Sooo, Undercutting Doesn't Hurt The Industry, Huh?

Business By LoveMeSomeCake615 Updated 30 May 2014 , 6:00am by SystemMod1

embersmom Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 9:06pm
post #31 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 
 

Exactly! There's NOT enough to work to go around! Any market can only bear so much competition before it's oversaturated. And when the competition is oversaturating the market AND charging ridiculously low prices just to get business, it devalues the market as a whole

I know only two custom cakers, both of whom live in areas either not served by a major supermarket or not served by any of the numerous decades-old storefront bakeries that are as common as weeds in this area.  It took both of them many years before they could consistently turn a profit.  Neither of them are currently doing it FT, however.  They both took non-culinary jobs to pay the bills.  One will still occasionally bake something if it's for a repeat customer.  The other one sold most of her equipment on Ebay and said goodbye to the whole thing :sad:

 

At work we get a lot of people pricing us for specific cakes (tiered, 3D, etc.) after going to the decades-old storefront in the area.  When we tell them that no, we aren't equipped to do such a cake (I'm one of those dreaded supermarket decorators, btw -- horrors!) nor can we customize with the breadth and depth as the storefront...wow, you should see some of the reactions.  We had one woman who literally screamed at my manager that we were ungrateful (@#&@$*(&*@ because we didn't want her business.  My manager just calmly looked at her and said, "Then why don't you just go back to the storefront and SPEND THE MONEY if you WANT that particular CAKE, then?"

 

Then sometimes we'll get a customer who will conspire with either myself or my coworker to do something under the table.  It's a fire-able offense, so no, sorry.

 

I feel for those of you trying to make a living under the cottage law.  I really do.

liz at sugar Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 9:18pm
post #32 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by embersmom 

 

I feel for those of you trying to make a living under the cottage law.  I really do.

 

It is worse when the undercutter has their own storefront.  :(

 

I don't do carved/shaped/novelty cakes, in large part because the bakery who seems to specialize in this type of thing in my town charges next to nothing.  Her pricing has poisoned the well for all others who want to compete in this area.  Oh, I guess she might charge $5 more than the 20 to 60 cottage bakers available in a 5 mile radius, but that doesn't mean anything.

 

I don't have a real urge to do those, so it isn't a big deal to me on the carved cake front, but it really just devalues the cake/dessert market as a whole.  Which stinks.

 

Liz

MBalaska Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 9:32pm
post #33 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by iredoo 

You just wait... those 3D printers will make all of that soon. :) Yum.. plastic.

 

3D printers for Sugar work is already invented and in use for making sugar Cake Toppers.  Saw it on TV.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 9:50pm
post #34 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 

 

It is worse when the undercutter has their own storefront.  :(

 

I don't do carved/shaped/novelty cakes, in large part because the bakery who seems to specialize in this type of thing in my town charges next to nothing.  Her pricing has poisoned the well for all others who want to compete in this area.  Oh, I guess she might charge $5 more than the 20 to 60 cottage bakers available in a 5 mile radius, but that doesn't mean anything.

 

I don't have a real urge to do those, so it isn't a big deal to me on the carved cake front, but it really just devalues the cake/dessert market as a whole.  Which stinks.

 

Liz

Yeah, we don't really do a lot of them either, because everyone wants one and no one wants to pay for one.:roll:

 

 My husband is the one who does them, and he is amazing at it. But if he's going to do one, he's going to spend hours on it getting every little detail right, and no way is he going to do that for no profit! So we really don't mind at all if someone changes their mind about a shaped cake once they see the price.

 

Thankfully we both have full time jobs that pay the bills, so we don't have to take any job we don't want to take. BUT we used to have a storefront, so I totally understand needing jobs to make a living and not being able to get them because people are cheap. :-t

vervainangel Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 10:39pm
post #35 of 110

AFirst... you are believing that she was quoted at other places $50-70 for a shaped cake, she could be lying just to get you to drop your price. I've heard that from customers... "well so and so quoted me only $ amount for the same cake". Well if that was the case they would just go to the other decorator. You don't know for sure if the low quotes are real or just their way of getting a lower price from you.

I work from my home kitchen (and yes it's legal in my state). I charge 6.00 + a serving for my shaped cake with a min order of 50 servings because they are take more time then regular shaped cakes.

I know that most store front cake business think the home cake decorator undercuts but that isn't always the case. My prices will be a few dollars less because I don't have a store front but I know the value of my cakes and price accordingly. they will always be alittle less but I have a right to cake decorate from my home and charge less then store front. My overhead is as big. My cakes are way better (taste and design) then alot of the local cake shops. I take less orders then them and can really take my time to make each cake perfect. I really can't stand the bashing of the home decorator anymore. I am part of the INDUSTRY! I look at my home based business as just that a business. It's not just a hobby. I work very hard at my cake decorating skill.

I've had plenty of customers that think my prices are too high. I don't budge on my prices, home business and all.

liz at sugar Posted 28 Feb 2014 , 10:50pm
post #36 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by vervainangel 

First... you are believing that she was quoted at other places $50-70 for a shaped cake, she could be lying just to get you to drop your price. I've heard that from customers... "well so and so quoted me only $ amount for the same cake". Well if that was the case they would just go to the other decorator. You don't know for sure if the low quotes are real or just their way of getting a lower price from you.

I work from my home kitchen (and yes it's legal in my state). I charge 6.00 + a serving for my shaped cake with a min order of 50 servings because they are take more time then regular shaped cakes.

I know that most store front cake business think the home cake decorator undercuts but that isn't always the case. My prices will be a few dollars less because I don't have a store front but I know the value of my cakes and price accordingly. they will always be alittle less but I have a right to cake decorate from my home and charge less then store front. My overhead is as big. My cakes are way better (taste and design) then alot of the local cake shops. I take less orders then them and can really take my time to make each cake perfect. I really can't stand the bashing of the home decorator anymore. I am part of the INDUSTRY! I look at my home based business as just that a business. It's not just a hobby. I work very hard at my cake decorating skill.

I've had plenty of customers that think my prices are too high. I don't budge on my prices, home business and all.

 

I commend you for doing your part to keep our industry elevated!  It is hard when any of us get lumped into a group where we really don't belong.   :)

 

Liz

natt12321 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 1:09am
post #37 of 110

A

Original message sent by liz at sugar

It is worse when the undercutter has their own storefront.  :(

YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH!

My prices aren't even that high, and I am quick at carved cakes (I prefer them to round ones if I'm honest). I know I have loads of room for improvement but even so I am better than so many of the local businesses who are severely undercutting me AND operating with a store front...

My absolute favourite recently though was a woman who contacted me for a quote for those doll cakes, you know the kind with the cake skirt? I have never made one, I've never been asked and honestly it's never struck me as something I wanted to do for the fun of it, but when I quoted her she wanted examples of cakes I had previously done, so I showed her all kinds of cakes much more complicated than the task she was suggesting. She didn't get back to me, so I politely messaged her asking whether she wanted to go ahead with it. Her response? I've booked with ''this less skilled company'' because you don't have enough experience in this particular cake.... :???: I had a quick peruse of their online gallery and was shocked, like I get that non caking people don't see what caking people see but still....

cazza1 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 1:57am
post #38 of 110

Unfortunately there are two factors working here. 

 

The first is the home baker who really has no business sense and who thinks that if they cover their costs and make a little bit extra then they are in front.  They do not put value on their time as they either do it in their spare time or are not working anyway and any extra money is a bonus (and if you are short of cash and unable to get a job for whatever reason every little bit can help if you are on a limited income).  Or they see it as a wonderful pass time and are happy to just cover their cost with a little bit extra to buy more cutters etc. and so support their hobby.

 

The second factor is Joe Blow the public.  They really have no idea and if they first see or hear about the type of bakers above they take that to be the norm.  Or they think that because you are doing it from home that it should be cheap.  This applies to all things made from home, not just cake.  And they think that you are doing it for your own enjoyment and so shouldn't charge for your time.  I once had a lady ask me if I would make her a Hardanger mat (A type of embroidery) after seeing one I had made.  She thought it would be worth about $50 when I queried how much she would pay,  chuckling to myself.  She had no idea that it had taken me about 100 hours to make.  People just have no idea of the time invested in any of these things and need educating.

debbiecakes75 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 2:37am
post #39 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by vervainangel 

First... you are believing that she was quoted at other places $50-70 for a shaped cake, she could be lying just to get you to drop your price. I've heard that from customers... "well so and so quoted me only $ amount for the same cake". Well if that was the case they would just go to the other decorator. You don't know for sure if the low quotes are real or just their way of getting a lower price from you.

I work from my home kitchen (and yes it's legal in my state). I charge 6.00 + a serving for my shaped cake with a min order of 50 servings because they are take more time then regular shaped cakes.

I know that most store front cake business think the home cake decorator undercuts but that isn't always the case. My prices will be a few dollars less because I don't have a store front but I know the value of my cakes and price accordingly. they will always be alittle less but I have a right to cake decorate from my home and charge less then store front. My overhead is as big. My cakes are way better (taste and design) then alot of the local cake shops. I take less orders then them and can really take my time to make each cake perfect. I really can't stand the bashing of the home decorator anymore. I am part of the INDUSTRY! I look at my home based business as just that a business. It's not just a hobby. I work very hard at my cake decorating skill.

I've had plenty of customers that think my prices are too high. I don't budge on my prices, home business and all.

YES, YES and YES to this!   I applaud you for standing up for all of us home cake businesses. Yes, we are most definitely part of the industry and shouldn't be scorned just because we haven't taken that road and confined ourselves to a storefront 24/7!

 

I am a home baker as well with a separate licensed kitchen. I recently responded to another thread about pricing and was accused of charging too little and was belittled for being "just" a home baker and not setting my prices to match those having a storefront. The reality is that my pricing is only slightly lower (50 cents to $1.00) than the other custom cake designers with storefronts in my area and I am HIGHER than the only bakery in my small town. Recently, a potential client asked for an estimate, I gave her one, and she said that she was going with another licensed baker 45 minutes away that could do the same for $250 less...or so said. I must admit, this baker does great work, but on her FB page she explains why she's less expensive; because she has no storefront, thus, less overhead.  No wonder customers are confused!

AZCouture Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 3:35am
post #40 of 110

AShoot, technically I'm a home baker, but I don't care if my overhead is less. I get the impression that is a copout for some people to justify being cheaper, NOT referring to anyone in this thread, just a general observation. So your overhead isn't as much, so what. I don't get the same deals as a bakery though when it comes time to buy flour and ingredients. I don't have room for bulk purchasing, nor do I have the need for hundreds of boxes or pounds and pounds of sugar or other things that the bakery pays a lot less for. A lot of what I use is bought right of the grocery store shelf like any other consumer, so there's higher costs right there.

Paperfishies Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 4:21am
post #41 of 110

There is a lady in my city that charges .65 cents per cupcake -_-  She gets quite a bit of business but she can't be making any money.

cakefat Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 5:02am
post #42 of 110

 "There's NOT enough to work to go around! Any market can only bear so much competition before it's oversaturated. And when the competition is oversaturating the market AND charging ridiculously low prices just to get business, it devalues the market as a whole."

 

so true!

 

There are tons of shoddy cakes being sold here, mainly advertised on FB groups. Most look like a blind kitten made them and without a doubt they are severely undercutting the legal cake makers. It's sad but so are their cakes, usually. but it does devalue the entire market. 

 

BeesKnees578 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 5:31am
post #43 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Shoot, technically I'm a home baker, but I don't care if my overhead is less. I get the impression that is a copout for some people to justify being cheaper, NOT referring to anyone in this thread, just a general observation. So your overhead isn't as much, so what. I don't get the same deals as a bakery though when it comes time to buy flour and ingredients. I don't have room for bulk purchasing, nor do I have the need for hundreds of boxes or pounds and pounds of sugar or other things that the bakery pays a lot less for. A lot of what I use is bought right of the grocery store shelf like any other consumer, so there's higher costs right there.

 

Ditto...I tell people this all the time.  I am very thankful that OH is a cottage law state.  I wouldn't want a shop.

 

I have to remember that we are comparing those of similar skill when talking about undercutting - which is hard for me to keep in mind and I get all worked up about certain posts about undercutting.

 

IMO, I don't care if crummy decorator down the road is working her a$$ off doing a ton of ugly cakes in a weekend, I don't want her customers and they can't afford me.  That's not my competition.  I don't want to live like that.  One great cake, really decent money, move on. 

BeesKnees578 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 6:02am
post #44 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakefat 
 

 "There's NOT enough to work to go around! Any market can only bear so much competition before it's oversaturated. And when the competition is oversaturating the market AND charging ridiculously low prices just to get business, it devalues the market as a whole."

 

so true!

 

There are tons of shoddy cakes being sold here, mainly advertised on FB groups. Most look like a blind kitten made them and without a doubt they are severely undercutting the legal cake makers. It's sad but so are their cakes, usually. but it does devalue the entire market. 

 


I'm OBVIOUSLY not a business expert, but isn't this comparing apples to oranges?  Target to Abercrombie?

Not everyone is competition.  Do you consider Walmart or Blind Kitten Bakery your competition? 

Blind kitten cakes are OK for people who don't prioritize cake, or appreciate the art and skill, or have the budget to purchase a fabulous cake.  They gotta eat something for dessert!

If people DO value quality and skill and have the budget, they will seek out the appropriate cake maker.

 

If I am way off base - as I usually am :) - please, someone, help me see the light.  In the nicest way possible.

AivaCake Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 6:20am
post #45 of 110

You'd be surprised.  I have so many friends who would consider themselves "cake snobs" now because of me LOL.  Before, they'd see some shoddy wilton cake and think "OH HOW CUTE!!!" but now that I've shown them real works of art, they think 'Ugh, thats not cute, its lumpy, is that edible paper??".  I seriously am starting to think part of our profession is educating people! haha 

BeesKnees578 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 6:31am
post #46 of 110

True...not everyone knows what their options are!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 6:20pm
post #47 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakefat 
 

 "There's NOT enough to work to go around! Any market can only bear so much competition before it's oversaturated. And when the competition is oversaturating the market AND charging ridiculously low prices just to get business, it devalues the market as a whole."

 

so true!

 

There are tons of shoddy cakes being sold here, mainly advertised on FB groups. Most look like a blind kitten made them and without a doubt they are severely undercutting the legal cake makers. It's sad but so are their cakes, usually. but it does devalue the entire market. 

 

A blind kitten! That's both sad and hilarious! :smile:

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 


I'm OBVIOUSLY not a business expert, but isn't this comparing apples to oranges?  Target to Abercrombie?

Not everyone is competition.  Do you consider Walmart or Blind Kitten Bakery your competition? 

Blind kitten cakes are OK for people who don't prioritize cake, or appreciate the art and skill, or have the budget to purchase a fabulous cake.  They gotta eat something for dessert!

If people DO value quality and skill and have the budget, they will seek out the appropriate cake maker.

 

If I am way off base - as I usually am :) - please, someone, help me see the light.  In the nicest way possible.

 

Definitely, and we don't concern ourselves with people who are clearly not our target market. I really don't care that this lady wasn't willing to pay our prices, we just say "Next!"

I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that undercutting DOES make a difference. I've seen so many people come on here and say that their charging a fraction of what other cakers charge is no big deal and doesn't hurt the industry at all, when in fact it does. I'm NOT talking about anyone on this thread, and I'm NOT talking about charging a little less than the storefront does. I'm talking about charging $50 for a shaped cake that would take hours of work and probably more than $50 in ingredients cost to make. 

Quote:

Originally Posted by AivaCake 
 

You'd be surprised.  I have so many friends who would consider themselves "cake snobs" now because of me LOL.  Before, they'd see some shoddy wilton cake and think "OH HOW CUTE!!!" but now that I've shown them real works of art, they think 'Ugh, thats not cute, its lumpy, is that edible paper??".  I seriously am starting to think part of our profession is educating people! haha 

Yes, this! We have turned our friends into cake snobs too! But before we started making cakes, they would look at those cakes and think they were great too. It takes time to educate people on what it possible, and on what actually goes into a custom cake. 

nancylee61 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 6:24pm
post #48 of 110

But not everyone can afford a great baker!! And that's fine. Sure, I could make and sell ugly cakes right now for cheap cheap cheap. But I am not doing that because I know what my time is worth, and I have to say, I don't want cheap attached to my name. I have a class at the CIA next week, I bought the Wilton cake videos from craftsy, I spend money on dummies, I make at least two cakes a week that mostly get thrown out. I read someone here the other day say, "How does that help? The garbage can doesn't care if I have straight lines." She is missing the point. That practice is for ME!!! I care. I spend hours doing and redoing, and still...I would not even give them away. 

 

I am doing a big cake for a friend next month, no cost, and I am already practicing. I am making the bottom layers this week, torting, filling, stacking, smooth buttercream, and then the birch cake BC design. If I use the SMBC I will use for the real cake, my husband will eat it. If I use the crisco creme I practice with, into the garbage with it. I will not even give it to someone. Nothing wrong with that buttercream if you use it and are known for that taste, but my niche is going to be all natural, mostly organic, so into the garbage with no regrets. I am old enough to know that the way to learn is to read, study, watch, ask questions, and practice, practice, practice. No shortcuts. I do think I will learn this more quickly than  my metalsmithing or pottery, but that is because I already have some of those skills, and this has a lot in common with them, especially pottery. So I figure in 6 months to a year my cakes will look much, much better than now, and I will continue to improve.

 

So I got off the point, which is that the lady making crappy cakes - well, that isn't going to be me. The local bakery sends out blind kitten cakes. I either want her customers to see my cakes and see the difference, because they are paying top dollar, or others who appreciate the effort that goes into a beautiful, delicious piece of art. 

 

Nancy

peppercorns Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 2:07am
post #49 of 110

AWould it be better if on your display of a 3D cake, you add, price starts at________, would that not eliminate a lot of misconceptions? :lol:if someone on FB asks, my response to that would be, see display and pricing in shop, or give her a business number to contact you.

costumeczar Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 12:23am
post #50 of 110

Of course undercutting hurts the market, and there isn't enough work for everyone. It's my complete pet peeve whenever any wedding pro in this area starts in with the "there's enough business for everyone" song. What a load of crap. Here, I wrote this when a wedding planner was singing that song and I went off on her (she was scared) http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2012/04/no-theres-not-enough-work-for-everyone.html  Businesses that undercut and underprice drag the market down and force people out of business every day.

 

It's definitely a multi-part issue, but the truth is that not everyone values cake. For most people it's something that you have at the party, and it doesn't need to be amazing and customized and expensive. There are other people who do value it and who are willing to pay what they know it will cost. Some people will understand the value when you "educate" tham, and for others the "education" just comes off as stupid, since they don't care. It's like someone trying to convince me that it's important to spend more money on this golf club instead of that one because this one has this that and the other feature. I don't care and I hate golf, so I'm not going to spend my money on that. I will spend more for things that do matter to me, but it might not be what is important to someone else.

 

I have plenty of friends who don't do cakes who I've talked about this with, and they all make the point that although they do understand why a cake would cost a certain amount, the standards that I have aren't their standards. One friend said that since the cake that SHE would make would be monkey-iced, crooked and ugly, anything better than would impress her. It isn't the general public that is the harshest ciritcs of cakes, it's other decorators, who can be real biotches when it comes to ripping other people's stuff apart. Most people would be happy paying $20 for a sheet cake with blue icing roses because they can't make blue icing roses. Even if that sheet cake is ugly in our opinion, it's fine for most people who put their priorities in other places.

 

The problem then becomes finding the customers who DO value what you do enough to pay a decent price for it. I had a customer today who was trying to pay me more than I quoted her because she was convinced I'm not charging enough (I am). She finally put a $200 deposit down on a cake and I'm going to give her the final total when I'm finished. She doesn't care how much it costs because she DOES value it. Most people don't, though. The $50 cake on facebook is okay for the masses. So sad...But people also think that Olive Garden and Red Lobster are "nice restaurants," so there are a lot of mediocre standards out there.

 

It just means that people who do custom work have to be better at marketing, which makes our job harder. But oh well, it's not going to change any time soon. The cake industry is bloated and wheezing right now, and it's not going back any time soon. So get used to having to be a marketer as well as a decorator, it's the new reality.

AivaCake Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 12:34am
post #51 of 110

One friend said that since the cake that SHE would make would be monkey-iced, crooked and ugly, anything better than would impress her. It isn't the general public that is the harshest ciritcs of cakes, it's other decorators, who can be real biotches when it comes to ripping other people's stuff apart. Most people would be happy paying $20 for a sheet cake with blue icing roses because they can't make blue icing roses. Even if that sheet cake is ugly in our opinion, it's fine for most people who put their priorities in other places.

 

I think its shows like Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, DC Cupcakes, etc that have "educated" the general public on what custom cakes look like.  I'll never forget in 2009, my grandmother thought it was so silly that people were ordering tiered cakes for anything other than weddings.  Tiered cakes were for weddings and sheet cakes for everything else.  Now we have 3 and 4 tiered cakes being served at 1st birthday parties along side smash cakes.  Its either one extreme or the other.  People want to Keep Up with the Joneses because thats what they saw on TV but want to pay the Honey Boo Boo price!  I even see people on the Facebook for sale pages advertise themselves as "the decorator that can give you that cake that you see on cake boss or pinterest!".  Now we know who to blame! LOL 

MBalaska Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 1:22am
post #52 of 110

Wise words CostumeCzar, and well explained.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 1:51am
post #53 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 

 

I have plenty of friends who don't do cakes who I've talked about this with, and they all make the point that although they do understand why a cake would cost a certain amount, the standards that I have aren't their standards. One friend said that since the cake that SHE would make would be monkey-iced, crooked and ugly, anything better than would impress her. It isn't the general public that is the harshest ciritcs of cakes, it's other decorators, who can be real biotches when it comes to ripping other people's stuff apart. Most people would be happy paying $20 for a sheet cake with blue icing roses because they can't make blue icing roses. Even if that sheet cake is ugly in our opinion, it's fine for most people who put their priorities in other places.

 

Absolutely. We realize that many people who inquire about our cakes are probably not even visualizing the level of work we are when we are quoting a cake, and I'm sure they would be thrilled with the "ugly sheet cake". But we have come to the place where we are just not interested in doing any and every job that comes along, we only want to do the ones that excite us and make us feel like we are able to truly use it as a creative outlet, since that's what it is for us now. I realize (I know it ALL too well, been there!) that bakers who are trying to make a living doing this don't have that luxury. 

 

Everything you said, costumeczar, absolutely true. One thing I feel like we continue to struggle with is reaching the right demographic, that high-end customer who really does value custom work. We have them, but we also still get so many inquiries from people like this lady, those who want quality work but don't understand why it costs what it does, nor do they want to understand. 

liz at sugar Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 2:29am
post #54 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

It just means that people who do custom work have to be better at marketing, which makes our job harder. But oh well, it's not going to change any time soon. The cake industry is bloated and wheezing right now, and it's not going back any time soon. So get used to having to be a marketer as well as a decorator, it's the new reality.

 

It doesn't matter if you are a cake decorator, or a hair stylist, or a doctor - every business and professional has to excel at marketing, or they (and their message) get lost.  But this isn't new - it has been that way forever.  But many people who have never been self employed or run a business don't find that out until they are in hip deep.

 

Liz

costumeczar Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 2:35am
post #55 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by AivaCake 
 

I think its shows like Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, DC Cupcakes, etc that have "educated" the general public on what custom cakes look like.  I'll never forget in 2009, my grandmother thought it was so silly that people were ordering tiered cakes for anything other than weddings.  Tiered cakes were for weddings and sheet cakes for everything else.  Now we have 3 and 4 tiered cakes being served at 1st birthday parties along side smash cakes.  Its either one extreme or the other.  People want to Keep Up with the Joneses because thats what they saw on TV but want to pay the Honey Boo Boo price!  I even see people on the Facebook for sale pages advertise themselves as "the decorator that can give you that cake that you see on cake boss or pinterest!".  Now we know who to blame! LOL

Very true, and I think that we can also blame those shows for the influx of decorators in the market who think that it's so much fun to do cakes, and who have no clue how to price them!

jenmat Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:12pm
post #56 of 110

My problem is not with the decorator (whether home based or storefront) who does subpar work and charges subpar pricing. Buyer Beware and all that. 

If someone charges less for less quality, I say then don't come crying to me when the cake falls over or looks monkey-iced or blind-kitten iced. The customer who sees that person's work and then still orders from them was never my customer. 

 

My problem is with the decorator who does quality work for an under-valued price. I am directly competing with that decorator who is willing to lose to win. There are not many out there in my area right now, but there are a few. And the CFL is coming up this way very very soon and I cringe to think how many more fairly talented decorators who can't get their business crap together will flood my market and bring all our businesses down with them before they crash and burn.  

 

And I am home based (licensed separate kitchen) and charge more than 90% of the storefronts in the area. I feel that although they have to order from someone without a parking lot, they know I am the only one handling their order, the only one accountable for their order, and the one who takes care of them from start to finish and that is worth something. 

nancylee61 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:23pm
post #57 of 110

A

Original message sent by jenmat

My problem is not with the decorator (whether home based or storefront) who does subpar work and charges subpar pricing. Buyer Beware and all that.  If someone charges less for less quality, I say then don't come crying to me when the cake falls over or looks monkey-iced or blind-kitten iced. The customer who sees that person's work and then still orders from them was never my customer. 

My problem is with the decorator who does quality work for an under-valued price. I am directly competing with that decorator who is willing to lose to win. There are not many out there in my area right now, but there are a few. And the CFL is coming up this way very very soon and I cringe to think how many more fairly talented decorators who can't get their business crap together will flood my market and bring all our businesses down with them before they crash and burn.  

And I am home based (licensed separate kitchen) and charge more than 90% of the storefronts in the area. I feel that although they have to order from someone without a parking lot, they know I am the only one handling their order, the only one accountable for their order, and the one who takes care of them from start to finish and that is worth something. 

I am not one to mess with other people's business, but it might be time to check with your county if these businesses are registered, and with your town's zoning to see if their homes are zoned for commercial. I am renting a commercial kitchen when I even make for friends, and when/if I,start a business, I will put in the sinks, get a license, etc. I will probably report someone who,isn't playing by the rules. I never thought I would, but the things I need to be legal will cost me a pretty penny, and why should someone else compete with me and not play by the rules?

jenmat Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:37pm
post #58 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by nancylee61 


I am not one to mess with other people's business, but it might be time to check with your county if these businesses are registered, and with your town's zoning to see if their homes are zoned for commercial. I am renting a commercial kitchen when I even make for friends, and when/if I,start a business, I will put in the sinks, get a license, etc. I will probably report someone who,isn't playing by the rules. I never thought I would, but the things I need to be legal will cost me a pretty penny, and why should someone else compete with me and not play by the rules?

Never said they weren't licensed. Just underpriced. Again, there ARE decorators out there with talent, who for whatever reason, feel that if they make a little extra off their work then they are ahead and are happy. 

I am not one of those, but I do have to compete with them. 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:58pm
post #59 of 110

General question - do you think that joe public actually notices a difference between a 'good' and a 'bad' cake?  Or is it just we decorators who spend way too much time fussing over a .5mm deep hollow in our buttercream?

 

There is a shop nearby which offers cakes and cupcakes at pretty cheap prices (GBP20 for a decorated cake.)  To me, the finish is very poor...but by all accounts, her business is growing!  So am I being overly fussy (because I spend hours trying to get the consistency of my ganache perfect before doing an undercoat), or does it really not matter to people?  I don't think I'm overly expensive, but I'm certainly not cheap either yet people don't respond from quotes.  Out of curiosity, I sent a good friend of mine a picture of what I would consider to be a poorly decorated cake a few months back (from a supermarket) and asked him what he thought of it.  He has seen my work.  All he said back was 'don't like the colour much'...nothing about the wonkiness, the lumpy sides, the 2" deep tiers, the sugar flowers that looked like someone had sat on them.  If he (as a 'knows a little more about cake than average joe') says that, then what do those really not in the know think??

 

sorry, this isn't meant to sound depressing and I have no intention of compromising standards but reading this thread (and it has to be said, having a very bad day!!!) is making me wonder...

costumeczar Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:31pm
post #60 of 110

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 
 

General question - do you think that joe public actually notices a difference between a 'good' and a 'bad' cake?  Or is it just we decorators who spend way too much time fussing over a .5mm deep hollow in our buttercream?

 

There is a shop nearby which offers cakes and cupcakes at pretty cheap prices (GBP20 for a decorated cake.)  To me, the finish is very poor...but by all accounts, her business is growing!  So am I being overly fussy (because I spend hours trying to get the consistency of my ganache perfect before doing an undercoat), or does it really not matter to people?  I don't think I'm overly expensive, but I'm certainly not cheap either yet people don't respond from quotes.  Out of curiosity, I sent a good friend of mine a picture of what I would consider to be a poorly decorated cake a few months back (from a supermarket) and asked him what he thought of it.  He has seen my work.  All he said back was 'don't like the colour much'...nothing about the wonkiness, the lumpy sides, the 2" deep tiers, the sugar flowers that looked like someone had sat on them.  If he (as a 'knows a little more about cake than average joe') says that, then what do those really not in the know think??

 

sorry, this isn't meant to sound depressing and I have no intention of compromising standards but reading this thread (and it has to be said, having a very bad day!!!) is making me wonder...

This is exactly what I'm saying...People don't notice the kind of thing that we tell ourselves is "critical" to a decorated cake. The number of people I've seen arguing that you have to decorate the board as well as the cake is one good example...People will look at that and say "oh that's nice" but if it isn't decorated it's only the cake decorators who notice and fault each other for it. The general public DOES NOT CARE about the details. If the cake is better than something they themselves could make, most people would say that it's really good.

 

thinking that you'll get more business becasue your fondant is a little smoother than that cheaper person's fondnt is a mistake most of us make. People aren't going to beat down your door to buy from you just because you met some standard that you have in your head. You have to go out and tell people why your product is better and worth paying for. That's the not-fun part of running a business.

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