Going Legal, Bakery-Building Has Begun: Advice From Pros?

Business By handymama Updated 1 May 2008 , 12:00am by SugarMoonCakeCo

handymama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:23pm
post #1 of 16

After months of planning and jumping through hoops we broke ground on Monday for my new bakery! (Broke ground on Mon.; problems started on Tues.; husband was informed on Wed. that he's out of work; Thurs. went well!) It will be very small, but attached to the back of my garage so my "commute" will be about 10'. Cool! I've focused mostly on the building and equipment, and am now turning my attention towards contracts and the "business" part of the business, which is my weak area. I've only been doing cakes for three years, and although I can make a beautiful cake I have trouble presenting myself as a professional. I've generated a price list which seems fair--starts at 2.50 for BC and 3.50 for fondant--but I really don't know how it will fly. None of the local bakeries do much if any fondant, but I know of an "illegal" nearby who does very nice work in BC (no fondant) and only charges $25 for a double layer 10" round! She even has a fairly nice website, and I have none. I have nagging visions of sitting in my spiffy new bakery making cake dummies and gumpaste flowers, but with no customers--even though I've been turning down business until I'm licensed. I know if I don't present myself as confident and assured to potential brides that it will just breed insecurity in them and drive them away. It's such a strange feeling for me because I'm usually oozing in confidence no matter what the situation. But, I've never run a business before and I don't feel like a "real" decorator since nearly all of my cakes have been free. On top of that, there's so much more I want to perfect and learn--like pulled and blown sugar, string work, and intricate piping. I guess the bottom line is that now that it's getting close to being a reality there's a fear factor that's settling in. I'm hoping that getting some paperwork/contracts generated will help, and also hoping for wise input from those of you who've "been there, done that". TIA

15 replies
sweetiemama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:35pm
post #2 of 16

Sorry Handymama, no "been there, done that" for me but I wish you lots of success. My only advice: marketing. I have seen lots of great ideas lately here on C.C. about taking samples to nursing homes, church functions, schools (even if your kids are older) etc. I am in Grand Haven, my SIL lives in Manistee and I know some people up there in T.C. I will let them know about you too! Forgive me if I don't know the name of your biz yet...I am behind on my reading! My husband owned a couple of small businesses, I think most business sense is gained through experience....running your business! All of your learning will just take time....like mine is! icon_smile.gif

sweetcakes Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:41pm
post #3 of 16

start listing yourself on the free web pages that list loads of decorators. i get a couple of enquiries everyweek from people who find me this way. your town probably has webpages too where you can list yourself. also find out when the next bridal show will be and look into that.

mjballinger Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:51pm
post #4 of 16

Congratulations on your ground breaking! I haven't done much "selling" myself, but I did read on here a few days ago, someone who would take free cookies (you could do little cakes) to car dealerships and such and introduce herself as a new business....... no one turns away free cookies or goodies in my experience.... I sure wouldn't!
Make up some nice flyers and take them everywhere with you!!

Good Luck!

poshcakedesigns Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:59pm
post #5 of 16

Congrats - I'm sure the 'jitters' will pass as you start pulling in more orders.

I would suggest a website - everyone these days are so driven by them and most people do research on pricing and such before they ever contact a business. It doesn't have to be elobrate just something that tells them a little about yourself, what you do, and most definetly some sort of price list and some photos. You'd be surprised at how many people do web searches during the middle of the night.

Then the usual - flyers, business cards and freebies to businesses that can refer you business. Like beauty/nail salons, schools, daycares, bridal shops etc.

I wish you much success.

handymama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 2:03pm
post #6 of 16

Thank you everyone for encouragement and ideas. Sweetie--the name of my business is "Top Tier Cakery"

Mike1394 Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 2:12pm
post #7 of 16

Very cool congrats. I'll look ya up during the summer. Usually make one, or two trips.

Mike

TheButterWench Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 2:15pm
post #8 of 16

congratulations, now; Stock up on your favorite Cafinated drink!

You will probably have many sleepness cake makin'bakin' nights ahead of you. lol

If no one in your area makes fondant, I would guess that your price is a bit low, but whatever.

I've seen advice here where people decorate their dummies different style on each side, that's a good way to maximize a square dummy.

Yes, I would put up a website ASAP and get people to sign up by sending you their email so that when you have your Grand Opening you can invite people.

If hubby can't find full time employment, have him get anything he can get part time and make him your delivery guy!

I've taught my hubby to pipe borders! lol but he now found a job at night so he has to sleep days.
He too lost his job a few weeks before I opened and as a good man he took what he could find, he found work delivering food. He's not to proud. lol thank Goodness.

Also, I make cupcakes with all my extra batter, wrap them in seran wrap as soon as they are cooled and then slip them into zip lock bags and I write the flavor on the front of the bag so I always have samples ready.

I tell people that even though they are frozen their cakes won't be.

Also, find your nearest food supply place and make sure that you have enough storage.

oh and did I say CONGRATULATIONS? lol

handymama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 2:22pm
post #9 of 16

Thanks Butter--I love the idea about the square dummy. That's a great use of space! Looks like hubby has work for at least 2-3 months, so I can keep shopping. icon_wink.gif I realize the need for a website. My problem is the time to find someone to do it inexpensively and the time to work with him/her.

sweetiemama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 3:08pm
post #10 of 16

O.K. Handymama! Keep us posted pleeease?!

handymama Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 4:17pm
post #11 of 16

Gladly! For months I've been saying "my bakery isn't even a hole in the ground yet". Well, now it is and it even has cement blocks. It will ultimately be 16' x 20' (only 320 sq. ft.) with a 6' x 8' walk-in pantry that I'm "stealing" out of the corner of the garage. If you like I'll try to post a pic from time to time, although I've never been successful in getting one onto a forum post.

Starkie Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 4:32pm
post #12 of 16

Handymama, you are living my dream!!! My husband finally agreed to build me a bakery, but he doesn't plan to start it for another 6-10 months. Please keep us informed of your progress!!!!

GOOD LUCK!!

<Starkie>

calynmom Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 4:46pm
post #13 of 16

If I may I would suggest getting those magnetic signs for your van or car. They are great advertisment and don't cost very much. Maybe 75.00 for 2.

I agree with several about taking samples of your work.

I recently saw a flier at a local library for a cake business. Post them where ever you can. Even go to local photography shops that do weddings. Event halls that don't have their own catering will take your business cards and fliers to give to potential clients.

Also If you are a member of a church they might let you advertise in their weekly flier. If they let handymen and local business why not you. !!!!!!

HTH

SugarMoonCakeCo Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 9:33pm
post #14 of 16

handymama - congrats - i to am in the "starting" stages of my own bakery...we are stealing a 20x15 area from the back of our garage (we'll still have room to park two cars thankfully!)...the city here is very slow on building permits (due to the massive housing boom going on here) but at least we can get the area prepped and cleaned etc. in the mean time...

would love to see pics of your progress - keep in touch!

handymama Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:31pm
post #15 of 16

Clever--do you have a diagram of your floor plan? It took me months to come up with mine.

SugarMoonCakeCo Posted 1 May 2008 , 12:00am
post #16 of 16

i sketched one out in about 5 minutes, then sent it to our engineer to lay out in CAD just to make sure everything fit and the dimensions were correct...nothing fancy!

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