Bummed Over Losing Account

Business By cakesbyamym Updated 27 Jul 2006 , 7:15pm by LittleLinda

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cakesbyamym Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 8:29am
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I don't know why, but I am totally floored over losing a wedding/groom's cake order last night. After WEEKS of emailing and phoning back and forth to schedule a tasting, and to find out the bride/groom's interests and tastes, I blocked off an hour for the bride's mother's tasting. (The bride lives out of town, and wanted her mother to do pretty much everything for her.) Long story short, we ran over the hour= 2-1/2 to be exact- (no biggie) discussing in detail every possible design, technique, color coordinating, etc. When the MOB left, no contract had been signed, but she was insistent that she had found "her decorator." I emailed my itemized and detailed quote to her with a drawing of the cake (took designs from a number of different cakes), and waited for the bride to approve the details. Last night, I get a Dear John letter that the groom's mother has a friend of a friend who "dabbles" (not MY wording) in decorating, and has offered to do the wedding cake, groom's cake, etc., for FREE. I dont' know about all of you, but after a tasting, whether I have a signed contract or not, I begin figuring my potential supply cost, etc. This order alone with cakes, tuxedo strawberries, wedding mint mold favors, etc., would cost over $110 just in supplies. Am I stupid for feeling horrible about losing this one? I put my heart and soul into every consultation, every interaction with ANY customer, for that matter, and to get a Dear John email? Why do I feel guilty for actually CHARGING this woman? Knowing that someone else is doing this for FREE, and doesn't even know them... I'm acting crazy. I guess that I just wanted to vent. I guess that I shouldn't be too bummed over this, I had another out of town bride to book a tasting, and a number of other orders came in. icon_smile.gif Sorry for the vent!


22 replies
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emmascakes Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 8:36am
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It is a real shame when something like this happens. However at least she didn't say 'We found someone better' or 'We didn't think you were up to it.' Who would say no if someone offers to do something for free? Some things are just not meant to be, enjoy your other orders and look on it as just another cupcake along the way.

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FunnyCakes Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 9:07am
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That's really too bad.

A friend that dabbles, huh?

Don't really sweat it. They probably felt pressured by the friend to allow her to do it. Maybe she's just getting into the business or something, but if the mother of the bride hit it off that well with you - the only consolation is that it really is NOT your fault.

Or it could have been that they were just not aware how much a cake costs and just didn't have the money.

At any rate - it's obvious you made a terrific showing and you should be proud of yourself.

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franjmc Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 10:01am
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It has nothing to do with how talented you are or how well you conducted your meetings with these people. No one can compete with a free cake.

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MustloveDogs Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 10:17am
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Just think, she must have really liked you and your cake and ideas or she wouldn't have stayed for 2 and a half hours. Otherwise she would have turned up and split really early on.
I think she really enjoyed your consultation, you must do them really well!
I always get disappointed to miss out on a booking, but boy wouldn't we all be flat out if we got 100 percent of them! icon_lol.gif

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Doug Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 11:15am
post #6 of 23

you may have lost the battle, but possibly have won the war.

after all, can't be FREE -(and it just might be free because it's going to be that friend of friend's gift to the couple -- gee and have any of use done that?? :raises hand and wavesicon_smile.gif

flash forward -- wedding day. that cake could be amazing!, nice, good, "interesting", hmmmmm.......
OH NO, maybe the first battle of relatives!
MOB to MOG -- "I told you it was a mistake, but NO would you listen to me!!!????"

MOB impressed w/ you.....guess who will probably be back w/ other orders in furture ---

who's doing the shower cake(s) -- did you mention?
bachelor/bachelorette party cakes -- did you mention?
baby shower (long range planning here)?

oh, and you said the wedding cake will by FOF...but you said they also wanted mints, etc. -- do they still need those?


interesting question: in a wedding consultation, would be advisable to have a brag book of those other cakes -- shower, b/b party, etc. out for them to look at?

might that generate more sales -- one stop shopping??

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Mac Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 11:45am
post #7 of 23

Take heart--
I was helping a chef out for a wedding and the bride kept changing her mind on what she wanted (I was making table cakes--went from 10 to 15 then 30, back to 20). The chef was going to make the wedding and groom's cake.

Bride finally decided she wanted 20 table cakes, no wedding cake but a groom's cake. Bride's family had a FOF that did "some" cake decorating. Fast forward to wedding day--chef set up groom's cake and table cakes. Wedding planner oversaw everything. When she left--all cakes looked great--even the FOF wedding cake. When she returned, wedding cake was in the floor. NO DOWELS and cardboard between layers that got soggy.

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leta Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 3:14pm
post #8 of 23

I had a consultation with 2 brides who had each been to several of the most well known cake decorators/bakeries in the metro area. They were still looking around for their cakes. 1 booked with me. The other, haven't heard from, maybe she went back to the decorator of the cake she had showed me a picture of.

So, if she went to 6 different decorators, 5 didn't get the order. I'm sure they all did a very nice consultation/tasting. The longer you do wedding cakes, the more it will happen.

I remember planning my wedding: The more choices there were, the more confusing it was, and decisions are made for weird reasons. I wanted a fondant cake, but the cake was included with the catering and they wanted $5 extra per serving to do a fondant cake. I told them to give me whatever, that it didn't matter.

Fortunately the cake was pretty and delicious. --and best of all, included in the catering.

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waltz Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 3:39pm
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It depends on your marketing style, but one possible angle might be to charge a modest fee for the tasting. The cost of the tasting fee could then be deducted from the price of the wedding cake (or whatever they order from you) within a certain period of time. Otherwise, you pocket the money for the tasting (you should be paid for your efforts, after all) and they go on their merry way.

Be sure to have a lovely coupon-type receipt available with lots of scrollwork and so on on it -- this entitles [name] to $25 off a wedding cake order, expires [date] or something like that. That way, if they do not sign on the spot, they get something that will also nudge them your way.

It depends on your area and your clientele. Many times, we feel awkward charging for things like that, but to the client it gives the appearance of professionalism and perceived higher value. It might not work for your particular situation though -- you know your customer base best.

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Ladivacrj Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 3:54pm
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Free is not always best. But you can't compete with it.

Remember, you get what you pay for and "dabbling in cake decorating" would not be ok with me as the bride, but that's just me.

Might be dissapointing, but could be for the best.

Hang in there, more orders will come.


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debsuewoo Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 3:56pm
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To paraphrase our wonderful governator (I'm from Kalifonia!)....."She'll be baaaaack!"

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kayscake Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 4:07pm
post #12 of 23

UGH! I have had the same thing happen to me twice, the first time the bride and groom came for the tasting, made fresh for them as I dont do test tasting very often out of my home, they both loved the cake and icing, and were very impressed that I decorated a small cake just for them, they placed the order and picked there design, dummy, trusting me, did'nt take a deposit. After I tried to contact them via email about some details and they never responded i got a clue. The second time the bride was undecided about design, took some pictures and sketches, and goingto talk to her mom about which would be best. I never heard back. I thought maybe it was the price of the cake as she said she was working on a very small budget but she wanted a cake that could accommodate a fountain and multiple tiers? Who knows? I have since learned give it my best pitch, be proud of my work, and get a deposit, the rest is Que Sera Sera

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Jenn123 Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 4:10pm
post #13 of 23

You can't win them all.... icon_sad.gif You obviously did a good job. I've never gotten a letter explaining why they didn't order. Consider yourself lucky she explained at all! Keep your chin up and I'm sure you will hear from her again.

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Jenn123 Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 4:12pm
post #14 of 23

p.s. DON"T GIVE OUT PICTURES AND SKETCHES WITHOUT A DEPOSIT!!!! You are just asking for your hard work to be shown around town for a better price< (In my opinion)

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gottacake Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 4:21pm
post #15 of 23

A cake for FREE?? Oh well, as they say, she'll get what she pays for!!We'll be seeing her reception video on "Weddings gone bad" on television.

Feel bad? Don't. You should be thrilled they've moved on.

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LittleLinda Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 4:28pm
post #16 of 23

Don't be bummed and don't look at it as a "Dear John" letter. Like others have said, they were kind enough to inform you AND you can't compete with free. Send them a note with a business card telling them you enjoyed meeting with them and hope they will consider you for cakes in the future. (Assuming you do other cakes besides wedding.) It was nothing personal.

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cakesbyamym Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 8:04pm
post #17 of 23

I just wanted to thank you all for the cheering up. I don't know why in the world I'm so worked up over this. I mean, it isn't like it's the only order that I'll ever have, and God knows, it won't be the last that's cancelled. So, taking the advice of some that replyed to my whiney posting icon_smile.gif, I emailed my customer back, and told her that I completely understood the decision that she had made. I also let her know how much I enjoyed meeting her, and talking with her at the consultation. I added in that I understood that the FOF was making both cakes, mints, etc., but I would appreciate that she keep me in mind for future birthdays, holidays, etc. Also, I let her know how much I appreciated her contacting me to let me know that she was using someone else. I really did appreciate that...well, I do NOW. LOL. Thanks again everyone!!! I have a tasting in about an hour, so wish me luck!


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aligotmatt Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 8:18pm
post #18 of 23

I am so sorry! It sounds like you really put a lot into it, a lot of thought and effort to get that kind of letter! I hope you charged her for the tasting. I'm so annoyed with you now.

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LittleLinda Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 10:57pm
post #19 of 23

Amy, you did the right thing. I hope that takes a load off of you somehow.

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LittleLinda Posted 26 Jul 2006 , 11:03pm
post #20 of 23

Oh I just had a thought! I hope they don't call you a couple days before the wedding and say that it was too hard for "miss dabbler" and decide they want you to do it!

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Mac Posted 27 Jul 2006 , 12:08am
post #21 of 23
Originally Posted by TheVienneaus

Oh I just had a thought! I hope they don't call you a couple days before the wedding and say that it was too hard for "miss dabbler" and decide they want you to do it!

If they do, I would hope she says "Sorry, but I have another booking". Not being mean, but people do not really understand the amount of time it takes to do a wedding cake. I have had people call me on Monday for a Saturday wedding for 100 guests--NOT!!!

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enchantedmoments Posted 27 Jul 2006 , 4:48pm
post #22 of 23

I understand completely were you are coming from.
Had a mother do almost the samething to me just a few weeks ago
Except the mother with the help of a friend is going to do the cake and she has never done a cake before.
All I can say is she is going to be a busy mother of the bride that weekend. icon_biggrin.gif

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LittleLinda Posted 27 Jul 2006 , 7:15pm
post #23 of 23
Originally Posted by enchantedmoments

All I can say is she is going to be a busy mother of the bride that weekend. icon_biggrin.gif

I know it! Talk about added stress!

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