I'm Dying To Open Shop! (Long)

Business By jjandhope Updated 13 Nov 2008 , 7:41pm by jjandhope

jjandhope Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 3:47pm
post #1 of 14

If you've followed my saga at all you know that I am a newcomer to the cake world, but not to baking. I have always dreamed of owning a little eat-in bakery shop. I would love to have coffee, gifts, dainties, etc. As part of the shop, I would need to know how to decorate cakes. This has been a challenge for me since I started CC in about August. Everything I know I have learned from CC. It has been hard, because when you're learning over the internet you can't see the details or textures, etc of things so you just guess at home as you try. What I have thought I could do is go ahead with the bakery and hire a decorator until I learn more.

I am so limited financially as to what I can do. I have pared down my startup plan over and over until I now have a VERY SKINNY plan that could start up with $15,000. Needless to say, I dont have that right now...but I may in about 6 months. We think we can pay rent out of our own pocket. Even then, though, there is still no plan for paying the other expenses long term in the event that we bring in no money.

Here where I live, home kitchen is not an option...is has to be separate and fully commercial. I have thought about moving in a building to my backyard to start at home but the start up would be the same( so I would still have to wait the 6 months). However, the monthly costs, etc would be lower and I wouldn't have the commitment/contract issues, so I could go at my own pace.

I am bored and antsy. My husband says maybe I should get a job working at a bakery until I can have my own. I hate to do this and then go into competition with them. I have thought about telling them upfront about what I hope to do.

As you can see, I have a lot of issues up in the air and they are driving me crazy! I'm asking for some encouragement. Please be gentle! I've posted about this sort of thing before and several people have already made me very aware of all the problems I will face. What I need right now is a kind word and a gentle nudge in the right direction. Thanks for listening...

13 replies
ribby0224 Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 4:05pm
post #2 of 14

Just keep working at it. It will come if it's in God's plan for you. Keep praying and listening, you'll know when the time is right if you follow Him. I'm kind of in the same boat. I want to open my own place as well, so badly I can taste it. (It tastes a little like powdered sugar...: icon_twisted.gif ) Anyway, I hope this helps pull you out of your funk and encourages you to keep going. If you will have the means to do it in six months then wait. That time will fly and while you're waiting practice, practice, practice your decorating skills. It's the only way to improve. thumbs_up.gif

springlakecake Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:28pm
post #3 of 14

Are you able to have a separate commercial kitchen in your home? That is what I am working on now. I think I should have it all for $5000 or less. Of course I have gotten some screaming deals and my Dad and DH will be doing most of the construction.

Another option might be for your to rent a space in a church or something. You would probably have to pay $20 or $30 an hour.

I don't think working in another bakery is such a bad idea either. It would probably be a great learning experience.

Or just keep practicing at home. The holidays are coming...lots and lots of things to bake!

jjandhope Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:56pm
post #4 of 14

[quote="merissa"]Are you able to have a separate commercial kitchen in your home? That is what I am working on now. I think I should have it all for $5000 or less. Of course I have gotten some screaming deals and my Dad and DH will be doing most of the construction. quote]

I would have to buy a building to make that work and that would bring my cost to 15,000 minimun. Unless, of course I took over the family room....I dont know about that. It is small and we use it a lot! It also has to be spearated from the house with automatically closing doors.

Thanks to both of you for your kind words.

What do you (or anyody out there) think about working for someone and then going into business in the same town? That worries me!

mixinvixen Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:04pm
post #5 of 14

everything that is advised on this board is done out of concern and affection...we are an extended family here! with that being said, it seems like you're posting again hoping that people will say "go for it" and tell you what you really want to hear...to move forward with your plans.

the thing, though, is that the people who have the experience to advise you are probably the same people who have already spoken up with the pitfalls and words of caution.

trust me, i absolutely understand wanting to have a shop of your own...i would love to have a "by-appt-only" business that i could be legal out of...but i also know that there is no use obsessing about it happening in the next few years. i have been doing this now for 2 1/2 years, also self taught mostly from the internet, and i am fully and painfully aware of the fact that i am still not anywhere near ready for a full time business. for someone who is self teaching only since august, in my opinion, you would be in the same boat as me. once again, this is mh opinion.

in the meantime:
**draw up those plans and dream big..make goals and timelines.
**start checking out auctions and such to get great deals on your supplies and equipment one piece at a time, for a fraction of the cost. **decide what you want the feel of your cakery to be, and sketch it on paper to make it real.
**start a piggy bank or savings account that is only for your dream..nothing else!
**most importantly, start researching the statistics of how many new businesses fail...not to disappoint yourself and make your dream die, but to go into this with both eyes open, have the kinks worked out that trips everyone else up, and show the world how to succeed!!!!!!!!!

do everything you can to get this plan concrete and also your financial area concrete. being able to say you own a bakery and have the pride that goes along with it is not overall worth the financial ruin of your family.

please know that we are behind you even supporting you..even when we have to pinch a little!

starla

aundrea Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:14pm
post #6 of 14

starla: do you want to be my personal movitator! icon_wink.gif
great words of advice!
anyways, i dont think going to work for a bakery is a bad idea at all.
you say you dont want to work for someone and then compete against them. is there another bakery (or whatever) like what you want to open?
if so then maybe you would need to change the area you are looking into. to make your place unique.
maybe hooking up with a licensed caterer is another option.
she can cook and you can do the baking.
you probably will need to do some networking. are there town hall meeting or chamber meetings where small local businesses meet.
good luck with whatever you decide, i hope all your dreams come true!

jjandhope Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:17pm
post #7 of 14

[quote="mixinvixen"]everything that is advised on this board is done out of concern and affection...we are an extended family here! with that being said, it seems like you're posting again hoping that people will say "go for it" and tell you what you really want to hear...to move forward with your plans. quote]

I know my initial post is long so I'm sorry if you didn't see the part that basicall said that moving forward with my plans is not an option at least for several months. Naturally I'm just a little bummed about that. I'm just looking for a little consolation. Thanks for your advice.

BTW-Im new at caking but not new at any other point in the baking scheme. My bakery would be a sit down shop, not a by appointment only shop, as cakes will be a sidenote. Thanks again.

Any thoughts on working for someone else then going to start my own later...maybe taking off some of the itch and boredom??? (Not to mention the outrageous amount I spend each month on baking supplies to practice at home! To have someone else paying for that would be great!)

jjandhope Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:20pm
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by aundrea

starla: do you want to be my personal movitator! icon_wink.gif
great words of advice!
anyways, i dont think going to work for a bakery is a bad idea at all.
you say you dont want to work for someone and then compete against them. is there another bakery (or whatever) like what you want to open?
if so then maybe you would need to change the area you are looking into. to make your place unique.
maybe hooking up with a licensed caterer is another option.
she can cook and you can do the baking.
you probably will need to do some networking. are there town hall meeting or chamber meetings where small local businesses meet.
good luck with whatever you decide, i hope all your dreams come true!




Thanks so much for your nice reply! No, there isn't another bakery just like what I want. It would be different from anything we have here. Whatcha think??

nanikins Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:50pm
post #9 of 14

Lots of folks in lots of industries go to work for someone else to "learn the ropes" before going into business for themselves. It's a great idea and a smart thing to do.

Try to choose a place where you can be exposed to as many aspects of the business as possible - smaller businesses are often better for this. You'll get a lot of big ideas and learn a lot of little things that will save you time, energy, and money when you start your own place. You'll see what would work for you and what you'd do differently.

Good luck with your venture. I'm rooting for you.

Lenette Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:53pm
post #10 of 14

IMO I don't think it is right to take a job at a bakery knowing that you have every intention of starting your own. Even if you have your own unique ideas it will still be perceived as spying or a little under handed. I know you don't mean it that way but I think it could reflect poorly on you. Again, just my opinion.

I really think if you can build on your property that you should. I spent a lot of money creating a second, separate kitchen here at home. I had the money and the option and could have opened a shop which I wanted very badly. Now, I am grateful that I don't have the rent and additional utilities plus payroll. This business is feast or famine sometimes and it can be hard. Even here at home I have some months when I barely make my bills and when it is a good month or two we have extra money to enjoy.

Just something to think about.

Either way, it will happen, just hold on. When I wanted to start this business I was at home with 3 kids under 4, no money and a dream. We just have to hold on, practice and get our plans together so when the opportunity comes we are ready.

Practice, sketch out your consultation area, start looking for those deals, buy necessary things and store them. Learn all you can and make contacts in the community. I can 't tell you how valuable that can be. Here in my area you can join the Chamber of Commerce as an individual membership and meet people.

I don't know how much this helps. I am an inpatient person so I do understand how hard it is to wait. Hold on to your dream, it will happen. You have already done the first step which is to have a dream in the first place!

I wish you all the best! icon_smile.gif

onceuponacake Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:53pm
post #11 of 14

keep your chin up and work toward your goal. have a business plan, be realistic

speaking as someone who is getting close to actually opening..its been hard and difficult and financially DRAINING. In our county we could not have a home kitchen. In the county over you can have one. GRRRR

we did not take out a loan, just what we had saved toward this project, we did most of the work ourselves, putting in floors, building cabinet for oven, painting, cleaning, etc. lots of hard work. paying plumber who delayed us a whole month! plumbing inspector who passed us then came back the next DAY and failed us!!! first time the builder had ever seen that happen. unexpected expenses, etc etc.

Its been 7 months and we are almost there FINALLY.

all4cake Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 7:09pm
post #12 of 14

Unless you working at another bakery is going to help you with what you plan on doing, I wouldn't. The part you need help with is the decorating, right? If you are unable to decorate, it's not likely you'll be getting a decorator position(unless, of course, you've got the basics....icing, borders, writing, roses). It's highly unlikely they'll show you how to do the books either. You will most definitely learn how to wash dishes/pans, wait on customers, answer the phone, grunt work(all the things others don't want to do). Should you finish that, you presence would be welcomed near the cake decorator to mix colors, box this up, get this, get that...sure, you'd be able to see what's the decorator is doing first hand...but how close?

You stated in 6 months you could possibly open one on a thin budget. Focus your attention on that...6 months goes by so danged fast when there's a deadline. Matter of fact, that is a good idea...give yourself a deadline and a list of things that you need/want to have accomplished before 'opening' day. List everything...down to the details on the labels,napkins.... I just think there's too much work to be done to get sidetracked with someone else's business(working for someone else).

littlecake Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 7:34pm
post #13 of 14

i'm in my 7th year of having my own place.....IMHO you really NEED to work at , (at least) one bakery...i worked at several...it is a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE in working at a bakery, and making cakes at home.

You will learn a lot more than you'd think, and it aint all fun....the first one i worked at i did nothing but ice cakes....for weeks and weeks on end, i was so slow and awkward ....dude...i can ice a cake WELL in about 90 seconds now....if you are gonna plan on making overhead...and some to live on, you gotta have some speed ...and your work needs to be tight...no better practice than working for someone else to hone your skills.

the people i worked for are about 50 mles north of where my shop is....so ididn't open up right down the street.

this is a very hard way to make a living, it's more like hell's kitchen than ace of cakes.

jjandhope Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 7:41pm
post #14 of 14

wow!!! thank you all so much...you dont know how much! Okay, what I am going to do is make a list of options from your suggestions and other things I've thought of and I will troubleshoot each one financially and otherwise. The I'll show it to my husband and we'll figure out which option best fits our lives right now. That would certainly be better than the approach I have been taking (What about this idea? Well, what about that one?) That way we could see them all lined up.

Sorry I dont have your names in front of me right now but whoever said that it will take the 6 months to get it ready...thanks. I knew that and needed to hear it again. I think I'll revisit buying the building from my mom again and think about setting up shop in the backyard. If nothing else, it can store my bargain purchases toward opening up a storefront.

Lots to think about...thank you all for being so understanding. And to the person who said I was reposting just to hear I should go ahead with it...you're probably right. Sorry I snapped if it seemed that way. Just knowing any action I can take right now will get me up and motivated right now. I am so thankful for theses suggestions. I was beginning to go stir crazy!

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