Whenever people find out that I’m a cake designer, the conversation usually turns towards the “business” of cake, so I thought I would start a “Did You Know…?” section of my blog outlining various parts of the business that often surprise people that aren’t immersed in cake 24-7.
And what better place to start the “Did You Know…?” series than with the very beginning of the cake process – the cake consultation!
Here are the most common questions I am asked about the cake consultation process:
Are Cake Consultations Free?
Yes! I offer *free* tasting & design consultations for all cake orders of $200 or more at the Sweet Element studio. Alternatively, if my clients are short on time or find the studio location a little bit out of the way, I am also more than happy to do in-home tasting & design consultations within the NYC metro area! I’ve found that many of my NYC & Hoboken clients find in-home tastings or tastings in the cafe closest to their office a true time saver. If you can’t come to the cake – the cake will come to you!
What happens at a consultation & how does the design process work?
As you might imagine, each and every consultation is slightly unique, with some taking longer than others, but I usually set aside an hour for every client.
I typically prepare three cake flavor/filling/frosting combinations in cupcake form & welcome tasting parties of up to 3 people. If clients are coming alone & would like to take a tasting box of cupcakes home, I just ask that they let me know in advance so I can put together a small box for them to take home.
As you can see in the photo above, I also offer coffee & tea (& also bottled water not shown), to clients that come for consultations at the studio.
While I always have my own portfolio for clients to draw inspiration from, I usually request that clients bring their own inspiration packet with them to their consultation. These inspiration packets can contain anything from event invitations, photos or actual items desired to be turned into cake or sugar pieces, fabric swatches, photos of other cakes & more. These inspiration packets are helpful as jumping off points during the design portion of the consultation so I can help turn their inspirations into cake art!
Depending on the complexity of the cake design, a few cake sketches may be drawn on the spot during the consultation or, as in the case of most Sweet Element cakes, I’ll take all the ideas from the consultation & will sketch up a few cake designs & will email them to my clients along with a cake contract that outlines all event & cake details.
Here’s an example of a sketch & the final cake. As you can see, the sketch shows the initial request for a topsy turvy design, but in the end, the client opted for a more traditional tiered cake, but kept all the other elements the same. Also, you can see an example of a design question that I might write directly on the cake sketch (in this case, confirming if an inscription was necessary).
For those of you who are really interested in what inspires me personally as a cake designer – I have a series of posts coming up on just that in the very near future.
There will be a lot more inspiration photo→misc. sketch→cake sketch→final cake posts soon!
How are consultations set up?
Call me at 201.315.4940 or email me at Jen@SweetElement.com
What if clients are not available for a consultation or are placing a last minute order?
For out of state clients or clients placing last minute orders, I am always more than happy to work through the design process over the phone or online.