Is It Just Me Or Has The Caking Industry Always Been This Saturated?

Business By vgcea Updated 22 Apr 2013 , 5:20pm by DanaG21

cakefat Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 11:46pm
post #31 of 47

It's not just in the US that cake decorating has taken off..it's worldwide. Even in Asia where it's not in their culture/history to bake cakes (most local homes don't even have ovens)- now all of a sudden everyone and his cousin are 'bakers'.  It's incredibly trendy here and we have extremely low unemployment and not the same economic issues as in the US.

 

 There have been tons of home bakers, decorators, classes (for a lot of $$$) popping up eveywhere. I think the cake TV shows from the US had a lot to do with sparking the trend, and the 'allure' of getting 'rich' by being your own boss.  (ha!) But I've heard people say "well if I can only make a couple of $1000 cakes per week......" not bothering to factor in the real cost of doing business, the effort of working that much or even getting a customer per week like that....

 

Also the new designs/styles of cake decorating are perhaps more appealing than the older styles? I know, for me personally, I only am interested in making/creating something new and modern and not at all the older designs/styles- even from the 1990s, just are not interesting to me at all.

 

Clearly there is better money in teaching ($800-1000 for a two day class!) then selling cakes or else they wouldn't be doing it. 

 

I've noticed some of the new decorators are really good artistically and some are not- at all..and despite that there seems to be a market for both.

costumeczar Posted 11 Apr 2013 , 2:12am
post #32 of 47

A

Original message sent by vgcea

I've heard sentiments similar to these lately that the teaching circuit is way more profitable and somewhat easier than actual caking for a profit. Makes sense considering how much the face-to-face classes cost. So that's why I see more and more cakers on facebook offering classes. Hmmm...icon_confused.gif

I've taught classes occasionally, and the last few that I scheduled never got the minimum number of students to do them. There are definitely more people trying to teach classes than there used to be, no doubt.

cakefat Posted 11 Apr 2013 , 2:32am
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 


I've taught classes occasionally, and the last few that I scheduled never got the minimum number of students to do them. There are definitely more people trying to teach classes than there used to be, no doubt.

 

Maybe it has to do with your area or how you're marketing the classes? ( btw I would totally take a class with you if it was in my area!)

 

The cake decorators that come through here..their classes sell out very quickly...Kelvin Chua, Sharon Wee, Handi -even Debbie Brown..etc- and these classes are not cheap by any means. These people seem to be on a teaching circuit and spend most of their time, traveling and teaching. Maybe it has to do with their marketing of the classes and their following?  Also a lot of them offer the novelty cake classes...

costumeczar Posted 11 Apr 2013 , 10:15am
post #34 of 47

A

Original message sent by cakefat

Maybe it has to do with your area or how you're marketing the classes? ( btw I would totally take a class with you if it was in my area!)

The cake decorators that come through here..their classes sell out very quickly...Kelvin Chua, Sharon Wee, Handi -even Debbie Brown..etc- and these classes are not cheap by any means. These people seem to be on a teaching circuit and spend most of their time, traveling and teaching. Maybe it has to do with their marketing of the classes and their following?  Also a lot of them offer the novelty cake classes...

It's probably a little of eveything. I have people call me all the time asking about classes,but when I do offer one they don't sign up for it. It's probably partly timing, partly cost, whatever. The people who basically teach for a living also have a marketing machine set up. I doubt they could actually make a living wage if all they did was cakes with the techniques they're teaching, which is kind of funny. Everyone wants to learn how to make a shoe to put on a cake, but then they all complain about nobody wanting to pay for the work that goes into making the shoe. I find it easier to just schedule individual classes with people because the timing works out better.

cakefat Posted 11 Apr 2013 , 10:34am
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

 The people who basically teach for a living also have a marketing machine set up. I doubt they could actually make a living wage if all they did was cakes with the techniques they're teaching, which is kind of funny. Everyone wants to learn how to make a shoe to put on a cake, but then they all complain about nobody wanting to pay for the work that goes into making the shoe. 

 so true!

cazza1 Posted 11 Apr 2013 , 11:09am
post #36 of 47

It should also be noted that just because you can do something exceptionally well does not necessarily mean that you are going to be a good teacher.  Some of the best teachers I have met (in different artistic fields) were not necessarily the most artistic or professional but nether the less were extremely good at explaining to others.

vgcea Posted 12 Apr 2013 , 8:10pm
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 


It's probably a little of eveything. I have people call me all the time asking about classes,but when I do offer one they don't sign up for it. It's probably partly timing, partly cost, whatever. The people who basically teach for a living also have a marketing machine set up. I doubt they could actually make a living wage if all they did was cakes with the techniques they're teaching, which is kind of funny. Everyone wants to learn how to make a shoe to put on a cake, but then they all complain about nobody wanting to pay for the work that goes into making the shoe. I find it easier to just schedule individual classes with people because the timing works out better.

This made me LOL, but it's so true!

Foolhardyheroes Posted 19 Apr 2013 , 5:37am
post #38 of 47

My husband and I were JUST talking about this tonight. as someone who has done both... My BIGGER frustration comes from all the easily available "tools" at craft stores and even wal-mart. So many of my cakes and all my progression as a decorater has come from trial and error... not to mention every little detail on all of my cakes were completely done from scratch. I get offended and irritated that the SAME decorations I spent hours trying to figure out and perfect can now be easily be pressed into molds and made with all sorts of little gadgets that market decorating to be cheap and easy. So many people don't bother to take the time to figure out how  hard and demanding REAL decorating is. but they see these displays in the stores and assume my job is just that simple and cant seem to figure out why I charge the prices that I do.... soooo yea... I know your feeling. hah it goes along the same lines anyways. Ive actually had a customer say "well it doesnt look THAT hard, Im just going to do it myself" after hearing my price. So I wished her good luck and said to give me a call if she runs into trouble! 

costumeczar Posted 19 Apr 2013 , 10:27am
post #39 of 47

A

Original message sent by Foolhardyheroes

My husband and I were JUST talking about this tonight. as someone who has done both... My BIGGER frustration comes from all the easily available "tools" at craft stores and even wal-mart. So many of my cakes and all my progression as a decorater has come from trial and error... not to mention every little detail on all of my cakes were completely done from scratch. I get offended and irritated that the SAME decorations I spent hours trying to figure out and perfect can now be easily be pressed into molds and made with all sorts of little gadgets that market decorating to be cheap and easy. So many people don't bother to take the time to figure out how  hard and demanding REAL decorating is. but they see these displays in the stores and assume my job is just that simple and cant seem to figure out why I charge the prices that I do.... soooo yea... I know your feeling. hah it goes along the same lines anyways. Ive actually had a customer say "well it doesnt look THAT hard, Im just going to do it myself" after hearing my price. So I wished her good luck and said to give me a call if she runs into trouble! 

I hope you told her that your consulting fee was $50 an hour if she needed help!

I have no problem with the number of tools that are available. I sell molds and I use molds all the time, but I guarantee that it doesn't make people able to do the same cakes I do. I can buy a professional plumber's tool box but it doesn't mean that I can replace all the fixtures in my house without screwing everything up. I guarantee that if someone has all the tools in the world they won't be able to make the same quality of cake that someone experienced will be able to. It will just be a monkey-iced cake with molded thingies on it.

kearniesue Posted 19 Apr 2013 , 1:54pm
post #40 of 47

I think that all of the TV shows that are out these days has a lot to do with it - they make it look sooo simple.  With that being said, the decorating tools are not cheap.  I doubt that most people would make an investment in all of the things needed to make a cake, unless it's something really simple.  I don't think we have much to worry about.

 

Karen

vgcea Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 6:18am
post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 


I hope you told her that your consulting fee was $50 an hour if she needed help!

I have no problem with the number of tools that are available. I sell molds and I use molds all the time, but I guarantee that it doesn't make people able to do the same cakes I do. I can buy a professional plumber's tool box but it doesn't mean that I can replace all the fixtures in my house without screwing everything up. I guarantee that if someone has all the tools in the world they won't be able to make the same quality of cake that someone experienced will be able to. It will just be a monkey-iced cake with molded thingies on it.

icon_lol.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 7:01am
post #42 of 47

I appreciate such and such bakery putting out little tutorials for 2 bucks or whatever.  Most of the ones I've seen are actual cool unique things that if it makes them a few hundred bucks selling, more power to them.  

 

Erin's Hand Painted Cake should have been a paid class.  I learned more in that class then any other Craftsy class I've bought.  I still don't understand why it was free!

vgcea Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 7:06am
post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

I appreciate such and such bakery putting out little tutorials for 2 bucks or whatever.  Most of the ones I've seen are actual cool unique things that if it makes them a few hundred bucks selling, more power to them.  

 

Erin's Hand Painted Cake should have been a paid class.  I learned more in that class then any other Craftsy class I've bought.  I still don't understand why it was free!

I'm yet to watch all the videos in that class. I suppose because she was relatively unknown in the teaching/tutorials world? They probably have something paid lined up now that people have seen how talented she is.

costumeczar Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 10:15am
post #44 of 47

A

Original message sent by FromScratchSF

I appreciate such and such bakery putting out little tutorials for 2 bucks or whatever.  Most of the ones I've seen are actual cool unique things that if it makes them a few hundred bucks selling, more power to them.  

Erin's Hand Painted Cake should have been a paid class.  I learned more in that class then any other Craftsy class I've bought.  I still don't understand why it was free!

I didn't learn anything waching that one, but I've been painting with paints for years so I knew it was going to be way too basic for me. Most of the classes online are aimed at beginners, so I just wish they'd do something for people who already know the basics plus more. But then again, when I do go to ICES conventions I always look at the class listed and I never see anything that I'd want to take, other than just for the instructor.

kikiandkyle Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 1:14pm
post #45 of 47

I was also surprised that the painted cake was free, when Jessicakes was full price. I guess they didn't see a huge market for it, but as it's one of the hot new trends I think they made a mistake there. If anything, I could have seen Jessicakes being free, because she used to have them all on her site for free. I had absolutely no idea where to start with painting a cake, but there was enough info online for me to figure out the paper transfer technique if I'd wanted to.

sweetflowers Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 3:34pm
post #46 of 47

I agree about the problem filling classes.  I can't fill a class locally even with just 5 students.  And I've tried all techniques, from beginning basic fondant, chocolate clay or buttercream to gumpaste flowers, Lambeth, run sugar collars and bas relief.  I can only get a few students and it's not pricing, most classes are less than $50.  I think it's all the freebies on youtube and the tutorials.  I don't have a marketing team, but the shop I teach at does advertise, and I am an ICES approved teacher.  I travel too, but can't be the 8 student minumum either.  I know I don't have a 'big' name so I'm sure that's part of it, but I really think it's all the freebies.   I actually had a student ask for an extra handout for their friend who didn't want to pay for the class (she actually told me that).  I agree the market is saturated.

DanaG21 Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 5:20pm
post #47 of 47

I am currently preparing my Cottage Food packet - which is a HUGE PITA, it was so much easier to get licensed for a commercial kitchen.  Being a business owner is a huge commitment.  The taxes, insurance, licensing, paperwork etc. and this is all before even baking a cupcake!  Don't get me started on business plans. UGH.  I get why so many people give up and take the risk to work "illegally" or under the table until they get caught.  

 

I think a lot of the cake and cupcake industry right now is a fad somewhat and that a lot of people will burnout, give up etc.  Then in several years it will cycle around again.  Cake decorating and baking is a passion and having the business end takes commitment.   

 

I also decided not to go to Cake Camp this year.  I've gone 2 years previously and had a great time and learned a lot of things.  However, looking at this years classes they are so basic based on my skill level now and a lot more expensive.  I did notice however, that you don't have to bring as many supplies. I'd rather save the money for an Agbay!

 

Just wanted to chime in!

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