Never had to do this before but 2 weeks ago I had a bride approach me about a cake for early January and provided me with a thumbnail picture from the internet. I found a larger version of the cake and made a dummy "mock up" that she requested. Well I meet with her and she loved that the design was perfect but she wanted to tweak all the colors...no big deal. A week later she calls and asks what day we have set to meet up so she can check out the second "mock up" something I had not agreed to do since I just planned to show her the colors later but I said ok my next order for supplies is going in soon and the bulk colors were on backorder until the 18th so she would have to wait until then. She then started saying "If I couldn't do this particular cake we could go with her second option (her second option is twice as time consuming intricate piping and with my other orders that weekend I'm not sure I would want to do it)" Considering her only problem after the first meet was the colors and she is now thinking I "can't do this cake" my gut is telling me to run!!!!
She just called again and after the last call I went ahead and ordered some of my metallic colors to do this mock up again sooner. Well now she justs wants to change it to her second cake option but she wants the cake more ivory than pictured...I feel like she will find a major flaw with anything. She had approached a number of places here in town and they all told her the first cake was too time consuming and they wouldn't do it exactly that way and I'm sure they would say the same about the second. The design of the original cake was something I can do and did to her liking the first time and I told her my stuff would be in this week and I will do the mock up for next week but if there are any more phone calls I think I will just find a way to end this one.....what would you do?
AAre you charging her for each of the mock ups? I would show her the second mock up, tell her this is what you can do, take it or leave it!
Oh dear, well she's got you by the neck already, and since you've done one mock up and planning to do another....why is she only a pain in the butt now? I can't think of a single decorator I know who would have done a mock up, let alone agree to another. There's a good chance she won't like it and will disappear on you, and leave you high and dry. I'm guessing she hasn't paid you a retainer yet either? You gave this bride a very long leash and she is taking advantage of it. :(
I honestly cannot answer this because I would not have done things to allow it to happen in the first place. Had I though, I'd be gritting my teeth, collecting money ASAP before I lifted one more finger, and plow ahead and hope for the best.
No I'm not charging her and I really should have. I've never had anyone ask me to do one for them and I just figured her nerves were shot (blah, blah, blah) so I would do one and she would be ok. WRONG!! I think it just bothers me because the design was "perfect" her own words but she wanted to change the colors a bit (No Problem) but all the phone calls and "if you can't do it"'s makes it sound like I screwed up?!?
It sounds like she isn't sure what she wants and will spend the entire time second guessing herself.
What is a cake mock-up? My brides get a sketch it looks like a 6 year did because my drawing skills are very lacking. Which I tell my brides this in a joking way "I can decorate, but I can't draw". I would never do a dummy design for a bride. Way to much work.
AI'm assuming there is no contract yet. If that's the case, RUN AWAY!
I know AZCouture....that meeting was the first aside from the email asking for it and like I said I just figured it was nerves. She did pay a deposit and I'm sure that I can easily pull off the wedding cake but I'm not sure anything would please her completely. I'm going to do this second mock up and if she's not 100%, calls, texts, or emails again, or I still get the vibe that no matter what I'm screwed on this one. I'm out. And NEVER again will I do a mock up for free or otherwise. Lesson Learned
Plow ahead....it will be ok. :) Love that sprinkle cake.
cai0311 I usually only do sketches as well but she asked specifically for a dummy. Lol didn't know I was going to end up being the dummy :) Lfredden there is absolutely a contract in place with a deposit....
Thanks AZ and everyone else....I think I just needed to vent to people who would understand that even decorated dummys take time and money not to mention I take pride in my work and I want them to be happy with it. Just not at the expense of my sanity. I think it's really working my nerves because this wedding is one of 2 (the other is quite large for 400 people) and it's 2 days before a bridal show so my nerves are shot as well.
Let us know how it goes next time you meet with her. Good luck/Mary
Hi there, sometimes you just get a bad feeling about a bride and while most people are great to work with, there are a few who will be a pain in the bum.
I agree with everyone else on the mock up. This is something I would not do. I design a cake during the consultation.
I have had on very rare occasions a client that I decided I did not want to work with and because I work for myself I can make that call. However if she has paid a deposit you may have to deal with is as professionally as possible and be better prepared for the next awkward customer who wont arrive for a very long time hopefully.
So the wedding's a month out? You may be stuck with her. And yes, never to a mock up with charging for it. And the charge is 80% of what a "real" cake would cost. That will put a stop to that nonsense. The biggest red flag is that no other cake vendor in town will work with her. The minute I heard something like that, I ran. All those people can't be wrong.
Oh, and good luck.
Thanks guys. I am a home baker so I guess I felt the need to prove to her that I could do it. Really I shouldn't have felt that way since I am booked all but 6 weekends from Feb. into Oct. next year. Working my way into a shop hopefully in the next year. As far as the other bakeries in town not doing it to my knowledge none of them work with fondant. The local Market Street bakery started doing fondant accents recently but that's it. The two other really known and frequented bakeries ONLY work in buttercream.
You have already given her service over and above in my opinion. Of course 5 weeks is plenty of time for a Wedding cake order to come together. I don't know your situation but if I have a call like that the first thing I say is something like "WOW, that's short notice, BUT... I think there is Still time to Help you". A sort of 'we gotta get this show on the road' vibe. Changes the dynamic and you keep better control of your resources ,time, costs, etc. Ninety-nine percent of the time the Brides attitude turns into "Thank you so much for helping me" Any thing over and above on your part then is seen as extraordinary kindness. Sounds pretty fake but give yourself a half dozen brides like this in a year... Stressful!
It sounds like you've got a potential bridezilla on your hands. When it comes to brides that want to be all crazy about an exact color, I tell them that I don't have access to the Home Depot paint matching computer will I will the get her color as close as I possibly can. I also make them provide me with a sample of the color - NOT a picture for me to print out.
When I get a customer that's being very high strung I have a little speech I give them where I tell them I have done over (insert your own number) wedding cakes and I know how important they are. Then I tell I know this is her first wedding and I know she wants it to be perfect - that's why she hired a professional!
BTW, if your contract doesn't include an escape clause for yourself, add it in now so it will be ready for the next bridezilla that comes along. And please add a "No changes whatsoever X days from wedding" clause so that you're being held hostage to completely redesign a cake 30 days out!
Thank you guys my contract has a no changes clause but I definitely need to come up with an "escape" clause. Lol she's my first bridezilla....and I cross my heart she won't be the last one I ever encounter but she will be the last one that gets me in a tight spot.
AOh my...good luck with this! I'd never do a full dummy of a cake, even though I'm a home based business too...very time consuming and never for free!
Keep us updated on how this goes....
Oh no it wasn't the full cake it is just the most complicated tier. I wasn't that crazy although she is now asking about the others and how will they look? I'm going to do this one matching what she wants to the best of my ability and if she's still on the fence....I'm out.
Sorry, but enough is enough. I would not be making ANY more mock -ups for her. I know of no one who does this without charging extra for it. You need to take control of this situation.
Tell her that you have already gone over and above what decorators normally do and at this point can provide a sketch of what she wants. If she has any doubts then you will be happy to refund her money and let her find a baker she is more comfortable with. She is taking advantage of you. And you are letting her.
Darlin', you have got to take control of this situation now.
It will only get worse - why should you be so concerned about her 'nerves' that you allow her to dictate how you run your business?
Sounds like evry other place in town has cut her loose, and you should probably do the same or you will be miserable - considering that she now has control of the situation AND you are bending over backwards AND doing double duty as her doormat.
Your escape clause "hey babe you owe me at least minimum wage for the work done already".
The next time ANYBODY asks you for a mockup, you quote them a price for a mockup and make it very clear that you do not make it without payment.
And then you quote them a separate price for the actual cake.
WHY ON EARTH should you be expected to work for FREE???
Oh, hell no...I'm a home baker and I've had someone ask for a mockup before, but the answer was no. You don't need to prove anything to anybody. You need to put your foot down now and tell her that you won't be doing any more mockups. I'd probably say "I'm sorry, but I don't think that you feel like I can do the cake to suit you. I think you'd be happier going to someone else who will be able to make what you want exactly the way that you want it, but I don't think that person is me." Send her deposit back, it's a small price to pay to avoid being on the receiveing end of her inevitable complaints when the cake that you do is half a shade away from the color of her flowers.
Stop selling yourself short. Your work is great and you're blowing all your profit in materials on the dummy cakes. I would call and tell her that you added up your costs on the mock-ups and you can't do a second one. She has paid you a deposit and, unless she wants to lose it, she should settle on a cake plan so you can get what you need to complete the cake before it's too late. And, tell her you have many other customers who have already set their cakes for that weekend so you can't do the more labor intensive cake. You booked it and took the deposit on the cake you thought she wanted. If she changes her mind, it's her fault if you can't accommodate her.
You cake decorators have it rough when you have customers such as this bride to be!!! WOW!!! This bride really expects too much!!! I have never heard of a baker doing mock ups twice or even once for that matter. I agree with the others that you should be getting paid extra for having to go the extra mile!!! Sounds like you are going an extra 10 miles for this bride!!! Good luck/Mary
Years ago before I got into cake decorating as a hobby, I bought a cake for my mom and Dad's 50th anniversary from a home baker. I never once wanted to see in advance anything she was doing. I figured she is the expert, not me so I just waited till she had the cake ready. She did a beautiful job and everyone was happy with the cake.
Thank you guys for advice. I've definitely learned my lesson. After the three conversations I've had with her I'm pretty sure she will find something wrong with the next one and I'll be sending her somewhere else. Never again.....
ASounds like This bridezilla is getting whatever she wants from u . I would not do Another mock up just call her whe the colors come in so she can viEw them
She is CRAZY!!
For the future, you might want to add something to your contract like "no changes after 4 weeks before the delivery date" or whatever you decide is your limit. Some people will try to change things up to the day before delivery!