Wednesday, July 27, 2016

5 Things To Know About The Wedding Industry Before You Start

I've done wedding cakes for almost 20 years, and recently stopped doing them because that's long enough...From what I hear from people in different places, my experiences are pretty common, so I thought I'd share a few of the things that you should know if you're just starting in the wedding industry.

1. Wedding businesses, by nature, are largely fueled by ego and insecurity.

The nature of weddings is that you're going to have to find customers over and over. This isn't a repeat-business industry for the most part. You can have the same family come to you for multiple events, and if you branch out into other things you can sell your services to the same people, but for the most part, new customers are going to be the bulk of your client base.

In addition, there's a finite number of people getting married each year, so your potential clients are limited.

This means that everyone is in competition for the same pool of new clients. Which makes people nervous, which makes people worry about their businesses all the time. Add to that the fact that people tend to get into weddings because they're creative, and you have a big old mess of roiling insecurity trapped under a layer of white linens and roses. It looks pretty on the surface, but if you pick up the edge of that tablecloth and peek underneath it's a hot mess. Know what you're getting into.

2. Wedding businesses aren't all about the love, they're all about the money. (And that's not bad)


This sounds harsh, but honestly, it's a BUSINESS, and the people who know that will do the best. The people who do weddings because they "love to make people happy" will burn out fairly quickly, or will go get another job after their first unhappy customer bursts their bubble. To do well in weddings you need to know what your costs are so that you can make a profit, market yourself so that you can find customers, do good work, and...oh wait, that sounds like running a business. THAT'S BECAUSE IT IS.

3. You have to keep an eye on your six. And know who you can trust.

My husband and son play Call Of Duty, and they're constantly yapping about keeping an eye on your six, which is just watching your back and what's coming up behind you. I can't think of a better way to describe what you need to do if you're a wedding pro...There's always going to be someone who wants to take your ideas, your customers, your status, whatever. It sounds paranoid, but anyone who's honest will tell you that playing your cards close to the vest is a good choice. Ask the wedding planner I know whose fresh-on-the-scene competition stole her cell phone out of her gym locker, or the baker who trashed his competition behind their backs before hugging at them at networking events.

Keep your mouth shut about business at networking events and observe the interactions until you figure out who you seem to click with on a personal level. Find someone who you can ask questions to in a mentoring capacity, maybe online in a different city. Study your local industry by going to wedding shows and talking to people informally. Investigate people before you decide to partner with them. Which leads into point 4...

4. Awards really mean nothing. Don't believe the press.

When you can vote for yourself until you get onto top ten lists, bride's award lists, or "best of" lists, those awards really aren't that meaningful. I've "won" these awards over the years, and they give you a nice little bling to put on your email signatures, but they don't mean that you're the best. Don't let an award go to your head.

Don't be intimidated by another business who has a lot of awards, either. I can think of a few businesses off the top of my head who were given tons of awards and who were out of business within a couple of years. Because they really weren't the best of anything, they just advertised with the people who gave out the award. Or voted for themselves, or begged for votes online, or whatever.

5. Weddings are hard work.

I've talked to wedding planner wannabes who were jolted back to reality by the simple phrase "you realize that you'll have to work every weekend, right?" Weddings are hard work, people. A wedding cake takes more overall effort than a regular party cake, and way more time and stress. Working weddings takes a lot out of you, so don't decide to go into the industry because you're thinking you'll be able to work less. I know too many people who have moved on to other things because of the stress and the physical effects, and I have to say that since I've eliminated the wedding cakes I'm enjoying my weekends waaaaay more. Plus, I'm rid of the chronic back pain and I can feel my right hand again, so that's nice.


Any comments? Tips for wedding newbies? Post them below.


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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Airbrushing Basics


This post contains affiliate links

Here's a quick video showing the VERY basics about airbrushing onto some gumpaste. I go over some info about the airbrush itself, but I'm not an expert on airbrushing so it's really the basics, I tell you! If you're interested in a really good airbrushing class, get this one on Craftsy with Lisa Berczel. Read my review here: The Art Of Airbrushing


I'll be doing some more airbrushing videos coming up, so subscribe to my youtube channel to get notices about those.


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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Is It Just The Internet? Or Are Cake People Really Nutso?

On the suggestion of a friend, I went onto a few facebook groups that I usually don't go onto. Honestly, I really don't read those cake group boards, I don't have time and I don't find them to be productive. But someone told me that I should see what people are talking about for the sake of keeping up with trends, etc, etc.

Image courtesy of  www.clichezero.etsy.com


Well, to sum it up, I just wasted half an hour of my life looking at people's online arguments, bad advice about pricing cakes, people being insulted that someone suggested they follow their local laws about selling food, accusations of someone being a troll, accusations of "you stole that design from me" (they didn't, it was a popsicle cookie), people posting photos of okay cakes that were deemed "so beautiful", and cakes posted by the board owners so that the other participants could tell them what a genius they are (so I gathered, since that seemed to be a trend.)

All the ego-stroking aside, these boards are really argumentative and bitchy, and it made me want to go read something productive about marketing to get the petty whining out of my head.

I also found it interesting that so many people's names are greyed out, which means that they were removed from the group or left it, so they seem to have a fairly high turnover.

So my question is this: Is this just a function of online group boards in general, or are cake decorators overly sensitive and irrational as a group? Because there seemed to be a lot of overly sensitive and irrational bickering on a lot of those boards.

For people who participate in a lot of facebook groups, what's your opinion? And if you don't participate in a lot of facebook groups, please leave your opinion about why you don't.


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

Friday, July 15, 2016

How To Paint A Marble Effect On Buttercream Part 2

Part 2 of the video about painting a marble effect on buttercream shows how to do the detail and the gold on the cake, with a few different methods to do the gold. This is another long one, but it has a decent amount of information in it. Part 1 was published last week, and is also on my youtube channel.


Remember that the gold that you use needs to be edible. There's also some controversy about whether gold leaf is actually "edible" or non-toxic, so you need to decide about using that for yourself. Whatever you choose, let your customer know what the color is made of and let them decide whether to eat it or avoid eating it.


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

Monday, July 11, 2016

How To Do Multicolored Gumpaste Petals Part 3

The first two parts of this tutorial are here: Part 1  and Part 2.

The next steps include the outer petals, which are wired.

Use the block of colored gumpaste that you made in step 2 and cut off another piece. Flatten it out and roll it out using the pasta roller.

It might end up having very distinct stripes where the colors separate. To fix that, you can re-roll it.



Fold the piece over onto itself once, keeping the stripes on the outside.


Out this piece through the pasta roller once, then fold again and put it through again. Repeat until you get a smooth transition between colors.


Cut out 5 or 6 petals from this piece using lily petal cutters and wire the petals. I used 30 gauge wire.


Pinch the gumpaste at the base of the petal so that it's securely attached on the wire.


Cup the petals slightly using a ball tool, then dry on a pulp tray or flower former.


Cut out 5 or 6 slightly larger petals from the gumpaste and wire those the same way.


When those dry, brush the tips with some darker petal dust if you want to emphasize the ombre color change.



Dust the tips of the outer petals on the flower center.


Wire the petals onto the center using floral tape, and here's the final flower:



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