Promising more than you can deliver.

Business By DeliciousDesserts Updated 29 Jan 2014 , 4:10pm by AmbitiousBeginner

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:30pm
post #1 of 13

I don't mean this to sound snarky.  I know it will.  I am honestly curious.


As an artist, I do some times take on a challenge.  Even still, I never promise something unless I am certain I can execute it.  That means I have some idea of how I am going to create it.  How do you even estimate the cost of something unless you have some idea of how to make it?!!


I say this because all too often I see the HELP ASAP post.  In it, someone has promised some crazy cake and doesn't even know what pans to use or how to start.  While that is okay for friends and family, it is not ok as a business owner.  


When I agreed to make the hog's head, I was a bit intimidated.  I knew I had never done anything like it.  I also knew the basic structure I would need, the servings it would offer, and a general idea of how to make it and how long that would take.


We are in the custom cake business.  Each cake can be very different.  I never promise anything I am not absolutely certain I can not only accomplish but can execute well enough to seal it with my name.


Please don't confuse this with the HELP ASAP cake disaster.  Life happens, mistakes happen.  I just can't imagine walking into a cake blind or better yet blindly pricing a cake.  Do they just grab a figure out of thin air?

12 replies
jazzy3190 Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:37pm
post #2 of 13

AYeah your right once this lady asked me for a sculpted batman standing up cake and I was honest and told her I wasn't able to make it, I rather miss an order than sell something ugly and let it haunt me I learned that the hard way

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:43pm
post #4 of 13

Woooohooo and the choir sang Amen.

cakealicious7 Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:44pm
post #5 of 13

AI agree with you. I don't understand how some of these people have started up businesses but don't even know the basics?? I have read a couple of threads where they're asking for help for a basic,square fondant covered cake. And then proceed to ask for help on how to make it- I certainly wouldn't be selling my cakes unless I knew I could deliver the goods. I mean how would the customer feel knowing that this person didn't have a clue as to what they were doing?

ellavanilla Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:47pm
post #6 of 13

I agree, and I was just about to bring up a post Jen Bratko made a while back about being thoroughly prepared before she took her first cake order. Unfortunately, there will always be people who think it's a breeze...

as you wish Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 7:47pm
post #7 of 13


Original message sent by DeliciousDesserts

Woooohooo and the choir sang Amen.

Lol! Yes!

CakeRae80 Posted 27 Jan 2014 , 9:43pm
post #8 of 13

I like to be challenged and everyone has their firsts of everything, but I agree, you need to have a game plan before you say yes to the cake.  I have been asked to do things that I had never did before, but I take a day or two to research it before I say yes right away.  If I don't think I can do it, then I try to steer them in another direction, or tell them if they're not happy with that, sorry, but I can't do it.

Nadiaa Posted 28 Jan 2014 , 2:25am
post #9 of 13

I also don't understand how people can not know how to price their cakes or don't know the basics of cake decorating…and they sell cakes! It's just crazy to me and if it were me I'd be the most stressed person on earth! Which is why I don't sell cakes - yet. I'm still honing my skills and learning new ones. I can't offer a wide enough range that I'm  happy with yet, so it's going to be a couple more  years before I'll feel ready. Does it kill me to see other bakers opening up businesses in my area doing what I want to do? Yes. But I won't wreck my reputation the day I start my business. 


I do think lots of people come on here asking for help with cakes who are making them for their kids birthday cakes. I don't mind those questions, because they're not for a customer, just for themselves. 

Claire138 Posted 28 Jan 2014 , 6:13am
post #10 of 13

I've told people no to designs I know I can't make (some of the designs I see even on here I don't know if I'll ever be able to make.....sigh) On the flip side of that though is the client that sends you a design or photo of the ugliest cake and your heart sinks & then you  have to try and sweet talk them into something a little nice/prettier/classier..... Or if they say no, just grit your teeth and make it:-X

Faradaye Posted 28 Jan 2014 , 8:38am
post #11 of 13

AI had a lady send me a photo of a stunningly executed 2 tier topsy turvy cake she wanted replicated. It was amazing work.

Now, I know the very basics of how to do a topsy turvy, but I have never attempted one. So I explained that the style of cake is a specialised skill, that I haven't attempted, I would never take on something for a client that I wasn't completely confident of executing flawlessly. So I clarified my quote was for the same design, but with normal shaped tiers.

I can't imagine committing to so etching like that, for a paying client, without already having practiced the technique myself at least once.

AmbitiousBeginner Posted 29 Jan 2014 , 4:10pm
post #13 of 13

I've also wondered about this issue.  I only make cakes for family, mostly my kids. So when I try something new, which is basically every cake, I don't have to worry too much because if it just doesn't work I know my kids will still be excited about the cake.  The first time I made a cake for a friend I was so stressed because I wanted it to be perfect (it's the Lion King cake in my gallery) Even though it was very simple, I was extra critical and scrapped off all the icing at one point and started over. I was so thankful and relieved that I was not getting paid.  Now I don't think I would ever want to get paid because it took all the fun out of it and turned it into a stressful situation.  I also decided that I will never offer or accept to make a cake for a friend, still too stressful.  I wouldn't want to feel that stressed every week!  Maybe if I ever get to the point where I knew that I could do a quality job ever time I would reconsider, but for now the fun is in trying new techniques and perfecting old/basic ones.  


I will keep being amazed at the cakes posted where the CC member states that it was their first time trying/doing a technique and the picture looks flawless.  I guess that's the difference between a professional and me!  :)

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