noun - a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else.
Having been subjected to it myself, what with our own shop closure many years ago, and more recently...when I crashed and burned out of #GBBO Bake Off: the Professionals...where I've seen uncomplimentary tweets, and those uncomplimentary tweets being LIKED by competitors or disgruntled customers or basically anyone that doesn't either like me or our business...it sucks. It sucks because as much as I am sad for not being liked by EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, it's sad that anyone could be rejoicing in someone else's misfortune.
The Bakewell Tarts...as seen on screen #GBBO Bake Off the Professionals. The horror...
As much as I'd like to think that with the recent news of Choccywoccydoodah going bust and closing shop (or shops in their case) for good we stand to do better as their customers will now be looking for another cake maker for their birthday cakes, wedding cakes etc, I can't help but feel extremely sad about them going under. There are so so so many reasons why I'm sad about it....and it outweighs any positive ripple effects we may experience as a result by a long way.
Exposure Doesn't Pay Bills
If you are my long-time follower, you will probably be very aware of how I feel about cakes in exchange for 'exposure'. I've written this blog post about my Best Free Cake Requests, and also about when exposure gigs go horribly wrong eg: blogger blackmail etc.
I don't think Charlotte's followers follow her for cake grams...
That's not to say I don't give cake for exposure...but it's got to make sense for us. And even if it does make sense, and I give away free cakes all day every day for exposure, there aren't many cake makers out there with the level of exposure Choccywoccydoodah had. They were SO exposed - a flagship shop in Brighton people would actually make pilgrimage to, another fancy shop in Carnaby, a very popular TV show, countless A-Z list celebrity customers, and mega-clout within cake maker circles too. Outwardly, they were celebrated, but internally it must have been hell as that exposure meant so little in the end.
Having a good review profile online is so important for businesses, but unless you are a large business that is immune to reviews (how often does Apple get slated for their products??) it is freakin demoralising. Good reviews are obviously like gold dust - not only does it help our profile it also boosts our little cake-making spirits. But bad reviews are like energy vampires - sure, if the feedback is constructive it's actually invaluable as it helps identify areas to be worked on, but most of the time it's left as a vindictive "revenge review" (ie: sorry you ate your cake and ALL your guests found it dry...but you're not getting your money back) after being used as a blackmail tactic, or even competitors faking accounts and leaving them.
I've heard from far too many cake makers who have issued unjustified refunds just out of the fear of review and experienced fake reviews from competitors first hand. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there and it's draining.
While Choccywoccydoodah had a decent online review profile, they were also subjected to less-than-glowing reviews and who knows what impact that could have had on their trade, or how many refunds they had to do to avoid bad reviews?!
Profit is a Dirty Word
When I found out how much a showpiece sculpted cake cost from Choccywoccydoodah my jaw dropped. 3-tiers of cake serving 150 portions, sculpted and decorated with moulded and painted chocolate, all for a seemingly pricely sum of £1,645.
Sounds a bit much on paper sure, with each portion working out as £11. But it's not just cake, it's art. It's also perishable and temporary. This beautifully made cake, that took a lot of hours of work, heaps of chocolate, a myriad of moulds and equipment, airbrushing pigments et all will be unveiled at an event, have loads of photos taken of, and then be cut into 150 bits and eaten and digested. There will be people who will not place enough value on such an item and will send photos of it to other cake makers for cheaper quotes (we've been on the receiving end of these enquiries), and then there are people who will.
Hell, we've even had enquiries from brides who wanted us to DELIVER a choccywoccy cake to their wedding venue...bish plz, we aren't a courier company!
Sadly, if we were to quote on such a cake it would actually be far higher than Choccywoccydoodah's quote anyway as I don't believe the price was reflecting the true cost of the equipment and labour investment involved. And as per the old adage goes, "Sales are for vanity, Profit is for sanity". And mentioning the word "profit" feels dirty when it comes to cutesy cakes, but it's absolutely vital for any business as without it there is no re-investment, no moving forward, no innovation nor improvement...it's either stay stagnant or vanish.
There's no denying, the loss of Choccwoccydoodah is sad because much like what Starbucks did for coffee...Choccywoccy did for cake to an extent. They showed off and brought their creativity to the mainstream and just like how Starbucks helped other coffee shops bring their standards (and prices) up, I feel Choccywoccy did that too. Their creations would be talked about in the press and social media and people all over commented on them and of course, the prices (Elton John's wedding cake allegedly cost £5,000). Their whimsical designs were one-of-a-kind and I will miss seeing them.
The Dismal High Street
Choccwoccydoodah has closed two shops, both in prime locations, and I very much doubt many businesses will be rushing to take up those leases any time soon. Every other day I see shops closing down with fugly foreclosure notices up and it's bl00dy depressing. I'd rather see a cake shop than a betting/phone/empty shop yet these are what we'll see in place for a while yet...and I don't know what the answer is to revive the high street as the rents and rates are unsustainable.
Choccywoccy...despite their cake not being to my liking they brought a lot more than just cake and for that I am truly sorry to see them go and wish them the very best for whatever holds in the future.
Lots of love,