The Real Story
Jeff and I spent a great weekend in New Orleans at the Cake Extravaganza. The demos were fantastic. I really learned a lot. I was excited to share several new techniques I am working on. The printing on gum paste technique is one of my favorite techniques and I love to share this. I was going to demo the Gazelle, but one of the ports was loose so I decided to wait. I want to show the Gazelle in all it's glory. Jeff called BossKut and told them the problem. John said they would get me a replacement machine out right away. I am so impressed with the customer service from the BossKut company. Makes me wish I had know about them last year!!!!
We will be going to Maryland in 2 weeks for a cake show there. I am planning on using the Gazelle then and I have a few great ideas for my demo. I only wish I had more time to play with this great machine, too many cake orders right now. Girls just love to get married in the spring!
This is the statement Provo Craft put out about me. I have kept quiet, but this is my web page and I will only post my rebuttal to it here. I have been told that several people have asked Provo Craft to take down their statement about me and I have to agree. For a large company to do what they did, that is personally name me and then say what they did requires an answer on my part. My answer to them is in green.
April 8th, 2010
It is not typically our practice to publicly discuss private business matters, but because of the misperceptions that circulated this week on the message boards, we believe it is appropriate to share a brief statement to clarify the facts about the development of Cricut Cake.
In 2009, Linda McClure approached Provo Craft about a method of cutting gum paste, a method with which Provo Craft was already familiar and whose documented development dates as far back as 2007. Where is the proof they were working on this? When I first presented my method, they had no idea you could use a cricut for cake decorating. They did not know what gum paste was, the product we use in cake decorating. It took me 30 minutes to figure this out on my own. I did a very intense search on the internet looking for any information about this method. I developed this method to perfection and presented this to Provo Craft.
We reached an informal agreement that provided for Ms. McClure to be compensated at fair market value for her time and consulting services as we prepared to launch Cricut Cake in 2010. You paid me travel expenses and a fee for doing demonstrations for you at CHA. There was never an agreement for consulting services, you did send me a contract the week before CHA which I told Jon Lee I would not sign. One part of the contract was you wanted me to sign over all my copyrighted materials. I told Jon Lee I would not do that and that my attorney would look at the proposed agreement and get back with Provo Craft.
She accepted, performed certain activities, and was compensated accordingly.
That’s right, you paid travel expenses and a fee for my demos.
More recently, Provo Craft and Ms. McClure discussed the possibility of extending a formal consulting agreement. We believe that some of her requests, including both financial and non-financial terms, were unrealistic. Further, Linda was adamant that her requests were non-negotiable. As a result we chose not to enter a long term agreement with her, and unfortunately our relationship deteriorated.
Provo Craft called and talked to my attorney about his counter contract. I will not go into detail, but I did ask for an amount more in the line of the value of what they had gotten from me. I did not cut off negotiations with them. They asked for a conference call and I showed up at my attorney’s office at the appointed time. I waited there for an hour and no call came in.
Provo Craft’s initial research and development for Cricut Cake began in 2007. Since then, Provo Craft has conducted extensive market research and consulted with industry leaders, and both professional and aspiring cake decorators. We’re grateful for the valuable input and the enthusiastic support of these individuals, and we look forward to our continued relationship with them. We also hope you share our excitement for the fun possibilities that Cricut Cake will bring to creative kitchens everywhere.
It is my opinion that Provo Craft would not have this new product if it were not for me developing the technique and showing it to them.
Just out of curiosty, I went to the cricut web page to see what was being said about the cake machine. I clicked on the video and guess what? Every part of the video I had been a part of had been edited. S0 now only Carrie Biggers is in their video. I guess they forgot that the gum paste she is seen cutting is what I had brought for the video. To erase all of my contribution they really should re-shoot the video and use their own products!
We had a really great day with the folks from BossKuts. We met with Kerri in the morning and got some great tips for working with the Gazelle. She thinks like I do, so I was able to understand her instructions for the Gazelle. I had a great time in the shop and picked a few things that will be the inspiration for future cakes. When I was finished Jeff and I went with John to meet up with his wife,Phyllis. After a quick lunch we got busy with the Gazelle again. This time it was Jeff and Phyllis who got busy. They needed to align and calibrate the machine and make sure it was talking to my new computer. We put in a call to Terri, so with her on the speaker phone, the issues with the computer were worked out. Now I was able to learn the print and cut feature. I am so excited about this feature for cake decorating. Since I figured out how to print on gum paste, this feature opens up endless possibilities for me. I will be working on this and plan to share it when I do my cake demos. I had some gum paste with me so I rolled some out, put it on a mat and cut some intricate designs with the Gazelle. It worked perfectly and I was very pleased with the results.
My method is not about any particular machine. Any electronic paper cutter will work. I really like the Gazelle because it is a very sturdy machine, makes very clean cuts and has great design possibilities. I am not limited to the designs on a cartridge, and in cake decorating this feature is important.
I am not affiliated with Provo Craft and when you read my story you can see why. I will be using the Gazelle when I do demos because I think it is a great machine. They have a great tech person who has been wonderful to work with and all the people of BossKut are awesome!
Jeff tells me the May class may be full, but we are in the process of scheduling more classes. I plan on setting up a page with just class information. We offer a 4 hour class to get you started and a 2 day, very intense class where you will be a qualified teacher of this method when you finish the class. Each student will have a computer and a cutting machine to use. You don't spend your time covering a dummy cake with fondant and then slapping a few designs on the cake. You will be able to create your own designs and will have plenty of practice cutting the designs out of gum paste. Most importantly, you learn how to work with gum paste to get perfect cuts.
Jeff and I had a great weekend with the folks in Austin. We went to Lee Ann's shop (in Pflugerville) to teach 2 classes and have a mini day of sharing. We had computers for each person to use so everyone really got to learn the programs. I really like the Make the Cut program, so that is the one I concentrated on. I had the new Cricut Cake and the Expression side by so so everyone could use each machine and make up their own mind as to which one may work for them. We spent time working with the gum paste because most issues of bad cuts comes down to the gum paste. Everyone created original designs and successfully cut them out.
We are on our way to meet with the folks from BossKut who make the Gazelle. I really like the design possibilities of the Gazelle and am excited to be able to learn how to use the Gazelle to its fullest capability.
This is my last statement on this subject. First, Jennifer Atwood, or anyone else has no right to make a public statement about me or my dealings with Provo Craft. I have been told that the statement below was posted on Cake Central and Cricut. She personally has benefited from me teaching her this method. I know she teaches classes everywhere and is making a lot of money doing so. I taught her in July 2009 and this technique is used in the Atwood bakery now. She may be testing the cricut cake machine for Provo Craft, but she does not know what has transpired. Saying she is disappointed in me is so very condescending.
She makes a point to say that Provo Craft was working on this before I showed them this method. I find this hard to believe. My first conference call from my attorneys office to Provo Craft proves this point. They were amazed (their words) with the cakes I had made using a Cricut. I had to explain what gum paste was to them. That it is a sugar product common in the cake world. I told them that anything they could cut from paper I could cut from gum paste. They were very interested to learn more.
I met with the product development people and spelled out exactly what would be needed to make the Expressions a Cake machine. They took hundreds of pictures and filmed everything I showed them. The only time Provo Craft has mentioned my name in writing in connection to this method was the statement they recently posted. I put my story on my web site, and they countered it with their statement, which has several inaccuracies.I will defend myself, and to Jennifer or anyone else who feel they need to make personal statements about me, you have no business doing so. To everyone, the truth is the truth, and to Provo Craft, you know what really transpired.
April 8, 2010 - Jennifer Atwood
Yesterday morning, Linda McClure posted her version of her interaction with Provo Craft, the maker of all things Cricut. We feel the need to address this issue because many of our readers have called us and sent us personal emails wanting our take on the situation. Our opinion is based on our experience and our first hand knowledge of facts gathered during dealings with both Linda and Provo craft.
We feel that both Linda and Provo Craft have, in their own regard, greatly contributed to the very industry that is now in the middle of what should be private differences. While we are sure that Linda is convinced that she is being wronged, we have our doubts concerning her claims based on conversations with her. Linda will surely continue to make great cakes and remain a talented, innovative decorator that has much to share with others. We are most disappointed and dismayed by the way she released her statement.
For Provo Craft and their dealings with us and others in the industry, we have found them to be forthcoming and more accommodating in their conduct. They have listened to the concerns the industry has brought to them and have worked hard to be a true partner of cake decorators, professionals and hobbyists alike. Doing our "due diligence" and research, we seem to be able to confirm that Provo Craft was in contact with a few people in the industry regarding a new machine as early as 2008. Like any other manufacturer with an R&D department they are very efficient at keeping their new product ideas under the radar until they are ready for the public.
Looking at the Cricut Cake we have at our shop and its improved performance compared to its paper cutting cousin, including FDA clearance and food safety, makes us realize that the concept has been well thought out and developed by engineers and designers over years of trials. Having been involved in the testing process for new products before, we can attest to the fact that new products take a long time to develop.
In closing, we ask our readers to remember that there are two sides to every story and to embrace, rather than judge, both sides. The Cricut Cake brings a new tool to the decorating kit and we are looking forward to see how far our fellow cake artists will push the product. We are off to the Deep South RBA workshop in Picayune and will be posting from there. Until next time, you can make your cake and eat it too.
I have been accused of lying and trying to cheat Provo Craft out of money. If you knew me you would know that I am not impressed with money. Fair is fair and give credit where credit is due. There is not a word about using the Cricut with gum paste any where on the internet before I started posting my pictures in late 2008 and people started asking questions. This is the only place you will see me address this issue, if you have a question or comment, contact me directly and I will give you a straight answer.
It looks like my story has gotten the attention of many people. I posted this information on my web site because so many were asking me if I was affiliated with Provo Craft. I am not and when you read what happened you can see why. A few visitors to my page took this information and shared it with several other forums. This is not something I did or would do. If someone wants to share this, then they certainly can.
I would like to add that there is some misinformation going around. Someone claims they heard me say that I asked Provo Craft for one million dollars! This is so far from the truth that it is laughable. Provo Craft took a million dollar idea from me and I was not paid a penny.
I have decided to take my short video showing the cakes I made using the Cricut off YOUTUBE. I do not want to see negative remarks made about me or my work. My intensions were to share what I had done as a source of inspiration for other cake decorators and to show what could be done with this new technique. Provo Craft has gotten enough free advertisement from me and you can see my cakes on my web site.
Also, several have criticized my attorney for not protecting my rights. Provo Craft assured us their attorneys would be at the demonstration so the non discloser agreement could be signed. They were not there and we were assured they would be there in the afternoon, and they were not, Then we were told we would be mailed the agreement, and we were not. My attorney privately told me not to say a word until the agreements were signed, but I took Provo Craft at face value. They made a verbal promise, but did not keep it. Now I know I should not have said anything, but there was no indication that Provo Craft would prove to be less then honest with me.
My name is Linda McClure and I am a cake decorator. I am always looking for new techniques to add to my cake designs. I invented/developed a new technique using an electronic paper cutting machine to cut gum paste designs and my cakes were soon looking amazing. I was able to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind designs with very little effort. I figured out how to modify a Cricut machine to cut gum paste. At first I figured that someone else must have already figured this out so I did a very thorough, intense search on the internet looking for information. I found nothing, not even a picture of a cake that was made using the Cricut. I spent a lot of time working on this method, and soon had my technique perfected.
I began getting inquiries from different cake decorators who saw my cakes on my web site. They asked how I achieved the stunning results with my cakes. It would be too difficult to explain in an email and a friend suggested I make a video teaching this new technique. This was the beginning of the “Creative Designs” series.
I went to an ICES meeting in April 2009 in Louisiana. One of the demonstrators was not able to come so I filled in for her at the last minute. I did a very informative demonstration about cake boards. I brought along a dummy cake decorated using the Cricut and said I would reveal the technique at the next meeting in July. This would give me time to finish the video and put together a demonstration with the Cricut. At the time I did not realize the importance of this demonstration. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time the Cricut was demonstrated in public cutting gum paste.
Early in 2009 we tried contacting Provo Craft (the company that made the Cricut) to tell them what we were doing. I thought they would be interested in this new technique and I had several ideas to market this concept to cake decorators. We called and emailed them. but never got any response. There are several other companies who make a similar machine, so I thought we might try to work with one of them. I spoke with an attorney about the video and asked if it would be a problem using the Cricut in the video. He said it was a tool, just like a screw driver and I was showing how to use a tool. He recommended that we patent the process. When I found out it would cost me at least $10,000, I decided that it was something that I would not be able to afford to do.
My next problem was how to market the DVDs. I needed to reach the cake decorating world. My son, Justin, was home from college for the summer and decided to market the DVDs for me. He went on several cake forums telling people about this cutting edge cake decorating technique and soon we were selling several DVDs everyday. We also started selling them in other countries. I got a call from a guy in Australia and he told me they used a system called Click and Cut. My technique worked perfectly and he was going to be teaching the people there how to use it.
The one cake forum that talked a lot about this was Cake Central. He went on as grandmacupcake09 and answered peoples questions. I guess he said something wrong and was barred from the web site. He told me that he had put a link to my web site so people would know where to go for more information. It wasn’t long before those who bought my DVD were freely sharing the information with everyone else. That was the end of grandmacupcake.
In July of 2009 I presented this new technique to the Louisiana ICES. I know that many of the members present realized that this was going to change the way we decorate cakes in the future.
I taught Becky and Martha (Sweet Southern Ladies) this technique and they were able to use it in their Ultimate Cake Challenge. I also taught Jennifer Atwood (from Atwood’s Bakery) and she used the technique in her Ultimate Cake Challenge. I even taught Carrie Biggers (Carries Cakes) and she was on the team with Norm Davis and used this method for their Ultimate Cake Challenge.
In late July McKay Brown from Provo Craft emailed me to tell me he had heard about what I was doing from someone at a craft show. He thought my cakes were amazing and ordered a DVD from me. I told him I would be interested in presenting this concept to Provo Craft, but did not get a response back. I did send him the DVD.
My attorney was able to contact some of the people in the marketing department and talk to them. They looked at my web site and saw what I was doing. I had also put a short video of some of the cake I had made using the Cricut. He arranged a conference call with the Provo Craft people, and I told them that if they noticed an increase in sells of the Cricut, it was because of me. They were very interested in what I had to say. I finally got their attention. I told them that my method was going to change the way we decorated cakes. They were very anxious to meet with me, and I scheduled a time that my attorney, husband and I could go to Provo. We asked for a non compete, non discloser agreement to be signed before I showed them everything I had developed. They agreed, so we went to Provo at the end of Oct 2009.
When we got there my attorney asked to meet with their legal guys to sign the non discloser agreement we had agreed on. He was told that we would sign the agreements in the afternoon. I am not sure if they did not have the agreements ready, but my attorney came with one ready to sign. We trusted the company to act ethically and believed we would sign the non compete/non discloser agreement that afternoon. So far, I had no reason to not trust Provo Craft.
I brought everything with me and gave a very impressive demonstration, showing everything I had come up with. The people at Provo Craft were amazed, and had no idea that their machine could be used for cake decorating. There were at least 50 people in the room and everything I did was filmed and photographed. After lunch, I met with the product development people and told them everything about the modifications needed for the machine and gave suggestions for a few improvements. I explained about making the markers food safe and told them that new designs would be needed for cake decorators. I let them know that this was something I was to be a part of. If they did not want to work with me to develop a new product, then I could take my ideas somewhere else. My attorney tried his best to get their attorneys to sign the agreements. For some reason, Provo Craft’s attorneys were not to be found. After I gave them all the information I had, we were basically dismissed. We still had faith they would do the right thing, and I even got an email the next day from Jon Lee telling me it was a bit hit.
We headed back home and I started to get a little nervous about what had transpired. I paid my attorney a lot of money to come with us, to protect my interests. I trusted Provo Craft to do the right thing, but they proved to be untrustworthy. My attorney told me to have faith that things would work out. He did try to call and email them, but did not get any response to his inquiries.
After a few weeks of no response from Provo Craft I decided we would need to protect my invention with a patent. I contacted a patent attorney and showed her what I had developed. She was very positive about this being approved by the patent office, so I told we would go ahead with the patent. We are patent pending on the entire process. It will be awhile before we know the final out come.
Finally, I got a message from Provo Craft that they have come out with a new cricut Cake machine! They also have a new cake cartridge and sent me a sample of the designs to see. I was asked if I would come to Utah to film a short video about the new machine. I agreed to go. I wanted to see what they had come up with, and was still hoping they would do the right thing by me. We filmed at Carrie Biggers shop and it was a very interesting experience. Still no contract or mention of working with me. I am not given credit in the video for coming up with this idea. I still believed Provo Craft would do something to include me in the process. They are a scrapbook company and don’t know anything about cake decorating. They don’t understand the products we use or the designs we need.
A few weeks after the video was filmed I was asked if I would go to California to the CHA show 2010 for the big launch of the Cricut Cake. They would pay my expenses and pay me for my time. I decided that I would go and see for my self what was going on. I was to be demonstrating the new Cricut Cake machine, so I came prepared to do several demos. Their spokesperson began the introduction telling the people present that I had come to Provo Craft and asked them to make a machine that would cut gum paste! I know she was told what to say, but it was all I could do to tell the people at the demos that was not true. There were poster size pictures of my cakes all over the walls, taken from my web site without permission. That was fine to show my cakes, but not one word giving me credit for the work.
The evening of the 3rd day was a launch party. Jeff and I attended and there was a lot of people at the party. The video was shown and you can see the entire thing on youtube. The CEO of the company spoke and not once did he say anything about my contribution. If it were not for me Provo Craft would not have a new product to launch. It was my idea and it was obvious to me that they had no intension of ever giving me credit. I am personally responsible for the sale of hundreds of Cricut machines and now a new product line.
I decided that evening that I was done. They had flown in another cake decorator, so she could handle the rest of the demonstrations.
I spoke with Jon Lee and told him of my concerns. I had received a contract from Provo Crafty earlier in the week and told him I would not sign it. Basically, they wanted me to sign over all my rights to everything I had done including all my copy righted materials . They offered me $10,000 with a one year contract. They would pay me $1,000 a month to be their cake ambassador and travel to cake shows promoting the Cricut Cake. I offered a more reasonable contract, but they were not interested. I have a shop and can’t afford to give all my time to Provo Craft for so little compensation.
Provo Craft only has a machine to offer. I offer the method that can be used with several machines. There are a lot of people who are decorating cakes with this new method because of me. Several people are making a lot of money teaching classes because of me, and I personally taught many of them. I have come up with even more ideas we can use in the cake world. The latest is printing on gum paste.
The bottom line is this:
1) We presented this cake decorating technique to Provo Craft
2) We were promised a non compete, non discloser agreement
3) They did not give us the agreement we asked for
4) They took my ideas, and did not give me one penny for my invention