Bridal Show Nonsense (Long Rant)

Business By ellepal Updated 18 Nov 2005 , 1:34am by ellepal

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ellepal Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:20am
post #1 of 26

Hi...I just wondered if anyone enters bridal shows. If so, how does that work out, and are you usually successful at attaining clients.

There is a bridal show in my town coming in January. The dilemna is that it is expensive (850/booth), but would be worth it because my business would be mentioned on the radio 1200 times when they advertise for the bridal show itself (they mention all of the vendors).

HOWEVER, (and I am shocked by this) I was told that in the cake department, there is an "exclusive vendor" who has first dibbs on whether or not she wants to be the sole cake vendor in the whole entire show. So for 1350, she can basically monopolize the show.

I don't know much about this business, but that just sounds unfair, especially to the brides and grooms who pay money to attend these bridal shows. They go to collect information on as many vendors as they can.

This particular vendor charges New York prices in our small Ohio town, and she has been known to be haughty and rude to customers. (She was snippy with me when I called her last year to inquire about a cake for my own wedding). It was her bad attitude that got me into cakes (so I guess I owe her that much!).

I just find that to be crappy business practice on behalf of the Bridal Show organizers. So now I have to wait before this lady decides whether or not she wants to be exclusive in the show or not. If she says no, then I can pay my bucks and get moving with my business. I think I could be pretty successful at attaining clients if I could get into the show.

Anyway, just wondered if that is typical...any experiences you'd all like to share would be great.


25 replies
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CarolAnn Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:46am
post #2 of 26

Hi Ellen,
I have no experience at anything like a Bridal Show but it sure seems like bad business practice for the show to allow one individual to monopolize the show that way. They ought to realize that the more vendors they bring in the more beneficial it is for the bridal couples who come to the show. It's all about presenting choices isn't it, not just promoting a particular business. And wow, is that $850 just to have a booth in the show? Whew! I sure have to wonder why anyone would take their business to someone who is rude and snippy to potential consumers. Not a cent of my hard earned money would go to someone like that. So did you make your own wedding cake?

Well, I hope you get in and get all the business you want. Good luck to you!

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:56am
post #3 of 26

Well, the prices sound about right, from what I have heard. I have also heard of that practice, which I don't agree with either. But I guess when they are getting sponsorship together and all, it likely seems like a good idea on the part of the organizers. It also, interestingly enough, works this way at many craft shows.
Hhmn, like you said, at least this person got you interested on venturing out on your own. Gee, you aren't the first person I have heard about that had a bad experience with her own wedding cake and took up the trade.
Hope this all works out for you!
Hugs Squirrelly

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gibson Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 4:06am
post #4 of 26

I'm a little confused....why would the bridal show organizers limit how many booths would be there? That's what it sounds like they're doing by giving the "rude" lady the option of being the sole cake person there. Aren't they throwing money away....yeah she pays a little extra but if there are a couple people interested in this area I think they should have a few booths...I know I would like to see different decorators ideas sort of like shopping around...this way everyone would benefit. If they are worried about quality maybe the potential vendor would show their work??
Just seems strange to me....????

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msty112 Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 4:39am
post #5 of 26

I went through this when I went to bridal shows with my now sister in-law.
The same woman had the only cake booth at 2 different shows. We were upset because her cakes were alot more modern than my sister in-law wanted. And that was one of the few things she had left picked out. It was kinda a waste of money for us because the show didn't provide a complete listing before the show. It ended up being mostly DJ's and tuxedo vendors.

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stephanie214 Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 7:06am
post #6 of 26

Can you stand outside and pass out flyers with your designs?

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bikegal Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 12:58pm
post #7 of 26

We will pretend to be prospective brides and call them to inquire about how many cake vendors will be at this event because we want choices dammit! icon_smile.gif They should receive ohhh about 3000 phone calls?! Not sure how many posters are on here but we'll do anything for a fellow cake decorator. icon_wink.gif


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ThePastryDiva Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 1:15pm
post #8 of 26

Too funny bike gal.. a newbie to cake decorating..I would invest my money in some thing more constructive...find out how much would a radio campain airing that same week would cost you!

And advertise the same week..hahaha.

No really. I used to have a small shop in a small town with a small radio station....

and for $112.00 a month I got 1 week of airtime the week before any major holiday and there is one every single month..and when there wasn't I just got air time.

After I signed my yearly contract..(sneaky me)...I arrived at the radio station with a cake to "thank" the helpful salesperson with my ad!

so, not only did I get my ad on the air..THEY TALKED ABOUT MY CAKES!..hehehehe!

It was a small station, but it was the only one we were able to listen to up in the mountains..!

So you see? sometimes it's worth it to shop around with your advert dollars to get the most out of your money.

I NEVER got one client from the several Bridal Shows that I paid to enter!

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ellepal Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 1:24pm
post #9 of 26

Thanks for all your support on this one. Bikegal, you crack me up!! Now THAT is a good idea and so thoughtful!!!! Let's inundate them with CC phone calls!! LOL I probably could recruit some people to call in and inquire about the one vendor thing. Maybe that will change their minds on the exclusive vendor.

Carol Ann....I ended up making my own wedding cake. She would have charged me 2100 dollars for it.
Gibson, I agree totally with you. The other lady is paying 1350 to be the only vendor, but if they had 4 other cake vendors, they'd be making 2500 about. Dumb business sense.
Stephanie....I entertained the thought, but I am not sure how legal that would be as the show is held at a banquet hall on private property. If it were at the mall, that would be different.

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goodcakefairy Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 2:22pm
post #10 of 26

It's funny how an experience with a rude wedding cake lady can drive you into the profession. I had the same thing happen to me. The woman who did our cake was a paragon of cakedom in our little community. However, she tended to talk over us and any time I made a request or suggestion, she would say something like "We could do it that way, or we could do it the right way."

Who's frigging cake is this, anyway? I asked myself.

Don't get me wrong, our cake was gorgeous and delicious and reasonably priced. But I never really forgot how - during a process that as stressful enough already - this woman made it more so. So I decided I didn't want to depend on someone like that for birthday and celebration cakes and wanted to make my own.

So take that, wedding cake meanies everywhere!!

P.S. Bikegal, you crack me up.

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DiH Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 2:37pm
post #11 of 26
Originally Posted by ellepal

The other lady is paying 1350 to be the only vendor, but if they had 4 other cake vendors, they'd be making 2500 about. Dumb business sense.

Hmmm, perhaps she's giving them a cut of all the business that stems from this show. I can't think of any other reason that would justify their willingness to turn away extra booth space $$$.

Btw, if she declines to do the show, does that mean they will be giving you that same exclusivity? icon_biggrin.gif

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Cake_Princess Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 3:24pm
post #12 of 26

Hmmm i am gonna find out today if this is a standard practice. I agree it does not seem fair to the brides that Are hoping to See a little variety.


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gibson Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 7:24pm
post #13 of 26

I really like Pastry Diva's idea about advertising during the same week! I think that might turn a few heads! Maybe even an add in the local newspaper at the same time! Just an idea that way you have them by radio and newspaper....

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melodyscakes Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 8:28pm
post #14 of 26

man, i've never heard of such a thing!!! she's got a monopoly going on doesnt she? i'm not sure what i would do, but that would irritate me and i would do everything i could creatively come up with to let brides know that they had choices. no ideas yet on what i would do....
wow, you have to keep us posted on this.
she probably doesnt want any one else there, competiton you know.
i would rent a spot right out side the hall and have a huge booth that the brides would HAVE to notice. haha
good luck

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debsuewoo Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 8:56pm
post #15 of 26

Seems to me that maybe if this lady is so darn snippity, she may be afraid of a little competition. I say make up some nice flyers with pictures of some of your cakes and some pricing info and pass them out to people as they either enter or leave the show (probably best AFTER the show so they can see there are choices out there!).


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stephanie214 Posted 5 Nov 2005 , 9:13pm
post #16 of 26


I like your number please icon_lol.gif

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cakes-r-us Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 12:07am
post #17 of 26

yeah what's the phone number, i certainly would call, and the more calls they have they will change, hopefully.

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christiethomas Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 3:10am
post #18 of 26

I would be cautious about handing out flyers at the Bridal Show. I know at the one in Houston it was definitely "illegal" for anyone to be handing out flyers in the aisles or anywhere on the premises except the booth that you paid for.

I can't believe they would only want ONE cake vendor!

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Cake_Princess Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 5:44pm
post #19 of 26

I checked in to this with someone that's very familiar with This type of stuff. They told me that it's a very unusual practice. They are not even getting double the price for her being the sole cake decorator. So there's probably more to it that you were told.

Hope she does not decide to be The sole Cake decorator so you can get the word out about your own cakes.


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ThePastryDiva Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 5:55pm
post #20 of 26

I wonder if her "exclusivity" has to to with her being the venue's decorator?

Home hotels that host these "types" of shows..only allow their pastry work or food to be showcased because it's a way of bringing extra money into the hotel bookings.

Maybe the way to go is to talk to the people mounting the event and go from there??

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ellepal Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 9:49pm
post #21 of 26

Good question, Diva, but I know for a fact that she is NOT their pastry artist. She has her own business. I like your idea about advertising on the radio.....Maybe I could get a decent rate. I will check it out!! I will look into getting the phone number to the radio station, and then I will post it and have you guys call!! We'll see what happens!! I think starting small is better, but I'd really like to book up my summer. We'll see what happens. Word of mouth travels!!

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melodyscakes Posted 6 Nov 2005 , 11:26pm
post #22 of 26

i have unlimited long distance, so i will call the show more than once!!! i'll be like, so how many wedding cake booths will you have? and if they say we will have one...i'll say "are you serious?" thats not a bridal show. how much will i be paying to get in?
post the number

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flayvurdfun Posted 17 Nov 2005 , 7:51pm
post #23 of 26

Is this the show you are talking about?
there seems to be a lot of bakeries on there...what is this womans problem? She's probably really mad that she is far from being the only cake decorator!..... You go ellepal show her how things are done!

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thecakemaker Posted 17 Nov 2005 , 7:59pm
post #24 of 26

Give us the phone no.! If I were a bride and only one cake decorator were at the show I would not be a happy camper! Do the brides have to pay to attend these shows?


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ccr03 Posted 17 Nov 2005 , 8:34pm
post #25 of 26

bikegal - you are too funny!

I not in the business (yet), but how about advertising in your local church bulletins? My church sells advertisements on the back cover of our bulletin/flyer to area businesses - it helps them offset the price of the printing. This may seem really small, but remember people who go to church get married, have baptism and first communions, and of course all other types of celebrations.

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ellepal Posted 18 Nov 2005 , 1:34am
post #26 of 26

HI! I am sorry, I did not even get a message that so many more people had responded to this thread. My apologies....I was not ignoring people!! I appreciate your support. I just posted my latest news this week...I am going to be in the bridal show after all. There are only 2 vendors: me and this other lady. Should get interesting!!! icon_smile.gif)

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