for being upset that a friend seems to be setting up a similar business to mine

(20 Posts)

Thanks everyone for some fantastic advice. I especially like the bit about not helping the direct competition. You're right, she can set up a business, but I'm perfectly within my rights to say no to helping.

We live in a teenie tiny village so there isn't really room for more than one of us, but anyway, I'm much calmer than I was and will just see how things pan out!

I might also have to go and make some dainty cream cakes :0)

I have had this.
A woman I taught jewellery making to decided that she would set up jewellery making business EXACTLY like mine. I was furious for a while, especially as there was some genuine confusion between us.

It just made me work harder to promote MEEEEEE and she gave up quite quickly.

However, I do think you are quite within your rights to give her no more help.

gnittinggnome Tue 10-Sep-13 22:49:52

I would second the thought that experience and skill will speak for itself in these kind of businesses, so you may not need to actually do or say anything to put her straight, it may happen organically.

I would suggest that if she is now moving into direct competition with you, don't give her any more advice however, beyond the most basic or generic.

I've gone off cupcakes a bit. They're just too much. My friends mum does tiny cream cakes. She donated a huge platter to a charity event we organised. They went in literally 5-10 minutes. Everyone just pounced on them. The cupcakes were reduced and reduced and eventually given away at the end whereas we could have sold a dozen or so platters of mini cream cakes. Trends are changing and cream teas and dainty biscuits are coming back.

SaucyJack Tue 10-Sep-13 19:14:40

Before I actually opened the thread, my initial thought was YABU if your business involves cupcakes............

Everyone and their dog are making cakes these days. You can't reasonably lay a claim to it.

No need to help her tho.

Take it as a compliment. You are obviously so good at what you do, you have made it look like a breeze. She admires what you have achieved. She's your friend and your business idea isn't a unique one that only you can do. Wish her well. She wont take your friends, family and word of mouth business from you. You never know, you might need her in a business sense (or her you) one day. Back away if you must but imo there won't be any real need to. If she isn't as good as you it'll become obvious surely?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 10-Sep-13 19:06:42

I disagree. Your strongest allies when running a small business are your competitors, and you already have a relationship with yours!

If she's good, then you can provide each others businesses with resiliance and support (if she's not, then she won't last long).

If there's room for competition, then sooner or later someoner else would have come along and offered the same services/products as you do - far better, imo, that it is someone you know and can work with.

Pixieonthemoor Tue 10-Sep-13 19:06:05

She is either being rude/cheeky or insensitive/dimwitted - only you can decide which it is but I think YANBU to be annoyed. To tackle it from a different angle, since you have been such good friends and even did this tea shop venture together, could you take her on as a partner/help for your burgeoning business? Or do you feel too annoyed to entertain the idea (totally wouldn't blame you)?

parakeet Tue 10-Sep-13 19:03:37

If she asks you for any further advice, I don't think it would be unreasonable to say, politely "I can't, you're now in direct competition with me, sorry."

If you have a very generous nature, you may be able to still continue the friendship. After all, it does sound like her business is doomed to fail anyway. So if you cool things on the friendship front for a few months then you might be able to rekindle things later.

Good friends are hard to find.

Damnautocorrect Tue 10-Sep-13 19:02:24

I've been there done that its bloody irritating and annoying when you've done the leg work, back away with the advice.

StephenFrySaidSo Tue 10-Sep-13 18:58:20

I agree- let her carry on and let her lack of experience speak for itself- she'll soon find she's not getting any orders. And give up. Maybe grin

happycrimblechuckie Tue 10-Sep-13 18:56:19

I would be fucking fuming. Yours will be so much better than hers, she obviously has no business sense, so tell her nothing my friend.

MammaTJ Tue 10-Sep-13 18:53:32

Businesses like yours are built on reputation. You let a few people down witha decorated cake for a special event (tbh, who bothers if it isn't for something special) and word soon gets round a person is rubbish!

It looks easy, but it isn't. Allow her to mess up!

Or.................... unlikely she is registered with the council, as I assume you are........................................ wink

Remove that 'MUG' sign from you forehead well and truly.

I make and decorate cakes as a hobby, a few on my profile, but would not dare to think I am good enough to do it professionally. If she hasn't even tried to decorate a cake properly yet, she has no clue how hard it is!

silasramsbottom Tue 10-Sep-13 16:58:50

business and friendship don't mix. Just tell her that, and she should understand. (Although the fact that she's asking you to "help" as much as she is, when you could be in direct competition, suggests the sensitivity of a rhino.)

Thanks for the ideas. We did think about setting up a tea shop together once and did a few trial days in the village hall, but it was definitely tea cakes and sponges rather than decorated cakes. We had to stop in the end as other opportunities came along.

It's a real surprise that she's offering to do decorated cakes though as she has no experience. I just feel that I have MUG tattooed on my forehead. I've been running my business as a little side line (mostly friends and family) for about 10 years, but it's suddenly taken off and I'm getting a lot of interest.

If she asks for advice again, I just know I'm going to find it really difficult not to say something and then I risk our friendship.

boodles Tue 10-Sep-13 16:27:14

Is there any way you could have a joint venture?

CruCru Tue 10-Sep-13 16:25:02

Hmmm... Difficult to say. You have similar interests so perhaps it's not so surprising that your friend is also into baking. Do you make a living from it?

Perhaps at some point you need a business like chat about how, if she is moving into areas that you usually cover, she will need to get tips from someone else so you can keep your product differentiated.

In the meantime, do you have a particular line or style that is obviously yours? Perhaps push that so it is harder for her to move into that.

RoonilWazlibWuvsHermyown Tue 10-Sep-13 16:23:00

She's taking you for a mug. Don't help her anymore.

purrpurr Tue 10-Sep-13 16:20:10

Mug is right. sad. Pull away now.

I'll try to be as brief as possible!

I have a very good friend who I've known for a couple of years. We have similar interests, parenting style, sense of humour and she has been very kind to me in the past. We often look after each other's DCs and have a really good laugh together.

Recently she's been asking for a bit of help in setting up a baking business supplying muffins to local shops. I run a successful cake-making business, make celebration cakes and cupcakes (sorry... what a cliché) and also make sponges for a local shop. I didn't have any problem taking her through the finer points of labelling, how to cost stuff, where to get supplies etc. I was excited for her. She always said she would stick to muffins and not approach the shop I already bake for. She said she had no interest in doing celebration cakes.

In the last couple of weeks though she has asked me how much I would charge for cupcakes, and also for an 8" iced celebration cake as she's put bids in for both on a facebook selling page. Am I being unreasonable to be a bit upset by this? My DH thinks I'm a total push-over and that she's being completely out of order and is taking me for a mug. Other friends who see cake requests on facebook let me know so I can bid for the order. I'm just a bit upset that she didn't do that, but offered to do it herself. She has no experience and has never made a celebration cake for sale before.

I'm sad and not sure whether to let her know that I feel really let down.

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