Wedding Cake Wars – Home Based vs Store Front.
Wedding cakes are the universal symbol for celebrations! Millions watch popular baking shows to see the talent and skill involved in creating those gorgeous confections that make us swoon. From childhood you know good things are about to happen when you are in the company of a cake. Wedding cakes are works of art evolving and changing along with fashion and current trends. So it’s no surprise that wedding cake questions and requests for quality referrals are among the most popular subjects from couples registering on VAWENetwork.com. Brides & grooms want to know about home bakers, store bakeries, new bakeries, etc…Some couples are sharing concerns with us based on misinformation from many different sources. This article is dedicated to shining on a light on the truth about in home bakers vs store bakers, which is better? Whether they are in home bakers or store front bakers, for me it comes down to talent over location. Neither option means you will pay more or less and neither option means a client will get more or less quality – and that is a fact! Another fact, in home bakers win awards, get published in wedding industry magazines from styled shoots and create some of the most incredible cakes in the world. They are licensed and insured with clean, dedicated professional work spaces. Do not believe the hype that an in home baker is not as professional or talented as a store front baker. It is also a myth that store front bakers will always cost more because of their overhead. It is true there are expenses that a store front has that an in home baker does not, however, the store front has the potential to draw in higher volumes of traffic with the visibility of their location and this keeps prices competitive. As the client YOU must do your research to make sure the vendors you may select are capable and professional. An easy way to do this is use our free business background checks and wedding work history feature on our home page.
So where is the misinformation coming from about in home bakers? One of the first meetings I had after starting my business was at a local bakery specializing in wedding cakes. I was so excited to have this well known successful business owner meeting with me. Her shop was filled with brightly decorated cupcakes, gorgeous wedding cake dummies and display cases full of tempting goodies. After an initial greeting she asked me to tell her about VAWENetwork.com. Before I got a full sentence out she cut me off, “Do you work with in home bakers? If you do I will never work with you. What venues do you have in your network?” As I named them she stopped me again to say, “I would never work with those venues, those venues allow home bakers to work there.” For the record, this baker is listed on many of these venues preferred vendor lists. She went on to bash in home bakers, claiming they have dangerous food practices, none were licensed, in home bakers are not safe or insured, they are not talented or professional….and the rant went on for the rest of the meeting. Once she was finished she told me she was very busy and needed to get back to work. The experience was so negative I gave up for the day and went home to curl up with some wine. She was on a cake crusade to damage the reputation of home based bakers and anyone who would be “stupid” enough to hire or refer them. I learned later that this baker had started out as a home baker, building and growing until she could afford a brick and mortar location. It makes me sad to think of all the happy brides & grooms that enter this bakery excited to have a cake tasting only to get negative misinformation on the other cake vendors.
A short time later I met with a well known in home baker. This baker has thousands of followers on several social media sites. She is also listed on many local wedding venue preferred vendor lists. After the first bakery meeting went so badly I had high hopes for this one. Instead of spending that meeting talking about her talent, cakes, services, awards or accomplishments, she chose to bash new bakers and asked me if VAWE Network allows new bakers to join? If so she would not work with me and would not support VAWE Network. I could not believe I was sitting in front of another very successful business owner bashing her colleagues. Shutting out new business owners is no better than trying to shut out in home bakers. Businesses that can’t get past their own interest can never truly focus on the client first and that goes for in home bakers, store front bakers or new business.
These examples represent only two meetings of hundreds I have had with business owners over the years. The greater majority of bakers and vendors in general would not resort to these tactics. What I hope to convey from sharing these two stories is that there is some unfortunate information circulating but the facts are both in home and store front bakers are capable of offering excellent wedding cakes and confections. I hope that if you sit down to meet with a business and they begin to bash others you will see this as a red flag to potential issues that may result in negativity & unnecessary stress on your big day.
I have had the pleasure of working with many incredible specialty dessert bakers over the years. Whether new in business, operating a storefront or an in home baker does not matter. The artistic ability, professionalism, skill, technique and customer service should be the focus. I work with so many wonderful bakers I thought I would share their masterpieces below and encourage couples to hire great overall professionals with a passion for serving YOU! Not only are these bakers very talented, they are wonderful to work with. They support a community over competition approach to business. These bakers represent new & long standing business and some have a lifetime of baking & cake design experience. Before you hire a baker please check out these outstanding wedding cake experts and consider the level of talent AND their ability to work together with the entire team of vendors you hire for your wedding. A baker may seem wonderful to you but if they are hard to work with, negative or bashing of others, is this really the type of business you can trust at your wedding?
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Rebekah Naomi Cake Design – this incredible baker is recognized all over the world. Her talent for creating one of a kind wedding cakes is 2nd to none. She is a true artist with the talent and technique to pull off awe inspiring designs. ****This baker has special gifts & offers in Wedding In A Box. I posted a few of her cakes below and you can find more on her website: http://www.rebekahnaomicakedesign.com/
Katherine’s Confections – Katherine is one of the most wonderful small business owners I have met in all of my years in business. She is kind, supportive, knowledgeable and truly passionate about exceeding her couples and clients expectations. This business owner supports her local wedding community, mentors, shares referrals, helps to educate her clients & up and coming businesses. This is a true business role model. I encourage Richmond brides & grooms to seek her out. ****This baker has special gifts & offers in the Wedding In A Box. I have featured a few images of her cakes below, you can find more on http://www.katherinesconfections.com/
Bijou Sweet Treats – Amy is one of the most talented cake artists in Virginia. She is a master at creativity, unique concepts & designs and she seems to push herself to outdo herself with each cake, cookie, dessert, treat. In recent years I developed an obsession with custom cookies. Amy might be the best custom cookie designer in the DMV as well – that is a huge statement because there are several incredible custom cookie designers. Bijou Sweet Treats is based out of Luray Virginia. The Luray wedding industry is booming in no small part to incredible talents and professional business management like Bijou Sweet Treats! We wouldn’t be surprised if brides and grooms are finding Bijou Sweet Treats first and THEN deciding they must have a Luray wedding. Find more here: http://www.bijoussweettreats.com/
Happily Ever After Bakery – this is a prime example of why supporting new business owners is vital to the overall success of the wedding industry. Calvin began baking as a child with his mother and grandmother. To him baking is more than selling flower & sugar to pay for things. Baking is his passion & he has a talent for it. Calvin and his mother started this business when he was still in high school. Calvin is an honor student, boy scout, community advocate and a true entrepreneur at heart. Weddings can be stressful and when you show up at a wedding or event to see this business owner happy, energetic, smiling and thrilled to be there, it’s contagious. ***This baker has special gifts & offers in Wedding In A Box. See some of his classic styles below and find more here: https://www.facebook.com/Happily-Ever-After-Bakery-681098628605210/?fref=ts
I Want Pretty Cakes – Preeti Hirave is the owner of this home based business. She brings an international flair to her designs. Every cakes she makes is unique and delicious. She has a very loyal following of couples and clients who not only come back to her time after time, they refer her a lot. Her referral business is very impressive and based on quality, dependability and taste. She has so many gorgeous cakes featured on her Facebook page, please take a moment to visit her and view them for yourself. http://www.iwantprettycakes.com/
Sweets by Monique – Monique is based out of Culpeper Virginia. She is an expert on Culpeper Weddings, she has a close working relationship with the venues and their staff. If you have booked a wedding in Culpeper, Orange or Warrenton your venue has probably worked with Sweets by Monique. This is very important because you want your vendors to have a strong working knowledge of the venue you select. Sweets by Monique is an award winning baker, her cakes are delicious and beautiful. She also makes a variety of specialty dessert including pies. This is another business owner I always see smiling, happy and thankful for her success. A joy to work with, I highly recommend her!
Find more info here: http://www.sweetsbymonique.net/
Mimi’s Sugar & Space Cakes & Cupcakes – Martha is a brilliant baker, her flavors are incredible. She uses local ingredients like bourbon from The Bowman Distillery combined with chocolate chip. That one goes on my top 5 list of favorite all time best cake experiences. I day dream about that cake. Martha has been baking for decades and her hard work has created a loyal following for her cakes & specialty desserts. She will be opening her first location this summer 2016. Find details here: https://www.facebook.com/Mimis-Sugar-N-Spice-Cakes-N-Cupcakes-156617897866354/?fref=ts
Dessert First – Sarah Meyers is based in Mechanicsville Virginia and services weddings and events in Richmond and Fredericksburg. She is a very talented baker but what knocks me off my feet are her specialty cakes and grooms cakes. It is VERY hard to find amazing grooms cakes. Sarah is incredible with technique, design and talented construction of these cakes. The pot of chili cake came through my news feed on a very cold day and while I was inboxing her to get the recipe I noticed it was really a cake. I had to do a double take and even verify it with her. I was stunned at how authentic it looked. She is such a talented designer and as you can see by her cakes she is fun, fun, fun! Working with her is a great experience. ***This baker has special gifts & offers in the Wedding In A Box. Please find more information on this wonderful baker here: http://www.dessertfirstllc.com/
Tiffany’s Sweet’s N Treats – This baker is new on the wedding cake scene but she is already developing an impressive book of business. Keep an eye on this up and coming talent. PS I have tried her lemon & raspberry cupcakes, they were perfect. Find more here: http://tiffanyssweetsntreats.weebly.com/