I just signed up for this site, because I come out here often when I am researching cake ideas, and I think this is a really great and creative community. So first of all, HELLO!
I have been cake decorating for over 10 years, but I just did it occasionally for friends and family up until last spring. I am self taught - no formal training - and I learn everything by trial and error. Last spring started selling my cakes because everyone tells me that I am really good at it, and honestly, it is my stress relief. I love the creativity and I am just a happier person when I am making cupcakes or decorating a cake. I am losing my day job soon, so I am thinking about a career change.
But, of course, when you are doing this for someone who is paying you, its much different than doing it for family. I am very hard on myself, and I have high standards. Within the last 6 months, I've done two cakes that I was very disappointed in - one was really bad because I overcommitted myself (3 cakes and 4 dozen cupcakes all on the same day!) and nothing went right with that one cake. The other two turned out awesome. Yesterday, I delivered one that I didn't hate - but I certainly didn't think it was up to my standards. There are things I would definitely do better. I don't think the customer was happy either, although she didn't say anything. I've been really depressed about it since, and I am thinking that maybe I'm just not cut out for this. Of course, not working full time, and having a bigger kitchen would help!! Anyway, I was wondering if any of you had any similar stories, or advice. I'm sure that not every cake can be incredible, and I've seen some cakes that people have bought that I couldn't believe they actually paid for them. But it really stinks to not do a great cake every time.
Have any of you had similar experiences, or should I just give up on this dream (I could just stick to cupcakes - I'm really good at that!)? I really value your opinion!
oh hell yes--
my first time, i had my back toward a couple early comers to the reception--i was putting the finishing touches on the sh*t pile of sugar and eggs i had just delivered hoping to make my escape before i burst into tears or i was arrested for cruelty to cake--oh god let me live just long enough for the earth to open and swallow me up --wanted to hide under the table--scream at them to go away--
those peeps across the room behind me were speaking quietly but their voices carried across the hall and though i tried desperately to block the sounds--they were saying how beautiful the cake was....
srsly? are they blind? game changer!-- i got my tail out from between my legs and canceled my nervous breakdown--
so i learned that peeps expect cakes to be beautiful and usually they are so don't sweat it--
Having one's own business is not for the faint of heart. Being a perfectionist and making great cakes is a good thing, but only part of what it takes. The cake business is over saturated in lots of places right now and that's an extra reason to consider this with great caution. If I had known that the liberal cottage food laws in my state were going to mean I was going to lose customers to people with unfair pricing practices, I probably would have chosen a different direction.
If this is your full time business and primary source of income, it's unlikely that this will contunue as a stress reliever and you may have to take up drinking. Just kidding, but you get the point. :)
Having "a passion for baking" is only a small part of why you might do this professionally. It's a good phrase to put on your website, but you need to enjoy or at least have a flair for the actual business side. Because the cake part is sort of like the tip of the iceberg with the massive business part below the surface.
Being a perfectionist can work against you. Think about this aspect of your personality. (Do you have OCD?)
And then there's the business side, which is not for everyone.
AThank you! I'm only doing this part time right now, but I'm losing my job next year and trying for a career change. Actually, I've worked in the business world for over 20 years and have two degrees in business so that part is not what is stressing me out - I know I'd be good at running a business. It's the creative side that freaks me out! I've never been brave enough to get out of Corporate America - which I hate. Well, luckily I have a lot of time to decide what I want to do, and I will just keep practicing. I really appreciate honest feedback though so keep it coming!!
This may be the best thing to expand yourself in then. Marketing is very valuable also. I think Anne Heap got herself a degree in marketing and then opened up a bakery. There was probably a job in between. ;) I stressed the business aspect because that's often not even given anything but a passing thought. Maybe start working up a plan?
i never truly wanted my own business enough to do it because i'd have to be a full blown free standing business--
i just wanted to pop out a few for f & f-- and i did! win/win
i srsly enjoyed working for others, usually --all the fun and none of the pain (of business)
Original message sent by howsweet
This may be the best thing to expand yourself in then. Marketing is very valuable also. I think Anne Heap got herself a degree in marketing and then opened up a bakery. There was probably a job in between. ;) I stressed the business aspect because that's often not even given anything but a passing thought. Maybe start working up a plan? :D
I'm actually in a great situation because when I lose my job, I will get 9 months of severance pay, so that gives me some time. I am also going to check out The Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen this week, which is a really cool place that helps jump start small businesses in the food industry. We'll see!
Yesterday, when I delivered this cake.... http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3148658/a/3430316/6-8-and-10-inch-tiers-decorated-entirely-with-vanilla-icing-inedible-rhinestone-borders-i-am-quite-proud-of-the-drapes-or-swags-which-were-done-in-vanilla-buttercream/
I was HORRIBLY disappointed. You see, all those icing dots were supposed to be edible diamonds but the company I ordered them from messed up and I had to change it last minute. Today, I see a well executed design and, if I do say so myself, I did an awesome job rendering the swags/drapes in buttercream.
I have learned to give myself a day or two, usually my most disappointing cakes look just fine after a good night's rest. We are usually our worst critics.