Cakespirations Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 11:34am
post #1 of

I have been in business for a good while now. I hear about the "other" home bakers in "other" peoples areas all the time from rants on FB to comments on here. I have just never seen it in my face before... Until now.

 

The other day on a FB page that is SUPER local to me, offers junk exchange, yard sale ,garage sale stuff.. a woman posted a question.

 

"Anyone recommend a cake place for a birthday cake?"

 

..... in about an hour there had to be 35 responses, all local... out of them all, 3 had legit businesses. I was recommended twice and then two other really great cake owners I know got recommended. One of the people that recommended a lovely cake business, gets the response back from the women. "OMG her prices are outrageous, I would never spend that on cake, its just cake seriously!" .. I actually wanted to then post.. "you wont be able to afford me either... but don't come crying on here when someone has to pick cat hair out of their teeth or the cake isn't delivered or if Mickey looks like a rat on a hot tin roof!" ... (I didn't though, I said nothing to be honest with you)

 

However, I was floored... then I started looking through the other "recommendations" and most had FB personal pages with cakes in their pictures....

 

I had NO idea. I thought it was just a handful of people I compete with locally. Its half the freaking community.

 

On the other side of this rant I end with .. a huge thank you to all the people that do support me, a huge thank you to those that repeat and tell others I am worth it, an even bigger thanks to the few who have been shocked at my prices and listened while I explained every dime and then they actually ordered from me anyway. Thank you Thank you Thank You!

74 replies
fcakes Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 12:55pm
post #2 of

AHa! I see that ALL the time in the Facebook yard sale pages in my area!

liz at sugar Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 2:44pm
post #3 of

Same here - someone posted asking about a wedding cake on a local FB page, and no less than 18 separate home bakers were suggested to the OP, in less than about 10 minutes. :)

 

Happens everywhere, all the time.  Just know that not everyone goes with the lowest bid - that is a red flag for many shoppers.

 

Liz

howsweet Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 4:14pm
post #4 of

ABut they can have an effect on prices you can ultimately charge . Did any of you see the thread where this person posted that she and 15 other bakers in her area have agreed on prices? I was telling her she was undercharging and she was insisting otherwise. I live in a major metropolitan area, but for the longest time have been perplexed about why almost all my cakes go into the city or suburbs 45 min to an hour away. Guess what? By crazy, insane coincidence, it turned out she and her gang of 15, as I now call them, were in my area.

It's not a depressed area or anything like that and in fact includes some of the most affluent suburbs.

I was stunned. I felt like I'd bit hit by a truck. This cake club of stay at home, blind leading the blind mom's had ruined cake prices in a gigantic area of a major city.

They aren't making awful cakes, just charging awfully low prices no one could survive on. She emphatically defended her position with all sorts of nonsensical arguments and insisted she makes enough on her cake to support herself. She wouldn't listen to reason. I fear that the cake industry is in for some rough roads ahead.

Godot Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 6:49pm
post #5 of

AReport the illegals.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 7:04pm
post #6 of

i remember reading that thread as it developed and freaking out that that played out like that--because it seemed like price setting but maybe not quite or something...maybe yes maybe no--then add in your personal data on no sales in a certain area where they operate--whoa

 

then as to reporting peeps--texas has cottage laws now for cakers--not so much to report unless you really get into somebody's business--

 

oops if you typo 'laws' you get 'lows'--

 

the peeps i worked for saw this writing on the wall 30 years ago--are we there yet--yes we are--

 

edited for typos

howsweet Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 10:45pm
post #7 of

AI forgot that's how it started. It sounded like she was saying her club was price fixing. I guess it would be the first case of reverse price fixing in history, if that's what it was.

Godot, right now where I live it's legal to decorate cakes with chickens running around the kitchen and you can bring your cat along to help deliver the cake, which according to one county official is actually a problem. I thought she was making it up, but now I'm not so sure

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 10:52pm
post #8 of

Makes me want to get someone to ask on yard sale page in my area. I am in a state with no cottage food laws, I'll sniper out every last dang one of them, to the heath department.

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 11:07pm
post #9 of

The cat thing cracks me up. Having met quite a few of the CFL bakers in the Houston area it wouldn't surprise me in the least. 

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jan 2014 , 11:15pm

but of course we all know, at least i know legit bakers who should be shut down or have been shut down for cause (making sign of the cross)--and of course there's cottage peeps that are super clean and awesome--they are not all hair ball spreaders/lovers--

Godot Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 5:51am

ANo one said otherwise.

If they're operating illegally then turn them in to the proper authority.

enga Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 5:59am

http://cottagefoods.org/faq/#illegal

 

I know someone who is illegally running their food business from home. How do I report them?

An operation like this is extremely common. In fact, this is part of the reason cottage food laws have been created, since the main food laws (with their very high barrier to entry) are forcing so many producers under the table.

 

First you should ask yourself: what are your motivations to report this person? Have they gotten people ill? Is their business too big for their home kitchen? Is their business disturbing you (too much traffic in the neighborhood, for instance)?

You will help them the most by talking directly with them about their motives. Many people are unaware that it is illegal to sell homemade goods without approval. Maybe they want to become legal, but can’t afford it right now. Maybe they are only selling to family and friends and don’t think there is much risk for their small business.

 

After talking to them, if you really feel like their business needs to be shut down, then you can try to report them to your local health department. You should know that health departments are already very aware that there are tons of businesses like this, in every state and county. Many departments are already swamped just managing the legal food facilities in their area, and they may simply ignore your report. Some departments will take the effort to ask the individual to stop doing business — most likely with a simple warning, but sometimes with a fine.

 

Please remember that this home business, even unregulated, is still likely to be very safe, especially if they are only selling non-potentially hazardous items. Many people have started very successful food businesses from home without getting government approval (like Paula Deen) — just imagine if someone had tried to shut them down when they were just getting started.

liz at sugar Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 6:21pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by enga 
 

http://cottagefoods.org/faq/#illegal

 

I know someone who is illegally running their food business from home. How do I report them?

An operation like this is extremely common. In fact, this is part of the reason cottage food laws have been created, since the main food laws (with their very high barrier to entry) are forcing so many producers under the table.

 

First you should ask yourself: what are your motivations to report this person? Have they gotten people ill? Is their business too big for their home kitchen? Is their business disturbing you (too much traffic in the neighborhood, for instance)?

You will help them the most by talking directly with them about their motives. Many people are unaware that it is illegal to sell homemade goods without approval. Maybe they want to become legal, but can’t afford it right now. Maybe they are only selling to family and friends and don’t think there is much risk for their small business.

 

After talking to them, if you really feel like their business needs to be shut down, then you can try to report them to your local health department. You should know that health departments are already very aware that there are tons of businesses like this, in every state and county. Many departments are already swamped just managing the legal food facilities in their area, and they may simply ignore your report. Some departments will take the effort to ask the individual to stop doing business — most likely with a simple warning, but sometimes with a fine.

 

Please remember that this home business, even unregulated, is still likely to be very safe, especially if they are only selling non-potentially hazardous items. Many people have started very successful food businesses from home without getting government approval (like Paula Deen) — just imagine if someone had tried to shut them down when they were just getting started.

 

Well, of course this is a bit slanted.  Cottagefoods.org is probably not where I'd go first for advice on reporting illegal bakers.

 

Liz

enga Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 7:07pm

 

 

 

Well, of course this is a bit slanted.  Cottagefoods.org is probably not where I'd go first for advice on reporting illegal bakers.

 

Liz

Why, because you feel like they are pro CFL? Cottage food laws help people legally start a small business in this poor economy. Is that the problem or is it the threat of them undercutting your business? What? They are damned if they do or damned if they don't.

 

I wish my state had a CFL it would make things so much easier.

MimiFix Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 7:19pm

It appears to be another ad hoc group with one agenda. Which is not a bad thing, enga. But their About page is missing crucial information, such as the person or people sponsoring the group. David, the boy who appears to answer many of the member questions, joined CC a day or so ago.

liz at sugar Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 7:23pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by enga 
 

Why, because you feel like they are pro CFL?

 

I don't feel like they are, they actually are.  From the sounds of that paragraph, they are taking a black and white issue (operating legally/illegally) and trying to make it an issue full of gray areas.  For example, saying that cottage food businesses are forced to operate "under the table" because of "the very high barrier to entry" to traditional food surface operations is just making excuses.  Also, saying that you can try to turn them in, but most health inspectors are overworked, and probably won't do anything about it . . .  what kind of b.s. is that?

 

I live in one of the most liberal cottage food law states there is - Iowa.  There are virtually no barriers to entry.  So I am not against the CFL, but trying to sweep all cottage food providers under the same rug, whether they are properly licensed or not, isn't the right tact to take.  And cottagefoods.org should not be characterizing legal cottage food producers as "being forced to operate under the table" - talk about insulting if you are legally operating under a cottage food law.

 

Liz

enga Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 8:00pm

I wasn't really sure they had an agenda except to explain the laws and how they apply to different states.

 

I just wanted on honest answer as to why some CC members are so averse to the idea of people starting a business under the CFL.

liz at sugar Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 8:07pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by enga 
 

I wasn't really sure they had an agenda except to explain the laws and how they apply to different states.

 

I just wanted on honest answer as to why some CC members are so averse to the idea of people starting a business under the CFL.

 

There is nothing inherently wrong with cottage food laws - letting more people compete with less government intervention is a very good thing.  I think the problem most on CC have is that many people don't even bother complying with the very basic requirements of the CFL - those are the "under the table" operators.  The other large problem is with those people who don't want to price their products in their own best interest - undercharging, etc.  They wreak havoc on the industry as a whole, by devaluing the products they sell.  That is where the contention lies.

 

Liz

enga Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 8:09pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by enga 
 

Why, because you feel like they are pro CFL?

 

I don't feel like they are, they actually are.  From the sounds of that paragraph, they are taking a black and white issue (operating legally/illegally) and trying to make it an issue full of gray areas.  For example, saying that cottage food businesses are forced to operate "under the table" because of "the very high barrier to entry" to traditional food surface operations is just making excuses.  Also, saying that you can try to turn them in, but most health inspectors are overworked, and probably won't do anything about it . . .  what kind of b.s. is that?

 

I live in one of the most liberal cottage food law states there is - Iowa.  There are virtually no barriers to entry.  So I am not against the CFL, but trying to sweep all cottage food providers under the same rug, whether they are properly licensed or not, isn't the right tact to take.  And cottagefoods.org should not be characterizing legal cottage food producers as "being forced to operate under the table" - talk about insulting if you are legally operating under a cottage food law.

 

Liz

I think they meant it forces illegal producers to work under the table.

 

An operation like this is extremely common. In fact, this is part of the reason cottage food laws have been created, since the main food laws (with their very high barrier to entry) are forcing so many producers under the table.

 

(with their very high barrier to entry) Not being able to rent a commercial kitchen or pay to have their home converted into a commercial kitchen.
 

-K8memphis Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 8:52pm
interesting i have a completely different take on it--
 
i think cottage food laws prevent peeps from getting turned in--like pot in colorado--but not in all states 'cause not all states and all areas of those states allow it--
 
i've said this before--we had several cakers turned in by another caker here in memphis several years ago and the cake community turned against the ones who reported it--our health department was not pleased with that having happened either--also fwiw the reporter and and one of the reportees were family
 
i know some of us here often promote turning peeps in usually for business reasons but i would not for several reasons--no offense to anyone for my views--i think it's the health department's job to keep our food stuff as safe as possible--so i don't think that them taking time to oust illegals to benefit the business community is their purview--if the food is unsafe yes call quick--but to eliminate undercutting and those diluting sales--no i don't think so myself--and for me i'm not interested in being any part of the food police life is hard enough--i'd rather make pretty cakes
enga Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 8:58pm

I'm not trying to start an argument, I found this link to find out exactly how the laws apply to different states. The wording might sound biased but I didn't post it because of that. I posted it because I wanted people to think about why they are turning people in.  Is it business or is it personal?

 

The market is saturated, it has been for a long time. Everybody is scraping to make ends meet, so a stay at home mom from any town USA wants to sell cakes on the side for extra money and happens to live in a state with a CFL should be made to feel bad because of a few undercutting bad apples isn't right either.

 

Most of us on this site suffer from the cake decorating bug and dream of owning our own cake business. Some of you have made very successful businesses out of your passions, some have not, and for some it remains to be just a hobby. Just because some of you were successful doesn't give you the right to tell someone else they cant if they don't do it your way. Everyone cant afford to do it your way.

 

I have read a lot of your stories in past threads. Some of you came from very humble beginnings and struggled being single moms, divorcees, widowers and so on. I know starting out your businesses was not easy and you fought an uphill battle to get to where you are today. But just because it was hard for you doesn't mean you have to make it hard for someone else.

 

I'm glad they are passing these laws so that some mothers out there who are suffering financially who don't have any other skill except cake decorating and baking can maybe start her own business without going through the hoops that I had to go through.

Stitches Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 9:34pm

The issues I have with illegal bakers is them not 'paying to play' like everyone else does. They don't pay sales tax or income tax on their earnings. They don't support/stimulate the economy by creating jobs, leasing property, buying equipment, etc... MANY, many industries have "barriers" of start-up costs much higher than food businesses. The food business entry costs are very low compared to other industries.

 

There are other things people can do to make money that aren't illegal. Do you understand those issues enga? Do you really think it's o.k. for some people to cheat? 

-K8memphis Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 9:53pm

i think enga was asking about what is the underlying reason behind why some of us cakers want to turn people in not the qualifying reasons for doing so--i think she means why would a baker, cake artist have the desire to turn someone in--i might be wrong but i think that's what she means--

 

of course it's not ok to cheat but there's a big difference between knowing it's there and turning peeps in for cheating --

 

but where cottage laws are in effect it's harder to turn someone in yes?

 

edited for typos

Stitches Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:23pm

I did understand her k8 and that's what would drive me to turning someone in. I get sick and tired of everyone cheating on everything. It hurts everyone! It raises the costs for the people who do pay for things in life.

 

I think people that will cheat on a big issue (being legal) will cheat on plenty of other big issues and it cumulatively really hurts our society. Those types of people never want to accept responsibility for their own actions and always have a personal excuse why they are the exception to life's rules.

 

Act responsibly.... people do get sick and die from food. Be a licensed business and pay taxes just like everyone else, have insurance, have your food handlers permit, etc... stop hiding behind excuses.

shanter Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:31pm

^^^^^^^^  This.

carmijok Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:46pm

A

Original message sent by Godot

Report the illegals.

I believe the PC term is 'undocumented cakers"

DeliciousDesserts Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:49pm

AWow.

I personally wouldn't report anyone for the sole reason in too busy. Ever been on hold with DHEC?!!

However I'm am floored that someone would condone ANY illegal activity. Sure, we empathize with struggles or reasons. There is simply no excuse for breaking the law.

An example: oh I know she sells crack cocaine, but that's only because it's so hard to become a pharmacist. Besides, it costs so much to lease the space for a drugstore. She has children to feed and times are tough.

I know that is a huge exaggeration. I picked it to prove a point.

If you can't operate legally, wait until you can!

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:49pm

I could care less about the business end of illegals in regards to how it affects my business. I have reported people, and will continue to do so.


Are they competition for me? no, we have a totally different market.

Are they driving prices down? Probably, but getting a CFL probably isn't going to change that.

 

I care about the fact that they are following NO guidelines, they have not been held up to any standards of health or hygiene, they haven't taken food safety or handling.

I've reported 3 local 'bakers' for selling baked goods, because they have indoor cats.

That is revolting and irresponsible.

 

I can't believe this is even a topic to be honest. It's a law. The sense of entitlement and 'special snowflake' mentality these days ticks me off. You don't get to circumvent laws without repercussion.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:50pm

DD for president!

costumeczar Posted 25 Jan 2014 , 10:51pm

Heck, if you don't want to turn them in to the health department, turn them in to the department of taxation for not collecting sales tax.

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