We as small businesses and individuals forget our worth and the journey and hard work it takes to make our products happen. Whether you are baking a cake, coordinating a wedding, providing flowers or other related services, you must charge for your expertise, time and finished product.
I would like to revisit a post I wrote a few years back about a colleague of mine and potential client being “forced” to go with a second rate baker because my colleague would not go below her company’s set minimum to accommodate her budget. There are enough vendors out there at each price point doing a great job in their field’s, that everyone can find something. Sure, we have to do some research, but it’s out there. Please read below….
A colleague of ours posted a frustration on her Facebook page that her bride and groom were trying to talk her down in price for their wedding cake and go below the bakery’s minimum, even though the guest list is small. They were hoping that they would be able to help out “the little guy”.
Now with our colleague, she received an email explaining that this was a small destination wedding and because she could not fit within the minimum budget of the bakery, she was now “forced” to go to a second-class bakery for her wedding cake.
How does the business owner handle these kinds of situations? I can only tell you how we handle them here at our own bakery. Before our clients come in, they are prescreened over the telephone/email when we are booking their appointments. We ask all sorts of questions regarding location, party planner etc… One of the questions I always ask is, “Are you familiar with our pricing structure?” This is my opportunity to inform the perspective client about how we price our cakes. I tell them the minimum cost, and explain to them the more you add to your cake, the more the price will increase. At this point I have done my part in educating the client about our pricing.
So now that same client is sitting at our table and still trying to talk us down in our minimum price. We now have to explain to them how things are made. For a quality product you have to pay at least the minimum price the baker is offering. The kind of work we do is not what you typically find in a grocery store bakery. We have skilled artisans that manipulate and sculpt things made from sugar. If you want a handbag made out of cake my head chef carves this out of cake and skillfully covers the “hand bag” in fondant. And that’s only the first step in the decorating process. The crew still has to make all of the details that go on the handbag: zippers, handles, logos, hardware, etc. These details also need to be dusted with edible colors to enhance their features. This is an overview of only some of the steps in a very complicated process. After the explanation, we take our clients back into the production room so they can see for them selves why our product is more costly than your average grocery market cake.
As our colleague will tell you, these kinds of encounters are very frustrating, as we are constantly educating our clients and fans of our work about our pricing. This “couture” cake industry is still relatively new and we all have to do our part to inform the general public out there that there are now two kinds of party cakes: the ones from the grocery store or the one from the “cake shop”.
The cake on the left is something that you can expect from a grocery store bakery. The cake on the right is something that you can expect from a customized bake shop. (This was a cake that we made for my nephew’s birthday from Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.)
No one ever wants to offend the other party and everyone is always looking for a good price. We as bakers do provide a service to the wedding industry and I truly believe that there is a bakery out there for everyone at every price point.