Monday, August 22, 2016

5 Awkward Places I've Had To Hear About Other People's Cakes

No matter where I go, if the question of what I do arises, people feel compelled to tell me about how someone random who they know also makes cakes. I know that they're just trying to make a connection and be chatsy, but it's usually just awkward. Here are some places where I've been forced to pretend to enjoy cake small talk.

1. The grocery store. This is awkward because the cashier, upon seeing the amount of flour, sugar and butter I'm buying, will inevitably tell me that someone she knows makes cakes too. And how they got the BEST cake at the Walmart bakery and how cheap it was. I'm forced to stand there and be polite and smile and nod.

2. A Focus Group. I did a focus group about grocery stores, which is a topic that people in my area are strangely obsessed with. The people in the group started reminiscing about a grocery store that used to be in town, and how fabulous their bakery department had been.

I know that this particular bakery wasn't any different than any other grocery store, but that people in Richmond were also strangely obsessed with the particular grocery store so they thought it was magical. After an hour of people bringing up the miraculous cakes they got there, I had to interject my two cents, which was basically that I was a baker and I'd tried to be polite up to that point, but I couldn't stand it anymore, then they all had to hear my rant on how grocery store bakeries work. I think that I ended up telling them "all those cakes are, are basic, straight-up cake mix and icing with no butter in it." So maybe that was more awkward for the rest of the group...

3. On The Phone With The Staples Sales Rep. I spend so much money at Staples, they assigned me a "personal account representative," which is just a sneaky way to get you to answer the phone when they call, if you ask me. The first guy who called me saw the name of my business and trapped me on the phone for about fifteen minutes telling me about how his wife makes cakes "just for friends and family" and how she doesn't get paid to do them. Awesome, another person flooding the cake market.

As an aside, this guy also REALLY LOVED fondant. He was really enthusiastic about how much he liked fondant, it was a little scary.

4. During Any Type of Home Improvement.  Whenever I have a plumber or electrician come to the house to do anything, I can pretty much guarantee that they have a relative who does cakes (just for friends and family, not for money, of course) and they'll be ready to tell me all about it. That's okay if it's a flat service call fee, but if they're charging by the hour I just want them to fix the faucet for God's sake.

5. During Medical Procedures. I've discussed cakes during many routine medical appointments. Let your mind go where it will and you'll be there. I turned 50 this year and just had my routine colonoscopy and I now know all about the doctor's wife's cakes and the nurse's daughter's cupcake cakes. At least I got a good anesthesia nap out of it. (And by the way, don't be afraid to get a colonoscopy, it was super easy. That's my public service message for the day.)

Are there specific places that you always seem to get trapped into listening to other people's cake stories? Leave a comment below.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com



Friday, August 19, 2016

Tips For Using Pearl Border Molds

There's a photo of a cake that people keep sending me, asking how many pearls they'll need to buy to make it. My answer is always "way too many" because the cake is made with a mold that makes a border that looks like pearls.



I've seen the molds that are used to make the pearl strips that are wrapped around the tiers, and I decided to make one of my own since I do happen to have a ton of silicone and a bunch of pearls.

When I was using the mold, I ran into some issues with it that I suspect are common. As I mention in the video, I looked up some of the molds and noticed that the pieces of fondant they showed next to the molds had some of the same flaws I was coming up with. I think that the molds aren't as simple to use as they look, so here are some tips that ended up being helpful for the cake I was working on:




 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How To Be An Affiliate And Earn Money By Doing Pretty Much Nothing

This post contains affiliate links!

Well, not totally nothing, but there are a lot of people who earn money by dropping links to everything throughout their blogs and websites. If you've ever noticed that some blogs have every third word underlined as a link, they're probably earning money as an affiliate.

Be an Etsy affiliate and promote my shop! :)


An affiliate program basically gives the advertiser (the person who adds the link) a percentage of the sale if someone clicks on the link, then buys something. It's a way for businesses to get the word out about their products by having people refer their readers to them.

Let's say that I write about how I love the Amazon Prime program for the free shipping for all of the supplies I buy online. (I really do) and I tell you to Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. That link is an affiliate link, and I'll get $3 for each person who signs up through that link.

I'm also an affiliate with ShareASale, which is one of the clearinghouse-type sites that you can sign up with to be affiliates. If you look on the right side of my blog you'll see the ads for the sites I get payments from if someone clicks my links then purchases from the site.

Craftsy is one company that works through ShareASale, and they do a ton of advertising through their affiliate program. The more they sell, the more they earn, so they encourage people to be affiliates and recommend Craftsy classes. That's why there are sooooo many people on facebook raving about Craftsy classes. They're getting paid to do it.

Now honestly, you can't make a tremendous amount of money through these programs unless you spend a lot of time posting links and ads everywhere. Last year I made about $900 from affiliate income, and guess how much I spent on Craftsy classes to do the reviews for them? Yep, $900. I basically use my affiliate income to pay for blog material!

I always forget to link to things, and I actually just had to go back and link to ShareASale. Some decorators are really hardcore about linking to everything they write about, but I tend to forget to do it. I've seen blog, though, where people talk about their "favorite things" and every single one is an Amazon link.

That's the one thing that really chaps me about the whole thing. I have no problem with people earning money from being an affiliate, but a lot of people don't disclose that the links are earning them money. I also know that I personally am not going to recommend anything that I think stinks, but I have no idea if someone else is. Legally, you're supposed to have a disclosure at the TOP of the page where the links exist, but a lot of people don't include disclosures anywhere.

So I take those "my favorite things" or the "My Christmas Wish List" posts that will start appearing soon with a grain of salt. They're often just lists of affiliate links that are there to earn some cash for the writer. Yeah, maybe they're the author's favorites, but if they don't disclose that the links are earning them money I don't trust it.

If you have a website or a blog, you can sign up for the various affiliate programs. Each one has different requirements, so you'll have to check them individually to see if you're a good fit.

A new program that I'm interested in is the Etsy affiliate program...If you sign up for that and promote shops on Etsy, you can earn a percentage of those sales. Go here for information on that: Etsy Affiliate Program. Promote my shop and earn some $$$!

In the meantime, be cautious about links that people have dropped throughout their blogs. They might be affiliate links and they might not, but you should be warned if someone's selling something to you!


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com




Monday, August 15, 2016

Infographics and Photo Tutorials For Social Media

How many times do you do stuff...any stuff, any kind of decorating stuff, anything at all? Well, you probably do a lot more than you think, and if you wanted to capitalize on it you can get some interesting results from your social media engagement.

It's a strange thing, but I've noticed that whenever I post a link to any kind of infographic tutorial or other photo-type how-to thing, facebook tends to show it to substantially more people than a regular post. And I mean a LOT more.

I'm not sure if this is an actual result of the type of post or just a coincidence, but here's the thing...When facebook decides that one of your posts is worthy of being shown to a lot of people, it tends to show your other posts to more people later. So posting one thing that gets shown will increase your chances of other posts being shown.

Keep in mind that the number of people who are shown your posts doesn't equal engagement, which is the actual goal, but having your posts shown to more people will increase the chances that people will engage with your content, so it's worth a try.

If you can manage to take photos of the process of making some gumpaste thingy or a fondant whatsis, you can put a little photo tutorial together and try this out on your own. Here's one that I did when I was making some lilacs: Lilac infographic  If you don't have one of your own, share mine or anyone else's to see what happens.

Try it out and see if it gets shown to more people than the usual number on your facebook page. I'm curious to hear whether this works for other people, or if it's just a fluke on my page.


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bulk Pearl Dust

I've listed some pearl dust in my website and Etsy shop....These are 20 gram jars, which is ten times as much as the little containers of super pearl.


There are a limited number of jars at a discounted price on my website, and more at a regular price in my Etsy shop. Once the sale ones sell out, they're gone, so if you use pearl dust the way that I do you'd better move fast to get the cheaper price.

Click here for my website: Pearl Dust  and here for my Etsy shop: Pearl Dust


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com