"Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong." ~ Donald Porter
Have you ever had an order that just didn’t turn out right? You took your time and made sure that nothing was out of place and something out of the ordinary happens. This happened to me last year, and here is the story and lessons learned.
Back in September, I received a referral from a friend for a stiletto shoe cake. I had never made a heel themed cake, and have always wanted to do one, so here was my opportunity. The client sent me photos of what she had in mind for the shoe, and I could design the rest of the cake as I saw fit. She was very specific that she wanted the fuchsia heel with gold beads to be the star of the cake. I did my online fondant stiletto heel research, watched several You-Tube videos, and ordered a heel kit to make the shoe.
I started working on the heel and realized that it wasn't sturdy, so I started over two more times and used tylose powder to help with the drying process. I finally finished the shoe and was proud of my work. The shoe was to sit and dry for a few days until it was time for placement on the cake. I baked and decorated the cake, added the heel to the top of the cake for photos, and put the heel in a box for safekeeping, so that it wouldn’t break. I knew that the heel was fragile, but didn’t have a clue of how it really fragile it was.
I delivered the cake to the client, and showed her how to place the shoe on the cake, when it was time to display the cake. In the midst of my tutorial, the shoe broke in half. Of course I was embarrassed, because it made my work look bad. I offered to make another shoe for the client, but she said that she would put the shoe together with super glue, let it sit overnight, and it would be fine. Of course, that didn't happen. I received a text the message the next morning, and the shoe was now in three pieces.
I remade the shoe that took 4 days to make in one day, delivered it to the client and told her not to touch the shoe until it was time to put it on the cake. The shoe performed as it was supposed to and the client wanted to save the shoe as a keepsake. Whew!!!
So...the lessons learned with this order were:
I never want a client to think that I cannot deliver, especially on a specific request.
Practice a new technique before you decide to place it on a client's cake.
When making a fondant heel, have a back-up shoe just in case there is an accident.
A happy client, is a repeat client.
Always remember that every order, or client interaction serves as a teaching experience, whether positive or negative. Each experience helps make you stronger and better in your entrepreneurial journey.