Tuesday, June 28, 2011

¡Alto! ¡Se Estando Robando Fotos!

La semana pasada, Ron Ben-Israel hice un blog sobre ladrones de fotos, http://nyccakegirl.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/you-watch-our-back%e2%80%a6/. Por si no lo sabían, Ron Ben Israel es un MAESTRO de pasteles. Yo nada más sueño en ser un 1/8 como él. Robando fotos de él es ridículo. Sus pasteles si distinguen de una forma inconfundible - son casi perfectos.

Desafortunadamente, Ron Ben-Israel no es ni el primero ni el último de víctimas. Aunque este caso se trata de alguien vendiendo las fotos, muchas veces cuando se trata de fotos robadas son otras pastelerías que quieren dar la impresión que ese es su trabajo. Esto pasa tan seguido que hasta hay una página contra estos ladrones en Facebook. Stop the Cake Thief, http://www.facebook.com/Stop.Cake.Thief, identifica a los ladrones y sirve como un foro para advertir al público en general también. Consecuencias legales aparte, este tipo de robo está mal en varios diferentes niveles. Es sin morales y promoción falsa.

Aunque no queda duda que esta práctica triste van continuar con algunas personas, si hay algo que se puede hacer. Primero, si ves una foto que sabes que pertenece a alguien más - avísale al dueño original. Ya esa pastelería se comunica con el 'ladrón' para arreglar el asunto. Lo segundo, aunque no lo cree, un ladrón de fotos si se puede identificar fácilmente en el internet. Cuando miran las fotos, buscan por el mismo estilo. Todos los pasteles son diferentes, pero cada pastelería tiene su propio estilo. Fijense en el nivel de talento también. Si algunas fotos se ven casi perfectas y son fotografías profesionales y otros se ven más caseros, la probabilidad es que no hicieron todos esos pasteles. Si está mirando un álbum, pregunta si ellos han hecho todos los pasteles en el álbum. Y no confunden fotos de 'inspiración' con fotos de trabajo. A lo personal, no estoy de acuerdo en poner fotos de inspiración en un sitio. Es muy fácil confunden a clientes en hacer eso. Para ayudar al cliente con inspiración, yo uso una colección de libros, incluyendo Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes y Confetti Cakes.

Al final de cuentas el robo de fotos no solo perjudica a los dos negocios involucrados, pero aun más al cliente. El cliente espera un cierto nivel de calidad basado en las fotos presentadas como trabajos anteriores. Cuando se robran las fotos, ¿cómo van a replicar un trabajo si no lo hicieron en el primer luego? Miran este caso de falsa promoción en Cake Wrecks, http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/12/wedding-wrecks.html. Las novias de estas bodas de seguro se confiaron que las pastelerías podían hacer el trabajo basado en las fotos que les demostraron. Tristemente, lo que pidieron y lo que recibieron eran dos cosas muy distintas.

Tal vez se pregunta si hay más razón de la del caso de Ron Ben-Israel por la cual decide escribir este nuevo blog. La realidad, no. Gracias a Dios, yo no ha sido víctima de roba de mis fotos (de lo que sepa), pero muchas de mis amigos de otras pastelerías si han sido víctimas. Claro, una resolución a este problema podrá ser no poner fotos en nuestros sitios, pero eso no es realístico. Nosotros clientes, nuevos y viejos, buscan nuestros fotos. Pero si podemos darles saber a nuestros clientes que ese problema existe para que nos pueden ayudar combatirlo.

Ahora les pregunto, ¿esto sucede en otras industrias? ¿Fotógrafos? ¿Arreglo de salón? Y al cliente, ¿ustedes han sido víctima de estos engaños?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo Thieves Hurt Bakeries and Customers

Last week, Ron Ben-Israel posted a blog about cake thieves, http://nyccakegirl.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/you-watch-our-back%e2%80%a6/. In case you are wondering, Ron Ben-Israel is a MASTER of wedding cakes. I only dream of being 1/8 as good as him. Stealing cake photos from him is ridiculous. Legal ramifications aside, his work is nearly perfect, which may explain the inexcusable behavior of stealing his photos and selling them.

Unfortunately, Ron Ben-Israel is not the first victim of cake photos theft - far from it. While in this recent case, his photos were trying to be sold for profit, many times cake photo thieves are fellow bakeries trying to pass off someone else's work as their own. Cake photo theft happens so often there is even a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Stop.Cake.Thief, outing thieves. Again, legal ramifications side, this type of theft is wrong on so many levels. It's unethical and false advertising to say the least.

There is no doubt that this sad practice will continue, but there is something you can do. First, if you see a cake that looks strangely familiar and know it belongs to another bakery, let the original bakery know. The original bakery will then proceed in contacting the thief and asking them to remove the stolen photos. Second, cake thieves can be easy to spot online. Look for inconsistencies in decorating style. Sure, every cake is different, but a decorator's style will also show though. Also look for the skill level. If some cakes look nearly perfect and  professionally photographed, while other are amateurish on a kitchen counter, chances are the decorator did not do those cakes. If you are looking a print ad or catalog, be sure to ask directly if all the cakes in the photos are theirs. Some decorators have 'inspiration' books, but don't distinguish between the two.

Photo thieves are not only a headache for bakeries, but customers as well. If a bakery is not honest in their skill level, the customer is the one that suffers. Like these poor brides on Cake Wrecks, http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/12/wedding-wrecks.html.

Luckily, I have not been a victim of photo theft, but many of my cake friends across the country have been. We can't really stop posting photos in our online catalogs, but we can let our customers know this problem exists.

I'm curious, though. I know cake photo theft is a big issue in my industry, but what about other industry? Photographers? Event decorations?

Friday, January 21, 2011

But my Quince isn't until August!

Six snow days in two weeks. Ah, yes, the beauty of living (and surviving) a Kansas City winter. With snow-covered hills and sledding abound, summer time swimming is far from the minds of many teenagers. Also far from their minds it summer time quinceañeras. Sure, thoughts of being MTV's next "Quiero Mis Quince" superstar are forever in the thoughts of young ladies on the brink of celebrating their quinceañera, but have they taken a break from sledding to think of their summertime fun? In many cases the answer is no.

As many know, planning a quinceañera can be the equivalent of planning a wedding. It's a once in a lifetime event. And let's face it, the money being spent is no drop in the bucket. While most families have padrinos, it doesn't mean the family should, or will, get off penniless. The best way to make sure families don't end up selling kidneys on the black market to pay for the quinceañera is smart planning.

Smart planning - what a new concept, right? Well, quite honestly for some it is. You'd be surprised at the number of people calling me for a cake for 300 people less than a month before the quinceañera. Once I had someone call me, wait for it, TWO DAYS before the quinceañera. Sadly, I saw her at a wholesale club the next day in the bakery department. All signs of poor planning. Smart planning doesn't just mean going the cheapest route, it means making the smartest decision. For example, some dresses can take up to six months to order. This means that if your quinceañera is in June and you haven't ordered it yet, you may have to settle for something less than was initially envisioned. It would also mean more money. Ever heard of a rush charge? Yup, they exist and they are high.

Smart planning will not only save you money, to a certain extend of course, it will also alleviate major headache and stress. No one wants to wiggle into their dress while lamenting whether or not all the damas and chambelanes know the choreography they rehearsed for the first time two days prior.

While planning a quinceañera for 150 people or 500 people is no direct path, the concept is the same.
  1. Get you priorities straight Is it critical that you have the ceremony at a particular parish? Book it now. The the devastating dismay of all those girls out there who thing they have the only quinceañera of the year, I have news for you - you are not. Others will plan and BOOK vendors without your consultation. Sorry to break your heart.
  2. Start early Again, sorry to break your heart, but others will plan and book without any consideration for you. The earlier you start, the more time you have to research what you want and what you can afford.
  3. Shop around Remember, just because one vendor is financially cheaper doesn't  mean they are automatically the one to chose. Pick a vendor that offers you what you want. What's the point of picking the cheapest DJ if all he plays is country and all you listen to is hip-hop?
  4. Be honest, you don't have $100,000 to spend If you do, don't listen to me and listen to that high priced party planner you hired. For the rest of you, the notion of have an individual cake for every table, stretch limos, a mariachi, DJ and live band, are great, but they come with a price. A big price. Oh, but you have padrinos? Well, that makes it okay then, right? Yeah, not so much. Any money being spent or time being occupied, is someone's hard-working time and money. Don't take advantage of that or be greedy.
  5. Don't lose sight of what a quinceañera really means. The puffy dress, a day of feeling like a superstar model, having the 'one' guy ask you to dance. You'll be hard pressed to find a girl that has not thought of these things. Yet, the quinceañera is centered around this girl becoming a young lady. It's about her parents celebrating their daughter and saying, "This is our daughter. Our young lady." Honor that. Honor and respect what this moment truly means.
Does your head hurt just to think of everything entailed? It's okay. It happens to the best of people. The key is not to sweat the little things. Do and accept what can be done. Enjoy the process as much as the quinceañera and that special day will be as carefree as sledding down these piles of snow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Modern or traditional? Vanilla or red velvet? Don't lie, that's what's really keeping you up at night.

There's this ongoing joke on one of my favorites cake forums that says, "You know you're a cake decorator if....". People have answered everything from "photographing wallpaper at a friend's house because you think it'll make a great design on a cake" to "sat in church thinking, hmm, I wonder how I can replica the stained-glass windows". Yes, we cake decorators are in interesting breed. We breath and sleep cake. (I'd say eat too, but I really can't eat a customer's cake - that would just be wrong.) And while our families may tease us, our customers praise us. I mean it's not everyday our customers order their daughter's quinceañera cake or even their own wedding cake, and when it comes to narrowing down the details that's when our cake love comes into play.

Every cake decorator has a different consultation process. And every bride magazine will give brides a different list of questions she 'must' ask a baker. (I don't totally agree with them, but that's another post for another day.) Honestly, these lists are hit and miss. (Again, another topic another day.) Let me take you through my consulting process. First I'll nail down the logistics with you (servings needed, reception location, dates, times, etc..). Next we'll talk about what ideas you may already have. This is our starting point. Using the ideas you already have in mind, I'll design something around that.

If you don't have an idea, I'll ask about the colors you plan on using and details on any flowers or centerpieces. This will help me determine what kind of atmosphere the event will have. Then we'll look at the basic structure of the cake. Do you like it stacked? Do you want a fountain? Traditional or modern? Once we determine what you like best, the custom design starts.

Now comes the fun part! While I finalize the design details and cake sizes needed, you'll taste the delicious samples. This is probably the part grooms and dads like best. Who can blame them? At this point, you'll select up to 3 cake flavors for your cake.

To finish off the appointment, we review the details so I can mail you your contract within the next few weeks.

The process may seem overwhelming, but in reality it's not. I take you step-by-step to design a cake that screams YOU. I love designing, baking and making cakes that will be the edible centerpiece of your event, so that all you have to worry about is dancing the night away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I didn't want to cheat....

The heart knows no boundaries. This is what I have been told. I'm sorry, XV cupcake tower, I didn't mean to cheat! I still love you! Truth be told - I am in love with two cakes!!!

I had the opportunity to have COMPLETE creative control over this cake! As exciting as it sounds, it was hard! I was very conflicted as to whether to follow my instincts and go for a Star Wars inspired cake, or go for the pretty feature. As you can tell, pretty won out. I finally decide on this style cake for the simple fact that I have always loved this style, but haven't had the opportunity to do one for a client yet.

In this case, the cake served a dual purpose. It was part of a photoshot for the Bishop Sullivan Center's newsletter, and ultimately a birthday cake for their front receptionist. Bishop Sullivan Center is sponsoring the business classes I am taking, and wanted to feature me as a student of the class in their newsletter. It was quite exciting, to be honest.

So, dear XV Cupcake Tower, please don't be jeaous. I still love you. I know all three of us can work it out. We'll figure something out. :)