Thursday, October 15, 2015

No Caking for Assholes, Lesson 1

Hi, there! There's a good chance this blog post is not for you. I'm teaching a class called "No Caking for Assholes" at Cake Fest next spring. This is an introduction to the kinds of things we'll talk about in that class. If you are a Cakeapotamus client, you're already not an asshole. Thanks for that! This blog post and the class it goes with are for cake decorators who want more clients like mine. I make cakes for some of the best people in the world- it's only fair I should share how I got so lucky.

Alright, cakers, this is for you. Lesson One in No Caking for Assholes. And it's really easy.

First, we have to define what makes someone an asshole. For our purposes, an asshole is someone who doesn't appreciate what you do. We've all heard it:

"For a cake?!?!"
"What's the cheapest thing I can get?"
"I'll just watch youtube and make it myself."

I've talked to a lot of cake decorators in person and online, and the number of crazy stories about unreasonable client requests in amazing. I mean, really, really crazy. It's not too surprising though. Everybody who works with the general public has a crazy story.


Sometimes, it isn't the client who's being unreasonable.

Sometimes, we set the tone for assholery.

I know, because I've been guilty of it. There are those days when you have all the ovens on, all the mixers going, the sink is full of bowls and pans that need to be washed, and you know you'll be up at least until midnight getting your orders done. Then the phone rings. And someone wants "just something simple" for this weekend.

Really? Who do they think they are, right? Calling YOU to ask for a cake when you're already up to your ears in work... what are they thinking?

Ummm... they're thinking they want a cake. And they thought of you. That's not a bad thing, you guys. They're not insulting you by waiting until the last minute to order. No crime has been committed here. Whether you can squeeze them in or not, you should thank them for thinking of you. You're not their mom- it's not your job to educate them on manners. I don't even think it's bad manners to try to give somebody your business.

If they ask, heck yes, tell them that booking 2, 4, 95 weeks in advance is what most of your clients do. But don't be a jerk about it. You want them to come back next time.

I know this because I'm a huge jerk. I'm blunt. I don't have a B.S.'er that enables me to be nice to people I don't like. It's not what I do. It's why I have an extremely talented crew of people who host parties for me. And so, it's taken me a while to learn this:

Lesson 1: Your clients won't appreciate what you do unless you appreciate them. 

It's not just a custom cake that you're selling. These people are coming to you, inviting you to be a part of their special event. A wedding, a birthday, a naughty bachelorette party.... whatever it is, it's special to them and they're considering  allowing you to be a part of it. Appreciate that.

If you sell cakes, you are not doing your clients a favor by making them a cake. You are doing a business transaction. Should they say, "Thank you?" Of course they should! But so should you.

When was the last time you did something to show you appreciate your clients? We've got two events coming up at Cakeapotamus this year: a Halloween party and a Cookies with Santa event. Both are free and open to the public. Because I really like the people I make cakes for- and I want to have them around more.