Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, a king was having a birthday. Four or five days before his birthday the queen decided that he needed a cake, and that it has to be in the shape of his favorite building: an airplane hangar.
|He's an aircraft enthusiast, okay?|
Unfortunately, the princess did not do enough research. Had she looked through the pictures of the subjects work, she would have (maybe) passed her up.
|The subject's first and only fondant cake.|
Selling your product is not something anyone can just jump into. If you have a natural talent, that's great! Take some classes, watch some tutorials, and do tons of research to hone and perfect your talents. Then take some business classes and get some legal advice on how to start your business. What you shouldn't do is make one cake, call it good, and then accept a job that is clearly out of your skill range. No matter how little you charge for it, the customer will be disappointed.
When the big day arrived, the princess was waiting for the delivery with great anticipation. When it finally arrived she was speechless.
When you're looking for a cake decorator for an elaborate or special cake, look at their previous cakes. If they don't have any, that is a sign that they are just starting out and have little to no experience. If they do have pictures of cakes, look for bulging sides, the "melted" or "deflated" look, uneven lines, and bad cuts. Those are all signs that they either doesn't have any "real" training (tutorials, classes, workshops, etc.) under their belt, because the basics should be mastered by the time they are selling cakes, or that they don't take the time to hone their skills. If they exhibit any of these signs, pass them up.
If you're running out of time like the poor princess, don't just go with the first person that says they'll do the job, and don't go with the person that says they can do it for cheap, either. If you really can't find someone, just default to Wally World. It won't be what you wanted, but that's what happens if you just don't have time. Chains have cakes just waiting to be eaten in their refrigerators, and you can bring in images for them to print out and place on the cake.
Technically this wasn't the princess's fault. She was just trying to do what the queen said, and with such little time, she saw no other way. With an inexperienced decorator to "help" her, though, no one got their "happily ever after" ending.
So what are the lessons to be learned? Decorators: don't take on a job you obviously can't handle. Customers: you get what you pay for. See? Two for one!