More Than Ho-Hum Cakes!

Business By ladybug03 Updated 18 Sep 2006 , 4:58am by ckdcr8r

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ladybug03 Posted 8 Sep 2006 , 9:04pm
post #1 of 13

How do you encourage your customers to choose and *PAY* for more elaborate designs on their party cakes?

The basic message and border cakes are so boring to do--I'd love to add fondant accents and unique designs to each and every one--but I don't want to do it for free.

Maybe I've answered my own question...should I just do some bonus add-ons to even basic cakes and then hope re-orders or referrals come in that I can charge for?

My party cakes aren't real expensive...usually in the $25-$40 range and add ons would be $5-$15 more. It just seems people have little imagination and want "just whatever's cheapest".

TIA for letting me vent a bit...and suggestions welcome!

12 replies
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darcat Posted 8 Sep 2006 , 9:07pm
post #2 of 13

Do you have pics of your more elaborate designs? Maybe you can show them and let them choose something a little more decorative than the usual fare. They might not know that you can have all those things on a cake or that they are edible. Just a thought.

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notjustcake Posted 8 Sep 2006 , 10:09pm
post #3 of 13

I have this idea! I have printed some pictures of all kinds of cakes and either for my own pleasure or if a friend wants one, because I don't sell cakes. I have a lot of favorite cakes and keep them seperate from my cakes and if any one wants a monkey cake I show them a picture to give them ideas, for example I have kept this soccer cake in my computer and my nephew wants a soccer cake so it gives a chance to practice and I know he will like it, you could do the same with more popular cakes like soccer cakes, princess cakes and such and showed them some pictures to give them ideas I would always remind people when the picture is not mine so they don't expect an identical cake just my .02

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cakesbyamym Posted 8 Sep 2006 , 11:45pm
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I can relate so much! I get so many 1/4 or 1/2 sheet cake orders with simple roses, or balloons with streamers, etc. I thought about what I could do to help people realize that there are more options that just the same-old-same-old that you can find anywhere. So, each time I print off an invoice to go with a delivery, I include 3-4 pictures of recent cakes that AREN'T typical. I usually include a tiered bd cake; a fbct cake (Cars is HUGE for me right now), a baby shower cake with fondant accents (like the one I'm working on now), and a wedding cake. I'm getting a number of "bites" just from the pictures being on my invoices.

I'd be interested to hear other's ideas and suggestions...Will be watching...

Have a great evening everyone!!!

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lacie Posted 9 Sep 2006 , 12:05am
post #5 of 13

what i do, if i know i can gain potential new clients, is quote the client a price and do a little above what they are expecting. when they cone to pick up the cake the ohhh and ahh about it and what not. they say the price i quoted was not enough, i tell them thats ok but if people ask tell them you paid such and such.
now i don't do this all the time, just once in a wile to try new things. it has worked for me in getting new clients and then they already know you can do so much more then a grocery store look.

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indydebi Posted 11 Sep 2006 , 10:54am
post #6 of 13

cakesbyamym, the pic with or on the invoice is a great marekting idea! thumbs_up.gif

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emmascakes Posted 11 Sep 2006 , 6:41pm
post #7 of 13

I tend to get asked for a certain style or design of cake and I simply draw out three designs I'd be willing to do for them and price each one. If they don;t like the cost I refer them, very very politely, to another baker in town who does boring cakes or the supermarket. I'm happy to turn orders down because they're so dull though. It also says on my web-site that I don't make 2D cakes and I don't do copies of things (i.e. a cake that looks like a teddy / crocodile etc.) that way I only get people coming to me who have some idea of what I do.

It is a perpetual problem though. I guess people aren't going to ask for something really exciting unless they know cakes can be really exciting. So maybe aportfolio of cake photos that you love that your customers can leaf through to give them a bit if pizazz in their expectations. Most people have only seen sheet cakes so that's all they're going to know they can ask for.

Good luck jazzing them up a bit!

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ckdcr8r Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 12:54am
post #8 of 13

I have this problem, too. Most of the cakes I do are for friends, family, or friends of friends. I think when they order from me, they know I make "awesome" cakes, but always say, "well, nothing too fancy" or "whatever you think is good". If you want a price on what I would rather do to your cake, you probably don't want to pay for it. I usually take it in the rear on my cakes because I don't want any boring cakes in my portfolio. People just give me their ideas or theme, I quote a price, which is always too low for the result, and I do whatever I want which is way beyond what they were expecting. I do this for myself, so I stay challenged and also to add "WOW" to my portfolio. Most of the time, I get tipped a little extra because after they see what I had done for them, they know they didn't pay me enough and want to give me more. Fine by me! icon_biggrin.gif

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frosting111 Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 1:13am
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I just show the customers my pictures/portfolio and we go threw cake books and I suggest designs and embellishments to them that way..most people are more geared towards the ordinary...its up to us decorators to set the new standards....Not that it works most the time, but I at least offer.

Off the topic but reading threw the post I noticed "cakesbyamym" diet awesome at your achievements...what are you doing so well that works!!! I got a reunion coming up in June and to drop 20 pounds or so would be great!!! Please share!!! icon_smile.gif


Started diet on 5/11/06 at 205.9#
6/15/06: Down 23.7# to 182.2#
7/13/06: Down 10.4# to 171.8#
8/17/06: Down 6.7# to 165.1#
9/08/06: Down 6.1# to 159#, Total lost: 46.9#

Wowzers,and congratulations!!!

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cakesbyamym Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 1:31am
post #10 of 13

Frosting: Thanks for the kudos on my getting rid of the pounds. icon_smile.gif *I always say that I've "gotten rid of" the weight, because saying that you've LOST it, implies that you'll be looking to get it back. LOL. AND I'M NOT. LOL. I'm on a physician supervised weight loss plan. I am allowed 600-800 calories per day ( icon_eek.gif Hard to get used to that first week!), phentermine pills and injections. I've worked my tail off *literally* to lose this weight. It hasn't been easy, but my self-esteem is bursting through the roof. Best of all, I've gone from a tight 20 in May to a 12/14 now. WooHoo!!! Good luck on your weight loss endeavor!!! If you're near Denver, NC, I can give you my doc's information.


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alicegop Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 1:47am
post #11 of 13

I do NOT compete with Costco, I refuse! I seriously actually turn down jobs. I am a school teacher and often times the students will see my cakes on the web (I'm so lame, I have a my space, the students think that makes me really cool... they are so funny!) and they want me to make them a birthday cake. I tell them the price of a costco cake and that my cake is a minimum of $30 and that they would not really care one over the other and they always agree that they don't really care about having a fancy cake, that a costco one is fine.. .so I never do their cakes.

If you want a costco simple cake... then go to Costco, seriously! They taste REALLY GOOD and the price is unbelievable. I just can't do it for what they charge.

So if someone wants a simple decoration, encourage them to save their money and get a costco cake. Tell them this is your art and you really enjoy making something unique and special. If they only need a simple cake then they will be very happy with a Costco cake.

They will either take you up on it (okay! That is of course unless this is your source of income, it is a hobby for me, so no crying if I don't get the job) or they will start coming up with ways that would make it unique and special. People like the idea that they are getting something made just for them!

So step 1: CHARGE MORE! (email me at [email protected] if you would like a copy of my excel spreadsheet that has my pricing matrix I created). If you charge more, they will expect more. START WITH THE HIGHER PRICE
Step 2: Don't feel bad if they don't want you to make the cake. If you are really nice about it and be honest that you want them to be happy and if they ever want something really cool they will come back to you!
Step 3: Have sample cakes (Make a sheet cake, cut it with a large round cookie cutter, FREEZE it and freeze some frosting. Pull some out and do samples for people!) for people to taste. If they are going to pay more, show them what they are getting!
Step 4: Do practice cakes (small ones) demonstrating some of your advanced techniques and have a photo album to show!

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frosting111 Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 2:28am
post #12 of 13

cakesbyamym/Amy..I have to commend you on your discipline, 600-800 calories a day WOW! I think I'd faint from starvation!...What's your goal?

Does decorating cakes make it harder for you?

I wish you all the best, and again congratulations, looks like a job well done icon_smile.gif

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ckdcr8r Posted 18 Sep 2006 , 4:58am
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by alicegop

If you want a costco simple cake... then go to Costco, seriously! They taste REALLY GOOD and the price is unbelievable. I just can't do it for what they charge.

Thanks for the plug! thumbs_up.gif I am a proud Costco cake decorator. I know, the designs are boring, but I get to decorate cakes all day long! It is what makes me truly happy (after DD & DH, of course icon_lol.gif ) When I first started there, I just about hit the floor when I found out how much we charge. Or how little I should say. We could just as easily do the same volume at a higher price. But the volume (500+ a week) is what keeps the price low. And of all the bakeries I have worked in, I will actually eat Costco cakes and like it! icon_biggrin.gif

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