Can You Be Freinds With Your Competitor?

Lounge By Stitches Updated 7 Dec 2013 , 7:05pm by scrumdiddlycakes

Stitches Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 1:56am
post #1 of 19

Are people suspicious when a competitor says "hi". I came across a fellow decorator in my area with a very similar background, her website mentions she wants to open a bakery in this area...... (as do I). I got crazy and messaged her on FB to say Hi. I'm wondering how she'll respond, if she will.

 

So far it's never worked for me to befriend another pastry person in my own area, so I don't have high hopes. Are any of you friends with other cake decorators in your own area? Is it possible to be helpful to each other?

18 replies
BrandisBaked Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 2:23am
post #2 of 19

AI've never had any luck with it. They all seem very suspicious and guarded. I thought I made a friend with one once, but it turned out she just wanted to keep tabs on me.

I also found someone on FB with the same name as me (first and last) who lived in the same town and had a small home-based cake business. What are the odds, right? So I friend requested her and sent her a really nice message - her response was to remove all business info from her page and then block me. I think she thought since she was home based I was going to turn her in or something.

Then again, it was suggested to me that maybe that wasn't really her name and she was using mine to get business...

IAmPamCakes Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 2:33am
post #3 of 19

ADepends on the person, I think. I worked with a person who talked about every other baker in town. She was insecure, spiteful, and bitter. She would pretend to be nice to find out details to make into bad gossip. Awful. But another lady is really nice, and we chat about cake stuff once in a while. She refered clients to me when she couldn't take the orders. I have noticed a lot I cakers are pretty closed off to other cakers. I chalk it up to insecurities.

wespam Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 11:51am
post #4 of 19

Most of us have been wounded at one time or another by someone we thought were friends. I think it's only natural to want to share and be friends with those with like interests and businesses. It's wonderful to pick up the phone when you need another opinion on how to design this or that or just venting over that client that has just driven you crazy for the last 45 minutes. Unfortunately competitive natures get the upper hand even with friends, relatives and the best of people. The business climate seems to bring out the best of us in showing our artistic abilities but also the worst in us in ability to love others and be happy for their accomplishments.  

cazza1 Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 1:21pm
post #5 of 19

Wow, I find this amazing.  Half our cake decorating club sell cakes and they are all good friends.  If someone can't do something they will recommend one of the others or even get help from one another.  I think I prefer this to the stand offishness I am reading about here.

BrandisBaked Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 1:25pm
post #6 of 19

AI think it depends on how you meet. If there were a cake club around here, it would be neutral ground. I have met other decorators at competitions and online. I think many are just naturally suspicious.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 1:50pm
post #7 of 19

my sister always tells me, "y'know what they call people that nobody likes? entrepreneurs!" hahaha

 

i ♥ sister--she's pretty smart--and has built an incredible business (not cake)

 

i mean almost anyone in their own business has to have that edge to survive--some have/use it more than others--some can't turn it off and on--but you gotta have that drive i think.

kikiandkyle Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 11:08pm
post #8 of 19

Well technically I'm not in business yet but someone who had my cookies this week who owns a cookie decorating business posted something really mean about my cookies on her FB page today. I guess we won't be friends any time soon.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Oct 2013 , 11:45pm
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 
 

Well technically I'm not in business yet but someone who had my cookies this week who owns a cookie decorating business posted something really mean about my cookies on her FB page today. I guess we won't be friends any time soon.

 

you have an entrepreneurial spirit (if you were talking to me)

 

mean people -- why why why

 

sorry that happened

 

so you made her jealous/nervous--not a bad thing i guess ;)

kikiandkyle Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 12:13am
post #10 of 19

AI forgot to mention that she has a day job, teaching one of my kids...

-K8memphis Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 12:17am
post #11 of 19

lovely--omg

 

edited to say--in that event making her jealous/nervous is not a good thing--agh!

 

i've had more than my fair share of school skimishes  -- whew  -- glad we all pretty much survived that--

 

sorry, op, i'm off topic

kikiandkyle Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 12:56am
post #12 of 19

AWhat a palaver!

It's a shame that other business owners can't see the benefit in being friendly with others in the industry. Can't we be confident enough in our own product to not fear losing out to another?

liz at sugar Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 1:36am
post #13 of 19

I'll admit that I doubt I could be friends with a direct competitor in my (small) town.  Part of it is because I would honestly feel bad if I was told something that I could use to my own competitive advantage, and to their detriment.

 

Of course I am civil and friendly, but not friends.  It is hard to have that edge and drive that K8 talks about and not be a little guarded about how you achieve your success.  As much as I am down with sharing here with people from around the world, I wouldn't be as transparent with a direct competitor.  But I also believe in competing with myself, and staying true to my own goals, instead of watching what others are doing and reacting.  Reacting is not a good way to run a business.

 

And Kiki - I would not publicly post about a competitor or their product on my Facebook page.  Very tasteless.  And this person is posting this while they are the teacher to your child?  Once your kid is out of this class, you should take off the kid gloves and go head to head in the cookie business.  I'm just saying, you were polite and didn't want to step on any toes in your new community, but this person doesn't seem to have any problem dishing dirt.

 

Liz

AZCouture Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 2:32am
post #14 of 19

AI am great friends with the other decorators in my town that are worth a dang. We have varying skill levels, different styles, different outlooks on pricing and business practices in general, but we're supportive of each other, give each other heads up when a colorful customer may be calling, send each other referrals, etc. Usualky once a month we get together at one of our places for a dessert night...it's awesome. Can't say we are friends with all of them in town, as some of them are downright shady or have no interest in other decorators. And I'm sure the known undercutters and scammy types want nothing to do with us. Fine with us!

LTerry Posted 6 Dec 2013 , 8:57pm
post #15 of 19

I have had some problems with being friends with other bakers around my area.  I have had one who befriended me only to learn my recipes and other tricks for baking and decorating cakes.  I should have known better than to give her  some of my recipes, but we were both fairly new to the world of cake baking, I had been at it a little longer and had actually been baking and decorating cakes, while she was just starting out and specializing in cupcakes.  I guess at the time, I thought it would be nice to have someone to talk to that was going through some of the things I was.  But, after she had all the questions answered she had for me I never heard from her again, and when I ran into her she would hardly even speak to me.  I learned a lesson.  It is unfortunate, but I have also had problems with other people, I actually had a customer ask for my recipes so she bake a cake for a baby shower, she told me how much everyone had loved my cakes at the events she had been to where they were served.  I told her I'd rather not give them out and I would be happy to bake a cake for her anytime.

MBalaska Posted 7 Dec 2013 , 4:49am
post #16 of 19

Reading these personal stories of the difficulties with 'friends' & 'competitors' is thought provoking.  It makes me consider that being isolated in a small community with few other bakers, may have spared me some headaches.

 

Learning through the school of hard knocks & hands on experiments at home may have had it's good side.  I don’t get the new fangled technology, and I don't know the proper social society codes other than ‘The Last Frontier’ courtesies. I'm happy to share the bounty and good fortune I've earned through my hard work.

 

I’ve been admitedly Over Exuberant in enjoying the multitude of new baking and decorating ideas.  I thank you experienced people for sharing.

But It would really be an ugly thing for someone to seek your wisdom in friendship and then turn it against you by taking your business.:evil:

morganchampagne Posted 7 Dec 2013 , 6:50am
post #17 of 19

AI haven't been able to really make friends with any...although id really like to! I have a friend who is in the same business but she's in Dallas and I'm in Houston. So not really a competitor. My business is kind of shifting from the super custom cakes at this point so it may be easier for me now.

Also my mom is the judge in our city and the neighbouring city. Most people who want to be "friends" really want legal advice

howsweet Posted 7 Dec 2013 , 7:56am
post #18 of 19

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

What a palaver!

It's a shame that other business owners can't see the benefit in being friendly with others in the industry. Can't we be confident enough in our own product to not fear losing out to another?

I'm not "un" friendly with anyone, but I have very little interest in having a relationship with competitors after being burned. A baker had taken over an order for me when I was sick and to show my appreciation, I referred some business her way. I was sending my over flow to her and it helped build up her business. How did she repay me? She copied a specialty line of mine and undercuts my prices for those items. When you google this particular type of product, now instead of just me coming up, it her and me. She has a whole page devoted to this product. It would be a lot less irritating if she'd also copied my prices.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 7 Dec 2013 , 7:05pm
post #19 of 19

AOne of my closest friends is a competitor, we met because she sent me a fb message when I opened up. Also on very good terms with another decorator and a bakery owner. I had to go to Alaska on a weeks notice Oct 25th, and I'm still here, if it wasn't for those friends, I don't know what I would have done. I have a wholesale contract that I provide cupcakes for 4 days a week, and had weddings booked. I had two weddings booked the day of my mom's funeral, again those friendships saved me. it goes both ways too, one of those ladies broke her arm, and we were able to take over her orders for her. totally worth the effort of reaching out, in my opinion. I actually get a lot of my wedding orders from a different bakery in town that doesn't do tiered cakes, even though we make a lot of other competing products.

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