Well, I guess the story goes something like this.... I have always dreamed of opening my own cake supply shop with a bakery. My husband was not to supportive, because we have 2 small kids. he wanted me to wait until they went to school to seriously think about it. However, my husband lost his job yesterday. he was a construction superintendant, and with the economy and housing market slump, his boss had to let him go. So, he is now considering helping me set up shop, AND even participating in the business!
He knows a little more about starting a business than I do, which is nothing. There does appear to be a market for it in my area, but I need to do more research. I would appreciate any advice and input of what you did to get started and what you need. Perhaps a website or book that may have helped you. How to find the specks of what a legal bakery, store are. I really dont know where to start, but couldn't think of a better resource than all of you! Thanks for any input!
Dept of AG.
Do you live in a state that you can have a home bakery?
Do you already have a customer base?
I would start with a business plan. It will help you answer alot of questions. And you will need a good one if you want a loan from the bank. Hopefully you can have a home cakery so the cost will be much lower. That is where I would start. Then go from there.
Go here and find out if your state is in it:
I am in Idaho, so it is legal from me to sell homemade goods as long as they are marked as so. However, not legal to be a licensed home bakery.
So unfortunately that route is a no go.
Start your business with no debt. I know that sounds crazy, but, if something goes wrong, then you won't be paying on it for the next 10 years. Save up and pay cash for what you need. Most of the big business owners now started in their home and it is successful. It may not be as fast as you want, but you won't have any regrets.
So you know nothing about starting a business, you have small children who need care, and you'd be opening into a very tough economy with materials (food) prices that are going up fast. Add in you need a reliable income in the very short term if that applies as well.
Does this sound like a great idea to you?
I would see about renting kitchen space that way you are not out tons of $$$ with a business loan.
It is my dream and an idea to open up a shop, and in our situation right now that is what I have. I am asking for help and advice, not sarcastic rude comments. Thanks MaisieBake.
We have a market for this business in my area, I have a great client base, my sister is an accountant and has 2 successful internet businesses, my father has opened and run 3 successful businesses, and was the head chef at a hotel (that he also owns and runs) for many years. My great grandfather was an established baker from Italy, and opened his bakery here in the US. So I guess I probably do have a little help. I do not personally know the business end, but I do know the cake end quite well. I thought this would be a great place to start and I thank those of you who have shared your helpful insight. I understand the opening a business is tough work and may not work out for me, but I want to at least investigate the option.
The best place to start is writing a business plan. It wil help you define your start up costs, your expected income, you will get a lot of information about how much work is needed so you can decide if you want to start in this direction.
there is very little money available for this kind of start up business. Banks want to see your business plan, and 3 years of income records.
You local health department will be able to give the requirements for a baking kitchen.
If you can bake from home, legally, it will give you the chance to see if you want to do this full time. It takes a LOT of cake to pay the rent on a storefront. Most cakers, supplement the cake sales with other goods, like lunches etch.
I don't think Maisiebake was rude, just blunt.
Starting a business with little or no capital, no business plan, no premises, etc, is not a great idea.
MasiseBake was not being sarcastic or rude. Based on the information we were given at that point, those are very good questions.
This site sees many, many posts from folks who dream of opening a shop and have no business experience whatsoever. I saw one thread from a person who had just sold her first cake and was ready to invest $50K to open a shop. Excitement and enthusiasm are great ... but a dose of reality must be a partner with these two guys.
As you're probably aware from your family's experience, running a bakery business is not just making cakes .... it's business business business first .... making the cakes is almost secondary in the grand scheme of things. And with all due respect, while having family in the business/industry can be a big plus, unless you personally worked in that business, it's not the same. My father in law ran a very successful transmission repair business for 60 years..... that doesn't make me an expert on cars.
If you don't want to hear obvious answers, then please provide us with all of the pertinent info up front. We're more able to help you when we see the whole picture.
one thing to consider is that a hooby you enjoy may be less enjoyable when you bear the burden of proving for your family with the revenue from your new business.
I am sure you can find many many post on here of tough situations that business owners have faced by not being fully prepared for all the ins and outs of selling cakes.
a business plan is a great place to start, if you can't figure out how to pay the bills with cake decorating on paper then it will be really tough for real.
is there someone in your area who you could consult with? perhaps somone at your local chamber of commerce or local business association.
I can't ditto the business plan enough. From your posts, I'd also be asking questions like:
- You say your husband has just lost his job. Do you have sufficient savings or a payout to live off while you launch and establish a business?
- Who will look after your children while you are setting it up/running it (i.e. do you have the income/savings to pay for care or family to help)?
- How quickly do you need to be established? IMO, launching a cake business, whether from home or a store front is not something you decide to do one day and are up and running the next week (not if it's your sole income, that is!). I've been planning my business for the past 18 months and to be honest, I'm only jumping in with both feet right now because my company has given me a very large payoff which buys me the equivalent of 21 months net salary. I wouldn't have quit my job with no other income to become dependant on cakes, KWIM?
And again. Write a business plan!
I am sorry I did not provid you all with enough information to begin with. I did not realize the importance of telling you all the details.
I worked in my fathers kitchen doing everything from waiting tables to setting up contracts for catered events, and baking. I just dont feel as though the 10 years experience there really gives me the business background I need to get started on my own.
I have been doing custom cakes, and have a great client base and getting loads of orders, the bakeries here dont tend to do specialized cakes, more so basic wedding or sheet cakes.
Part of my idea for a shop was not only doing cakes but also selling cake decorating supplies along with decorating classes, summer camps for kids, decorating parties for kids. The closest thing to a cake supply shop we have here is Michaels. The next closest decorating store is in SLC or Portland, OR. The aisle in Michaels here is always packed with people, and the cake classes are always full. So I think a store offering more than just wilton goods and classes beyond the basics might work well.
Please let me know what you think.
I have a business plan in the works, thanks for the help, indydebi!
I am sorry, I thougt the comment was intended as rude sarcasm, but now see that I did not give enough information for you to give me any good advice. forgive, me!
fortunately, if we do go the store route, we do have a back up income plan. My hubby used to survey pipelines for oil and gas companies and has a great paying job lined up (yes work for the same guys who are robbing us at the pump, too bad free gas isnt a job perk!).
Unfortunately he will be traveling 100% of the time. So if we do decide to go for it, he will work and save the money we need to begin the store while I figure the store out from this end. When we have enough saved, he will come back and either find a local job, or work with me in the shop.
Well, it is a rough idea anyway.
brogi, there is certainly nothing wrong with having an idea to do it. That is where everyone starts. It does sound like you have the experience and the contacts and that is a great start. I agree that MasiseBake was very blunt (something that I always tend to take personally) however, I am fast realizing that this is not a business where you can have thin skin (like me I am trying to toughen up a little b/c I am going to have to charge people and deal with people who are unhappy and all of that will be tough.
Good luck, I hope you come up with a good plan that works for you. I'm just starting up myself, so I don't have too much actual advice for you. However, for me, I don't know if I could handle being the sole breadwinner at this point.
thanks, and good luck on your start up Danielle!
Also, as pointed out earlier, this is a very tough time for people financially. Just because you have a client base now doesn't mean you will have the same client base in a few months when you need them. People are strapped in all areas and will continue to cut back on things they view as unnecessary expenses (like paying $40 for a cake). It would be horrible if a potentially successful business fails just because it started up at the right time.
Also, you want to open a shop that sells cake decorations. Do you know if there is any interest in this? Maybe t he reason there is only a Michael's is because there isn't any local interest. Therefore, this aspect of it could be the biggest hinderence instead of the biggest help.
VERY good info! The part about micheal's classes and aisles always being full says a lot about the interest and the marketability. It looks very positive to me.
As your business plan will indicate, running a supply shop requires a lot of inventory (read "cash laying around doing nothing") so be sure to plan for that. If you handle the supplies and offer the classes as you've indicated, you are creating your customers, which is really good.
I am happy to share my biz plan with CC'ers to use as a guide so if you're interested, PM me your email.
Someone mentioned the timeline ... so true!!! I got so frustrated at my friends when I told them I'd signed the lease on my store space. They'd all ask "When are you moving in?" Well Holy Moly, I didnt' just rent an apartment!! Let me give the contractor time to come in and look at the place first! Let me give the architect the 5 weeks he needs to get the floorplans done and state-approved!
Then of course there's my favorite part of the story ... how my "10-12 days" for construction aged into an 8+ week process!! aaauuuggghhhh!!!!
From the time I got loan approval to actually hanging an "open" sign in the front door was close to two years! Even *I* got tired of hearing me say "soon ... very soon!"
Also, re: the two small children thing. I also have 2 small children (2 and 4). It is certainly a lot more difficult working with them around, but most of the time I can plan my schedule around their schedules and lots of times I work after bedtime. It can be done, it just adds another kink.
Okay, one more small thing and then I promise I will butt out Speaking of small children and decorating. I made a homer simpson head last night and carelessly left it out in an exhausted stupor and this morning got up, was making him a sippy, I turned around and he was eating it. here is a pic of it before
Thanks, indidebi, I think you emailed it to me yesterday. I have it in my inbox, but this computer wont open that type of file, have to open it on a different computer. Cant wait to check it out. sounds like you went thru quite a headache opening up. I checked out your website, you offer so much, love your catering plans and cakes are beautiful, and I am sooo envious of your workspace!
Yikes, where is the after photo of homer? I also have kids that same age, well almost 2 and just turned 4, they are always VERY interested in what mommy has good to try and swipe on the counter. I try to bake at naptime and decorate after they are in bed. If not I set them loose on some fondant with a roller and some cutters and they are sooo happy. Playdo just doesnt cut it around here anymore! you just lived my nightmare
Check into grants, too. You may be eligible if you offer some sort of after-school class for kids.
I live in CA where is next to impossible to become licensed, but I can get a license if I use a mobile unit (like a taco truck!). Just threw that in there for the helluvit!
As far as opening an bakery, yes look into it and see if it what you want to do. But I have to warn you, you won't make any money for at least two years, especailly if you want to avoid going into debt. I agree completely, try to pay cash for everything, and the first year or so, take the cash and put it back into the business to build. I wouldn't depend on it as the only family income right now though. No matter how good you are, it is VERY hard to make money in this business, with the cost of everything going up, and you being an unknown in the community. Once brides and other customers start passing your name around, you will really get going.
as far as opening for selling supplies (which is what you are thinking of doing as well?) There is a DESPERATE need for supplies in our area...we do not have anyone that even sells fondant locally, except one little guy who is unrealable and doesnt have huge amounts. Some of the large supply places won't even come to our town anymore because of the price of gas. So we looked into selling equipment and supplies. My DH has a lot of experiencing in exporting and looking into getting some products form the uK and overseas to see here...The upfront costs were in the THOUSANDS. Not only for products you had to stock up, but warehouse space, store front space (You cant sell this stuff out of your home) I f you want to do purely internet selling, then there is still storage space, and then you have to get agreements with UPS and FedEx (Not easy to do!) . It takes a LOT of time and money. One of these days, we hope to open a little shop to sell these hard to find items, but we have to wait till our Lotto number comes up..
(PS and those posting nasty comments..come on guys, be nice!!! She is asking an honest question!)
yikes, bet your little ones had a big belly ache! Poor Homey.
Thanks for more info and ideas everyone!
I would recommend that you bake from your house for now and maybe put a website online to sell the supplies from. And that way you get a custome base going.
If you can bake legally from your house, eventhough you have to mark it... go that way, bc you wont have any overhead...
Just my opinion... i think sometimes people can be negative when you are trying to start something on your own.. Take it from me Between my DH and I and my mom and dad we have 4 family businesses... and on top of that i am a surg tech by trade and bake cakes on the side.... i am on the go 24/7 ,,, but its worth it when you do not have to answer to someone else... unless you want to.... and to be able to say... "This is MINE!"
No one can take that away from you. We are in the process of selling one of our businesses to open up a cake shop for me... and it is a feeling like no other, the rush, the excitement, the unknowm. dont let someone take your dreams away... there are grants out there that help people start up businesses... and it is money that you dont have to give back EVER... i have never done it bc i dont qualify, bc we already have businesses, but if you are a first time buiness owner, you will prob qualitfy...
sorry so long... lots of things running through my head
thanks for your support and advice pinklesley1!
no prob brogi anything you need just ask...
you can ask here or pm me
Remeber.... stand proud even if you stand alone. and if life gives you lemons... make lemonade... and then add some ice and sell it... hon