I've been getting this question a lot more recently when I cannot take an order because I am booked up. "Do you know someone else who can do work like you?" I don't know what to say to that. I don't know anyone. Am I supposed to go out and research people and their talents to offer them up? Even so, I'd have no idea how their product tastes. Also, really, does anyone want to take their 3-days until the event order anyway? Just curious how others respond when asked this.
It's always helpful to have another decorator friend nearby who can help out in emergency situations. Isn't there anyone near you that y ou could buddy up with? Is there a supply shop you deal with that you could ask to recommend someone? I taught for Wilton & on my own for many yrs and could recommend one of my students. Yes, research people and their talents so you can come up with one or two trusted cake buddies. And yes, there just might be someone who is just starting out or wanting to 'retire'/cut back willing to take on a short notice order.
I think it's a really good idea to have a good relationship with a few local bakers. I have a small list (saved document on my computer) of a few local bakers that I refer to when I can't take an order. I always feel bad turning customers away. I've been baking for 9 years and my list is now only 3 bakers I use!! Everyone else has quit baking. The one baker and I trade referrals all the time. She's my "go-to" baker when I need to turn someone away and she returns the favor and refers back to me when she is booked solid or going to be away. We work well together. But, I always tell my customer "I don't know their availability or what they charge, but you are welcome to contact them." It's up to them if they choose to book, but they are ALWAYS grateful for the bakers names!
Thank you. I hate turning away people too, but realize my family life and emotional wellbeing suffers when I work 16 hours a day. I am trying to make family more of a priority this year, being able to go to my kids' sporting events, concerts, etc. vs. missing them as I have in the past. Maybe I'll ramp back up again, but for now, I am trying to do it at a slower pace and limiting orders, and wow, my house is clean, I've been baking for my own family again, making dinner from scratch every night, no pain in my arms for piping, etc. This is just what I need right now. :)
I pull those shifts too - also with a family. I started limiting my orders to what I can comfortably do in a week. I used to take everything I could (within reason) but I don't anymore. I now tell people I'm booked and can't take anything else. Yes, I feel bad saying "No" - but when that week comes around on my calendar and I'm not in the bakery until 2am several nights in a row finishing up details/orders... I realize how much nicer it is to have a less busy week. (I have the worst time saying no to "old/existing" customers. Telling new customers I'm fully booked is much easier for me to do.)