Home bakery confusion

Business By tdovewings Updated 18 Feb 2014 , 2:45pm by AnnieCahill

tdovewings Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 7:18pm
post #1 of 34

For the first time ever, I had a paying customer that was confused about my bakery status. Last night she came to drop off some cupcake toppers. She left, then came back about 5 minutes later to ask if she could have the toppers back and she would put them on herself. I thought, weird since you just drove 30 minutes to drop them off.


Later I got an email saying, she was misled by us, and had no idea we were a home-based bakery and she wanted to cancel her order with a full refund. In my over 300+ orders in my short 2.5 years I've never had such a misunderstanding or at least any one has complained or said they felt misled.


She found our website via Internet search.  


I really want some feedback as to whether we should change anything.


This is really bothering me.  Needless to say, even though she booked months ago and her order was supposed to be delivered tomorrow, I gave her a full refund. 

33 replies
IAmPamCakes Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 7:24pm
post #2 of 34

ABummer. Your 'about us' sections states clearly that you are home-based. I know not all potential customers would look at that, but it's there. I'm no site wizard, and don't pretend to be, so I can't give advice on your page. She has an issue with a home-based business - sounds like a personal problem.

sugarflorist Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 7:38pm
post #3 of 34

AI have it admit I only took a quick look at your web site. Really nice web site BTW. But Perhaps her issue was one of licensing. If that is the right term , here in the uk home bakers have to be registered and checked on by inspectors so I am guessing it is the same in the US. Perhaps your web site would benefit from making it clear that you have a licence as a home baker and that you comply with food regs. Perhaps she got got scared and did not know how or what to ask to get the reassurance she needed.

AZCouture Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:15pm
post #4 of 34

AWell that stinks. Are you open to the public, with regular hours, and counters and shelves filled with baked goods? Cause I see your name has bakery in it, and you refer to the "store"...so I can understand the confusion. I do everything I can to distance myself from being confused for a bakery.

maymay0829 Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:25pm
post #5 of 34

AI agree with AZCouture

liz at sugar Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:36pm
post #6 of 34

Did her order contain an allergen free item?  Maybe she was concerned about cross contamination and that you cook other meals in your kitchen, as well as cakes.  Just a guess, there.


Sorry it happened, though.



MBalaska Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:39pm
post #7 of 34

If your business is at home, and not a store front, perhaps she saw something outside that bothered her.

If she did not SAY, you will not guess or know for sure.

cfao Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:44pm
post #8 of 34

Sugar florist, she has that covered on her about us page:

"We have  strict processes in place to avoid cross-contamination. We have been inspected by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). We’ve done all the leg work in finding safe ingredients and we can’t wait to provide that very special dessert for your celebration."


I have the entire lower level of our home as an in-home bakery. Where most people have a family room/game room, I have my work place. I stock no less than 200 cake tops, along with dozens of guest books, glasses, unity candles, etc. I have more in stock than the party good stores! I still have a bride once in a while come in and say wow, you're in a house, we expected a "real" bakery. There's nothing you can do about customers like that, they would rather buy from a commercial location and that's ok. I wouldn't have refunded anything to her, it states quite clearly you are a home-based bakery, it's not your fault she didn't take the time to read the information you have provided on your web site.

ljdills Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:46pm
post #9 of 34

I have to say that looking at your website I too had the impression that it was a storefront bakery.  Especially with some of the terminology you used like "Latest Store Additions".  You also had "sale" items which, to me, says storefront.  There is nothing wrong with being a home based business, I, myself, am also a home baker.  However, there are people out there that are not comfortable with using me for that reason and I understand and respect that.  

cfao Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 8:51pm
post #10 of 34

Check out the FAQ page, the very first post says it is a home-based business, as well as again on the about us page

tdovewings Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 9:25pm
post #11 of 34

Thanks for the feedback it is very useful! Different people have different impressions with the same language, and we strive to be transparent and really have always tried to make it clear that we are a home-based bakery.


For non-custom items we found it most efficient with our time to let people order online, especially during the holiday rush.  I never thought about it before but using the words "store" and "shop" could be confusing. I'm not sure how to rectify that. I'll have to think about it.


I don't want to remove the online order capability it saves us tons of time, but I need to think of a better way to say that. Since our name has nothing to do with cakes, cookies, or anything else you eat "Out of the Bubble" we wanted to make sure people knew who we were by adding the bakery to the end. We are more than cakes and cupcakes, so the "Out of the Bubble Cakes" was eliminated as a name. 


Yes, the customer did have an allergy concern, it was nuts. However, we don't do nuts at all, because I'm allergic to nuts. 


I paid a lot of money for this website and took a lot of time learning xml and other new programming languages, so it looks professional and showcases our products, but now I feel like, darn, it's too professional it confuses people? 


I know it was just one person, but I like to be open-minded and re-evaluate things. It was shocking to me. 

sugarflorist Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 9:36pm
post #13 of 34

AI don't think you can EVER be too professional. Being professional will gain you more business than it will loose you. Personally I would have been loathed to give a refund. It would be interesting to contact her and get to the bottom of what was happening in her head. But I guess it would be difficult to do that without it becoming emotional and messy

tdovewings Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 9:43pm
post #14 of 34

When my partner responded she did ask was there anything in particular that caused the confusion, or anything on her "tour" of our kitchen that made her uncomfortable and she simply stated "your website make it look like a commercial bakery not an out of the house operation". 

AZCouture Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 9:45pm
post #15 of 34

AHonestly, if it's worked for you until now, don't worry about it. I actually put "monkeys ice my cakes on Tuesdays" in the FAQ section of my website for a whole WEEK once to prove a point to someone about people generally not reading stuff. No one ever mentioned it. I too would have fought that refund. Especially since it was for delivery the next day, surely you had already started on the order?

cfao Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 9:54pm
post #16 of 34

I had a couple last fall that spent a day doing cake appointments, I was #3 out of the 4 they were meeting with. When they came in, he said they almost didn't even drive in since I am a home business and the 2 prior appointments were also home businesses. They did their tasting, he loved my cakes & he wanted to book on the spot, she kept harping on she wanted a cake from a "real" bakery. Even though my license is on display and I assured her I am a "real" bakery, I just don't pay rent to a strip mall or have employees and overhead to pay, you could tell she was having no part of it, she would have gone with the worse bakery in the world as long as there were cases of baked goods in a store front. She asked if the next appointment was another home baker or a bakery, the next one was a store front, and she was off to hand over her money to them before she even tasted their product. Be as professional as you can, some people aren't not meant to be your customers....

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 10:03pm
post #17 of 34

I have a commercial kitchen on private property, no 'storefront', and I have had a few people who aren't interested. I've never had someone cancel an order though!
Like others have said, since this was the first time it's happened, I wouldn't worry about changing a thing.

I also don't think that calling your legal home based bakery a 'shop', or having sales or promotional items should be stopped. Don't even think about 'dumbing it down' to appear less professional. (I don't know any other way of phrasing that, sorry)

Some people have had bad experiences with often illegal home bakeries, or heard bad stories, so their mind is made up. Nothing you can do about it.

AZCouture Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 10:32pm
post #20 of 34

AOh ain't that the truth. You should see what some of these dummies around here do. The things in their background pictures should be enough to put anyone off. They take pictures of cakes on their floors, they have cans of bug spray on the counter, they have soggy diapered babies in the background, all kinds of stuff. But for the most part, they move on to selling candles and healing oils after they piss enough people off.

morganchampagne Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 10:42pm
post #21 of 34


Original message sent by AZCouture

Oh ain't that the truth. You should see what some of these dummies around here do. The things in their background pictures should be enough to put anyone off. They take pictures of cakes on their floors, they have cans of bug spray on the counter, they have soggy diapered babies in the background, all kinds of stuff. But for the most part, they move on to selling candles and healing oils after they piss enough people off.

Candles and heating oils!!!!!!!! Lol!! So funny because there's two around here that went on to do just that!

tdovewings Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 10:46pm
post #22 of 34
Annelie76 Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 11:11pm
post #23 of 34

I have to agree with your customer, I get why she feels mislead. Far from everyone reads "about us" when they visit a store website.  If you´re really striving to be transparent then you might consider clearly stating on the front page that you are a home-based bakery. Nice site though :)

AZCouture Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 11:19pm
post #24 of 34

AOr photography. Cakes and photography. The two most abused professions out there.

crushed Posted 14 Feb 2014 , 12:03am
post #27 of 34

Your website is beautiful to look at and quite informative. I wouldn't change a thing.

The Cake Man Posted 17 Feb 2014 , 2:46pm
post #29 of 34

You mentioned that she booked months in advance, and cancelled, then basically demanded full refund. Like a couple others, I agree that she shouldn't have gotten a full refund.  There should be penalty for a customer cancelling an order.  Think of the time you spent on that order, you owe it to your business.

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