Cake Decorating Business

Conflict of interest question

Hi everyone,

I’ve been asked to make a 6" bridal gown cake for my mother’s friend’s daughter’s bridal shower at the end of the month…I usually make this cake and sit it on top of a tiered cake or a tower of cupcakes. My mom’s friend only wants the gown cake… BUT also wants to borrow my 7 tier acrylic cupcake stand… and have her niece make the cupcakes…

What is everyone’s policies regarding mixing your work with others? To me this seems like a conflict of interest for my business… but i am still new and need some guidance. She is assuring me that my cake wont sit on top of the cupcake stand, it will be displayed on it’s own.



Faye, Toronto, Canada


That’s strange. Do you know the friend personaly? Why aren’t they letting you make the cupcakes also? Hmmm…I would have mixed feelings about this too. I think it will depend on your relationship with the friend if I would be ok or not.

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Yes i do know her personally, not really close with her, but she is a good friend of my mom’s. Apparently she promised her niece that she could make the cupcakes for the shower.

I guess i’m not really too impressed with the idea of it all… and i definitely have a problem with the borrowing of my stand if my work isnt being displayed on it. =(

I don’t know what to do really, my mom says that it’s a good opportunity for my work to get out there, but I would like it to be my work and only my work. Not mixed with someone else’s. I’m still new to the business, but i’m not desperate for exposure, i’m still learning too!

PS. i just love your work. :)

Faye, Toronto, Canada

Do you usually let people borrow your stand or do you rent it out? Maybe you can rent it to her? Or just tell your mom you are really not comfortable with the idea.

Larissa, Durham NC,

I let people borrow it if they are ordering cupcakes from me, for people i don’t know i usually take a deposit for it.. just to make sure i get it back. ;)

Faye, Toronto, Canada

Charge a rental fee…I know from past experience when I used to lend stands out to people I know….it would take forever to be returned and my stands came back damaged. Now I charge rental fee or a refundable deposit, depending on the person.

Sunny Smiles from the Cayman Isles!, or

I would charge a deposit/rental fee also on the cupcake stand. If you loan it out for free then they will assume that they can borrow it anytime again in the future for free again and you don’t want them to learn that! For this circumstance I wouldn’t worry about the guests confusing who did the cake or who did cupcakes- if it’s the neice making them you can count on her and/or her mom telling all the ladies at the shower that she made the cupcakes herself.

find me at:

I agree with both caymancake and Corrie. Start now while you are still early in your career with cakes so that you can get it established that your ‘tools’ are not up for borrowing. You had to pay for the stand, and believe me, things get damaged in this business and have to be replaced. I go with Corrie on this one: deposit/rental fee. Business is business and friendship is friendship.

Ahh thank you everyone!! Totally makes me feel a lot better, i agree, business is business. I will definitely start charging a rental fee on my stand.

Faye, Toronto, Canada

I also charge a rental fee and deposit when I lend out my stand. Even if they dont want you to make the cupcakes you are still getting the small cake order and will be making a little profit from your stand too.

Nikki, So Cal,

I agree with all the other posts, it’s best to put as many guildines like the rental fee in place early on so you are taken seriously. Also as for the mixing your work with others, I recently did some cupcakes for a little girls birthday party. Her Mum made an amazing dessert table, but I was unaware that she had purchased products from other bakers; cake pops, cookies and assorted lollies etc. At first I was a bit shocked as I hadn’t realised my work would be displayed alongside others, but on reflection, my cupcakes looked great and they were the centrepiece of the table. The Mum was fabulous in posting photos and making sure each business had a credit and a thank you. Also, my motto is…life is too short for cakepops! (totally stolen, if you know who said it first please thank them lol!) so in the end I felt glad to be included, honoured to have my work as the centrepiece and SO relieved that I hadn’t had to say NO I don’t do cakepops! :)

Raewyn, Sydney, Australia