starrywood Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 9:07am
post #1 of

My partner has been making fondant figurines for a lady for several months, she gave her some fondant and tools at the beginning and asked if she could try out and make her some cake toppers for her cake business.

 

We had no knowledge of fondant figurine/ cake business and we asked her what price would be reasonable for her. She replied she had no idea, so we made up a price and offered her $5.00 per cake topper (she mostly asked for 6cm cake topper).

 

Until last months the lady requested larger cake toppers, such as a life size tiara and 10cm figurines. As my partner has been spending more and more time on making them, I figured to help her setting a price list according to the size and the time she spent, etc. After searching through the forum for information and chatted with several cake shops owners around the suburb, I came up with the price list for the different items that she asked for. I also offered her discount as she has been helping my partner all the time.

 

She responded that she need to keep the price as low as possible for the customers and not happy with the new price (not even discount). The price she will be willing to pay $7.00 for a cake topper, regardless the size and complexity. My partner put a lot of time and efforts on making them, especially for the larger ones. It just really bothers me that the lady ignored when I told her how much time she spent for the figurines and keep telling me that the $5.00 deal.

 

And now she does not want my partner make anything for her anymore and asked for all the tools back ( funny thing is my partner wanted to pay her for the tools at the beginning but she refused). Just want to ask if the offer she made is fair to you guys??

25 replies
Godot Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 9:58am
post #2 of

ANo. Tell her come and get the tools.

Crazy-Gray Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:09am
post #3 of

AI think she has been taking advantage of you and has gotten used to her cheeky supply of cheap cake toppers...

I make my own toppers and I charge a minimum of £20: thats about an hours work plus the cost of materials, the more time it takes me the more I charge.

I would suggest making a selection of nice toppers and offering them to her competitors for a fair price, you could even leave a selection for them to display so their customers can pick one to order.

Popular ones are tiaras, 3d shoes/heels, zoo animals plus fillers like balloons and stars on wires at say £20 for as many as you can make in about an hour.

Buy cheap clay sculpting tools or a scalpel and some lollypop sticks and make your own tool shapes, thats what I do!

Best of luck :-)

Bosbo Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:15am
post #4 of

if you go onto ebay you can buy a set of fondant tools for $3 which includes 14 pieces and free postage.

$5 for a topper is incredibly cheap! she buys them off you because it would cost her way more than that in time to make her own, so let her make her own.

Crazy-Gray Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:18am
post #5 of

A

Original message sent by Godot

No. Tell her come and get the tools.

That's a very polite version of what I would suggest she did with her tools...

Sweet_Cakes Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:23am
post #6 of

Totally taking advantage of your partner. Why doesn't your partner sell their toppers on Etsy? You can make some nice money that way!

Bosbo Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:32am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray 


That's a very polite version of what I would suggest she did with her tools...

LOOOOL

Bosbo Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:33am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet_Cakes 

Totally taking advantage of your partner. Why doesn't your partner sell their toppers on Etsy? You can make some nice money that way!


There were some toppers i wanted to sell on Etsy but i was concerned about selling edible goods without the proper healthy and safety certification. My friend who runs a business had to get her place inspected so she was able to sell edible products as a business.

Sorry to hijack the thread

DeliciousDesserts Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 10:45am
post #9 of

AThat's not hijacking, that's informative.

Bosbo Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 11:06am

i always worry i change the subject of threads and make them about me. haha

But if anyone does think there is or isn't a problem with selling edible goods on etsy please chime in because i'm unsure if i can or not.

kikiandkyle Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 2:21pm

AYou have to check the local licensing laws for your area. I live in TX where we can do certain things under the cottage food law, but selling edibles on Etsy isn't one of them.

Godot Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 3:53pm

AWhat about making then in some kind of clay, or even Artista Soft.?

ellavanilla Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 4:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot 

What about making then in some kind of clay, or even Artista Soft.?

 

THIS! ^^^

 

My sister spent over $150 for her custom wedding cake topper. It was made from a soft, light clay and is now a keepsake.

therealmrsriley Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 4:29pm

I hope you and your partner took pictures of the toppers for a portfolio. The upside is that you learned how much you should really be charging and you can advertise that you do them. I promise you other folks will pay for those toppers. Even though you bumped up the price, I say you could bump it up a little bit more. Folks will still buy them!

ellavanilla Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 4:59pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by therealmrsriley 

I hope you and your partner took pictures of the toppers for a portfolio. The upside is that you learned how much you should really be charging and you can advertise that you do them. I promise you other folks will pay for those toppers. Even though you bumped up the price, I say you could bump it up a little bit more. Folks will still buy them!

 

 

I agree. The cost of figures is really in the artistry and not the ingredients. 

costumeczar Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosbo 

i always worry i change the subject of threads and make them about me. haha

But if anyone does think there is or isn't a problem with selling edible goods on etsy please chime in because i'm unsure if i can or not.

You need to say that they're not edible, which they probably aren't. There's a difference between food-safe and edible. I don't know anyone who would eat a gumpaste topper.

 

I thought that someone on here had pursued this with the FDA or some other agency and found out that as long as you're making things from pre-made fondant etc, like Satin Ice without anything added to it, it was okay to sell as edible. So cupcakes toppers made out of that would be okay. I would assume that you still have to comply with your local food production laws, too.

FrostedMoon Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:37pm

Totally agree that this woman is taking advantage of you & your partner!  It has been discussed here in a couple of threads that a fair wage for sculpting time is $25 an hour.  You ADD that to your material costs and overhead to get your price.  You were definitely underpricing things.  

 

As for etsy, there are definitely people selling products as edible cupcake and cake toppers there.  However, etsy has a sort of "we won't ask, but it's all your fault if someone else does" legal policy.  You need to comply with your local food safety licensing laws, plus if you are shipping across state lines you need to comply with federal laws.  I think very few etsy sellers do, and I don't know if any have been fined, but if you do get fined, it's all on you and not on etsy.  They don't police things like that at all.  

 

I like the idea of non-edible toppers.  So many people tell me they couldn't bring themselves to eat their toppers and want to save them.  Making them from a food-safe light clay (does that exist?) would be a great way to avoid the food issues AND let people who want to keep their toppers long term do so.

MissAnn1 Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray 


That's a very polite version of what I would suggest she did with her tools...

The nerve!

MissAnn1 Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray 


That's a very polite version of what I would suggest she did with her tools...

The nerve!

costumeczar Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 6:36pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 

Totally agree that this woman is taking advantage of you & your partner!  It has been discussed here in a couple of threads that a fair wage for sculpting time is $25 an hour.  You ADD that to your material costs and overhead to get your price.  You were definitely underpricing things.  

 

As for etsy, there are definitely people selling products as edible cupcake and cake toppers there.  However, etsy has a sort of "we won't ask, but it's all your fault if someone else does" legal policy.  You need to comply with your local food safety licensing laws, plus if you are shipping across state lines you need to comply with federal laws.  I think very few etsy sellers do, and I don't know if any have been fined, but if you do get fined, it's all on you and not on etsy.  They don't police things like that at all.  

 

I like the idea of non-edible toppers.  So many people tell me they couldn't bring themselves to eat their toppers and want to save them.  Making them from a food-safe light clay (does that exist?) would be a great way to avoid the food issues AND let people who want to keep their toppers long term do so.

You could easily make them from gumpaste and still sell them as non-edible. But you could also use a polymer clay and have them sitting on a plastic stand or a plastic cake board that's food-safe and it would be fine to use on a cake. The Wilton toppers are sitting on a plastic base and they're perfectly fine to use.

 

There are plenty of people on Etsy selling cookies, etc. who probably shouldn't be. If you turn them in they will shut the shops down if they're illegally selling things, but I think they have other things to do there than to go looking for people.

Bosbo Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 12:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

You need to say that they're not edible, which they probably aren't. There's a difference between food-safe and edible. I don't know anyone who would eat a gumpaste topper.

 

I thought that someone on here had pursued this with the FDA or some other agency and found out that as long as you're making things from pre-made fondant etc, like Satin Ice without anything added to it, it was okay to sell as edible. So cupcakes toppers made out of that would be okay. I would assume that you still have to comply with your local food production laws, too.

Thank you so much for this information, it has given me much to think about.

Apti Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 1:04am
Quote:
Originally Posted by starrywood 

My partner has been making fondant figurines for a lady for several months, she (the cake lady?)gave her (your partner?) some fondant and tools at the beginning and asked if she could try out and make her some cake toppers for her cake business.

 

We had no knowledge of fondant figurine/ cake business and we asked her what price would be reasonable for her. She replied she had no idea, so we made up a price and offered her $5.00 per cake topper (she mostly asked for 6cm cake topper).

 

Until last months the lady requested larger cake toppers, such as a life size tiara and 10cm figurines. As my partner has been spending more and more time on making them, I figured to help her setting a price list according to the size and the time she spent, etc. After searching through the forum for information and chatted with several cake shops owners around the suburb, I came up with the price list for the different items that she asked for. I also offered her discount as she has been helping my partner all the time.

 

She responded that she need to keep the price as low as possible for the customers and not happy with the new price (not even discount). The price she will be willing to pay $7.00 for a cake topper, regardless the size and complexity. My partner put a lot of time and efforts on making them, especially for the larger ones. It just really bothers me that the lady ignored when I told her how much time she spent for the figurines and keep telling me that the $5.00 deal.

 

And now she does not want my partner make anything for her anymore and asked for all the tools back ( funny thing is my partner wanted to pay her for the tools at the beginning but she refused). Just want to ask if the offer she made is fair to you guys??

I gently disagree that she was ripping you off in the beginning.  You and your partner set the pricing; not the cake lady.     She may have begun over-reaching when your partner's skill set improved to the point that your partner can now create larger and more detailed toppers.  This was absolutely an appropriate time for you and your partner to do a new evaluation of the time and effort involved, based on the new level of complexity and size she has started requesting.  Once the new pricing was presented, it became a negotiation. 

 

She has chosen not to participate in this new pricing negotiation.   You have chosen not to do more work for the same amount of money.  Return her tools, shake her hand, and wish her well.  You now have a new skill set that you can market if you wish.  New tools, by the way, can be purchased for a fairly small amount of money.

 

I suggest you scrupulously clean each of her tools, then take a photo of the tools, AND attach a written list of the tools with the photograph and ask her to sign the receipt when the tools are replaced.  You can use the photograph to purchase new tools if you desire.

starrywood Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 8:09am

Thanks for all the useful advise!

 

I didn't think too much whether she is taking advantage, in fact my partner always told me she is thankful to the lady for giving her the opportunity and she is having fun making them. I am not trying to overprice or to give anyone a hard time neither, just want to see if people think it is a fair deal to go with (the lady was planning to sign a contract with us to make it $7.00 per cake topper for 1 year).

 

We actually asked the lady several times for opinions on the price before and she always answered "I don't know/ I have no idea". She could have given us a budget, an estimated price base on how much she charges for her cupcakes/ decorations for cakes instead of asking us back.

 

And just a short update, among 6-7 sets of tools the lady gave, there is 1 set of tool that my partner uses all the time (3 plastic sculpting tools), so I suggested to buy off from the lady and asked how much the tools are. She replied she needed it back to pass on to another person, who is going to make cake toppers for her from now on. The lady came and picked up the tools two hours later, along with the cake toppers we made for her last week. My partner was quite upset after I told her what was going on and kind of blaming me for what had happened, but I am just glad that it is over lol (also bought her brand new tools so she's pleased now).
 

Using clay for toppers is a great idea, though it may seem more like a toy and not something to put on a cupcake. We haven't use gumpaste before though we read a lot about it, will keep it in mind and give it a go :)

Rita Farrell Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 8:29am

The $5 per topper is day light robbery, I suggest you view them on eBay this will give you more of an idea as to pricing, depending on how good the toppers are you could  ask for as much as $50 or more.  

Sweet_Cakes Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 10:21am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosbo 

i always worry i change the subject of threads and make them about me. haha

But if anyone does think there is or isn't a problem with selling edible goods on etsy please chime in because i'm unsure if i can or not.

I was informed by someone on CC that if you market it as non edible, you can sell it. I mean, really, who wants to eat a fondant topper? Or gumpaste for that matter...

 

EDIT: Sorry, I guess I should read other replies before replying... *doh*

costumeczar Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 10:29am

A

Original message sent by Sweet_Cakes

I was informed by someone on CC that if you market it as non edible, you can sell it. I mean, really, who wants to eat a fondant topper? Or gumpaste for that matter...

If it's going on a cupcake you shouldn't market it an non-edible, or use clay. If it's going on the top of a cake then it will probably be larger, so non-edible is fine. Be carefule taking advice from the internet, since a lot of people on here and on other forums have no idea what they're talking about. When I say "topper" I'm referring to a cake topper, not the little decorations that you stick on a cupcake. Those should be totally edible, since logic would dictate that children will be eating them, and they eat everything. It's not as usual for people to take things off of a wedding cake and eat those, so that type of design can be marked not edible, like wired gumpaste flowers etc. If you're dealing with kids then you should assume they'll try to put everything in their mouths and you shouldn't put things they shouldn't eat on cupcakes if they're made to look like candy and attached to the icing.

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