First, always remember that family members are the last ones who encourage and push us to pursue our dreams. Most are stuck in the "get a job, work 40 years, collect your gold watch, die" kind of thinking.
And what is this noise about "should have switched careers before you had kids"?
Just like I said above .... they think you get a job and work there 40 years. well I got news for ya, babe! That law firm decides to shut their doors 15 years from now, you are then a middle aged women with kids in high school looking to switch careers!!!!!! there are no guarantees, so I've NO idea what the heck they are thinking!
I have (let's just say "a relative") who is Negative Nancy all the way, on all things. We are working on a new venture and he of course had nothing but gloom and doom advice. My attitude is "If I had let other people make my decisions for me, then I'd be bankrupt instead of being blessed with this kind of success."
In the words of George Bernard Shaw: Those who say it cannot be done, should stop interrupting those of us who are doing it!
You have lots of options, really. (btw, I really like your grad cake!). I think the samples are a very good idea. It's the first thing they would want to know, can you bake?, if they are going to put your stuff in their shop.
You need to come up with a reasons of why this idea is a good thing for THEM. They could care less about giving you a space to enhance your skills. What's in it for THEM? What's the benefit for THEM?
- fresh baked desserts instead of the same 'ole same'ole that other restaurants have.
- a variety of items, that cause their customers to come in asking "What did she make today?" It's a reason that customers will talk about their place and will tell their friends about the place.
- perhaps a rotating menu ..... Monday is Boston Creme Cake; Tuesday is Peanut Butter Cake with Choc icing, etc. There can be other things available, but they only get peanut butter cake on TUESDAY! (I plan my lunches around daily specials at some of my favorite places!). It keeps the customers talking and gives them a reason to come back.
- As they grow and possibly get into catering, they wil need an array of desserts. Even if they just start with a call-in order for 15 for a large office, they will eventually grow (and you always phrase it as they WILL grow....) into larger caterings and how convenient would it be to have a decorator right there on staff?
Offer to work as an employee, making their baked goods. This will give you a great opportunity to practice, in a real kitchen (wow, what a difference that makes!), and hone your skills.
Offer to work not as an employee, but they give you the use of their kitchen and you give them a heck of a price on the desserts you create.
Offer to work on a see-how-it-goes basis (I think someone suggested that already). They can try adding the desserts to the menu, and if it works ... great. If it doesn't ... well, we're back to the drawing board.
but the key points are to make sure your selling points are how it's good for THEM, and don't hint around, don't beat around the bush, just go up to them and say, "I've got a proposition for you."