I am in a state that does not allow home baking so how is someone suppose to build up customers to be able to afford to open a shop? I have explored the ideas of a seperate kitchen at my home but am scared of spending the money when I only bake for family and friends now. I have pondered the idea of renting space but the only kitchen available for that is an hour away. I have thought about trying to rent a church kitchen but don't really know what a fair price would be or how to go about doing that. There is only one bakery in our town( besides the grocery stores) and they are now specializing in wedding cakes and do not do birthday cakes. I think if I could figure out a way to be legal and get some customers I could do all the orders I wanted. Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated.
I struggled with the same thing for a long time. I'm in WI and there's so much to worry about in regulations, plus we just rent our house so I can't exactly remodel anything.
I was lucky enough that DBF has a part time job at a little bar/restaurant and he was able to be my middle man and help me find some space. I still am not 100% sure timing will work out, but I'm sure hoping so. I do have a back up if necessary and I'm looking for others.
What about bringing some free samples to a local church or two and see if that opens a door to renting some space? Maybe you could offer to barter a bit and provide treats for them in exchange for using their space? You could do the same for local resturants too.
I have a caterer friend who cleans the church once a week for no salary, and they let her use the kitchen for no rent.
Sounds like my situation "my3littleguys" I feel like I am in the same boat. There are no bakeries in my small town only a price chopper and walmart and I also need a separate kitchen to work out of. Ideal for me is to build off my current kitchen and have a whole separate one, but that costs mucho dinero that you just dont get when you are doing cakes for family and friends. I hope you get some insight from here so I can look into myself too! Good luck to you!
upstate New York
I'm in a different situation in that it I can get my home kitchen licensed, but I decided to take the plunge and take a voluntary severance package from work, plus install a brand new kitchen ($37,000 and work started Monday- am hoping it's worth it!). I didn't want to do either of these unless I was confident I would be able to quickly build up a customer base. This is what I did:
16 months ago: Wrote my initial business plan which I've updated practically every week with new bits of information.
12 months ago: Started telling EVERYONE I knew that I'd be launching a cake business summer 2008 (at that time the voluntary severance package was a dream rather than a reality, but I'd decided I wanted to do this badly enough anyway).
2 months ago: Started making as many free cakes as possible for friends. I've tried to make these as cute as possible to get great reactions & people wondering who did the cake.
2 months ago: Started building a website which is just a dumping ground for photos at the moment, but any time I or my husband mention my to-be business, we give the web address and say "it's just a photo dumping ground but check out the photos".
I'm now around 4 weeks away from being licensed and 7 weeks from stopping work and through word of mouth I already have complete strangers wanting to book cakes between June-Sept when I will be licensed.
At some point, if this is what you really want to do, you'll just need to take the plunge, but in the meantime, come up with a strategy to build a potential customer base.