Am I Good Enough?

Business By rachelcak3s Updated 26 Feb 2014 , 10:24pm by MBalaska

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 7:55am
post #1 of 116

AI'm trying to figure out if i have what it takes. I know I'm not close to perfect, i just want to know if my cakes are good enough to sell and satisfy a customer all feed back is appreciatedted![IMG ALT="*"][/IMG] These 2 cakes I sold to customers who seemed really happy with the cakes the minnie cake I sold for 91$ and the army cake for 50$ with a 10$ discount because it was for a mans deployment. Did i under charge? Are they even worth that much? [IMG ALT=""][/IMG]

115 replies
Monii89 Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 12:34pm
post #2 of 116

I think you did a great job on them!  I wonder all the time if I'm good enough, I still do!  I only know that people like them when I get repeat customers and I've only been doing it for a year and a half and some customers have  came back 6 times!  As per your charging, everyone is different, some do it by cake, I do it by serving.  You have to figure out your cost supplies per cake or per serving and then approximately how long it takes you to crumb coat, get your materials all ready, your shopping time and charge accordingly.  I've looked at what other decorators charge around my area and then I figured out my costs since this wasn't my full time job, I didn't feel I need to charge more than what I do to keep the roof over my head, I charge what I need to for my supplies and a little extra for spending money.  I saw a very good note on facebook about pricing a cake and she described exactly how she did it.  As soon as I find the link, I'll post it for you.

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 3:21pm
post #3 of 116

AWell I know I dont have it all figured in and since im not a pro these take me hours to do. But I dont think I should charge so much jist because I have to encounter alot of trial and error with the the cakes. I figure 2.00 a serving 2.50 for fondant. I dont know im not sure I just know I cant keep throwing random prices out there. I jist get nervous about charging so much for a cale thats not going to be perfect like the pictures the customer sends me. Im only 19, ive been doing this for about 4 years mostly just a hobby every now and then try something new I recently jusy decided to start selling from home because I have the cottage food law.

sixinarow Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 3:56pm
post #4 of 116

APlease use the search function to find hundreds of threads on how to price cakes. There is nothing wrong with practicing on dummies until you are good enough to charge a price that is not severely undercutting local bakers. Not to mention trademark issues with both cakes. Research and practice, your work and future business will benefit from both, you will save money, Time and many, many stressful tears (as well as people taking advantage of you) if you do the research on pricing and take the time to improve your product before jumping into selling. :)

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 4:11pm
post #5 of 116

AThanks everyone, I know I have alot of room for improvement my main question was if the cakes pictured above are decent ,is there good talent there that was my reason for the thread. My family and friends love my cakes but of course they do I kinda wanted to get some feedback from people with experience.

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 4:23pm
post #6 of 116

ASixinarow are you saying that I should stop selling till ill charge 200 for a small tiered cake?

sixinarow Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 4:28pm
post #7 of 116

AThat's a tough question to address on an online forum where things can easily be misinterpreted as criticism instead of helpful critique. Is there room for improvement, yes. Friends and family love free (or cheap) cakes, but when you begin selling, the standard is raised. You may want to submit your work to the Peer Review Cake Club, a thread devoted entirely to critiquing cakes. Use the search feature and type in Peer Review Cake Club, it'll pull up the thread for you, I can't link it from my phone. Grab a cup of coffee and read, read, read! :) Excuse the typos, goofy autocorrect!

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 4:36pm
post #8 of 116

AI will definitely do that thankyou! And also on the subject when I dirty ice before I do the fondant I always do a super thin coat like its barely even there is that how im supposed to do it? I learned everything I do from reading and researching so I know it's important. I have no experience. In less we can classify YouTube as "classes" lol!:grin:

JWinslow Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:08pm
post #9 of 116


Originally Posted by rachelcak3s 

I will definitely do that thankyou! And also on the subject when I dirty ice before I do the fondant I always do a super thin coat like its barely even there is that how im supposed to do it? I learned everything I do from reading and researching so I know it's important. I have no experience. In less we can classify YouTube as "classes" lol!icon_biggrin.gif

sixinarow gave you great advice.  I know for me, I put a full serving of butter cream or ganache under fondant..  I remember way back when I was first learning that Wilton taught this super thin crumb coat before fondant, but it's about making the customer happy.   Many people when served cake want that butter cream and peel of the fondant.  There are a ton of techniques out there that take practice but are so worth it.  Hard to pin any one method down that will work for you so this is where Google becomes your friend.  I have spent many hours just researching and reading different methods and still look for new ones for improvement.  It's really a never ending learning process.

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:14pm
post #10 of 116

AI remember when. Did a full serving before fondant and it made my fondant sink in spots. But I dont think I chilled it or let it harden first so that was probably the problem I will try this and see if it helps on my next cake. Thank you!

remnant3333 Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:16pm
post #11 of 116

I think your cakes are great!!! Looks like you have what it takes because your cakes are very professional looking to me!!! Great job!!!

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:18pm
post #12 of 116

Morning!  I just wanted to chime in and say that decorating ability and business ability are 2 completely separate topics.  Running a cake business sounds glamorous but it is extremely hard and requires you to be pulled in many directions - and the first direction if you think you want to do this is to find what legal requirements you need to abide to in your area.  In many areas you can't just make and sell food from your house, you must cook from commercial kitchens or if you cook from your house there are still permits and licences and a laundry list of what you can and cannot make.  Lots of places it's totally legal to cook from your house and the list is small and requirements are minimal, some places in the world there are no requirements and you can do whatever you want.  So if you want to run a business, I highly recommend you start with doing that part of the research first, especially if you want to at least pay yourself minimum wage.  There is a market for high end perfect looking expensive cakes and there is a market for people are looking for entry level decorators at a low pricepoint.  But I can't stress enough that if you think you want to make money selling cakes, you have to be a business person first - always first.  You can always improve your decorating abilities but if you start your business side wrong, it's much harder to fix.


And yes, if you haven't already, please post your cake in the Cake Club (upload it to the galleries, then post the link to the gallery in the cake club), I started it and have been super busy and haven't participated in a bit but I'll try and pop over there and catch up on a few pages if I can.


Best of luck!

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:37pm
post #13 of 116

AThanks for the advice everyone!

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:42pm
post #14 of 116


AZCouture Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 5:49pm
post #15 of 116

AI think it's a matter of people wanting to be responsible when they give advice, so they tend to include what else they believe is equally important to mention. A lot of us have seen many many many questions just like yours, and sometimes the language or references one makes in their questions and replies can be an indicator of where that person is in terms of experience. So, I would imagine that some perceived you as a relatively green decorator....decoration wise and business wise.

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 6:03pm
post #16 of 116

Yes I apologize if I offended, I perceived your question of how good you are to be very open-ended.   How good one is goes far beyond decorating ability.


Have a great day!

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 6:08pm
post #17 of 116

AJust want advice on the decorating end.

MimiFix Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 6:28pm
post #18 of 116

I assumed that since the OP posted her questions in the business forum, she wanted to know about business. Maybe FromScratchSF can address this question: The forums are divided by topic. If someone posts a question such as the OP's and puts it in the Cake Decorating forum, the kind of replies they expect are not the same as if the question is posted in the Cake Decorating Business forum. Is that how it works or am I taking this too literally?

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 6:36pm
post #19 of 116

ANo I understand that, I didnt know I posted it here. Im new to cc. Sorry didnt know things are so serious around here.

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 7:17pm
post #20 of 116

AActually I don't think that most people that answer the forums really pay much attention to where the topic is posted, they just see it as a new topic, just like I did and it was something I felt to answer? I know that long ago when there were a lot more business owners here there was a rule about the business forum as being no hearts and flowers, strictly business, but I don't know if anybody pays attention to any of that anymore. they just answer the question to the best of their ability or at least think they're answering the question to the best of their ability. four over answering the question as I tend to do. lol

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 7:22pm
post #21 of 116

AI cant even figure out how to post it where I want. I didnt pay attention when I posted it I didnt relize. Sorry again.

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 8:13pm
post #22 of 116

Well like I said, I don't think it would have mattered where you posted it, it would have popped up on the home page as a "New Topic" and it would have attracted whomever wanted to answer your question.  I know a lot of us just look at "New Topic" because it's just on the home page.  


Like I said though, please post your cake for review in the cake club, it's full of really great people that offer direct advice on your cake and can point out all kinds of details that you may have missed and is a popular thread because those that participate are here to help you become a better decorator and give solid critique.

AZCouture Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 9:33pm
post #23 of 116

AI can't remember the last time I even browsed any of the different sections. The shortcut I have for CC opens directly to the latest replied to topics.

BeesKnees578 Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 10:37pm
post #24 of 116


Originally Posted by rachelcak3s 

No I understand that, I didnt know I posted it here. Im new to cc. Sorry didnt know things are so serious around here.

It's totally will notice with time that there are a few hot-button issues that get everyone all fired up (and with good reason).


Unfortunately, when typing out our answers, there is no way to inject personality into the things we say without coming off as mean, sarcastic, etc., even though we mean well and are just being honest.

BeesKnees578 Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 10:41pm
post #25 of 116

And since you just joined, it's totally understandable.


The very worst is when someone has been a member of CC for a couple of years and TOTALLY KNOWS the hot-button issues, they STILL ask the question "How much would you/should I charge for this cake."


Those are the people that need to be screen slapped!  They know better and are just provoking an argument.  I saw at least two posts from people like that in the last week or two!


This is an enjoyable place, I swear! 

rachelcak3s Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 10:55pm
post #26 of 116

AYeah I understand I wasnt asking how much they cost really more like did I over charge or undercharge. But thats ok if no one can answer that question . The main reason was I was looking for some one to either say the talents there or its not. Thats all

gatorcake Posted 24 Feb 2014 , 12:06am
post #27 of 116
Originally Posted by rachelcak3s 

I'm trying to figure out if i have what it takes. I know I'm not close to perfect, i just want to know if my cakes are good enough to sell and satisfy a customer all feed back is appreciatedted


Originally Posted by rachelcak3s 

Yeah I understand I wasnt asking how much they cost really more like did I over charge or undercharge. But thats ok if no one can answer that question . The main reason was I was looking for some one to either say the talents there or its not. Thats all


The problem is you do not just ask if the talent is there. You also ask if you under or overcharge. I am going to assume you did not post how much for you charged for them and address the question of talent. While I think they show promise, I do not think they are good enough to sell and to satisfy customers. Why? First the cakes show you are still developing some basic techniques. The top tier of the Minnie cake shows a significant depression in the middle -- where the two rounds meet. Folks looking for a professional polished looked would expect the sides to be straight with no bulges or depressions. The top of the tier also looks (I cannot tell for sure) lumpy meaning their is uneven icing under the fondant. The fondant techniques are also pretty basic--by that I mean they are circles, fondant ribbons, things that are taught in the basic Wilton courses. Courses like the Wilton courses are for hobbyists not designed to produce professionals. Now while Wilton may have been a stepping stone for many decorators, I doubt many would consider successfully completing their 4 courses sufficient skills development. Again there is promise there but you are already selling and I do not honestly believe the skills are sufficiently developed based on the two tier cake to be selling..
As to the square cake, again there is promise but I again do not think they show that you are ready to be selling cakes. The stars on the flag are undefined and the stripes should be of equal width. You reply to one comment that you know but the correct stripes wouldn't fit. This, to me, is pretty significant because it shows limitations in design execution. Knowing that the stripes on the flag are of equal width, you should have then been able to determine the width you would need of all 13 stripes. Some of the cuts of the camouflage pieces need to be cleaned up, again something folks looking for a polished/professional cake would expect. There are also ways to produce camouflage patterns in fondant that would more closely resemble military style clothing without having to layer fondant  on top of fondant. You may well indeed know this, I don't know, but you asked for honest assessments of your talent based on what you show here.
What I see here is someone who has potential and is developing skills. And no I don't think when folks are in that stage they should be selling. From what I see here it looks like someone who is apprenticing (even if the master they are studying under is CakeCentral and Youtube videos). Most people would probably not be willing to purchase a cake for an important celebration from someone who is still learning to master some of the more basic techniques. Are there people out there who would? Sure, as you note yourself you sold these. But these are not the individuals I would, or likely most would, use as a benchmark for determining if someone is ready to be selling to the public. Their primary motivation is getting something for as little as possible and will be happy with what they get -- although don't be surprised to be on the receiving end of an irate client who expects the work of well-practiced cake artist for the small sum they are willing to pay. 
The too long/didn't read version--there is promise but the cakes here do not show sufficient skill to be selling to the public.
rachelcak3s Posted 24 Feb 2014 , 12:46am
post #28 of 116

ANever been to a wulton class

AZCouture Posted 24 Feb 2014 , 2:35am
post #29 of 116

AGreat post, gatorcake.

BeesKnees578 Posted 24 Feb 2014 , 3:14am
post #30 of 116

I would go to craftsy and grab some classes.  Sometimes you can get a FANTASTIC class for $20.  You will learn so much from these amazing people.  I'm learning a ton.


The following is being said by me under the assumption that you are in a cottage industry state and would be doing this from your home, not a store front as THAT is a whole different animal (I thought you had said that somewhere along the line).


As far as what gatorcake has said...I agree and disagree.  I absolutely agree that you've got some great potential. Your cakes are pretty neat and clean.  Yes, there are a few issues and the degree of difficulty isn't high.


I disagree that you should not be selling.  If someone is willing to pay for your cakes (as long as you are not SEVERELY undercutting other local cakers WITH YOUR SKILL LEVEL), then more power to you.  Do some research as to what the TOP bakers in your area are selling for and the BOTTOM BAKERS.  Honestly compare your skill level and price yourself somewhere in will be making a little money while you are gaining valuable experience.  And be honest...if someone says "hey, can you do this?" and it is above your level and you aren't comfortable trying, tell them you are not the baker for them.  Better to create what you can and create it WELL, then under-deliver and have people saying your work is crap.  This is how you build your customer base.


MOST of us are not born with the skill level of the top cakers in the industry.  They worked at it and so must we. 


No one should work for free.  Apprentices get paid (squat) and when they become Masters, they make a wage commensurate with their skills. 


I don't understand why some seem to think people should stay locked in their creative space until they experts?  That's like telling people you MUST work at the Walmart bakery while you build your skill.  Well, you won't be building your expert skills at Walmart because you will have to crank out a cake in 20 minutes.  You will get really good at icing a cake, but they aren't going to teach you how to build your skills to a high-demand, gorgeous cake-maker, style me pretty designer.  You have to do that on your own!  And how are you going to fund the learning on your own??  By charging for the cakes that you CAN make well.  As you get better, you raise your prices.


What IS unnerving (and this is why some of us DO get so upset about the undercutting of competitors' pricing) is when someone that has a VERY high skill set charges Walmart prices.  That is unfair to both sides.  Why would you WANT to work super hard and not make what the BIG GIRLS (and boys) are making???  Or if your state DOESN'T have cottage industry option, then obviously there is HUGE tension with unlicensed bakers.


Is anyone with me on this, or am I talking crazy!?!  I do not own a store front, and if I did, I may have a different perspective.  I'm talking cottage industry here. If we didn't have cottage industry, I probably never would have thought to get into decorating.  Illegitimate bakers be damned! 

Quote by @%username% on %date%