I know the roller coaster is what we sign up to as a small business - we are the business and the brand, we are the people and the product. We live and breathe it, and so when instances like Zoella insta-stories one of our bespoke cakes that Nails Inc sent her (all the way to Brighton yo!) happen or when we get awesome feedback from loyal customers whom we’ve been serving for years now such as Sim (who always send us the cutest photos of her little one with the cakes!) we are on such a MEGA HIGH.
The opposite side of the mega high, are also mega lows. Sometimes, we get it wrong - there was this one time where one of our drivers’ in his probationary period damaged a cake but didn’t report it to us. Instead he told the customer to accept it and to not complain or report to us because otherwise he would lose his job (!!! can you imagine the cringe I felt when the customer relayed this to us??). It was already a sad situation with regards to damaging a cake I so carefully made and then to emotionally blackmail a customer was deffo the straw that broke this camel’s back. Sadly for us it was the end of the road with the driver but no matter how unpleasant some situations and it being necessary for making improvements I really hate that part of running a small business - the risk of letting people down despite our personal best efforts.
Who remembers Syon Park Cake Wreck?? That time our super experienced driver had an accident and I was able to swoop in to fix it up? These incidents are few and far between as our experienced drivers can only do so much to avoid crazed motorists and keep themselves safe but I feel so lucky to have been able to save it (click on the link for the full story and to see how I rescued it!)
But sometimes, we’ll get slated even when it’s not our fault - we recently delivered a wedding cake to a venue where the venue mishandled the cake and it was stored in a hot kitchen, so bits started falling off the cake. But the venue didn’t want to admit to it and passed the blame onto us. Queue, a total meltdown by the groom on the phone where our manager gets threatened with physical violence (“I’m going to find you and beat your @£&!$”) and subjected to an immense amount of verbal abuse. Of course, they kept the cake because they couldn’t have a wedding without one. But upon their return from honeymoon they left a stinker review calling me a lot of names like “unprofessional” (which always seems to be the first slur whenever we have to do the difficult thing to stand our ground), and also more colourful ones like “scam artist”...(really??) and went on to do a chargeback through their bank. We sent in our evidence with proof of delivery et all and it was eventually found in our favour. While that is a relief, it’s bittersweet. Yes, we deserve to get paid for our work and this is our livelihood but it really sucks that we get blamed for stuff that wasn’t our fault and the cake caused so much grief no matter where the fault lies. We don’t make cake to make people sad and sweary. Days like that, you really think about packing it all in and running off to a remote island and live in a shack amongst sloths.
And then, walking home on a Sunday night with X-ray I get stopped by a couple, “I think you made our wedding cake 5 years ago in Wandsworth...”. What?!? Say again?? “Are you Reshmi??”
I could have jumped on them and mauled them, I was absolutely FROTHING, CREAMING, delirious that this was actually happening! What were the chances?? AOH MAH GAWD!!
I tried to play it cool despite my innards doing somersaults and showed off X-ray and we went on our merry ways. But it was just what I needed to remind myself why we will keep doing what we do, and keep trying to do it better. $hit happens to everyone and we can’t please everyone but we’ll try our bl00dy best and the ones that we do are worth it all.
Lots of love,