Help...loosing Interest

Decorating By Nickii Updated 26 Apr 2010 , 7:08pm by JohnnyCakes1966

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Nickii Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 11:47pm
post #1 of 15

I love making and decorating cakes, however I live in a small town in the south and people want a Duff or Cake Boss cake on a Sams, Kroger budget. I have become so frustrated that I don't know what to do. I love to expierement with different cakes, fillings and designs. I always have people to test it out and then when they want me to make it for them, they no longer want the cake once they hear the charge. The going rate here is .75 to 1.50 a slice. $1.50 for a full fondant, filled specialty cake.

How do I find the interest I once had for cake decorating? icon_sad.gif

14 replies
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busymom9431 Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 11:56pm
post #2 of 15

Are there others in your town that do the specialty cakes??? If they cannot get them elsewhere I would explain to them how much work goes into a cake with a lot of detail. Maybe you will eventually find "your crowd" and they will appreciate what you can do. Good Luck!

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ladycakes85 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 12:03am
post #3 of 15

Do you have any larger cities in the vacinity? If so, you could start advertising around that area and factor in a delivery charge. Or, if that larger city has the desire for your awesome cakes, they may be willing to travel to get it too.

I'd hate to see you lose your decorating desire over it, but I can see where it would get frustrating for you.

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etr2002 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 12:15am
post #4 of 15

I can empathize with you completely as I too live in a small Southern town where no one wants to pay for the cost of ingredients, much less your time. We have one main bakery (outside of WalMart, Kroger, and Publix) where people buy cakes and honestly, the cakes just aren't that good. The icing has no flavor and is greasy but they stay in business because they are the only ones doing specialty cakes. I am a hobbiest who just does cakes for friends and family and it is legal in my town to do cakes from home. I'm starting to get calls for 3-D cakes and the "more than a sheetcake" folks but when I quote a price, they freak out. I don't make hardly any money on my cakes and I learned quick that if I want to even cover the cost of ingredients, I have to stick to my quoted price and not let it bother me when people huff and puff - I've lost money on too many already because I caved and felt sorry for 3rd cousin Sue or the friend of a friend.

The pressure and fussing from family stopped when I gave my SIL a list of supplies that she needed to purchase and bring to me before I did my nephew's cake (for free) and she was so upset that she spent so much $$ on ingredients but that also taught her a lesson on just how much goes into a good cake. I say that to say this, stick to your prices and don't compromise because people will expect dirt cheap prices but really extravagant cakes. If they want the cake, they will pay for it. I quoted someone a price on a huge 3-D totem pole and even though they keep e-mailing me question after stupid question, I have refused to lower my price and the cake is for this weekend. I've given them until tomorrow evening to confirm with me or I'm not doing it and I'm not going to sweat it. I've found that people may go to the chain stores but they will only do it once or twice and they are back for a fresh, homemade, personalized cake. Maybe you can use this time to have fun and bake for your family and re-energize before the onslaught of cake orders.

Hang in there! thumbs_up.gif

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eccl1-12 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 12:28am
post #5 of 15

For what its worth, I looked on the charm city cakes (Duff) website a couple times and they don't take orders for less than $1000. My guess is quite a few of their cakes exceed that amount. Granted most of us here are not celebrities, but even so, people don't realize what goes into a cake. Perhaps that info might help put things into perspective. Not to mention a breakdown cost of ingredients and hours put into the cakes.

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crumbcake Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 12:35am
post #6 of 15

I think we all have the same problem, just stick to your price and if they want it bad enough the will pay.

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beenie51 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 12:43am
post #7 of 15

I live in Michigan and find that people want all the bells and whistles when it comes to what they want on a cake. However, many want the cake as cheap as they can get it. Many people in MI will pay top dollar for the venue, food and DJ and want to know how cheap you can do a cake. So, it is just not down south that people are cheap.
What I tell people is my cakes are made to order and I never make 2 cakes exactly alike.

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all4cake Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 1:02am
post #8 of 15

When your interest was greater, were you making them because you enjoyed making them?

People's reactions to the cakes kept me going even when others' reactions to proposed pricing pissed on my fire...

(Design (or find a design) a cake that challenges you and make it just because...or even cookies...and donate it to the local soup kitchen. It will do your heart pressure...just love for what you do and knowing someone else will really appreciate your effort)

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Nickii Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 1:08am
post #9 of 15

Thanks everyone. There are other people in town that bake and decorate also. There is only cake supply store, so I have a good relationship with the owner and she has told me I am not the only one with the issue. I may have to set my sites on the big city an hour from me.

When I lived in Southfiled MI, it was better, I had some cost problems but nothing like I have now. I bet it would be different now with the economy the way it is there. We left just in time.

Thanks again!

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tinygoose Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 1:10am
post #10 of 15

Colette Peters quote. "People balk at the lowest prices."

You might try offering cake classes. People pay well for those, and then they also get to see how time consuming it is. BTW--I have students bake and bring their own 2 layer 8" cakes and one batch of white buttercream. (then I can see their skill level--and I don't have to bake icon_smile.gif )

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Dot1971 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 5:40pm
post #11 of 15

I know what you mean, I live in a small town myself and I people are always telling me they can go to wal-mart and get a cheaper cake. I tell them go and the cakes at wal-mart are not as detailed and personalized as mine are. But the ones I have done cakes for, have loved the cakes I made for them and have come back. Just hang in there and don't give up.

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indydebi Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 6:01pm
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by Dot1971

I know what you mean, I live in a small town myself and I people are always telling me they can go to wal-mart and get a cheaper cake. I tell them go and the cakes at wal-mart are not as detailed and personalized as mine are. But the ones I have done cakes for, have loved the cakes I made for them and have come back. Just hang in there and don't give up.

"Yes, you CAN get a cake cheaper at walmart.....but you won't get the cake you want because they don't make THIS cake that you want me to make. Thanks for asking!"

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emms73 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 6:25pm
post #13 of 15

on the walmart thing they dont make their cakes thet r shipped in and they deco there so not only is it cheap it is not fresh people will always go for a fresh canke and the price that comes with it i have learned this so far in such a short time so hang in there as everyone else said get your joy back and donate the cakes any smile is always nice to see i say thumbs_up.gif

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tracycakes Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 6:25pm
post #14 of 15

Is there a way that you can market to the higher end client? Since Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc. are not my competition, I don't advertise those types of cakes. All of advertising is aimed at the type of client that I want, those who want something different and are willing to pay for it. Sure, I still get the clients who want much more than they are willing to pay, but then I also get the client like I spoke to this morning that wants the WOW factor for her daughters birthday and is willing to pay whatever it cost.

Also, think about going to a cake competition. I haven't been able to go to one this year but I love making competition cakes for 2 main reasons 1) I get to make whatever I want without regard to what someone is willing to pay 2) I learn sooooo much from trying new techniques and getting the judges critique. I love seeing all of the other entries also and meeting other decorators.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 7:08pm
post #15 of 15

You can also buy a cheaper car that might not be as safe or that doesn't have the luxuries of a more expensive one, a cheaper house in a neighborhood that isn't your first choice, cheaper paint that you will have to buy more of to cover as well as better paint, a cheaper sofa with foam cushions that won't be as comfortable as one filled with down. There are cheaper alternatives to everything.

If they want a Duff cake, they have to pay for it and have to understand that it is NOT the same cake that they can buy at Wal-Mart. If they're happy with a Wal-Mart cake - and many people are - then that's what they should buy. Now....if your cake LOOKS and TASTES like a Wal-Mart cake, then you're probably not going to get twice the price. You have to be confident in your product and know it is worth the price you charge. If you have ANY doubt, your customer will pick up on it and have TWICE as much doubt.

When I used to travel for work as a sales rep and would travel to Iowa, I would drive an hour out of my way to buy Dutch Letters at Jaarsma Bakery. I'm sure other bakeries that were on my way sold them, but there was something about getting them at Jaarsma that made it worth the trip. You have to find the customers that want a Mercedes and are willing to pay for it. I agree with the person who suggested that you market yourself to the closest large city...expand the area you draw your business from.

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