After Laura’s tweet I went back through my timeline to see how many people were tweeting pictures about an event before it happened. I was actually quite surprised at what I found and I was also surprised that I hadn’t picked up on it earlier. Possibly the worst examples I saw were suppliers who tweeted pictures before the couple had even got a chance to see it for themselves. If I had been a bride I would have been incredibly upset to see any aspect of my wedding on Twitter before I’d even got married.
Personally, as those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I very very rarely post pictures of client cakes. This is because, despite a clause in my contract, I don’t truly believe that I have the right to show the world a cake that has been specifically designed for my client. It is something that is personal to them and as such, it should be their right to show the world the details of their special day when and if they ever want to. Obviously, I cannot stop other suppliers from blogging images of my cakes (as long as I get a credit!) but it is very rarely that I would do so myself.
This then got me thinking about other aspects of my personal codes of conduct that I use in my business. Although I’ve never written them down before, they are there and they are strongly adhered to.
Although I am very friendly and sometimes make friends with my clients I don’t ask them personal questions such as what they do for a living as, quite frankly, it is none of my business. If they offer the information that’s fine but I have no wish to pry into their private lives. As my cake designs are always bespoke I do need to get a sense of who they are and what they like but this can often be achieved by chatting generally and getting to know their personality during the consultation.
If the client does not have a planner then I try to make everything as easy as possible for them. I check with the venue regarding delivery times, cake stand, cake knife etc. and always speak to them (or email if they’re not the speaking kind) on the day before the wedding to allay any anxieties they might be having. When the client has a planner, the planner usually contacts me and this is all done through them.
I always respect my clients time. Clients generally have a planner so they have a single person to deal with. The last thing they need or want is to be contacted directly by all their event suppliers so it’s important to adhere to this unwritten and often unspoken request. You can generally tell from the clients themselves and the planners they’ve chosen whether it would be appropriate to contact them directly or not. On the whole, like I say, if there is planner, conversation should always be directed through them.
I always perform my tasks as I would like them to be done if I were the client. This is why I always personally set-up the cakes I deliver myself and why I would never dream of leaving cakes in their boxes for the planner or bride to set up, unless of course that was the instruction given.
Sometimes things are beyond your control and you have to make the most of a situation you find yourself in. In these cases you just have to do your absolute best to make things right. Recently a stacked cake suffered movement on the way to the venue. It was the first time (and only time touch wood) that it has ever happened to me. I repositioned the moved tier as best I could and when the groom came to inspect and sign off the cake he was really happy with it. It didn’t stop me fretting about it afterwards though; analysing whether more could have been done to both prevent it occurring and in the fixing of it, but that’s just me. Unless things are 100% as perfect as possible I will fret until the cows come home even though there’s nothing I could have done to change it. I dread to think how the groom would have felt if I had been the sort of cake designer that dumps the cake in its box and leaves.
Another one of my codes of conduct is with regards to my fellow wedding professionals. I truly believe that there is plenty of room in this industry for all of us. I have witnessed some, quite frankly, ridiculous school ground nonsense in the past year that isn’t dissimilar to the woes of my eight year old. It is really important to behave in a professional manner at all times. This means not publicly slagging off your perceived competitors. Competition is good; it keeps things interesting and keeps you sharp. Adolescent bitchiness has no place in business. There’s that old saying about being respectful to those you pass on your way up as you never know who you might need help from on the way down, and this is so true in all of life. In the words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other”. Life is hard enough without making things harder for yourself or others. Try to be happy at others achievements, even if you would rather it was you achieving instead of them, and if you can’t be happy at the very least behave in a grown-up professional and respectful manner.
Lastly, I think it is really important to remember whose day it is. I might well have designed and produced a cake to beat all cakes but the client is the star of the show. They are the reason we’ve done the work in the first place and regardless of whether we like their style or not, regardless of whether they are spending £500 or £5,000 with us, they deserve the same amount of good service and respect as we would expect ourselves.
Do you have any codes of conduct you work to that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(image taken from http://www.coaching-kids-sports.com/codeofconduct.html)