I’ve been questioning my business recently, looking at Nutmeg’s bottom line and frankly wondering if it’s worth it. We seem to have lost touch with the true value of things. Inundated with budget brands and price wars from the big operators, we seem to have forgotten that hand crafted, beautifully made things take time, effort and skill. And that there is real value in that. In cake terms, sure we can pick up a birthday cake for a few dollars from our local supermarket. But it’s a mass produced, chemically driven product. A far cry from home baked cake using baking basics your nan remembers – you know, eggs, sugar, flour and a touch of vanilla – made slowly and baked to perfection. The frustrations of trying to justify pricing has threatened to overwhelm me. When people see a beautiful towering wedding cake covered in sugar flowers, there has to be an understanding that such craft is time consuming. That high quality ingredients cost a lot. That there is easily 20 hours work and more in every wedding cake – from design and consultation, to ordering supplies, baking, icing and decorating. Take out the cost of ingredients – which is extensive especially when you are talking about kilos of chocolate – and the hourly rate often comes in below minimum wage – for highly skilled work. And as I wrangle with these frustrations, I have found myself reflecting on why I do it. And today showed me. A bride, collecting just 13 sugar cookies for a small intimate wedding at sunrise, told me her story. So bursting with excitement was she that it was infectious. And as she walked away, I realised why I do it. For that – to spread joy and provide something beautiful to help celebrate these landmarks in peoples lives. And therein lies my dilemma. I love my work, but I hate being underpaid for it. Its just cake, you may say. But hand crafted cake created with a commitment to provide something stunning, beautiful and a perfect compliment to a couple’s special day is not just cake. It’s a work of art. And in that lies its value. And so, as I struggle with the price issue that affects so many professional cake designers, I take heed of my own thoughts. What I do takes time, creativity and skill and should be costed accordingly. I don’t price for huge profit margins but simply to feel valued for my work. When that all happens I, like every other person, perform at my best.