First let me tell you a little something about being an artist and small business owner.Let this serve as a guide on how to be a great/ informed customer.
Number 1. : I'm NOT getting rich. I have even had people joke to me, wow! that cake was $$$$? You must be getting really rich! Um, no. Your idea of a bakery might be those production facilities that churn out sheet cakes.As someone who had 15-16 years working in production bakeries, I can tell you that the only thing those "factories" and a custom cake design studio have in common is the word "cake".It was entirely common to have 50-60 cakes a weekend in the production bakeries.Add in answering phones and waiting on walk in customers, cleaning, etc... that left about 20 minutes max to produce each cake.Compare that to the number of cakes I can do per week.On a busy week I can do 6-8, and that is pushing it. Why? Because I devote entire days, sometimes several days to each cake. This is not because I'm incredibly slow or have a broken arm or something, it's because QUALITY takes time. So back to that getting rich thing? again, no.
Number 2. "I'm the customer and you have to do everything I say". Guess what? Nope.Being self employed ,I sacrifice a lot. Weekends, vacations, health insurance those are all just fading memories to me. One of the only perks I have as a result is being able to decide what I will and will not do. I don't willy nilly make up policies as I go along, mind you. I try to make it very clear on all my web pages all the info that you will need to initiate an order. Among these are my menu selections, availability and notice requirements and my policies about tastings and meeting with clients. Time and time again, these are just disregarded and I just cannot understand why .Just as you would not demand a restaurant to produce an entree not on their menu, nor should you ask that of me.Neither would you demand a store to open just for you, should you ask that I do the same.My policies are the result of decades of experience and knowing what is right for my business. please don't ask that I change them for you.
Number 3.:Please do not insult me.I hear constantly, "Debbie, I LOVE your work! Now, here's a picture of someone else's cake.Make it for me!" I presume you came to me because you recognized that I am an artist. Please don't treat me like a machine. I am a designer, not a cake machine.Let me do what I do, I am assuming that's why you chose me over another.On the subject of insulting me, do NOT question why I charge what I must(and I say MUST).I don't sit around calling out the first number that pops in my head. Pricing is an incredibly difficult and complex issue that is ever evolving.Because what I do is so unique, most of my cakes are one offs, I must rely on previous experience with similar cakes to help me gauge a fair to all parties price.I have woefully underestimated the amount of work a particular project will take on countless occasions. I am the one who absorbs this cost oversight. I had a cake last year , for example,that I priced at what I thought was a reasonable number and when I got into the actual crafting of the cake, ended up spending 3 times the hours than I had estimated. Once you factor in my expenses and the salary I must pay my occasional assistant, you can easily see I lost money. A tough mistake for sure, and not one I could afford to make, but I turn these experiences into lessons.The next person who asks for something similar will receive a much more realistic quote. Believe it or not, this is beneficial to everyone. When I know that I have priced a cake properly, I can set aside the amount of time that it deserves and am a much more creative and non stressed cake designer.
Number 4.: Do YOUR homework or: Why are you better than ________? Technically this question belongs in the last paragraph but that was getting wordy =) As a customer, it is up to you to take advantage of the years of work I have laid out for you to see on the internet.Please take some time to peruse my website(s), read my reviews, note the large amount of international press I have worked hard to receive.I AM my portfolio, and if that isn't enough to convince you, then I am not the right designer for you, and you know what? That is fine too. Not every business can be right for every customer, just as not every customer is right for every business.
All rambling aside, I am eternally grateful to the hundreds of customers that have trusted me and continue to make me a part of their important occasions, to you,a heartfelt THANK YOU!