Economy?

Business By Kitagrl Updated 25 Mar 2008 , 1:49pm by TheButterWench

Kitagrl Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:22pm
post #1 of 48

There's been a serious lull in orders right now...had a few this weekend that just basically never called back (so cancelled) and its awfully quiet.

Anyone being affected by economy fears?

47 replies
southaustingirl Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:40pm
post #2 of 48

The economy has definitely put a hold on my plans to open up a shop. With so many people foreclosing and losing their homes, I doubt that orderign a cake is priority.

FlowerGirlMN Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:43pm
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Nah, I'm not really worried about the economy.

Realistically, a downturn in the economy only *really* hits the lower income end of things. Anyone who's in the market for a high end cake is making enough money that they're not going to let an overall downturn in the economy affect their wedding in such a way.

Laura102777 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:00pm
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

Nah, I'm not really worried about the economy.

Realistically, a downturn in the economy only *really* hits the lower income end of things. Anyone who's in the market for a high end cake is making enough money that they're not going to let an overall downturn in the economy affect their wedding in such a way.




I agree about this for the most part. And not just for weddings, but these days people are so used to spoiling their kids and "keeping up with the Joneses", that most people will spend what they have to in order for their kids to have the best.

Obviously, not everyone can, but then again, there will always be grocery store cakes and homemade cakes for those who can't afford custom cakes.

TheButterWench Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:01pm
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

Nah, I'm not really worried about the economy.

Realistically, a downturn in the economy only *really* hits the lower income end of things. Anyone who's in the market for a high end cake is making enough money that they're not going to let an overall downturn in the economy affect their wedding in such a way.




Wow, that's a head in the sand response if I've ever heard of one unless you're paying rental on a shop located in that particular high end market and making ends meet then I guess you don't worry.

I've been keeping up with the trends and even the financial reports are saying that right now the financial climate is not good for opening a new business.

Groceries have gone up about 30% from last year, flour has doubled and gasoline in my neck of the woods has been teetering at around $3.50 a gallon.

It's pretty quite out there.

May make me rethink some pricing, maybe offer some sort of special for the customers that are feeling the pinch.

And that about covers everyone, people with money didn't get a fat wallet by giving it away thumbs_up.gif

So, yep a lot of businesses are feeling the pinch, not just the cake shops.

let's see what happens after the elections icon_lol.gif

FlowerGirlMN Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:04pm
post #6 of 48

No need for insults. Good grief.

iamlis Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:12pm
post #7 of 48

Don't sweat the down time! Practice making GP roses or spend some of it making a few cakes to give away to nursing homes, etc. Keep your skills honed (like when you were a kid and had to return back to school after summer spent running through the sprinkler a eating popsicles on the back porch-My brain just couldn;t do math for the first week!) Keep sharpening the saw-even when it is not at a financial gain for you yet, it will be in the long run! I hope things pick up for you soon!

Kitagrl Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:16pm
post #8 of 48

Its just been so quiet I'm wondering if people have just decided they can't afford fancy cakes right now. icon_sad.gif

indydebi Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:17pm
post #9 of 48

In talking to a caterer friend of mine, she told me that all caterers are feeling it ... even the big boys.

But I think that since I set myself in the niche of the "keep it simple" pricing, I'm already positioned for those who are cutting back ... those who might have called one of the Big Boys for their catering, wont' cancel the wedding, they'll just call me instead.

And just last week I had a bride in here who was having her wedding at THE most expensive place in the city (Rumor has it that it costs $20,000 just to book the room.) So some folks out there are still spending it.

P.S. In my entire lifetime, it has NEVER been a "good time" to open a business, so I never pay attention to the naysayers on that one.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:32pm
post #10 of 48

Business for me was down 25% in January and 20% in February compared to last year. This month has been as dead as a dodo - not a single order for 3 weeks running. It's really scary and I'm starting to panic big time - and I don't even have a shop to upkeep!

FlowerGirlMN Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:44pm
post #11 of 48

By the way, in response to "head in the sand"..

We all run our businesses the way we see fit. We offer what we choose to,cater to whatever market we choose to, and promote ourselves in the way that mmakes the most sense for ourselves, in our market.

Don't know what you're doing, or what mmarket you're in, but let me assure you.. I most certainly do NOT have my head in the sand! I very carefully looked at the local market and my own skills, and positioned myself carefully. The fact that I do NOT see the economy affecting me is not a matter of any ignorance on my part, or having my HEAD IN THE SAND, it's a matter of careful planning for MY MARKET.

I don't know why some people are so quick to put down others like that.

GeminiRJ Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:46pm
post #12 of 48

I don't have a shop, and I'm not licensed so I do cakes mostly for just family and friends. But this time of year has ALWAYS been slow. It picks up big time come April and May. Regardless of the economy, most parents won't eliminate the cool cake from their kids birthday party, or cause brides to nix a wedding cake for their reception. How big the party will be, yes!

smoore Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:48pm
post #13 of 48

I had 3 cakes this week and normally do that in one month and two more scheduled for the month ... this is definitely part-time for me. I guess it just depends on what's going on in your area and when. Remember, what goes up must come down and vice versa .... what may be down now may turn around -- even sooner than you know it. Don't worry about it ... capitalism works and demand will increase again! icon_wink.gif

imakecakes Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:59pm
post #14 of 48

I thought it was just me feeling it. I am very slow compared to last year!It made me start doubting myself, but I know everyone around here is cutting back wherever they can. (Me too!) Butterwench, I am also looking forward to the elections bringing change!!

I work in a bread bakery/pizza sub shop. The price of gas and flour is really hurting the owner!! He's barely getting by- such a shame since he's been in business for 23 years! It's the kind of mom and pop shop that people love. It's sad out there.... icon_sad.gif

peacockplace Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:01pm
post #15 of 48

I'm like FlowerGirlMN. I do upscale weddings and large events so I haven't been that effected. Orders are still coming in. Thankfully for me, my overhead is pretty low. I built a separate shop at my home and filled it with equipment from auctions, so I don't owe a lot. If things do slow down a little I just take the time to enjoy it!

tirby Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:04pm
post #16 of 48

I too am doing better this year and this quarter than in the past. One thing I do know is I am being asked for more of the unique and sculpted cakes. Which ARE more expensive. I am not low income by any means but When the grocery bills go from $350 per month to $550-600 well the extra has to come from somewhere. For us it is cutting the extras. Some extras I wont cut and some I do. People are the same with cake. They don't normally just jump up and say OH I think I'll buy a big cake today...It is usuall planned into a budget that has been tucked away bit by bit over the course of a month or a few years. So You know people will spend $ on what they feel is important.

Our area is doing fairy well for the most part. People don't have to drive 50 miles to go to work or things like that so I think a LOT depends on where people live.

FlowerGirlMN Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:10pm
post #17 of 48

I think it also depends a lot on the scope of the item.

For instance, I have a 100 serving minimum. That means I'm not relying on smaller birthday cakes and stuff.

People are more likely to do the "splurge" thing with their wedding (one time,big ticket day), than to do so with 20 person cakes and stuff. I have no doubt that those who do smaller custom cakes are definitely feeling the pinch.

funbun Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:11pm
post #18 of 48

I think all markets are slow, but people are still getting married and having birthday parties so don't panic.
For me, I have a more steady resturant based clientelle that give me weekly orders so I am not as worried as some.
Take the time to do more market research and maybe take some samples to places you have never gone before.

staceyboots Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:20pm
post #19 of 48

i glad that someone started this post.

i was thinking that i should start to stock up on a few essential cake dummies, just in case some people start to scale down their special event budgets. they can still have the 'look' of a large cake at a lower price.

TheButterWench Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:23pm
post #20 of 48

It's hard and basically slow for almost everyone. Usually the weeks before wedding season are typically slow as it is but as I network more and more with restaurant owners, people in the wedding industry and people just in the food service industry I find that the average consumre is not so average anymore.

I don't know if it's all those magazines out there telling them they can get more for less or their personal budgets or that people in the food service industry are in just such a people pleasing field that these average customers are expecting more bang for their buck and we keep giving it to them over and over again.

Even the local supermarkets are joining in with higher end products, and even I'm guilty of buying a supermarket chocolate covered strawberry! lol

All I know is that I'm getting ready for next year. I'm working on some marketing angles to get my name out there.

I know I just opened, and I've been thinking that could be why it's so slow, but people that do budget for their parties do allow a lil bit for their cakes too.

But in this financial climate, you just can't blame them for shopping around and trying to get the best deal they can get.

TheButterWench Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:24pm
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceyboots

i glad that someone started this post.

i was thinking that i should start to stock up on a few essential cake dummies, just in case some people start to scale down their special event budgets. they can still have the 'look' of a large cake at a lower price.




That sounds like a plan! thumbs_up.gif

ReesesCupcakes Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:33pm
post #22 of 48

Things have been busy for me. Typically the holiday weeks are the busiest for me.

sassycleo Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:37pm
post #23 of 48

Every year has it's ups and downs. I'm in the sales industry for my "real" job and I have seen how the months go. I've worked in several different industries and over the years the first couple of months is typically on the slower end and usually picks up mid year and booms at the end of the year with people trying to spend what's left in their budgets so they get the money again the following year.

I think right now we are seeing it more due to election coverage, our war that is still taking place and the oil companies. Oil has dropped yet our prices increase, doesn't make much sense to me but hey what do I know except that I used to pay 3.05 for gas and now it's at 3.19.

Take the down time to take a small day trip vacation, to do research in your area check out who holds local wedding shows etc, network definitely use the time for networking meetings. Turn the time into a cloud with a silver lining and you'll feel ok. The work you do now that you wouldn't be able to do when your swamped will bring you the work in the upcoming future. You've got to go grab the bull by the horns because he's certainly not going to come to you!

I give major kudos to those of you who aren't feeling the effects of the economy it means you've done your homework! I was planning on telling my full time job that I was going part time but I am going to hold off - yeah I still could do it but at least I can use the little bit of down time I have right now to do some maintenance work like get everything into Quickbooks!!

Keep your chins up - use the time to your advantage and you will see the rewards shortly!

Alicia

FlowerGirlMN Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:45pm
post #24 of 48

Great post, sassycleo!

indydebi Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:48pm
post #25 of 48

I just ran my numbers... my "booked" column at this point in time is 18.8% higher than what I did in all of last year.

I have NO weddings or cake orders for April, but that's very typical for this time of year for me. I had zero weddings last April, too.

If you're only feeling the crunch right now, I'd say it's just normal for this time of year.

norma20 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:55pm
post #26 of 48

My best customer, an orthodontist, just stopped his orders some months ago. One of his assistants told me that it has been really bad for his practice. Very few clients, and also he's one of those with "mortgage problem".
My neighbor, also my customer, just returned his house to the bank.
The list goes on and on.

sassycleo Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 7:30pm
post #27 of 48

Thanks FlowerGirlMN!

I look at it this way, when I'm swamped I'm always coming up with ideas and projects to help with business but can't get to them because of working full time and then running my business as my second full time job. I complain that I don't have enough time in the day. So on the flip side if I slow down a bit I take that time as a breather to take care of some of these things.

You've got to stay positive, that is the only way your going to make it when things get slow. Like I had previously said I've worked with sales people for the past 10 almost 15 years all of whom are VERY successful, so I've watched the things they have done. Cake decorating, and sales is the same thing your selling your business yourself as an extesion of your business and your product.

Keep positive!
Alicia

Crazy-4-Cakes Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 8:32pm
post #28 of 48

I'm glad we're having this discussion. I am in transition between jobs and am sitting here each day going back and forth on whether or not to start a full-time cake business. I've been having doubts on how long it will take for the economy will turn around. I'm in a pretty hard hit area in Michigan and more people are leaving here vs. moving here! Any rural Michiganers feeling the pinch?

iamlis Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 8:44pm
post #29 of 48

Well, there are alot of things to factor in here-besides economy. It takes on average 3 years for a small business to actually pull a profit. ANd that gives you time to pull a full clientelle and get base supplies, etc. It would be unfair to hang out your shingle then be upset if you have no business. No offence, it just takes time to corner your niche market. In my area not alot of folks offer high end birthday cakes, I do! I had an inside with my nanny girls I did all of their birthday cakes, then all of the mother's went ga-ga and i literally wanted to change my business to Desperate Housecakes! THese woman would call me and say-what theme is Mrs. XXX doing? Or can you do something twice as big as Jaine XXX cake! LOL! Nothing like a little healthy competition! I am getting off topic here, but figure out what you love...Cookies, cake, cupcakes and take as many classes, read as many boos and watch the DVD's in this "fomative" time/or downtime then stand back and hold onot your rolling pins because if you stand behind your product and are good at it, you don't have to advertise! Word of mouth sells me about 10 cakes weekly on average. And I do have to turn people away, but 2 years ago-this was NOT the case! Become better than anyone else in your area-and keep pracitcing and tweaking things! Next year, you'll all be telling us about how you just need a break! LOL! My vaca's now are ICES convention, OSSAS, Cake Camp, and MACS-THAT is enjoyment and relaxation to me-CAKE! I love cake central! We are all good at something different! And can learn so much from each other!

indydebi Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 10:00pm
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamlis

.... and i literally wanted to change my business to Desperate Housecakes! THese woman would call me and say-what theme is Mrs. XXX doing? Or can you do something twice as big as Jaine XXX cake! LOL! Nothing like a little healthy competition!




hahaha! What a great story! Luv it!!

And a very uplifting post!! thumbs_up.gif

Where's KansasLaura on this topic? She had a great story about when she opened her restaurant and told some guy that she "heard" there was a recession going on but she refused to participate! icon_lol.gif

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