Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How To Deal With Phone Calls If You Hate The Phone

I'm not a fan of the phone...It always rings when I'm on my way out the door to do errands, or when I'm in the middle of something and have to interrupt what I'm doing to check it.

I do love caller ID, because it lets me avoid the telemarketers.

When I was doing cakes people would call me all day with inquiries, and I had a little system set up to handle them and to set up appointments. I tended to not answer the phone at all if I was working, but if I did I had a little intake form to fill out as I spoke to the bride. It included the basic information that I would need, and I made sure to fill that out completely. I also had my cake schedule right next to the phone so that I could check on availability before I started filling out the form.

If you hate talking on the phone, or you feel that you need time to work up quotes before getting back to people, you can always leave a message that sends people to your website to fill out your contact form. A message like "Sorry we can't take your call right now, we're working on cakes for other customers. To get a quote or receive more information, please fill out the contact form on our website at www.buymycakes.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours."  If they leave a phone message anyway, you can call them back to get the information, and tell them that you'll email a quote back. It's better to have everything in writing, so emails are better than phone messages.

If you're really phone-averse you could go so far as to leave a message that says that the inbox isn't checked more than a few times a week, and if they want a quicker response they should use the website form.

If you want to be totally hardcore, don't put your phone number on your website! Offer your email address and your contact form as the only options to get in touch with you. This is risky because some people still don't like doing business online. There are plenty of online businesses who don't have their phone numbers listed, though, so it's up to you. I personally wouldn't totally eliminate the phone, because sometimes people need to call you directly for whatever reason.

The best way to handle phone-aversion is to have all of your forms ready to go right next to the phone, and to give yourself time to get back to people with price quotes. Don't feel that you have to give them a price during the phone call, that rarely works out well. Give yourself some time, figure out the details, and email it back to them to take the conversation online.



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Friday, August 4, 2017

Video: How To Use The Pinecone Mold To Make a Realistic Cone.

Here's a demo on how to use the pinecone mold that will make a large, detailed edible pinecone. It's not fast, but it will be worth it to make a realistic one to use for a cake topper.  Use chocolate in it for extra points!

To see the walkthrough instead of the video, read this blog post: Pine Cone Mold Blog Post




Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

How To Make a Gumpaste Pine Cone

I have a new mold in my shop, and it's a fun one. Witness the pine cone mold! I love this because you can make a small or large one by adjusting the number of scales and rows that you put on it. This is how to use it by starting at the bottom and working your way up, and on Friday I'll be posting a video showing how to make it starting at the top and working your way down.

Start with about 20 of each scale size and let them dry overnight so that they can be pressed without breaking:




Make a base and cut it to be the size that you'd like.


Add some water to the base on the side without the scales.


Make a cone of gumpaste and attach it to the center of the base. You might need to experiment to figure out what size to make it, but for the most part just make it a little smaller than the width of the base and you'll be fine.


Make the center of the cone and insert a wire (I used about an 18 gauge for this.)


Insert the wire into the cone (make sure that it isn't too long, don't let it poke out the bottom.)



 Add some water or gum glue to the base of the cone and the flat bottom surface.


Start sticking the largest scales into the cone, keeping them a little longer than the base.


If you need to break the scales to make them fit into and around the cone, go ahead and do that. You want the rows to be about the same width all the way around.


Make one row, then do a second the same way, but overlap the scales so that the one on the row above lines up with a space between two scales in the row below. They shouldn't be right over each other, they should be alternating.


Keep making rows of scales that overlap the spaces below, and do about three rows for the largest and second to largest scale.






When you get to the top part of the cone, use the second smallest scales and stick them straight into the center section so that they stick farther out with spaces between the row below. (The top of pinecones tend to have more space between the rows if they've started to open up.)


Keep inserting the smaller two sizes of scales until you get to the top. Angle the scales up more as you get higher.


By the time you get to the last row,  the scales should be angled up to be fairly upright like the top section.


Check the pinecone and see if there are any "bald" areas. Insert a scale into any spots that might need one to fill it in.


And now you have a gumpaste pinecone!


Click here to get the mold set: pine cone mold


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Friday, July 21, 2017

How To Keep Your Silicone Molds From Cracking

Here's how to keep your silicone molds from cracking and breaking when you flex them too much.


Click here for the molds on my website: Cake decorating molds


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Favorite Programs For My Business

If you run your own business, and you don't have assistants, you'll need to fill a lot of roles yourself. For most people this can be a big old pain in the butt, and for creative-types even more so. Do you enjoy bookkeeping? I don't. But I've found ways to manage and streamline tasks that take a lot of time so that I don't have to think about them as much. Note that I'm not receiving any payments or kickbacks from recommending any of these, I just like them and use them on a regular basis.  😀

First, I love GoDaddy Bookkeeping. This is the one program that I'd recommend to anyone who has to deal with income and expenses. You can add accounts to import, like your paypal, credit card, and business bank account, and it retrieves that information on a regular basis. All you have to do is go in and make sure that everything is in the right category a couple times a month, and your bookkeeping is done. Print out the report for a monthly summary at the end of each month, and you have your hard copy for your taxes. There are other programs like Quickbooks that you can also use, but I haven't used them. I'd recommend that you use SOMETHING that imports your information, regardless of what it is. Check them out to decide which one is right for you. You can take a tour of GoDaddy bookkeeping here: Take the tour

For my social media, I use Buffer to schedule posts. I chose Buffer over Hootsuite and some others because I just found it easier to navigate, and they offered a Pinterest scheduler. I use it to schedule Pinterest and Facebook ahead of time so that I don't have to think about it every day. They have options to connect your Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Linked In accounts, and they'll also send you Instagram reminders. If you're looking for a free service, try Hootsuite, or schedule directly from Facebook. You can link accounts to save time, too, but that's usually done in each individual platform's settings.

To send out my newsletter (you have a mailing list, right?) I use Mailchimp. It's free for their basic service up until a certain number of subscribers, so you can set up a list to try it out. I pay for the automated version so that I can send out my discount codes to people who sign up for my VIP Club automatically.

I also have Microsoft Office online through GoDaddy, which is where I have my website email address registered. It also gives me access to online MS Office programs if I need those.

The free calender in the Google apps is where I schedule my blog, youtube, and upcoming sales information. I open it up while I'm working to check things off the list.

Finally, I went ahead and bought a subscription to Carbonite file backup after admitting to myself that i'm not the best at remembering to back up my work. This does it for you as you work, so you don't have to think about it.

Those are the main sites that I use every week to deal with the running of my business. There are some other ones that are Etsy-specific, but they're not really relevant to cakes, so I'll leave those out of it. Total cost per month is $44 for the programs I've mentioned, which is pretty cheap considering how much I use them.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com