comparable to the crayon cookies since they are highly decorated with three colors, and her price per cookie with bag and bow before shipping costs is $2.91 per cookie. When you add the shipping cost, they end up being $3.91 per cookie, which is more than $1.00 per inch since they are 3-inch cookies. Her mini cookies are much less because of the size. There is also a possibility her rates are discounted because of the freshness factor. If you wanted cookies for an event on Monday, for example, she would have to bake and decorate the cookies the Monday or Tuesday before, let the royal icing on them dry for a minimum of 12 hours, possibly even 24 hours, before being bagged and shipped, and then you would receive them on Friday or Saturday where they would have to wait another few days until your event on Monday, and by then theyâre already a week old.

Because I forgot to discuss the pricing with you beforehand, Iâd like to offer you a 50% discount on your next order, whether itâs a cake, cupcakes, cookies, cookie pops, brownie pops, cake pops, whatever youâd like, with free delivery. I'll work with you on a design if you have a theme but need ideas and I'll be sure to discuss the pricing with you beforehand next time. Just give me as much notice as you can so I can block out the time to get it ready for you.

Thanks Jenn!

EvMarie Posted 1 Sep 2012 , 5:55pm

Well, that seems very informative. And, very generous. I'd just make sure you aren't setting yourself up for another encounter with "debbie downer".

I'm not sure why you're offering such a large discount. You gave her a price, she agreed with no problem & paid. The product was good & everything went over with out a hitch right?

If she felt she got ripped off after the fact...I get how you want to address that. I'd say the customer would feel appreciated with a 25% discount. If this woman is snarky, the 50% maybe construed as a free pass to walk on ya.

Just my thought. You do what your gut tells you for sure. Just tryin' to "poke holes" in your theory so can decide if you're sure or not about your strategy.

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