This happens in every business and in every industry, it's not just the cake decorating industry that it happens to. The thing is it's a process of learning to accept it and working with it instead of against it. You gain a lot more respect and referral business by being the helpful person in the area than by being the alternative. Like another poster mentioned, back when I was getting married I was on theknot and I'd say there are at least 10 or more brides a year that try to turn some aspect of the wedding into a business because it was "so much fun" for their wedding
.. The ones that get me now are the ones that say "I can make my own wedding cake" (um, yea, but ANYways...
I have been involved in multiple industries and the people I percieved as being the most successful were the people that didn't fear me becoming competition. Granted, we all have this relationship of being good friends but we'd take the opportunity to pull business away from eachother if presented with the opportunity, but that's the nature of the beast for not only that industry, but every industry. It's not personal, it's business. You're in business to MAKE MONEY, PERIOD. The drive is what wakes you up in the morning. I was just having a discussion with DH tonight about me being able to surivive a job that would require me to be up at 4:30AM, I told him "depends on where the decimal point is..", he said $100/hr, I said, "I'll be up at 4:15" LOL.. The thing is, I'm a businesswoman first, the only way a business will remain viable is if it has loyal paying customers for the long term. I also know what a job needs to have for me to get up in the morning.
I got into the cake part of things because I wasn't getting out on the road as much as I'd like to and got tired of doing 34 freebie cakes in one year. It was either quit or get the license and I had the kitchen space available and $4,000 in built up small wares equipment. Of course, the kitchen space has since fallen through (btw - even when dealing with family, get it in writing and have the contract!), but I now know if I build a new kitchen I have a niche that works for me and within 3 years I'll be busier than I want to be. I am not competition with anyone in my area because they are not my business, *I* am my business and I know I deliver a high quality product for my market niche for a reasonable price that pays my bills. Nothing more, nothing less. When I get contacted, I'm not afraid to answer questions OTOH, I'm also not afraid to tell it how it is. I also know when to just shut up and listen (not to mention
and shake head sometimes).
I will say though, having the pic of me with Duff at the front of my portfolio has sold a ton of cakes for me (I've also got the pic with Colette from that same day).. But in all actuality, there are always going to be people who are good at doing whatever it is professionally that you want to be doing, you just learn to roll with it instead of fighting it. OTOH, no matter what industry you're in, if someone is competing on a professional level, they need to be CHARGING PROFESSIONAL LEVEL for that work. Now THAT pisses everyone in every industry off when someone comes in and just charges a minimal amount "because I'm just gaining experience".. BS, if you're going to play with the big dogs charge like one or go back to the porch LOL... but everyone needs to start somewhere and the best lecture I ever got professionally was from a trainer who reamed me out for doing a cheap show once, and I never did THAT again!!! (he wasn't being mean or crass, he was instilling a value that every industry has and as a young "kid" in the industry and in business I didn't fully understand)... His words were, even if this is your first day as a professional, you get paid at the level to work as a professional because that is what you are whether you've been in the industry 2 minutes or 2 decades, never be afraid to charge what your worth because if you don't value your product and service no one else is going to.