From what I heard from many at the Austin Cake show last week was that attendance numbers were way down. As an instructor at the show I know there were a few of us who also had a very hard time filling our seats and this is not the only show this is happening at.
So are sites like Craftsy and youtube killing cake shows? In my opinion I don't think they are killing them but hurting them most definitely, in today's age where everything is almost instant and everyone is wanting it all, getting a class for $29.99 or free in a lot of cases, is there really any incentive for people to take real live classes?
Well for me I love the cake shows, yes they are more expensive but these cake shows are more than just that. There really is a great feeling at these shows that is just infectious. Just being around hundreds of other people who go thru the same challenges as I do, doing what I love is worth every dollar. I am also a very visual learner so hands on classes are a much better way for me to learn. I also feel you get more pieces of input by your instructors than you do on the online classes. Just for example in my class last week we talked about pricing, how to compete against other cakers in your area and what types of ingredients to use and is one brand better than another.... all this information is so valuable to have.
Cake shows are also ways to network with others in our industry, meet the suppliers of your products you might use and also try new products that you might not have heard of before. Cake shows are just a must attend in my books if you are in an industry like ours, I think shows are very valuable and we all need to try to support them as much as possible or they will die. And now with more shows than ever there are more and more opportunities for you all to attend one that is closer to you.
The organizers really do invest so much time and money bringing these shows to life I cannot help but want to support them and their love for our industry. Instructors the minute they get picked for a show they start turning customers away for those dates. Instructors pay for all their travel, hotel, food,class supplies and then time away from their families, many missing important family events because they have committed to the show before these events are even known. And then if classes don't sell well then they have to cancel their class and also miss out on the money they could have made on orders that they turned away. So book your classes early to make sure your instructor comes don't leave it til last minute. Vendors pay big bucks to set up a booth at cake shows just in the hopes they might sell some products and hopefully walk away with a pay check at the end of the day. They are wanting to bring you great products and be there for your convenience so make sure you support them also, you will save lots of money cause you will not have to pay shipping costs like on the internet and many do show special pricing as well.
I know it is not cheap to attend a show for most, but they are worth it! You should compete and push your skill level to it's full potential going up against your peers and often friends.Cake shows rely on 5 things to be successful ....good organizers, vendors, instructors, competitors and attendees, if even one of those fails then everything else has the ability to fall.
I have said all these things before I know but with cake show season in full swing here in the USA I just felt it all needed to be re-said. This does not only apply to the USA, all shows are the same, they all need your support, lets not let cake shows become something of the past let's keep them alive and well. Take the classes that you know will enhance your business, if you have never been asked for sugar flowers then I would say your area is probably not really the area where you need to take a flower class. And like my friend Christy says if there is not a Mercedes Benz dealership near you then you also may not be in an area where sculpted cakes will be asked for as they cannot afford them, they are high dollar cakes. Spend your money wisely I know sometimes full day classes look expensive at first but when you compare them to a short 1-3 hour class you still might be better off financially taking an all day one as they tend to cover multiple techniques where as short classes are usually one technique. There is lots to think about but the biggest one is which show are you going to go to and which class will benefit your business in your area.
We now have a special section in the forums just for the cake shows so check that out as well and let us know if you are going we love meeting up with other cakesdecor members.
Big hugs, Shags