My business has been growing, and I just changed to a really awesome new location. I'm sharing a kitchen with someone else, not my own shop. Well... about 2 months ago, I told a local charity I would do a cake for their fundraiser over this past weekend. Then I got a large baby shower order for 6 doz intricately decorated cupcakes and a 6 inch cake to go on top on a cupcake tower. Then I got a call for a birthday cake, two tiers, very detailed also. Lots of prep work and very time consuming.
Being that I have three little ones, this was a lot for me. All three cakes were due on Sunday. A full sheet, dozen ccs; 6 doz cupcake tower w/ 6 inch cake, and the two tier 10/6 bday cake with fondant detail work.
I did as much as I could in advance. I premade all the little decorations. I worked all week. Then on Fri, Sat & Sun, I didn't sleep. Literally. I was up non stop - didn't see my kids at all. They were w/ their grandma. At one point, I fell asleep at a red light and actually started dreaming!
I got the free cake done - got the ccs and 6 inch cake done. They were beautiful. The pics of the samples are in my pictures. Didn't have time to even take a picture of the final tower and it looked beautiful.
Here is the disaster part. There was a time change here, and being that I've been in a cake bubble all weekend, no one told me and I had no idea. So on the baby shower day, the customer called me and asked where I am, and I say I'm on my way. She said, ok cuz the baby shower is about to start. I looked at my clock and thought, wtf? I have plenty of time, but then realized on my phone that the time was different. I called her back and asked her what time she had. She had 11:00, and I thought it was 10:00. The shower started in a half hour, and the venue was a half hour away. So basically, in a very upscale and posh country club, where these people are all decked out and the room is gorgeous, here I am setting up the tower in front of everyone - not very professional to say the least. I felt so embarrassed!
On top of that, I was also late to drop off the bday cake, because I was finishing it at the last minute and had an issue with the topper. I dropped it off and she was unhappy with the top of the cake (it wasn't what it was supposed to be because I ran out of time). I gave her a partial refund and a discount on a future order.
I'm so frustrated and disappointed. MY DH said I shouldn't give away free cakes anymore, but that was something I wanted to do for a good cause. I also have to pay a lot more rent than I used to, so I didn't want to turn down any orders. I learned my lesson, though. Not only was that a lot of cake, those were all very detailed and intricate cakes. Too much for me. Now my family has been ignored, my customers are unhappy and I'm depressed and wondering if I should give it all up!
Thanks for listening!
Take a deep breathe... you'll be ok. So you took on to much, now it's over and you know your limits. You have learned what you can and cannot do. Just count it as a lesson well learned.
Wow. I am so sorry to hear about your cake troubles. Sometimes it seems as if eveything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong at the wrong time! I just wanted to say that I've been there and to tell you not to give up! These things can happen to the best of us!
Well you learned from it. Definitely dont give up, but now you know you overbooked. I'd rather tell a customer I'm booked...then they realize other people want your services. than to deliver a product they'll be unhappy with because I had to rush. Sorry about the time change thing, that happened to me once many years ago...it only happens once though.
Don't give up. You learned a very valuable lesson. Was the B-Day cake at least cute and edible? Well, then you probably will have a repeat customer because you did the right thing. You know your limits, now stick to them.
Good luck! You will be fine!
All the best!
Wow. Sounds like an awfully busy weekend. I don't know how you do it with three little ones. I usually work 24+ hours every weekend (Friday into Saturday), and I've actually gotten really good at staying up that long. In fact last December my record breaking day was 42 1/2 hours long. Not a record I want to beat or recommend that anyone else try it. I couldn't do it with three little ones, though. I have three kids, but the oldest are 17 and 18 and the youngest is 10. Their dad is home on Fridays and the weekend, so I can make it work. Sounds like you might want to hire an assistant. Especially someone who can do deliveries! OMG! Falling asleep at a red light? You're lucky you made the trip safely! It would probably be worth making a little less profit when you pay an assistant, but at least you won't kill yourself or someone else driving around dead tired. If you're really concerned about the money (since you moved into a higher rent space) try looking at the local high schools that have culinary arts programs. You can check with the instructor to see if anyone is interested in a part-time assistant job, or even an intern (no cost to you, experience for them!). They can do the tasks that require little skill (kneading fondant, measuring out ingredients, following easy recipes, washing dishes, cleaning, deliveries, making phone calls, etc.
Chin up! You can do it. Get some rest and get back on the horse. I wish you the best!
Not only did you learn from this experience, but you have survived! Don't worry, people can't eat YOU, they can only eat your CAKE!
Hang in there, every experience is a lesson learned!
Now it's time for some rest and enjoy your babies!
As the others have said, just learn from this and move on. You tried to do too much-something we are all guilty of at some point. One thing I have learned is that we should learn to say no more often! Think of Leahs or Indydebi when you practice this!
WHOA there ! Who said anything about your customers being unhappy ? Did THEY ? They might have been a little nervous that you wouldn't make it in time, but unless they yelled at you, or said they wouldn't order again, I would say the "UNHAPPY" part is all in your mind because of the extra stress you put yourself through..... The kids are FINE, aren't they ? Just becareful that you don't over book again..... and for goodness sake, GET SOME SLEEP !! (( HUGS on YOU ! )))
OMG! Falling asleep at a red light? You're lucky you made the trip safely! It would probably be worth making a little less profit when you pay an assistant, but at least you won't kill yourself or someone else driving around dead tired.
I agree -- cake is cake, and we all know how important that is , but you're talking about putting your life at risk here. Those 3 little ones need their mom more than a customer needs her cake.
Please take care of yourself!!!
Don't give up. I know exactly where you are. I actually have a kitchen out of my home, but have had a weekend or two where I have barely seen my kids b/c they have been at Grandma's. That's a guilt trip in and of itself. Add to it fatigue and slightly disappointed customers and I'm sure you are feeling depressed. Number one priority that I've learned is NEVER take so many orders that I am losing sleep. I am telling you, it is not worth it. I got so I wasn't even the same person b/c I was not getting any sleep (well, going to bed at 2 am). I know it is so hard to turn down orders, but just to keep your own sanity, you should. Also, I know what you mean with the free cakes. I had start charging even some of my friends what I actually charge b/c I was spending so much time and effort doing cakes for next to nothing that I was losing sleep and family time. I really only do cakes for free for my family now and I am doing a charity this month that is very close to my heart and those ones are worth it to me without any compensation attached and maybe that is something your husband isn't understanding. Maybe he thinks you are letting people walk all over you. Anyway, I got kind of ramble-y here, but only b/c I know exactly how you are feeling right now, but hang in there until you have gotten some rest and can think clearly. And feel free to PM me if you ever need more reassurance b/c I go through many times where I am over exhausted and want to quit
I think we have all been there at one time or another. I know I have and I've wanted to throw in the towel too! Don't give up. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
I think of every mistake or crisis as a learning experience and then I think of how I would do it differently the next time.
A GREAT BIG HUG to you dear!
I definitely learned that from now on, just say no if it seems like too much. Gramaj - the two customers were unhappy. The baby shower lady emailed me and told me that while the cupcake tower was beautiful and the cupcakes tasted great, she felt it was unacceptable that I was an hour late delivering them and that the guests also commented about it.
As far as the birthday cake, the cake was VERY edible - I'm sure it tasted awesome. It was 10 inch strawberry from scratch and chocolate mousse filling with a 6 inch pound cake with citrus cream. It was also cute - except the top - which I threw on at the last minute because I JUST HAD TO GET IT DELIVERED at that point, ya know? Of course, when I delivered it, she noticed the top right away and said, I thought the sun was supposed to be bigger than that? I put a tiny little sun because I just didn't have time to make sun rays and all that jazz....
So yes, they were definitely disappointed!
" So yes, they were definitely disappointed! "
Oh, I'm SOOO sorry....... I guess some people aren't very understanding.....
As far as the lady that complained cause you were an hr late to deliver, did she actually pay you to deliver it?? If yes then maybe just refund her delivery fee
if not, shes just a jerk and don't worry about it.
Stuff happens. dont let her bully you.
No, she didn't pay for delivery. I don't charge delivery on orders over $100.
I just want to add that disappointment is part of the game sometimes when dealing with people. Case in point: my husband just walked into the room from doing a bid for a customer he completely forgot about (we own a home repair business) He had a really long day and had just fallen asleep on the couch when the customer called asking where he was--they had waited for over an hour.
At least they loved your product! That is important and I am betting they will call you again because everything tasted so good. Keep your chin up and please don't quit!
Wow, what a busy week! Don't be depressed, be proud you made it through. I think your Hubs has it wrong though, it's not about giving away cakes, it's about scheduling. If you want to give away cakes that's a great thing to do if you can afford it but you have to be realistic about your time. Learn to say no when you need to and life will be much better all around. Take care of you first! If you're falling asleep at the wheel you aren't taking care of you. And endangering those around you.
I learned a big lesson, that's for sure. No more over doing it. I'm not going to beat myself up anymore, especially about the time change situation. That customer hasn't returned my cake tower yet. I don't know what I should do about that situation. I've even offered to pick it up from her house, but she hasn't called me yet........ It's not mine - I rented it. So I need it back by tomorrow.
Ok, she emailed me and said I can pick it up, so I am doing that today..
Good for you, you worked throughit! And don't let the customer get you worked up again, you da boss!
Yes, thanks MamaMayhem and all the others who offered encouragement!