Furious, Frustrated, Somewhat Tipsy But Justified Rant Novel

Business By CakeDiva73 Updated 22 Oct 2009 , 3:53pm by rosiecast

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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:02am
post #1 of 45

I can't take it anymore - this lady is nuts and I am losing my mind. Each week is a stress basket of nutbag-i-ness that makes me want to rip my hair out...... I will try to make a very, very long story short. :LOL:

I work with a lady from a local kitchen to get 'legal'. We have gone thru several different scenarios of how I will work off my "rent". At first, I would come down and back about 2 dozen goodies for her to sell (all her profit) and then could use the kitchen in moderation.

Then people started asking for the goodies and she wanted more then the alloted 2 dozen but said my prices were too high. This goes on and on. We almost went with me renting a space in her bakery case (I would get all proceeds and work 20 hrs per week in her shop as "rent" but then she changed her mind saying she wouldn't make any money). Ok.

Then we worked it so I work 2 days a week (3 hrs each - equiv. of $200/ month) and I would get to put a display cake, display cookie bouquets, display truffle holiday boxes, my business cards, etc. ONTOP of the case and any of these orders were to be MINE. That is the current scenario - or at least it was!!! icon_cry.gif

All these months of work so I can get to the holidays and today, when I finally got my first cake order (generating from her shop) she gets all quiet. She already flipped out when she saw the bouquets, saying she liked them, I should charge more.....she should get $5 ********* I shot that down quick. Then, today - after her seeing her regulars looking at all the stuff I had and making a fuss, then having my first cake customer stop by to make a payment, the dooty hit the fan.

She decides she needs to get 20% off all that (bouquets, cakes, truffles) and if I sell any cookies from the shop (something she is bugging me to do) she MUST get 50% but I need to price them cheap, otherwise they won't sell. She totally went back on everything and I have been working for months, patiently waiting for the holiday season to roll around. icon_confused.gif

I'm not going to lie to you, I flipped the hell out. She basically says that I need to bake (buy my stuff, paying for all ingredients, do all the work) and then sell to her for cheap so she can at least double her money. She tells me this is how it is in business - I need to get my name "out there".

(I know this is long and I'm sorry - thanks to anyone who bothered to read this holy freaking novel icon_smile.gif ) I would love to just walk....grab my display cake and cards and let the door hit me on the butt. But I tried for years to get a place and she was the only bite. To be truthful, I am (thank God) starting to make a name for myself in my town. People call me the truffle lady, etc. But I do need a commercial kitchen to make it all legal.

(OK, this is probably so confusing and I'm sorry. I want to spit bullets, am so frustrated I could cry and had 2 rum & cokes so I appologize. I am at the end of my rope & I'm breaking out in hives.)

So I refuse to back down - I'm not going to bake for free so she can make all the money so I can get my name "out there". I told her (politely) we should just go back to the way it was before - noooooo, she doesn't want to do that.

My husband, (who is really looking hot and hunky to me right now but it could be the rum) says she is jealous because she cannot bake or decorate. (NOT trying to be mean, she hates it, admits it, etc.) and she is livid seeing the attention the goodies are getting.

When I told her about my flyers, which should be done by Tuesday, her face fell. She was clearly not happy.....these flyers sell decorated cookies and treats, not italian food like her cafe does. What, in the name of all that is blessed and holy is she thinking>????

None of it competes with what she does but it is clear, regardless of our arrangements, if I make money, she needs to make more. Those flyers are my independant business - they have nothing to do with her, I designed them, paid for them and made everything and she is having a hot fit wanting me to sell the stuff from the shop (so she can take her 50%).

Is this normal? Am I crazy? Is this standard in the industry?

44 replies
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melodyscakes Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:11am
post #2 of 45

I'm not sure what "standard" is but before you make any kind of arrangement, get it in writing so that she can't change the deal.
it is her business, and with out her you wouldn't be getting the business....
with that said, she sounds like a pain in the butt and I would not work with her.
try someone else. work like a dog and talk to every one you know, they know ect, in the next couple of weeks. you'll probably get a better deal.

this sounds like bad news all the way around to me. sounds like your going to get ripped off. we'll see what everybody else thinks.

and F.Y.I. I own a bakery, and wouldn't treat a potintial partner this way at all. yes, it is my tail coats you'd be ridding, but I am a fair person and would feel guilty for asking someone to do all that baking and then try to screw them. thats just me though.

good luck!


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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:14am
post #3 of 45

Hmmm... so you think I am riding her coatails and she is due more than normal? (no sarcasm intented - I'm asking genuinly.) Because I need to know if I am the one out of line - I really do.

And quite frankly, I don't ride ANYONES coatails, lol, so if that is genuinly how this is, I need to get out. icon_smile.gif

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jmr531 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:14am
post #4 of 45

It sounds like she is envious of your skills and growing success. I'm sorry that you are in that situation icon_sad.gif

Just wondering, did you two draw up and sign a contract that describes the arrangement at her shop? If not, perhaps you should look into doing that if you want to continue working there and selling your product there. That way there would be no confusion about what each of you get out of it and she can't try to change things out of the blue.

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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:22am
post #5 of 45

I do independant advertising, website, cards, hand-outs - and I pay for it. I wasn't looking to sell out of a B&M, she wanted me to. Maybe this is why she is acting like this - thinking I want to run a bakery out of her shop and not pay for it but that is not the case at all.

She volunteered the top of the case for advertising and the more she saw, the more she wanted. At a huge, huge discount, of course. I was perfectly ok with working/baking in exchange for rent so I can have my own business, which I work very hard for.

Please don't read any animosity toward you - it was the word 'coatails' that kinda opened my eyes icon_surprised.gif (and I am almost certain I am mispelling that, lol) but I've got too much stubborn Irish, hard core pride and willingness to work to sit by while she uses me. Maybe that is how she sees me? As someone riding her coattails. (ok, I tried it differently and it still looks wrong!)

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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:28am
post #6 of 45
Originally Posted by jmr531

Just wondering, did you two draw up and sign a contract that describes the arrangement at her shop? If not, perhaps you should look into doing that if you want to continue working there and selling your product there. That way there would be no confusion about what each of you get out of it and she can't try to change things out of the blue.

How funny you should mention that....in the midst of our run-in today, she quoted a % that was wrong, nothing I agreed to. I argued, she claimed she was right and I had it wrong. I just looked at her..... she says "Maybe we need to start writing this stuff down".

I jumped ALL over that and said "Yes! We do! That sounds like a great idea because then we wouldn't have all these misunderstandings". She gave me this odd look and then said "We don't have a contract (and I think she said we never will, not sure)".

So clearly she was just bluffing about putting stuff in writing and has no intention of signing a contract. I wonder why? So she can continue to change the terms whenever she feels like it? So she can dangle the "legal" carrot above my head?

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TitiaM Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:38am
post #7 of 45

even if you decide to sell at a "discount" to her--you set your prices where you want them and don't back down. You are a separate business and your customers (she, in this case) shouldn't dictate your prices. If she doesn't want to pay she shouldn't get to sell them. (I think 50% is too high for this type of thing.)

And get a contract!!!!

just my 2 cents icon_smile.gif

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ljdills Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 5:43am
post #8 of 45

It does no good for you to be legal if you are giving your work and product away. If you are going to give it away you may as well stay at home. I do not think you are at all out of line. I will say, however, that you definitely need to have a contract in writing. Maybe the best thing for both of you would be for you to rent the kitchen for a specified amount of time each month and not use her cases or her business in any way to advertise. It is crazy for you to pay for advertising, ingredients, do the work and give her 50% or even 20%.

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mommicakes Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 1:31pm
post #9 of 45

My two cents:

either get a contract (solid, iron clad, fair) signed and sealed

or get out!!

She shouldn't dictate your pricing.

sorry just what my gut tells me.

keep looking for some other commercial space.

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littlecake Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 1:44pm
post #10 of 45

this isn't going to get any better...cut your losses and run.

i wish you were near me, i have a shop, and am looking for someone to rent the back kitchen, that is "normal" and has some talent.

sorry...people can be awful, i think she is jealous and greedy.

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indydebi Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 2:01pm
post #11 of 45

As the saying goes, She wants her cake and eat it too.

I dont' give a damn what she says, get a freakin' contract. Go to your own lawyer, draw up how YOU want it to be and let the negotiations begin! She can go to her own dang lawyer and make a counter offer if she wants, or she can sign on the dotted line.

As a kitchen owner, I'd want it just clean and simple. She provides space and equipment ..... you pay her rent. Period.

I pay rent for my shop. I pay fees for public maintenace (parking lot lights, snow removal). There is also an extra fee of $50 for me to put a sign on the big strip mall entrance sign.

So ... you offer rent for the kitchen use. You offer a monthly fee for use of (or for space for your own) display case. You offer an estimated number of hours usage.

As hard as it may be to walk away, you just may have to. You're not making money if her idea of "doing business" is just to take it all from you.

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Kitagrl Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 2:04pm
post #12 of 45

I'd be looking for a kitchen at a church or other nonprofit that you can rent each month... that way you can do your business but you are not messing with someone who views you as competition or money-making.

That, or find a small business who would love to have your stuff on display, and offer them a small percentage and call it even and have it in writing so it can't change.

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Deb_ Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 2:05pm
post #13 of 45

OK I'm going to give you a different perspective on this.....as a Salon owner who takes a commission from all of my stylists.

I'll try to keep this short.....as a business owner I'm in business to make money.

The owner pays ALL of the overhead associated with running that business, i.e. rent/mortgage, insurances, licenses, taxes, inventory, advertising, and utilities just to name a few.

Now, when I enter into a contract with someone my intent is to make money off of that person's work.....why wouldn't I want to make a percentage of his/her sales/work?

Yes I also want my employees to earn a living, when they succeed I benefit.

You need to find a balance that will benefit both of you....you the contracted help and the business owner who pays a lot of overhead to keep this business running.

In essence you are trying to run a small baking business out of this person's cafe. If you'd like to have more control over your part of the business, maybe you should approach her about becoming a partner who pays an actual $$$ amount each month to "rent" space.

Right now she's the one who really does have the right to call all the shots....it's her business.

I wouldn't bake another thing until you get a legal binding contract drawn up.

Good luck!

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 3:57pm
post #14 of 45

I'd say walk. Kathy is right--ain't gonna get better.
Moving to Muskogee offers more potential.

Which is why I have never taken a bite of this apple altough I have had offers to do so.

One, every cake (from home) I've ever made I've had to flip my kitchen, usually several times for one cake--flip it from home use to cake use--Dear God please deliver me from ever having to do that again as long as I live amen and amen Halelujah.

If push came to shove and I had to--yes I can do it. By choice? No freaking way in the Milky Way and surrounding galaxies past present and future through out all eternity.

If I can't have a dedicated space I ain't playing. (dedik8ed)

Two, beyond that frustrating factor, there's little to no control. If that company goes belly up, my equipment gets padlocked with theirs, etc. etc. All the what ifs are completely out of my control.

Three, you are under their thumb.

Merchants are often pressure packed geysers just looking for relief...they can be constantly screwed by employees, customers, regulations, the city, the state, the feds, taxes, plumbing, the roof, the weather, suppliers etc. Wound tight and rightly so. Why should they provide a comfy nest pour moi?

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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 7:06pm
post #15 of 45

Yes, you are all right. And I am fine with the fact that she bears all the business responsibilities on her end so IF I sold from her shop, she should get a % but I think that me providing all the ingredients, doing all the labor/packaging and then getting 50% IF it sells is madness.

She never 'lets' me dicate my prices....you are all right, I need to get out. I am somewhat cash strapped (haha, aren't we all??) so knowing her, if I wanted to pay her a monthly fee, it would be outrageous. That's why I prefered working there instead.

I think I am just going to push for going to straight work for rent, no advertising, no sales from her shop, etc. I make my stuff there in off hours and sell it wherever I want. I can, however, almost guarantee she will have kittens since she seems to want everything I make (and her customers ask for it ) but, of course, not pay for it. I suspect in the end I will have to find a new locale because she will never stop pushing for me to sell her the baking.

Crap. Well thanks for all the advice and sorry for my rambling last night. I was so upset - total meltdown time. I'm better now, new day, I need to be strong and stop letting her bring me down. icon_smile.gif

Between her and my family who needs enemies???? What a week.

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Doug Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 7:30pm
post #16 of 45
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

She never 'lets' me dicate my prices....you are all right, I need to get out. I am somewhat cash strapped (haha, aren't we all??) so knowing her, if I wanted to pay her a monthly fee, it would be outrageous. That's why I prefered working there instead.

well established principle of employment law --

the minute you work for someone -- EVERYTHING you create is THEIRS, not yours.

Witness the recent lawsuit between the creator of the Bratz Dolls and Mattel.
Mattel one BIG time as he had created the dolls while in their employ as a doll designer. Even tho' the dolls were never made or sold until AFTER he left their employ -- Mattel still owned all rights to them because he created them on while working for them.

Therefore -- if you work for her -- she DOES "own" you, can legally set the prices and demand what ever percentage she wants.

do NOT work for her -- RENT ! ! ! -- and yes -- get it all in writing LAWYER style.

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karateka Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 7:59pm
post #17 of 45

I think if she wants to sell your stuff and set prices, then she has to buy the ingredients, etc. Then you are on her staff...her on staff baker/pastry chef.

Otherwise...rent. The current arrangement is definitely not viable long term.

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newmansmom2004 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 8:12pm
post #18 of 45
Originally Posted by indydebi

She provides space and equipment ..... you pay her rent. Period.

I agree - the money she makes off of you should be from the rent - period. That's her payment for allowing you to use her facility. She should be getting nothing else.

Sounds to me, tho, that it now is a situation where there are probably some hard feelings and maybe the best thing is for you to find another commercial kitchen to rent. And if you do find one, GET A CONTRACT! This woman is changing the game plan every day and you can't run your business when she's dictating what you can and cannot do on a daily basis.

Best of luck - I hope you find a solution!

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cownsj Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 8:23pm
post #19 of 45

I'm thinking she is also realizing that the holdiays are coming and she can take advantage of you with it. But you haven't backed down, and that's a very good thing. If you walk away she gets nothing and she knows that too. She also knows you are making a name for yourself so she sees your value. If she lets you walk, good, then you don't have to deal with her anymore. More importantly, you won't be angry because you compromised. I'm so proud of you for standing up for yourself and your work. It is probably better for you to walk away and take the time to find another situation, but one that works for you both, then to say here and be miserable while making her money.

She now knows your talent and your value. And you should both make money off the situation, it's just figuring out a number that is acceptable to you both. It will never be a number that will make you both happy, but a number that is acceptable. She doesn't want to be fair, but she can lose all the potential income she can get from your labor. Stay strong, and composed when dealing with her.

Some candy shops have enough of a setup that you could work from their place, that's what I found. Actually, I work from several places. Some offer my cakes in my own name, like the candy store, then others sell the cakes as their own, they bake their own cakes and I go in to decorate them. I consider myself to be a freelance decorator. Lots of bakeries can't offer the kinds of cakes I do, so they are happy for the extra sales they can make and the customer satisfaction they have in their own shops. So far, it's been a win-win situation.

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costumeczar Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 8:57pm
post #20 of 45

What I want to know is, does your husband still look hot and hunky after the rum wore off? icon_wink.gif

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CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 9:23pm
post #21 of 45
Originally Posted by costumeczar

What I want to know is, does your husband still look hot and hunky after the rum wore off? icon_wink.gif

LMAO! I had forgotten I wrote that icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

um....yeah, he always does, lol, but mostly because he is so supportive of all this and sits and listens to me rant and rave every day.

(But he has really nice legs too) icon_lol.gif

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globalgatherings Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 9:58pm
post #22 of 45

Wow, If I remember right I think we had this discussion before you went into her space??? Now I get to say, I told you so!!! If you remember I mentioned it's never a good idea to share or rent space with another company, pack your stuff and get the hell out of there, it will never get better, only worse. Something else will come along and until then, do it out of your house
Good Luck

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sadsmile Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 10:00pm
post #23 of 45

What kind of a place is it? I agree with the others that the simplest way is if she charged you kitchen and display rent and then she doesn't get a say in anything you sell. Landlord-tenant-period. No more mixed up in the deal. You sell what you make period. if she wants to sell stuff like that then she should hire sommeone to bake it and buy the ingreedients herslef for her buisness.

I just laughed super hard when you wrote she told you that is how a business is run- PHOEY! That is how a pirate runs a business. She is trying really hard to get the upper hand in this deal and make you work for her.

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melodyscakes Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 10:09pm
post #24 of 45

when I said ride her coat tails, what I was referring to was this:
I own my own bakery and know how much it cost me to be legal....thousands of dollars. I pay the rent, electricity (which is always rising) insurance, advertising to get people in, I pay the guy to wash my towls and aprons, I pay the phone bill. crap I pay so much it is crazy, and if someone wants to us my kitchen, I can't just give it to them. Sorry, but that is business.
that is what I meant by riding her coat tails....you are getting to use her legal kitchen in which she has paid a ton of money to get legal.
it would be crazy for her not to make a deal with you, as a business owner.
but she does need to not be so flaky and you need everything in writing.

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snarkybaker Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 10:26pm
post #25 of 45

I think I am pretty much the only " storefront" operator around here, so let me play devil's advocate for just a minute.

You may think she just rents to you, but as soon as your stuff starts selling in her shop, you are actually costing her money, because HER customers are buying your stuff instead of hers, so for her to remain revenue neutral, YOU need to replace her profit. I personally don't think that someone who has gone to all of th trouble to open a store and invest the kind of time and money that takes should have to help a competitior and have it be revenue neutral. It should be profitable, or it's just plain dumb to do it.

You need a place to bake, and she needs the extra $$, so, in theory, you should be able to work something out.

IF you want to continue to work in her kitchen, you should both write down what you want/need out of the situation. Then make a WRITTEN agreement that meets both of your needs and if one or the other can't stick to it, you probably should move on.

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melodyscakes Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 10:35pm
post #26 of 45

well said snarkybaker.

I don't want to offend, but unless you own your own storefront, you just can't imagine the stress and expenses. and you have to make money. bottom line.

maybe she'll wise up and come to FAIR agreement that would work for both of you.
I do agree she doesn't seem to be fair in her offers. so she can be fair to BOTH of you, or you need to move on.

good luck!

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akgirl10 Posted 19 Oct 2009 , 5:25am
post #27 of 45

I agree that you should only rent space to make your cakes. If she wants to sell baked goods, she can hire someone to bake for her, or order them in.

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CakeDiva73 Posted 19 Oct 2009 , 5:51am
post #28 of 45

To the business owners, if I am renting the space, does that mean you feel like she should still get a piece of it? Or am I misunderstanding...... because she makes italian food, not baking.

She buys her stuff at Sysco or Costco and then re-sells it. And I am not wanting to sell my goods from her store. I just want to remain legal and operate my own business on my own terms.

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jewelsq Posted 19 Oct 2009 , 1:06pm
post #29 of 45

But you're not just baking in her shop/cafe. You're selling in her cafe. You have a display cake, cookie bouquets, cards, flyers...It doesn't matter if you're selling Italian food, pastries of any nation, or the Brooklyn Bridge, you're taking up prime real estate and she deserves compensation for that.

However, that being said, I don't think that's her motivation and she does sound flaky and conflicted. I think she sees real potential for sales and that's the bee in her bonnet.

If you see the real potential for sales, sit down, maybe with a lawyer and have a real, truthful conversation. You may have to walk away empty-handed or you may both walk away winners.

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melodyscakes Posted 19 Oct 2009 , 5:32pm
post #30 of 45

If you pay straight rent, then the argreement needs to be that you pay so much per week, month, whatever and that be that.
I wouldn't display things in her shop because that is where is seems she wants half your money. I'd just use her shop, pay her rent, simple as that.
although, I'd try like a dog looking for a bone, to find another spot to bake from.
she doesn't seem like she wants to play fair.
charging you 50% of all your sales after you buy the ingredients is like robbery.
unless you get everything written clearly in a contract, I'd do nothing else with her.

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