ANicole Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 3:30am
post #1 of

So I'm very new to decorating, but honestly I improve so much with each cake. One look at my photo gallery will show you that I need MAJOR more improvement. But here's the thing... I'm obsessed with baking (since a kid) and I hate my job (legal secretary) and I want to bake and be happy! I just found out a few days ago that my uncle's girlfriend and her mom bought a restaurant. I feel like this is my chance to bake for money. Question is: How do I go about approaching them on the idea?

Here is what I was thinking, and tell me if you have other ideas or if this sounds dumb..

First, I was going to go to the restaurant and grab a copy of their menu. During this trip, I was going to give them a peanut butter filled chocolate torte as a "Good Luck on the new business" gift.

I was going to peruse their menu and come up with desserts that would compliment it. (It's just a hamburger place - but I think they do dinner specials! icon_biggrin.gif )

Then I was going to do a sample tray and take it over there and broach the subject.

But also I'm wondering how I'll get paid? I have 2 little kids (2 y.o. and 5 mos) and I'd love to work nights after my hubby gets home and bake at night or maybe early mornings at the restaurant. But do I get paid per dessert?

The lady at my local cake decorating store suggested just donating a few cakes, cheesecake and maybe another kind, and seeing if they sell and kind of going from there.

I'm so excited about this "possibility" of a new future - but I'm trying not to get too excited in case they tell me no.

Pretty much everyone loves my baking, I just have to improve on the decorating. I have a lot of confidence, even though I know I need a lot of work. I think I have the talent and passion to be really great at this and to make a ton of dough someday. Some of my family members are giving me a hard time and saying things like I should have thought about switching careers before I had kids. It's really depressing to hear stuff like that.

Please give me some advice!!!
Thanks.

21 replies
keonicakes Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 3:40am
post #2 of

We support you on this! I personally would pm Indydebi for advice. She caters as well as does cakes. She would most likely have some useful insight and tips for you.
Best of luck to you.
Amy

ANicole Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 3:48am
post #3 of

Okay, good idea. Thank you!

gateaux Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 3:55am
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by keonicakes

We support you on this! I personally would pm Indydebi for advice. She caters as well as does cakes. She would most likely have some useful insight and tips for you.
Best of luck to you.
Amy




I totally agree.

We are behind you. I have 3 kids, 5, 3 and 3 months. I was in the IT business before staying home with my boys. I would love to open up a shop or join someone in one. I'll probably never make as much as I did, but I would be so happy baking and decorating!

PM Indydebi, she is great, she has lot of knowledge and might provide other names for you to contact.

Good Luck.

kansaslaura Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 4:09am
post #5 of

I think you've got it pretty well laid out. Take in samples and suggestions based on what you believe will benefit THEM. Make it all about THEM! The best salesman is the one who can show you all the reasons you need what he's got!

Have ready what you believe will be their profit margin. I don' t know if you plan to sell them what you do or come in and let them pay you by the hour for what you do. That would have to be something the two parties negociate, after you've proved yourself to be a valuable asset.

Have a plan. Go for it!!

jlh Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 4:12am
post #6 of

I've learned the hard way...family, especially parents, don't want to see their kids take chances. They would rather see you unhappy at a steady paying job, than to risk the paycheck for a shot at a happier life. I had to break away from the extended family this summer. I got SO SICk of hearing all the comments. My husband and I have been so much happier and wonder why we didn't do it sooner.

Take the cakes over. I'm sure they'll love them. Good luck to you!!

indydebi Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 4:26am
post #7 of

First, always remember that family members are the last ones who encourage and push us to pursue our dreams. Most are stuck in the "get a job, work 40 years, collect your gold watch, die" kind of thinking.

And what is this noise about "should have switched careers before you had kids"? icon_eek.gif Just like I said above .... they think you get a job and work there 40 years. well I got news for ya, babe! That law firm decides to shut their doors 15 years from now, you are then a middle aged women with kids in high school looking to switch careers!!!!!! there are no guarantees, so I've NO idea what the heck they are thinking!

I have (let's just say "a relative") who is Negative Nancy all the way, on all things. We are working on a new venture and he of course had nothing but gloom and doom advice. My attitude is "If I had let other people make my decisions for me, then I'd be bankrupt instead of being blessed with this kind of success."

In the words of George Bernard Shaw: Those who say it cannot be done, should stop interrupting those of us who are doing it!

You have lots of options, really. (btw, I really like your grad cake!). I think the samples are a very good idea. It's the first thing they would want to know, can you bake?, if they are going to put your stuff in their shop.

You need to come up with a reasons of why this idea is a good thing for THEM. They could care less about giving you a space to enhance your skills. What's in it for THEM? What's the benefit for THEM?
- fresh baked desserts instead of the same 'ole same'ole that other restaurants have.
- a variety of items, that cause their customers to come in asking "What did she make today?" It's a reason that customers will talk about their place and will tell their friends about the place.
- perhaps a rotating menu ..... Monday is Boston Creme Cake; Tuesday is Peanut Butter Cake with Choc icing, etc. There can be other things available, but they only get peanut butter cake on TUESDAY! (I plan my lunches around daily specials at some of my favorite places!). It keeps the customers talking and gives them a reason to come back.
- As they grow and possibly get into catering, they wil need an array of desserts. Even if they just start with a call-in order for 15 for a large office, they will eventually grow (and you always phrase it as they WILL grow....) into larger caterings and how convenient would it be to have a decorator right there on staff?

So....options:
Offer to work as an employee, making their baked goods. This will give you a great opportunity to practice, in a real kitchen (wow, what a difference that makes!), and hone your skills.

Offer to work not as an employee, but they give you the use of their kitchen and you give them a heck of a price on the desserts you create.

Offer to work on a see-how-it-goes basis (I think someone suggested that already). They can try adding the desserts to the menu, and if it works ... great. If it doesn't ... well, we're back to the drawing board.

but the key points are to make sure your selling points are how it's good for THEM, and don't hint around, don't beat around the bush, just go up to them and say, "I've got a proposition for you."

purplebutterfly1234 Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 4:51am
post #8 of

Yeah! What she said!!! icon_lol.gif

That is absolutely wonderful advice.....

indydebi - We love and admire your strength! You inspire us!


Amber0717,

I wish you all the best! I have 3 young ones also 5, 3, & 1. I know how you feel, so much passion and so little support! But, maybe with a little patience and a lot of prayers, it'll all work out for ya! icon_biggrin.gif

Keep us posted!

starbird43 Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 5:34am
post #9 of

It is so strange for me to hear everyone saying that parents and family are the last to encourage you to take chances!! I guess my family is wierd! My dad is now picking out buildings for me to "open up shop" Maybe he just wants free goodies icon_smile.gif He has been encouraging me to open a bakery for some time now! Even before I started doing cakes.

countrycakes Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 12:33pm

thumbs_up.gif YOU CAN NOT FAIL IF YOU DO NOT TRY. I say go for it....If we all had to rely on 'family' icon_rolleyes.gif we would all be in the nuthouse, rofl......My dh is DELIGHTED that I am home.....heck, he even does a LOT of the prep work for me......he is happy that I am happy doing what makes me CONTENT and eventually, will make some $. icon_smile.gif Can not beat that! thumbs_up.gif
I have just quit a FT job in retail in the past month......and am home with my legal bakery. So far........ 2 bridal consults with bookings for next year, 5 birthday cakes, anniversary cake booked for December, another birthday cake due tommorrow.....it's starting out. And I have just taken out a 13 week ad in one of the local papers.......my first advertising! I got all the above WITHOUTH advertising......WORD OF MOUTH and others tasting your products is what sells you in this world!

I commend you and will stand behind you all the way........YOU CAN DO IT!!! icon_biggrin.gif

marmalade1687 Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 1:41pm

I wouldn't worry too much about "intricate" decorating skills for restaurant wholesale...if this is what you want to get into, you have to decide how you are going to cost out your time effectively. Sure, the cakes have to look nice going in, but they don't have to look like a wedding cake either!

Think about how you are going to churn out multiple cakes down the road when the restaurant calls and orders 10 of the Tuesday cake, and 7 of the Wednesday cake, and 5 of the Thursday cake...you see where I'm going? Decorate your cakes simply so that you know you can make them quickly on an assembly line if need be!!

A friend of mine used to do strictly wholesale baking for delis around town, and baked about 20 cakes a week - the only way she did it was to keep the decorating simple.

Good luck! thumbs_up.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 1:57pm

It is inevitable that someone is going to be a balloon buster, so I will be as gentle as possible, and just give you a heads up on what may happen.

Although your ambitions are great, do not be disappointed if the restaurant does not purchase your goods.

Where I live, restaurants which purchase desserts from outside the facility must be able to show the health department receipts from registered businesses, or risk losing their license.

Good Luck, though.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

ANicole Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 6:22pm

I appreciate all the advice - even the cautionary type. I think indydebi has a great idea with the different cake each day type of suggestion. I was already trying to figure something out along those lines. I was thinking dessert of the month, but the "regulars" might get tired of the same cake all month, so I think that's a great idea - day to day.

I think this could benefit them immensely in that when I go to a restaurant, being the sweets lover that I am, if the desserts just sound "ok" I don't bother ordering - not a good waste of my calories or money for something "ok". If I see an impressive dessert menu or something that sounds absolutely irresistible - than I basically CAN'T RESIST and I order. I intend on offering things that are absolutely irresistible.

I agree the decorating will be kept simple. However, it will get my name out there and I'll get practice doing production baking.

Now I have a new opportunity which has come my way. My instincts tell me to go for it! I'd like your opinions. I have a feeling I'm going to get some mixed feedback.

Here is the email I received from someone responding to my email for a bakery position job:

"Thank you for taking the time to answer our ad; unfortunately we are looking for a experienced baker to fill the posted position and your background lacks the experience to manage a bakery.

However, we do appreciate the sincerity of your correspondance and understand the shared passion for baking. One of the consequences of not having direct baking experience is not understanding the realities of the baking business and the hard work involved. Many people enter the business with sincere motivation but are not able to thrive once there.

With this in mind we are have a terrific opportunity for you to explore your passion. We are extending to you an offer for a 3 month internship working under the direct supervision of a NY CIA trained bakery chef - namely me! You will literally be working side by side with me learning how to bake cookies and pastries from a prefessionally train bakery chef.

This NOT a paid postion. What this does give you is an opportunity to learn about the business from the ground up and to pursue your passion for baking. After this internship is over you should be in a position to realistically assess if pastry baking is the profession for you.

This can be a part time postion, but it must be a set schedule with a minimum of 10-15 hours a week. You also get a discount on the merchandies."


For 10 hours a week, I think I should go for it. This is after all a hobby also. What do you guys think? (There is a possibility she could be trying to take advantage of me not intending on teaching me anything but on having me do some grunt work for free. I think I may risk it.)

Joy2501 Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 6:39pm

Man, I would give my nondecorating arm for an opportunity like this! Even if you just get to do the grunt work, you will get a feel for how a bakery actually works. Go for it girl - but keep the other option open as well.

Joy

purplebutterfly1234 Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 6:48pm

Woo-hoo!!! Praise God!!!

I say go for it!!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

This is so awesome! And you also get a discount on stuff! How cool is that?!

ANicole Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 7:10pm

You guys are so encouraging! I really appreciate it. I am SOOOOOOOO happy. I'm on Cloud 9. I will let you know what happens once I hear from her again. I gave her my number and I'm hoping she calls.

I think maybe I can do this for three months, then get back to my family on the restaurant idea and maybe they'll take me a little more seriously once I've been working in a bakery a little bit.

CourtneysCustomCakes Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 7:49pm

Amber -- I think that is a great Idea. Do the internship, and then when you have even more experience (and possibly a job offer if you impress enough) You have more clout when you go to the family and make the proposition. Giving that you haven't got a better opportunity comming your way. And at the time involved. It's worth it. Maybe will even work out for after Your DH gets home then you don't have to worry about daycare.

All the Luck

cCc

playingwithsugar Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 8:12pm

Now, that's a deal that many people here would darn near die for -- I'm jealous!

Congratulations, and again, Good Luck!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Steady2Hands Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 8:36pm

This does sound like a grand opportunity but you said something that had me concerned right away. You said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber0717

my uncle's girlfriend and her mom bought a restaurant.


How close is your uncle and his girlfriend? Could this be a potential relationship buster if things don't work out with them? (Don't really respond to those personal questions but just think about it)? It's hard sometimes to be in dealings with families but it seems to me like this situation would be even tougher if their relationship goes sour.

I'm excited for you but yet concerned too. icon_wink.gif

DegaDee Posted 1 Sep 2007 , 8:58pm

Amber,

I can soooo relate to the non-supportive family issue! I was working as an executive assistant back in 1996 when my 3rd child was born. My first 2 were 20 months apart and ages 7 & 5 when the baby came. I had missed so much with the first 2 by working late, rushing home to get dinner ready, bathe kids...not to mention all the doctor bills from them getting sick from daycare. I decided while on maternity leave that I didn't want to continue that lifestyle. I went back and worked long enough to make sure the insurance paid and then turned in my notice. My in-laws had a hissy fit! They are Mr & Mrs. Negative to the extreme. They had no confidence in us being able to make it financially. I began then to sell things on eBay for extra money. I saved so much on daycare, doctor bills and executive clothing, that the money was mostly a non-issue. I've been selling on eBay since then and have made more than the job paid and I've been able to watch my kids grow up, and be here for them when they needed me, for which I am so thankful. The in-laws are still not supportive of me being at home, but my parents have been very supportive the entire time and it helped.

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to assure you that even though some might not agree with you and your dreams, don't let that stop you. Sit down, think and pray about it, but most of all have the confidence in yourself to do what you want to do. It is YOUR life after all. If you think things might get tight financially, sell things on eBay for extra cash!

Best of Luck to you thumbs_up.gif
Dee

ANicole Posted 2 Sep 2007 , 1:02am

The reason why this is so perfect is because if I wanted to start from the bottom up and tried to get an entry level job at a bakery someplace, more than likely, they'd want me to work for minimum wage and they'd want me to work a lot of odd hours. If this situation pans out, I can keep my legal secretary job and do the 10 hours in addition to that. Hopefully, this lady's schedule will work well with mine.

As for the uncle's girlfriend thing, I had definitely thought about that. She's more than just his girlfriend, because they have a child together, but I was already thinking maybe we should put our deal (whatever it turns out to be) in writing. After all, I'm used to working with attorneys everyday, so I'm overly cautious! But I'm glad you brought it up in case I didn't think about that.

I'm going to attempt to post a pic of the cake I did today for my uncle's GF. I'm so tired, so if it takes too long, I'll try again tomorrow.

Thanks again for all the support!!
Amber

Erdica Posted 2 Sep 2007 , 9:45pm

I had some serious issues with my family supporting me.

I wanted to be a chef for as long as I can remember. Cooking shows...LOVE them. Even as a small child, I was making chocolate chip cookies at 3 yrs old.

But my family totally put me down. Said I'd never do it and make fun of me. So I gave up on going to chef school. Especially after I had my oldest DD at a young age.

Then I met my DH and he really pushed me to do it. I spend a year and half building up skills and it was almost 2 yrs into my business before I even told my family. Now everyone brags about my talents. They all love my cakes. My aunt even flew me out for her wedding just so I could do her cake!

I say go for it! Believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Life is WAY to short to have a whole list of "What If's"

GL and you'll always have support from us!

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