After taking the Wilton classes last year, my office started using my cakes for birthdays and celebrations at work. I even did a baby shower cake for one of our staff, which was very cute. One of my coworkers even had me do cakes for her daughter and niece's joint birthday party, which consisted of an 11 x 15 sheet cake and two 6 inch two layer rounds for each girl.
Well, gradually I realized that no one was requesting cakes anymore. Then I was horrified to see a Wal-Mart cake turn up on our conference table. I was totally insulted but thought maybe they just needed something on short notice and dismissed it. More second-rate cakes popped up and I had to fight with everyone to do my OWN birthday cake. No more orders from work.
A week or two ago I found out why. Two of my coworkers who are, in fact, half sisters were talking about reasons for cake. So I stepped in and jokingly said that they were just too good for my cakes now. One of the girls looked at me and said "I just like store-bought cake. It tastes better." My mouth fell open and I was appalled. Not so much because she had said that my cakes weren't very good but more for the reason that she made it so obvious that her taste is atrocious. There are just no words for that.
My sister and I both do cakes and if anyone around us shows up with a Wal-Mart or grocery store cake, we are offended...at least a little. And then hearing that those cakes taste better? Dear lord!
Sorry this was so long but I'm sure some of you understand my reaction.
This would make me pretty hurt also.........I can't imagine her "telling" you that the slab cake tasted better, even if her taste is so warped that she thought that it DID! lol Wow. It takes all kinds.
Hang in there. Present your best stuff, and let the cards fall where they may. People can be pretty hurtful.
(PS~ noticed your avatar and wondered, are you a Kappa?????)
Oh, no, I'm not. If I ever get my bakery together, the fleur-de-lis, but red, will be my logo.
I think you're making too much of this...you said something jokingly and maybe they did too...except now, you're taking it seriously and you're offended by it. Maybe there were other circumstances for them not ordering cakes from you, maybe not, but the point is...maybe they were offended when you said "that they were just too good for my cakes now" and that's how they responded...
Darci:Sometimes people can say the dumbest things. There are some people that are used to the sugary sheet cake they get at a grocery store & even though I'm sure yours is much better, sometimes people stick with what they know.
I have a friend who absolutely adores SWEET icing like the grocery store cakes. I have to actually make the buttercream icing sweeter for her.
My cakes tend to be very dense & moist like a brownie & while most people love them, I had a lady tell me "If I wanted brownies I would have ordered brownies!"
Sometimes you just can't please people at all. I just can't believe she told you that store bought cakes taste better...what a rude person.
There are other possible reasons they stopped ordering from you. I don't know how your office is, but sometimes women especially can let jealousy interfer with good manners. It might be that one or more of the women in your office didn't like the attention your cakes were getting, so started telling people or convincing people that they weren't any good. Does your office have a group cheerleader that others follow? I've heard many many stories about women terring one another down at work.
It's a possibility anyway.
They might also be going for a cheaper cake, if that's what they want, let em have it! Serves them right! : )
Cakefairy: I can see how that would be possible...if you did not know this person. She's not mentally quick enough for such a comeback. I'm not saying that to be rude, it's just common knowledge that she's pretty dim. So much in fact that she wouldn't see a problem with saying what she said.
If they didn't want them anymore, that's fine. I would have just liked to have been told. And I can't see how they could be going for cheaper cakes...of the maybe 6 that I did, I didn't charge for four of them. And the ones I did charge for were no more than $15.
Short story. When I first married my husband and started going to more off his family functions on almost every occasion everyone was raving about his mother strawberry cake. Oh its so good, when are you going to make one, wait until you taste the strawberry cake. Well she finally made it on this past christmas and it was a strawberry box cake mix with the frosting from the store still in the pan!!!!! I thought to myself you have got to be kidding me as a watched everyone wolf down the cake. Now with my grandfather being a southern preacher i grew up on all the wonderful scratch cakes many of our church ladies made for him almost every sunday, so for me the strawberry cake was horrible. Anyway the point i was trying to make if that I have found out people usually like what they grew up on.
I can't help but wonder also if some of this didn't have to do with the birthday cakes for the coworker's daughter and niece somehow. Like I said, I made an 11 x 15 sheet and two 6 inch two layers, one for each girl. It was a luau theme so I bought fresh flowers and those little paper umbrellas to add to the cakes. It was really cute. I added up the cost of the supplies, rounding down to the dollar even. I took the cakes to the party and didn't mention payment or anything. The next day she asked what she owed me and it came out to $40. $40 for three cakes. I don't think that's bad, but she seemed reluctant to pay that much. Perhaps she expected a much lower price because she knows me.
I think that pricing may be the issue...You've been giving them free cakes ($15 is basically free and even they know it)...she was probably expecting you to say free or $15 for the $40 cake (even though you had 3 cakes instead of 1)....
In this day and age, everyone's unfortunately always looking to see how much "free" stuff they can get out of everything...work, cell phone companies, shopping coupons...so when it comes to things like celebrations not everyone is willing to fork out the cash to get a quality cake...and like others have said, not everyone understands and knows the differences in quality if they've grown up accustomed to one type of cake.
That is so true, Tanyap. Perhaps I should've made it clear that it would actually cost.
All this makes me wonder, though, about when I open my bakery. Will they come to it because they expect a discount? Or just not come in at all? I think I may give them a slight discount, but not a 100% discount! Either way, it is what it is.
I can kinda relate to what you're saying. The credit union I worked at ordered birthday cakes for everyone, and when they found out that I made cakes, they started ordering them from me. The catch? They could only pay me what they were paying at Marsh...$12 for a quarter sheet. That really only left me with about $6 profit, but I agreed to do it with very minimal decorating on each cake, no fillings, and very limited choices on cake flavors and icing.
When I put in my notice about two years ago, I figured they would go back to getting their cakes from Marsh b/c I made it quite clear why I was leaving (ignorant management). To my surprise, they continued to order from me, and I let them finish out the year at the $12 a cake (there were only 2 birthdays left by that point). I raised my price for them (still a discount) for the cakes the next year, and they kept ordering...right up until the one-year mark of my leaving. Then I received a letter (a letter!) from the credit union president (the ignorant management that micromanages everything) with ONE sentence..."we want to cancel the birthday cakes effective immediately."
No explanation, no thanks, no kiss my butt, nothing. That was almost a year ago, and I still don't know for sure why they stopped so suddenly. I think they were just being nice by continuing to order for a while after I quit and decided the one-year mark was a good time to cut me loose on the cake orders...ooorrrr, the president thinks I'm the one that turned her in for stealing credit union funds (which, fyi, I didn't); I don't really know.
I look at it as blessing in disguise, though, and I think your situation may be also. I wasn't being paid enough to make it worth my time, and those quarter sheets were a drain on my creativity...they're the reason I dread sheets anymore and am trying to get away from doing them. Plus, all the girls there knew how much the credit union was paying me, so whenever they decided to order a cake from me for themselves, I had to deal with the whole "well the credit union only pays you $12, why are you charging me $24?" crap. So, maybe it's a blessing for you also. You said they didn't pay you anything for over half the cakes you made for them; I think that's taking advantage of you as their employee. If you didn't make the cake, they would've had to pay for it from someplace else.
I understand how you're feeling, though...to just get dropped like that with no explanation. It sucks!
Sorry that this happened to you...people are so mean.
Cheer up , don't let it sweat you that her mentality is off key about store brought cakes being better
Cakesoncall: I had not looked at it like that. That is such a good point of view, though. Thank you for that!
And thanks for everyone's comments!
I noticed early on that everyone I gave free cakes too won't even pay for one from me. If I have started off giving them a discount on one and then charged full price for the next, the orders stop!
So now I have a new group of people I am meeting from my daughters kindergarten and I tell them right off the bat "I am not cheap but my cakes taste wonderful" I have not had many any orders yet from them but at least I am not being used.
I think that would probably be a MAJOR factor. When someone feels touched in the wallet, they often get "touched" in the head I've found. Your cakes were fine and dandy when they were cheap, right?
However, just to be on the safe side (if you do intend to open your own bakery) you could bring it up and ask her what it is she did NOT like about your cake (try to do this with an open mind, if possible. Which is hard to do if you feel insulted). If you can't ask her, then ask someone you CAN trust to be honest and kind who has tasted your cakes (I don't think Moms count because they're more kind than honest - well, mine at least).
I guess this is just one of those things that you have to learn when you start charging. If somebody gets something half off or free one time, they expect every time to be like that.
Sounds to me as if you work with an office of ignorant people.
(and before anyone flames me for that comment, you should know that I'm the Muse's sister and, unfortunately, know her office staff quite well, LOL!)
I understand having hurt feelings...big time. It's like when the family gets a bakery cake and then we walk in like "um...ya know, we do cakes too!"
And if you plan to have a bakery with me, sistah, don't expect me to give them a discount...I'll turn into the cake nazi..."NO CAKE FOR YOU!" There's no excuse for the way they've treated you.
I do wonder if maybe S. really did think you'd do the cake for free, or next to nothing, and then got mad and turned the rest of the office against you.
You know your cakes are 100x's better than the ones at Walmart...and so do I...and that's all that matters.
Yes, Chicken. I actually don't expect them to bring business our way anyway. We're nowhere near Wal-Mart at the moment.
Sorry to hear about your dilemma.
I made bday cakes for almost everyone @ work last year and each time I would tell them"It's pracice for next year when I start charging!!!
I also think that I have an advantage in that I work with mostly guys.
I have six valentine, single layer no filling choc ganache cakes to do. Told the guys,
its a heart, its chocolate and it will have red roses on it....$12.00 and I bring it to you @ work. But your own card. so far so good.......
Guys are kinda lazy like that.....LOL!!!!
But I luv 'em...they always eat everything I bring and roll their eyes...LOL
Just a short story. When I got married my MIL made every cake from scratch and they all tasted aweful, dry and crumbly. So when I started making cakes I used doctored mixes. I was honest about this and she would just kind of glance over my cakes and ask is it from scratch and I would say well no, I used a mix and added my own touches to it, then she wouldn't even eat my cake. Then I made a scratch cake once and she raved about it telling everyone it was from scratch and how good it was! So the next time I made a cake I went back to my doctored cakes and she just assumed it was from scratch and raved about how wonderful it was, I didn't correct her just let her think she was right. The funny part is she could not tell the difference! All this time it was just all in her head.
My point being, it may just all be in their head, they paid more than they wanted and all of a sudden Wal-Marts cakes taste better. Sometimes people make no since. Try not to take offense and move on. You don't want to sell to these cheapos anyways. You want customers who are looking for a quality product, not a price tag.
Wow Euphoiabakery, you are strong to let her think she is right. I would have been rubbing that one in her face!!!
I have found that people who are absolutely clueless about the confectionary world i.e. cake decorating, have no idea what is involved in making a cake from scratch, making the icing from scratch, gathering the necessary tools to make the cake, making the design they either choose, or leave up to you, and then putting it all together. They really do not have any idea the amount of time put into such a work of art!!!!! All they think is, "It's a birthday cake, so what! It costs WHAT!!!" Fine let them order the grocery store cake. They will find that the design is "conveyer belt" style, the icing is usually some bland whipped cream icing, and their choices are very limited as to flavor and style!!! They'll get bored real quick! They'll get tired of having such a tasteless cake that leaves nothing to remember that they will want to go back to ordering cake with a more personal touch!!!!!
Not to fear!!! They probably didn't know what they were missing until now!!!
I try to feel someone out a bit to see where they're going with their idea of what they want to pay. I have started out with telling them that if they just want something under $25 then they need to check with WalMart first - kinda like I'm looking out for them! So far I've not had anyone take my advice - well, except maybe from this one lady at church that I haven't heard back from about a wedding cake probably because I priced it high - part error on my part and maybe a little part due to me not really wanting to do a cake for her (hee hee, maybe it was out of sheer vindication because she stiffed my husband and I on a vehicle and cost us $700 out of our pocket!). That is a whole other story! I think I'll make a "vent" post on that!! Ha!
I agree with the other comments about starting out with a discount or free cake, more than likely they will be offended when they find out you are going to charge them the next time because that kinda throws them out of the "I get a discount because I'm a friend" group. Like all those folks that show up on the doorsteps of lottery winners - everyone is your friend as long as you have something they want and are willing to give it to them. The moment they don't get what they want, they become the enemy!!
People have different reasons for not ordering....sometimes it is cost, sometimes politics, sometimes jealousy, sometimes it is taste. I know that I have been advertising my cakes at school all year, and it is rare that anyone orders one. WHen I bring a cake in that is left over, believe me, they will eat it.
There is also always the picky person who is never satisfied. At our mall show this weekend, there was a woman who complained because my cake was too moist. Whatever!! If she wants to eat dry cake, so be it!!
I think in your case, the people are too used to junky walmart cakes. If I were you, I would no longer rely on people you know for your cake orders and try to generate outside business from people who would really enjoy your cakes. That is what I am doing and it is quite gratifying.
I would've told the lady who complained about the moistness of your cake -
"oh, if you want dry cake,you can drive over to the (*Insert name of your least favorite cake store*) down the road."
...and then pasted a sugary sweet smile on your face.
And if you plan to have a bakery with me, sistah, don't expect me to give them a discount...I'll turn into the cake nazi..."NO CAKE FOR YOU!"
I love it! NO CAKE FOR YOU! I use the soup nazi line all the time for different things, but it works great here!!!
Ellepal: Didwe encounter the same lady perhaps? I had a lady complain about one of my cakes being too moist..I thought I was the only one. Sometimes people are so odd.
The only way I could think that a cake would be too moist is if it was still batter. Freakin' cake psychopath.
ge---I remember that post!! that was horrible!! This person, after complaining about the yellow cake being too moist (although she liked the chocolate cake...prepared the same way), asked me to look up some info for her daughters 1st communion cake and to call her. I told my mom about it, and my mom's advice was: don't call her, let her call you. All she will do is find a reason to complain about the cake so she can get it free of charge. I am letting it go. She has my card.
I put a homemade from scratch strawberry filling inside, so I think the moisture from that made her dislike the cake. Everyone else who tried it said, "this is the best cake I've ever had." Oh well!! I'll move on to the people who will be happy with my work.