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Was it always like this? - Page 3

post #31 of 226
Perfectly said and thank you for your words of wisdom moderators like you make newbies feel a bit better.

Thank you for the enoucragement even if I don't plan on running my own business just found a love for decorating and baking for those I care about.
post #32 of 226
Let me also add, that I LOVE the hype. How much fun is it to hear from clients about how they want this over the top cake like they see on TV. I'm game!!! Thanks MTV super sweet sixteen, cake challenges, and Ace of Cakes for the surge in business. Also for somewhat educating some of these clients so that they understand what I'm talking about when I say rkt sculpture and
Everything inside is eatable, I mean edible, I mean you can eat everything!!!
Everything inside is eatable, I mean edible, I mean you can eat everything!!!
post #33 of 226
I can sooooo see all sides of this debate⦠Sorry if the post ends up too long or too personal, but here it goesâ¦

With a business/marketing major, I currently run a company that has nothing to do with cakes⦠Some of my work involves graphic design... Also, I happen to be a certified fashion designer, a hobby I thought Iâd turn into a profession, but after the classes realized it wasnât me after all.

I am a pretty good cook, the kind who never follows a recipe exactly or measures too closely, where everything is taste-tested, mixed until it looks right and cooked until done⦠Iâve been baking for half of my life, and Iâd try a new fascinating recipe on the spot even if it is 1am when I come across itâ¦

So, I got bitten by the cake decorating bug a little over a year ago⦠After the first couple of fondant-covered cakes, all my friends and family stated âyou should go into businessâ⦠I started fantasizing about it too⦠No formal culinary school, but hey, good cooking, graphic design and marketing experience, what more can one need?! Bought several books (or should I say several dozenâ¦), researched licensing, looked up local âcompetitionâ, was on the verge of writing up a biz plan, and had a couple of people say âcount me inâ as potential investors were I to make the leap⦠Even wrote a long-winded e-mail to my favorite bakery (a famous one in the SF Bay Area) asking for advice on starting the business â thankfully, it never left my Drafts folder, and it is close to the type of written material AllCakedOut is referring to⦠Oh, and discovered CC!

And then, I had to do 5 pretty elaborate huge cakes in two weeks for our and friendsâ parties⦠by the end of it I hated my kitchen, the never-ending pile of pans, bowls, spatulas, etc. begging to be washed and put away, and even the taste of my favorite raspberry Chambord ganache seemed appalling â I had an open jar of dill pickles sitting on my counter!⦠I was a zombie, playing with cake all night and tuning in to work the following morning (did I mention I have a toddler and a preschooler, and that hubby didnât have a real dinner in the meantime?!... )

At that point I realized that cakes â just as fashion design â will be just a hobby. Something to enjoy. Something that I would do in my time, with my own hands, for people and events I choose to do it for, with flavors and designs that are up to me and not have to meet someone elseâs questionable expectations⦠And my day job is too good to abandon after allâ¦

I guess what Iâm trying to say is that people should be allowed their soul-searching and day-dreaming, and in fact they may have been born to do cake art with no formal training and may make it big overnight⦠BUT ignorance should not be an excuse to jump head over heels into anything that they may consider cool â or profitable - after a TV show and expect to be whole-heartedly accepted into training for free or to be given advice of the goodness of one's heart just because they asked...
post #34 of 226
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 icon_rolleyes.gif .. The ones that get me now are the ones that say "I can make my own wedding cake" (um, yea, but ANYways... icon_twisted.gificon_evil.gificon_confused.gificon_lol.gif )

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 icon_rolleyes.gif 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.
post #35 of 226
krysoco, you picked the words right off my brain. I read this post last night before there were any replies and just clicked out because it pissed me off. I started making cakes because of a picture I saw in Parents magazine and wanted to make my son's first birthday cake special instead of buying one from the store. I never even saw Ace of Cakes & Food Network never even crossed my path because I can't cook to save my life! I happened to be in michaels and found the cake section and bought some stuff & I practiced for the few months leading up to my son's birthday and it was like I was bitten! I was one of those women that you probably see and snicker at because you know they don't know what they are doing in that aisle and they are wondering aimlessly. I just signed a lease on my own space two months ago and I'm just a housewife. I did own my own salon before I got pregnant and sold it, and my husband owns his own business(15years) and neither of us have a marketing/business degree.

OP, I think you should step back and take a look around and you will see that everyone starts somewhere and you are amongst a group of people that, for better or for worse, want to help each other. If I were just starting out, being just a housewife w/ no formal degree and all, and I found this site and read your post, I would probably back down and rethink my love of making cakes. Try to look at this from a different view instead of on that perch you sit on.

Welcome to Cake Central.
Oh, Bother!
Oh, Bother!
post #36 of 226
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mindywith3boys

Well, I started making cake about 12 years ago for my boys for their birthdays, long before Ace of Cakes... I guess I am just that kind of "housewife" I would love to start a business so day. I guess maybe I'm not entitled to that dream since I've only been able to take "Wilton courses". I am deeply hurt, offended and discouraged by this post and now feel like this isn't the warm helpful place I thought it was. icon_sad.gificon_cry.gificon_sad.gif

Loving the idea of starting a business and dreaming aren't what I have issues with. I have issues with the whole "aw, this is going to be such a fun and creative thing to do, I'm going to put out a sign and run a fun business, and it's all going to be rainbows and fun!" weird attitude I've been coming across lately.

Every business starts with a dream. Most of them then move into research and planning, not straight to opening day. I'm complaining about alllll the people that seem to skip / want to skip that important second step.
post #37 of 226
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mo_like_it

This really is a pessimistic view! Plenty of people have successful businesses without formal business training.

That's why I also said "or are at least naturally gifted with a business mind". It seems too many people are all caught up in what they see on tv (not much of the business end of things), and totally don't get that it is a *business*
post #38 of 226
I guess MY question would be....."Why is this so important to you OP?" You have your business why not allow others to do the same. They will fail, or succeed, on their own.

I'm NOT a professional baker although I get calls all the time. Just turned down 2 wedding cakes because I my summer's are busy with church activities. Let me tell you MY experience.

I was (emphasis on WAS) a good friend to a caterer in my small town. There are only 2 caterers here. Anyway, I was doing a wedding cake for a friend's granddaughter as a gift for her since she did my son's wedding at almost cost (she's a florist). I saw him at WalMart and he asked what I was doing with all the "cake stuff". I told him. I'm legal by the way. So, guess what? Got a call from the Health Department the next day because HE had reported me for making "illegal" cakes.

The OTHER caterer follows me around WalMart every time she sees me, asking me questions, talking, chatting, etc. Look, I'm old, not STUPID I know what she is trying to do. She has even asked ME how I made coconut cake. Know what I did? I told her. Yep, that's right, I told her.

See where I'm going with this? Worrying about competition makes one paranoid and in some cases cause one to act foolishly. Be very careful. CCer's are HELPERS not HURTERS.

By the way, MY post was meant to be a helper to someone.

Keep on Cakin' and have a good 'un!

Beth from KY
post #39 of 226
Originally Posted by AllCakedOut

Originally Posted by mo_like_it

This really is a pessimistic view! Plenty of people have successful businesses without formal business training.

That's why I also said "or are at least naturally gifted with a business mind". It seems too many people are all caught up in what they see on tv (not much of the business end of things), and totally don't get that it is a *business*

My take on it. I think someone makes a birthday cake for a relative. Everyone fawns over it. Some time passes. They do another cake, same reaction. The thoughts start to creep in. "Wow I might actually be able to make $$$ off of this" Then a relative passes on the info that so and so can make a cake. They make one, and sell it. then the idea really sets itself in.

Honestly what other industry can you get into for less than 100 bucks? That is a huge part.

Now before you say you need more than 100 bucks, no you don't. One cake leads to another, and so on. That is until you poison someone. To do it illegal it is very easy to get started.

Understanding what it actually takes to do it correctly, AND be good at it. Heck the easy part for me is starting, and running the business. Decorating is the hard part for me. I so suck at it. LOLOL

post #40 of 226
The original post, although sounding cynical, it is the truth. I'm sure it was not ment to offend anyone here on CC but to draw our attention to one of the trend in the marketplace now.

I for one is in a profession for 26 years (bookkeeping and administrative assistant) which I personally don't like doing because it kills my creative spirit, but it pays the bills and afford me to bake and decorate cakes. Even with my business aptitude, I'm not very goot at keeping my personal books, so when I started a cookie business it went in the red all the time, even though I made great cookies, I could not balance the finances well. My sister who has a college degree in accounting could not figure it out.

From the day I was born, I have been in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake. At 13 I wrote my own recipe book (99% of the recipes were never tried, but I love to create things). I love to paint, sketch, sew, make my own dress patterns, and just creative. Now I'm decorating cakes part time and would love to do the business full time, but now looking for space to rent. When I want to stay motivated, I watch Ace of Cakes, or looke through my cake decorating magazines...

Here's an example of what AllaboutCakes was talking about...I recently took a Wiltons class in Fondant & gumpaste (I have been teaching myself so I wanted to see if close up if what I was doing is right)...and one student said she was at the Cordon Bleu and is wasting all her money because she thought she would be doing more cake decorating. Then I realize she had no idea or real interest in serious baking and cake decorating. My reason for saying this is not because is was in cullinary school, but her whole attitude in the Wilton class stunk! icon_mad.gif . She thought the techniques and excitement came through osmosis icon_confused.gif She was never prepared for class, nor paid any attention to the instructor...Hello?! Just lazy and wanted to make money. It has to be your passion, even if you don't have business skills, you may need a partner to give you balance (like me, I have my sister). As I can see from the members on CC, there is passion about what we do, however, it just drives me crazy when I see the "amoeba" out there think it's all a "cake walk"... thumbsdown.gif

Bakers and decorators, let us do it with passions thumbs_up.gif

PS: Thank God for spell check... tapedshut.gif
Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.Proverbs 12:24 (NLT)
Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.Proverbs 12:24 (NLT)
post #41 of 226
Thread Starter 
Man, too many people look way too hard for something to get offended about.

If you learn to pipe your first rose, then jump immediately to "I should open a business" and actually see yourself in this thread, then go ahead and get offended.

If you have been decorating for years and years and are just thinking "someday", and fully intend to get all your ducks in a row before actually opening, then I really don't see what you have to be offended about. I don't really care what background you have - housewife, student, or whatever - as long as you really think/ plan things out first.

I should have mentioned : part of why I get upset by the "I just got this whim in my head, now tell me where to start FROM THE BEGINNING", is that I DID email people back at the beginning. Nicely written, too - before I get accused of writing offensive replies. You'd think that taking the time to write back would garner at least a thank you, right? Nope.. I'd either receive NO reply at all, or a reply that was either incredulous at / bitching about the fact that you can't do this from home / telling me that they were just going to do it from home anyway (truly the mark of someone serious, right?), etc.

As for the comment that I should be happy I have people offering to work for free... are you serious? Bringing someone in to "work for free" would cost me a FORTUNE in time and material. It's one thing to make an investment in someone who wants to work for you, but to even consider doing that for someone on a starry eyed whim of going off on their own.. what??

Training is an investment from both sides. If someone wants to be on their own, etc.. they should be serious and invest in training. There is no shortage of training available. If someone is looking to be an employee, with reasonable expectations and a good head on their shoulders, that's a completely different thing.

To the person who implied that I'd look down on anyone who didn't have a Cordon Bleu degree.. did you even read what I said?

Being afraid of competition? Uh, no. I welcome competition. I just think it's insane to be asked to *train* someone - for free - to become that competition later. I even tried to put myself in their shoes for a minute.. and I still can't even imagine having the balls to contact my future competition to ask that of them!

I love how my vague complaints of trends I've seen here has resulted in personal attacks against me. You look for personal offense in something I said, when it certainly wasn't directed at any one person in particular.. then insult me *directly* as you complain about how you feel insulted. Wow, hypocrisy.

You know, the legalities, regulations, etc were the first thing I looked at when I decided to open a business. It was part of "is this a feasible plan?" thinking... and I think fairly basic if you're serious about getting in to it. When someone emails me, then acts surprised that there are actually laws to follow, it strikes me as really naive. I hate the emails that feel like "La la la.. I have a frosting bag and now I'm going to open a business!"

I also don't know why there is some assumption that I don't help people? I contribute cake to a handful of charities on a regular basis, have a large sponsorship arrangement with another non profit, AND am set up with another organization to be a guest teacher - they have a group of differently-abled teens and young adults who learn new skills every week / month, and I'm the one who'll teach them cake decorating. I'm SO looking forward to it. I also regularly get emails from other decorators both locally and from across the country about different techniques, I haven't been stingy with the help there, either.

You want me to look at my post and see how horribly offensive I've been? If you're actually offended by this, you really need to take a look at how offensive YOU have been / could be if you'd actually behave in the manner I'm complaining about!

Don't you think - for even a second - that maybe seeing a show on tv, getting an indea in your head, then emailling someone in the business to ask for free training, all the while commenting on how EASY and fun their job is would be even just mildly rude and insulting?
post #42 of 226
Going to LCB is a waste of $$$.

post #43 of 226
I believe the sociological term for what Mike describes is (ahem) "low barrier employment." detective.gif

Low barrier= low start-up costs, low paid educational costs, low overhead (at least using home kitchen), short period of time from start-up to first production of product.

High barrier - starting a MRI center, for example. High cost, high formal educational requirements, etc. hat1.gif

Low barrier professions have high turnover rates. High barrier professions weed people out with education, infrastructure, and financial requirements.

High barrier professions have rules and costs to join membership communities (like the American Neurological Association)

Some people assume individuals in high barrier professions are "better." Me -- I like to evaluate my doctor just as critically as my cakes. Low barrier does necessarily equate to low skill. It just means you can produce a product with less monetary investment than other professions. thumbs_up.gif

Low barrier professions have more open membership communities (like CC). Some might think that is the great thing about cakes, then. thumbs_up.gif

[and note, my post is not meant to offend anyone, including brain surgeons! icon_smile.gif ]

edited for spelling
post #44 of 226
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BakingJeannie

It has to be your passion, even if you don't have business skills, you may need a partner to give you balance (like me, I have my sister). As I can see from the members on CC, there is passion about what we do, however, it just drives me crazy when I see the "amoeba" out there think it's all a "cake walk"... thumbsdown.gif

I think people may have the wrong idea by what I consider "business skills". LOL.

I think that having the self awareness to know your strengths and weaknesses is a HUGE business skill. It doesn't matter if you're not that hot at accounting - as long as you know it, and do something about it (like farm it out!)

Thank you for your reply.. even though I'm now going to have cake amoeba images in my head as I read these emails now, lol.
post #45 of 226

As MY post stated I was trying to help you. I didn't take offense at your post and I certainly hope I didn't offend you by mine. I was trying to point out that when the "competition word" comes into play we sometimes forget who we really are and that makes us....react differently that we normally would.

Anyway, so sorry if I offended and Have a nice day!

Beth in KY
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