The difference between an Opportunity and an Opportunist in the world of Sugar Artistry
I started this business back in 2010. The business found me I did not find the business. I caught the baking bug after earning my undergraduate degree back in 2004. After relocating to the south, I came across a JoAnn’s exploring my new community. I decided to enroll in their Wilton classes. After completing the advanced curriculum my instructor approached me to teach on a part time basis and I agreed. I became a Certified Wilton Method Instructor. Wilton offered nice perks!
After posting pictures of my work on Facebook another entrepreneur encouraged me to start a business. She connected me to a graphic designer and Pink Princess Pastry LLC was born. When I started the business a lot of opportunities came my way with opportunists attached to it. A lot of people look at the success and not the struggling storyline. I did not have it easy. One of the opportunities was a well-known dessert festival in Atlanta, GA. I was excited. The event planner reached out to me and shared how her event can grow my business. The day of the event I discovered that there were 15 other vendors giving away the exact same product as I was. To add insult to injury she placed all of her new vendors in the back in a separate room. When the attendees walked in we were the last ones that they would venture to. I didn’t receive one client from that event.
Following that event another woman reached out to me as she was doing something similar and was a participant in the same dessert festival. She expressed that she did not like the way the event was organized and offered me a spot. She shared that I would be the only dessert vendor. Approximately 5 days later she emailed me that she can’t offer me a spot as the other event planner claims that she’s stealing her vendors and threatened a lawsuit. I was peeved. I responded that no one owes my business or I. She apologized to me and expressed that I could not participate.
In 2013 I won a pitch contest. From that contest I was able to connect to other female entrepreneurs. Some of them turned out to be my clientele. I had one individual that ordered $1,000.00 worth of products but could not afford the delivery fees. She wanted her products delivered to each of her clients in NY and out of NYC. I decided to assist her with the fees keeping my original quote. Well, the delivery day most of her clients weren’t in the office as they worked for DOE. It was a school holiday. I called her clients and rerouted deliveries to their home. I got so much positive feedback from those deliveries. Well, my client was angry that I delivered the cupcakes to their homes instead of the schools. She was angry. She tried to cancel the order for the cake pop deliveries to the recipients out of state and wanted a refund. The products were already made ready to ship. I told her that’s not going to happen. She was very nasty and threatened to sue me. I told her to go right ahead as I have email threads and obtained client reviews from all of my deliveries. She became enraged saying that I was stealing her clients and I had no business communicating with them. Should I have delivered the orders quietly?! . She was an author and I am a cake designer you ponder on this. She was an opportunist. She was financially struggling and was looking for a way to obtain a refund on my back. This was one situation I was fighting back. I had already contacted a lawyer and was waiting on her serving me. She never served me any documents. She was trying to take advantage of a SBO.
A blogger reached out to me via Instagram wanting a 3 tiered cake for her son’s first birthday. She explained the kind of cake she was looking for. It was going to be on the rooftop of a hotel in NYC with over 200 guests. She then expressed that if I sponsor the cake she will promote it on IG to bring me new clients. First of all, your promotions don’t guarantee new clients maybe new followers there is a difference. I told her that I am not interested however this is the cost should she change her mind. Despite the amount of people following her if you can afford a rooftop event for your child’s 1st birthday party then you can afford to pay for your cake.
I met another woman through the pitch contest who connected me to a business Coach more like a Socialite. She was well known in the Urban Hip Hop Celebrity Scene. She told me that she could assist me on a contingency basis to which I accepted. She gave me a lot of pointers which I already knew. She gave me an order that was for her family member and asked me to lower the price by $55.00 which I did and she didn’t take a fee for the referral. When it came around to her birthday she expected a free custom cake. I told her that’s not happening. She became belligerent stating all the things that she has ever done for me the free advice/tips and clients. I reminded her that she gave me two clients one was her family member where I had to discount the cake. She brought me no new clients. I told her that she’s using me and to kick rocks. She got mad at me and screamed at me that her baby father is not helping her and she’s struggling on her own. He’s late on the child support checks. So, she was trying to keep up a façade with her social circle at my expense. Pass.
I’ve had some unique experiences with opportunists but some wonderful opportunities as well. As a sugar artist, people can become cheap when it comes to the caterer and cake which is the focal point of your event. I’m not sure why this goes on. In the Caribbean, our food is the most important aspect of our events. We want our family and friends to be well fed and have a good time.
As a Sugar Artist, when a blogger or magazine reaches out to you ask 21 questions in email format. After they have answered your questions then communicate by phone. You can a paper trail of the details. For example, I had a few bloggers reach out to me wanting to promote my business. I asked the following questions:
- How long will the promotion last on your social media accounts? 30 days or beyond
- On which social media platforms where my business be promoted? Some offer promotions on IG only and a separate fee if you want it on FB.
- What time of the day will it be promoted? What are your peak hours for clicks?
- Will printed promotional materials be offered?
- How does press affiliate work?
- What does a one page feature entail versus a blog feature?
- Will you link the photographer that took my original photos that I am providing?
- Do you have a local office where I can meet you or the editors?
- Can I skype with you or the editors?
- Do you offer cross linking?
- What are some of the potential results of this promotion?
- What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
- What does your brand represent?
You get the drift! Lastly, you should research the blogger, company, or Socialite that is interested in promoting you. Yes, you can be a detective and you should. Explore Better Business Bureau, Yelp and Consumer Affairs to see if they have any complaints. You can even go a step further and use www. Spokeo.com. as we are in an era where everything is based on technical interactions. You may not even get to meet the editor or blogger face to face as many transactions are virtual now. What if you make a payment and never hear from this individual again?
An opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. It’s a chance for a promotion or employment.
Pastry Artist Kayisha