I am new to cake decorating and last night I had a thought. I would like to start a cake decorating supply business. I am from a rural area canada and have such a hard time finding supplies. I order throught eh web to the US and Britain, finding a canadian distributor is hard to find. There a few but I always lean back to the US. Anybody out there start such a business who can offer me some advice. You can pm me or email . any advice is greatly appreciated.
You know, I would like to have some feedback from such business owners as well.
I have always wanted to have a supply shop along with my bakery, and did sell a few things...mostly what clients needed who were taking my classes. Several years ago my hands and elbows began to give out. My husband sold his business (on our property), so I closed the shop and we moved. No more cakes..except one here and there.
So now I figured was the time to consider doing just supplies and classes, since I had trouble doing actual decorating. My husband thinks that such a business is not viable, and won't consider helping me. I know there are successful businesses out there! Just would like to have some info to show my hubby that it could be done!
oh geesh, most husbands are like that! I think it's because it's a "girl" business .... oh how cute! she wants to sell some little cake thingies! Isn't that just adorable!!
If it doesn't have an engine or isnt' a sports thing, then it can't be a "real" business to them.
The thing about a supply shop is you need quite a bit of capital for inventory ... obviously you have to buy all of the things to stock in your store with the hopes of selling them later. I've thought about a shop like this but keep looking at all of the different decorating toys that need stocked and I'm overwhelmed by the how-do-you-keep-up-with-what's-"in" and how much do you keep on hand? The inventory level is one of the biggest risks and factors to consider.
I'm one of those on here that don't want to get into the cake business to do cakes. Yes, I enjoy doing cakes, and wish there was a cheaper legal option to doing them in Texas, but I have decided if I had to do X number of cakes a week to pay the bills I probably would not like cakes very much any more. Plus wedding cakes are not my favorite things to do, and I know that is where the big money comes from.
I've always thought if I did do my own business I'd want a cake supply store, with a kitchen and a classroom. Wouldn't that be covering all of it? The kitchen could be used for cakes here and there and to make money wil waiting for the supplies part to start making money. And the classes would be of course to sell product too. The nearest cake supply stores are 2, 3, or 4 hours away. We do not have anything locally other than the Craft stores.
Of course it is easy to think it, but the actually figuring out all the important stuff is more work, and I just don't know where to start. I did post last year on here asking people what they want to their local cake store to carry and did make a list from there, but that is as far as I have gotten.
Hopefully you get some good ideas...
I know someone who was selling cake decorating stuff to supplement her icing business. It ended up not working out for a variey of reasons, but she still stocks the things that her "regulars" need most. She moves a lot of cake boxes! And even with a profit for her, they are still much cheaper than the local craft store.
To make this work, I think you either have a limited basic inventory or a specialty inventory. If you try to stock everything, it would be difficult...IMO.
Yes, it takes a lot of inventory. I'm in a small area and I run $13-16K in stock all the time. That doesn't count the influx of holiday stuff around Halloween and Christmas that bumps that up $2-3K. Aside from that, you need quite a bit of space for just retail merchandise. I have approximately 2,000 sq. ft. of just retail, aside from my kitchen, classroom and storage area. Also, you have to be ready for all sorts of questions about how you do stuff and how to use new products, etc. and get out of the competitive mode because your customers will essentially be competition. I make as many cakes as I want to/ can so I don't really worry, but it took a little time to get to that point, so be prepared. However, I look at it as the more retail I sell, the less volume of cakes I have to make to pay the bills and the more time consuming fun cakes I can make! If my competition stays busy, I get a little piece of their business too by selling them boards, boxes, colors, etc.!
We have a shop like that near us. She has a kitchen in the back, a classroom on the side, and a small shop in front. It's very small but so far has had everything we've needed! The owner is very friendly and helpful.
Can't answer any specific questions, but just wanted to let you know it can be done!
Thanks for all the input and insight. I think it is still a possibility, just have to keep it small. I am not really wanting to be in the cake selling business. That is just not my desire. After having such diffuculties finding what I wanted or need to finishing some of my cakes, I just thought there had to be a better way. Maybe I could be the better way. Thanks again. Will think on it some more.
I live in Moncton and have been thinking the same thing. A lot of the things I want for my supplies, I've had to order from the US. We only have Michael's and Bulk Barn here and the selection is minimal. Let me know if you decide to open a store in Halifax, because I'd definitely shop there when I'm in town!
jnet72, we are in the same position. with the michaels and bulk barn. not much for selection. that is exactly why I thought about the supply bussiness.