Feeling A Bit Low About The Whole Cake Decorating Business

Business By SJ-cakeboutique Updated 8 Jan 2013 , 6:52am by LeeAnn

SJ-cakeboutique Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 8:49am
post #1 of 44

Hello folks

I have been doing this now for nearly 8 months.  Initially when I started I had the prices down low, which upset all the local cake bakers, one lady said do you think you only get orders because you are cheap and not because you make good cakes??  I persevered as I didn't think I was good enough to put the prices up. 

Now comes the time where I need to make it worth my while.  I just can't justify the price for the amount of time I spend on the cakes,  sometimes it takes about 5 hours to decorate and the cake costs £30.

How much time do you spend on your cakes, what is a good price.

Please look at my cakes they are on my facebook page Sarah Jane Cake Boutique and let me know what you think and perhaps price one up so I can get a guideline for the new year.

Many thanks


43 replies
Evoir Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 9:31am
post #2 of 44

AHave you done a full cost analysis for your cakes? You need to factor in your hours, raw materials, rent, insurance, legal and accounting expenses, advertising/ promotion, equipment maintenance and purchase, plus consumables like cleaning items etc.

Only when you've done this can you work out what to price your cakes at. Unfortunately, nobody can tell you a number, as no one here knows your costs!

One point to mention, not only are you not doing yourself any favours by undercharging, you are doing a disservice to the industry.

Godot Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 10:07am
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...and yeah, you might be getting lots of orders because you are so cheap. Is it really so strange that others were irritated that you were undercutting their pricing structure - especially those who have been in business awhile. They've done their research, their ten thousand hours, and it really grates when some newb comes along and charges so little that she's actually PAYING clients to take the cakes.


Her statement about cheap cakes should have been a huge wake-up call.

Relznik Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 1:54pm
post #4 of 44

OMG - you are WAY, WAY undercharging.


Your Minnie Mouse cake - You need to look at doubling the price on that.


And £70 for the castle cake with all those little hand-made figures????  Again, you want to be doubling the price.


£74 for the police helmet AND cupcakes? 


And it must have taken forever to cut out and then stick on all the little squares for the Minecraft cake.



I don't mean to sound unkind, but if you look at all your costs - butter, sugar, eggs, flour, flavouring, marzipan (if you use it), sugarpaste, baking paper for lining your tins, electricity, hot water for washing up, cake drums, boxes, etc etc etc...  you aren't getting much more than break-even.  And that's before you've factored in any sort of wage for yourself.  Your cakes are nice, so I'm not sure it's entirely fair to say that the ONLY reason you're getting orders is because they're cheap.  But I *can* understand other cake makers being upset that you're undercutting by SO much.


Suzanne x

Relznik Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 1:58pm
post #5 of 44


-K8memphis Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 2:13pm
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does cake boss come in pounds?

LeeAnn Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 2:45pm
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You have a cake of mine on your website SJ please can you remove it immediatley or I will take legal action and then you will be feeling even lower!!!!!!!! I have not specified which is my cake as you will know  which cakes are not yours!!!!!!!!!!


Plus you obviously have little idea about the time taken to make a cake like mine as you would be out of pocket...


I think stealing other peoples cake to put on your website is not a good start and I dont understand how you have the audacity to make out that other peoples work is yours. 

Dani1081 Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 3:25pm
post #8 of 44

Ooooops! Totally NOT cool! SJ, it looks like you've done some cute cakes -  why do you have other people's cakes on your website?  That's really a BAD way to do business. . . .

Godot Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 3:45pm
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AThieving others' photographs is so not cool!!

AZCouture Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 4:03pm
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Originally Posted by Dani1081 

Ooooops! Totally NOT cool! SJ, it looks like you've done some cute cakes -  why do you have other people's cakes on your website?  That's really a BAD way to do business. . . .

Just about the number one uncool thing you can possibly do in this business. icon_sad.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 5:09pm
post #11 of 44

AOld moderation policies used to be that a thread like this gets deleted. I however am in the "don't be a thief and remove the photo ASAP camp" so I'm leaving this up until I confer with the other mods on what they want to do going forward.

So my 2cents right now is don't be a thief- as long as you are you will get NO support from any professional community.

Sienna Moon Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 10:21pm
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AI feel having watched closely the artistic writ of cake decorators over the years. it has become evident that SJ has a cake on her website I have seen prior on another web site. This cannot be good for business. To cut throat fellow compatriots, who probably are no longer and create such a copy of another's work This is outrageous to copy another's work and so stupid, it could ruin one's business. I would suggest all copies of work are removed as this recoils far and wide, the world is so small and a bad name in business in these difficult times can ruin it! Let alone litigation of copying.

Sienna Moon Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 10:34pm
post #13 of 44

AI have just read through preceding blogs as hadn't before. I must say I have to agree with the criticism of all those whom despise copying and being undercut by being cheap skates. It comes back to haunt a person. If one are having mental blanks on ideas for cake decorating and so copy and wish only to do cheap stuff get out of this high end of the most fabulous original art works I have seen, it is a very sour taste to give everyone especially at the start of a New Year. Ian a designer of considerable age and never inmy whole career would I have dreamt of copying, thus my career sailed along very beneficially.

Godot Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 10:49pm
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AWait a sec! Did she copy someone elses cake design or did she use someone elses photograph on her own website?

LeeAnn Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 10:56pm
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My Cake that I made has been put on Sarah Janes Website, "MY PHOTOGRAPH" has been downloaded and pinched off my blog, www.allofmycakes.blogspot.com!!!! Go to my blog and see for yourself!

Evoir Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 11:01pm
post #16 of 44

I am in total agreement with FromScatchSF (moderator). These threads will not be deleted immediately, as the message needs to get out that stealing other people's cake photos and pretending they are your own work is NOT COOL.


To the OP - the best thing for you to do is immediately remove ALL of the stolen photos from your website and FB page, and to apologise to those whose work you have misappropriated. It is very clear which photos are not your own work.


- Eve

Annabakescakes Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 11:43pm
post #17 of 44

AI suppose I missed it, as I cannot seem to find it. I don't like threads like this because it always hurts my feelings when I don't find that any of my cakes were stolen, lol.

I understand the pressure of wanting a decent portfolio, when you don't have one, but these things take time. It's not fair to other cakers, or customers when you pass off other cakes as your own. One good way to build your portfolio is to take pictures of cakes at each stage as you're decorating. Cover in fondant, snap a pic. Put a flower on it, snap a pic. Take that off, put a ribbon border on it, snap! Take that off, put a quick drape on it, snap! Put the drape the other way, add a broach, snap! I did that in the beginning, and no one knew!

Izzy Sweet Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 2:26am
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Well this looks bad. I think after this (not that anything i have done would ever get stolen) I am going to start putting watermarks on my photos or a photoshop mark of some sort.This will make sure this never happens.That is a very nice cake and would have taken some time to create not to mention a good eye. Start photoshopping your pics everyone and put a signature in a spot that can not be cropped.

AZCouture Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 2:46am
post #19 of 44
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

I suppose I missed it, as I cannot seem to find it. I don't like threads like this because it always hurts my feelings when I don't find that any of my cakes were stolen, lol.


ANDaniels Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 3:41am
post #20 of 44

AI am assuming she has deleted her fb page? Before I read the whole thread I went to look for her on fb and couldn't. Picture stealing is unacceptable. You are lying to prospective customers saying "I made this!" and when you can't deliver what they order they don't understand. If you feel like you CAN. Make a cake. Make it. Use dummy cakes. But post YOUR work. Not someone else's hard work.

cakeyouverymuch Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 3:45am
post #21 of 44
Originally Posted by ANDaniels 

Picture stealing is unacceptable. You are lying to prospective customers saying "I made this!" and when you can't deliver what they order they don't understand. If you feel like you CAN. Make a cake. Make it. Use dummy cakes. But post YOUR work. Not someone else's hard work.


This.  Always and forever, this.

yortma Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 4:07am
post #22 of 44

LeeAnn - your cakes are gorgeous!

tykesmommy Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 5:51am
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AI'm sorry, but what in the world would possess you to STEAL someone else's hard work to pass off as your own and then, tell the very people you have stolen from to go look at your page?? That is beyond stupid. LeeAnn, I love your work and you should feel kinda honored that your work is good enough for people to want to steal. Well, maybe not, but your get te point. OP, get a dagum life that doesn't involve being a thief.

vgcea Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 9:49am
post #24 of 44

I'll give the OP the benefit of the doubt and hope that she didn't start out to 'steal' the photos. When I was having my website made I didn't have super awesome photos (still don't) but I remember my web designer suggesting getting pics off the internet, even had another friend suggest the same to me. To non-cakers they're just like stock photos, their goal being to get the best pics on your website. Of course I knew better, my pics or no pics. Maybe OP didn't know the photo etiquette in the cake world. I doubt if she would brazenly invite us to her site and facebook if she knew that she had 'stolen' the photos.

cazza1 Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 11:30am
post #25 of 44

I understand that people are irate about stolen photos, and rightly so, but I also get the impression that people are also cranky about their work getting copied.  People are always posting pictures on this site of cakes that they want to copy and asking for advice on how to do it.  Any great cake is going to be copied by amateurs and professionals alike.  Many customers take in photos from magazines and the internet and say "this is what I want".  Many cake decorators are not artists but can still make great cakes because they can use someone else's idea (and yes, i know, hard work).  Sorry but that is the way of the world.  Take it as a compliment if your cake is copies cos you won't be able to stop it.

Relznik Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 11:52am
post #26 of 44

But has anyone actually mentioned anything about copied cakes?


I don't have a problem with anyone copying cake designs.


But passing someone else's hard work off as your own is just not on!!!  One usually finds that the people who do this don't have the same skill level as the cake pics they've stolen and then the customer doesn't get what they think they've ordered!!!

AnnieCahill Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 12:10pm
post #27 of 44

I totally agree with vgcea.  OP probably didn't realize there was an etiquette issue.  She probably just wanted to show her customers an example of what she could make for them.  It doesn't make it right, but that's probably what happened in this situation.  She took the pictures down, but I doubt if that will stop the lynch mob.  I have had my pictures stolen as well, but it is what it is.  You put your stuff out there on the internet, and it's there for the taking.  Again, it doesn't make it right, so if you want credit given to you, it's best to watermark your pictures.  But don't expect a watermark to be a magical force field that is going to prevent them from being stolen.  On the same site where someone had stolen my picture, there were also watermarked pictures.  So watermarks aren't always a deterrent.  However, if someone goes to a website and sees watermarked pictures from other bakers, that person will know that the baker isn't giving a true representation of what s/he can produce.


And cazza, to address your comment, I have very rarely seen a "truly original" cake.  It's usually just the same techniques done over again, with different spins.  That is really not what's being addressed here, but you are right-people get irritated when their work is "copied."  But we could have a whole other thread on what constitutes originality, and you can do a search and find old threads where that has been debated ad nauseam. 

AnnieCahill Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 12:12pm
post #28 of 44
But has anyone actually mentioned anything about copied cakes?


Exactly, which is why I said it was a different situation entirely.  Generally the originality threads get locked or deleted very quickly. 

Dani1081 Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 1:19pm
post #29 of 44

Well, it looks like that even though she hasn't responded here, she's deleted her fb page and removed the photos of other people's cakes from her website. So she appears to have gotten the message and hopefully won't make that mistake again. 

vgcea Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 3:34pm
post #30 of 44

AIf OP felt low before, she's definitely reached new depths now.

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