How many times have you seen someone (perhaps yourself) complaining that people just don't want to pay what they're charging for their cakes? They bitch and moan and whine about how people don't understand how much time and effort goes into a custom cake, and how they don't know why people are so cheap. They yap about supporting small businesses and post inspirational quotations about how you're not buying "just a cake" on facebook.
Then the next day they complain because when they ask a question about how to do something, people refer them to an online class, not a free tutorial. "But I don't want to pay for it" they exclaim with horror. "Isn't there a free lesson somewhere?"
Now I will admit that there are plenty of free lessons, tutorials, how-to blog posts etc. that you can find. But what I find ironic is that a lot of decorators seem to think that it's an insult to the cake decorating community if another decorator has the nerve to put a price on something.
When people ask about flower tutorials, I often refer them to one of Alan Dunn's books because they're thorough, clear, and worth the price. They generally ask if there's a free version they can download. No, not unless you're getting it illegally and not giving the author his paycheck.
I have a few good examples of this, but another that just involves me personally is the gumpaste that I sell on Etsy. I get a lot of comments on my youtube channel that never see the light of day because I moderate them. If someone writes me a nasty message about how I'm greedy and not sharing enough because I sell gumpaste instead of giving out the recipe that I've developed for myself, I'm not going to post that on my channel. I have no problem hitting delete.
I have a feeling that the irony of decorators complaining that other decorators have some nerve asking for payment for their work, while they also complain that customers don't want to pay them for their own work, is lost on the complainers. They're probably the same people who pitch a fit if someone takes one of their cake photos, but who happily take someone else's cartoon characters to use on their cakes.
Part of this comes straight from the idea that we should do cakes for love, not profit. There's a weird feeling out there that if you actually make a living at cake decorating you've "sold out" somehow. I have no idea why that sentiment exists, but I've run across it a lot lately. I blame the picture of the happy lady in a cute pink apron holding a tray of cupcakes that they use for every small business ad. Cakes are supposed to be endless fun, not work! Don't worry about making a living, do it for the loooooooove!
Personally, I'll pay for someone's book, or to watch a class on something that I'm interested in learning more about if it's worth it to me. I'll pay for a custom whatever if it's worth it to me. If people don't want to pay for my cakes that's fine, someone else who thinks it's worth it to them will.
I don't mind asking people to pay for my work, and I don't mind paying someone else for theirs. So if you're one of the people who complain about paying for other people's work, just remember to keep your mouth shut the next time a customer complains about paying for your work. That's only fair.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com