As cake decorators I think most of us are also perfectionists. We are always our own worst critics and see every flaw and imperfection in our work. And that is hard on us, I know as I am super critical of my own work, but I finally had the one thing happen to me 2 weeks ago that I had dreaded ever since I started 6 years ago. Yes, I finally had a cake that had so much go wrong with it that I could not get the cake delivered to venue.
So I will tell you a little about it in the hopes that I can make you see that these things happen to all of us and one time or another and not to give up. The order had been placed well in advance and I was super excited about it as my client wanted my free standing army boots cake that I did a few years back. I had always wanted to have another go at them in the hopes I could get them done even better than the first time but knowing that that was a big challenge but I was up for it.
The occasion was my clients military retirement which I hold very highly as we too are retired military so I know this is an occasion that has been worked very hard for and just like a wedding (we Hope) will only ever get to celebrate this occasion once.
Everything was on task the night before delivery except a change from black boots to desert style army boots. Her foot was so small it was going to end up that she was going to have very little cake if I went with her actual shoe size like I had originally promised. However life just had other plans for my boots and everything from the start went wrong. My cake did not turn out to be as sturdy as I had hoped so carving was an issue and that just turned into a slippery slope of disaster after disaster. My cake was supposed to be delivered no later than 1pm as her ceremony was at 2pm. At 1pm I had just started stacking my third attempt at the left boot after the other 2 had completely collapsed. I emailed y client as that was my only point of contact I had with her explaining I was having issues and was most likely going to be late. But I honestly underestimated how much time it truly was going to take.
I finally got a call from the clients brother just after 2 wanting answers as to where the cake was. I still thought I could get it done as I was killing myself at the point trying to rush it but OH man, it did not look pretty. But at 3.35pm I had to admit I was just not going to be able to get it to her as the venue was an hour away and we would now also be going into peek hour traffic so I send out a message to her brother with my sincerest apologies and a full refund immediately.
I too was expecting a super ugly phone call from my client and bad review left which would have been fully worthy seeing as I had promised something I di not for fill. That night my client did call but she was calmer than I thought and she was quite understanding over what had happened. So I offered to deliver her cake the next day , drive it to her home and she still kept full refund and she agreed that would be fine. I believe in being good and kind to our customers is key to our success . My client finally contacted me a fw days later telling me that she absolutely loved the cake and so many people told her they thought they we real boots. I was so pleased that even though I screwed up big time I felt I had still succeeded to still stay true to who I am in business.
So I can honestly tell you I thought I would never hear from this lady again. But just last week she called asking again about me doing another cake for her. This made my heart super happy she said they enjoyed the cake so much and the way it looked was amazing that she could not think of anyone else she would rather have do her cake and that my customer service to my clients was amazing.
So the moral of this editorial is just that we should not be so hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up so much and do things to our bodies like all nighter , heck sometimes 3 days no sleep just to make sure the client has a gorgeous product. But we are all human things will go wrong from time to time we are not perfect. And if we are lucky enough we will Have clients who are understanding enough of those facts. And for those clients who cannot understand then you do not want them as clients full stop.
You are awesome, talented , creative and above everything else HUMAN!!! You are allowed to make mistakes and things will happen that are out of your control but that does not mean you should give up. It just means you learned another lesson in life and survived.
Sweet wishes everyone , Shags