How do I choose the right Cake Decorator for me?
You want a cake for your special occasion but how do you find a cake decorator who you know is going to deliver? What should you be asking? And how do you know you can trust them?
Woah! Yes, we are going in with the big questions today! Sometimes I take this question for granted. I know that I am a nice person and will always do my best to deliver a dream cake. But someone coming to me to order might not necessarily know that!
So if you are looking for a decorator, where do you start and how to make sure you have made the right decision? Here are a few pointers to help you on the way to picking the decorator that's right for you.
WORD OF MOUTH
This is a good place to start. Have you heard of someone who is particularly good? Have they been recommended by a friend? Your friend (hopefully!) is going to be honest with you so this is a good place to start. Ask about and see if anyone has had a great experience with a particular business.
This can, however, open up a minefield of recommendations so might not always be that helpful! Look for the names that come up often. Then try running them through Google or checking out the recommendations on their Facebook page or website to see what others have said about them. Although please be mindful of taking some results with a pinch of salt. One star reviews without an explaination or reviews written at 2am might not be the most reliable!
If you’re still feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed, move on to thinking about the following points.
IS THEIR STYLE WHAT YOU WANT?
In this internet age, it’s super easy to find out if someone's work reflects the style of cake that you want. If you head to my social media, it’s easy to see that I Iove working in fondant and that my work is bright and usually character-based. However, my cake friend Annabel from Florence Bakery specialises in buttercream and ganache cakes and uses her art degree to paint modern masterpieces.
Think about the kind of cake you would like and whether your chosen Cake Decorator is going to deliver. Sometimes they might do several things; I don’t mind doing the odd buttercream cake! But the magic happens when you choose a cake that matches their style.
When someone asks me for a cake, I want to make sure it’s the best I can make it. This sometimes means that I have to say no to requests. The reason behind this is usually because I don’t feel comfortable with the skills needed. For example, for a long time, I didn’t take on any sculpted cakes because I knew I didn’t have the experience to deliver to my usual standards. And I was more than happy to suggest someone who could better help.
Don’t get offended by this honesty - a decorator just wants you to have the best cake. Anything less than that is going to reflect badly on them and upset you. We’re all generally needy people - we want to make you happy, not upset you!!
DON’T GO ON PRICE ALONE
You may have seen Cake Decorators share the phrase:
‘Good cake isn't cheap and cheap cake isn’t good.’
I don’t buy into this! Firstly because for a very long time, I was the cheap cake lady! I know in my heart that my work was worth much more than I was charging for it. But a lack of knowledge on how to price and a fear of losing customers, I kept my prices low for a long time. So no, the cheap cake isn’t necessarily bad.
And alternatively, as much as someone might use as their mantra, it doesn’t mean their work is good. You can’t slap a mega price on it and have it automatically become a good cake. Those high prices come from years of practice, training and experience. As well as the quality of ingredients and quality of the customer experience. If you are happy to pay a premium, make sure your Cake Decorator’s way of working reflects all those things.
ARE THEY LEGIT?
I don’t mean this in the slang, young person (how old am I, please?!) sense of the word. I mean are they legitimate? Are they legal? Sure your friend’s auntie might make the best cakes but is she a registered business? Is she insured and does she have all her environmental health credentials in place?
It’s only a quick search to find out if someone has passed their visit from Environmental Health. And if they are happily sending you quotes you would be right to assume they are registered because surely they want to keep things legal, right?
If in doubt, just ask!
And just in case you were wondering: I have a 5-star hygiene rating, Food Safety training, I’m insured, a registered business and pay my taxes!
GO WITH YOUR GUT
This one is a bit abstract but worth thinking about. How do you feel when you talk to your prospective cake decorator? Do you trust they can do the job? Are they communicating with you in a way that you like and respect?
This isn’t about being judgemental. It’s about trying to get a sense of whether someone is the right fit for you. If you know that someone can deliver the work but the way they make you feel when you get a message from them or how they communicate isn’t sitting right with you, then have a think about whether you need to find someone else. Big or small, party planning can be stressful, you don’t need the worry of a potentially unhelpful supplier.
Gathering information, asking for quotes and getting the sense of someone does not mean you are obligated to buy from that person. If they make you feel like it does, maybe think about whether you need to look elsewhere.
While these points may not be foolproof, they’re a great starting point to finding your dream cake decorator. It’s worth doing and looking about. When you find someone you can work with and you can trust, great things can happen and wonderful relationships can form!
If you have any more questions about finding your ideal cake decorator to get in touch with me and I will be happy to help you further.
Or if you can’t be bothered with all that and want to do it yourself, check out my online course for creating your own cakes! :)