Bridal Fair Challenges!

Decorating By SweetVictoria Updated 30 Nov 2008 , 7:49pm by SweetVictoria

SweetVictoria Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 3:58pm
post #1 of 26

I have my first bridal fair coming up in approximately a month. At this event I will be giving away cake samples. One of my challenges is how to stack/store the 12x18, one layer high, fully iced, sheet cakes once I arrive at the 10 x 10 booth. I am thinking I will need at least 15 cakes. I will be slicing the samples very small 1x1x2. Just enough for a taste. I am sure one of you fine decorators have been faced with this before. I would appreciate any info I can get! Maybe you have seen something or tried something that worked for you. I am completely open to suggestions. Thanks so much for your help!

25 replies
divaofcakes Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:10pm
post #2 of 26

I was just at a faire and here are two ways that I thought were effective:
a. one company put 1"x1" square bites into plastic ramekins with lids. They did this the night before and then were able to just hand them out (out of cute baskets)
b. one booth had their pieces already pre-cut and in small cupcake papers
Both companies had dummy cakes set up.
I personally like the idea of the ramekins. They were able to talk more to the brides instead of having to cut cake the whole time. You could even put a ramekin into a cellophane bag with your business card and/or a flyer and tie with a cute ribbon. May be a lot of work but memorable for the brides.
Good Luck!!

kaytec Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:10pm
post #3 of 26

Are you going to cut and hand out as you are talking to the Brides? Sounds like a lot to focus on at once. I think the cake should be cut and put in the small plastic severing cups with lids, prior to the show. This way you can hand out the samples while keeping your focus on the Brides questions. I have never done a show just my experience as a Bride.

SweetVictoria Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:30pm
post #4 of 26

Excellent ideas!! Thanks so much. Sorry to sound so ignorant but what is a ramekin?

kakeladi Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:33pm
post #5 of 26

Better check w/your local health dept. Most of them no longer allow open distrubution of any food stuffs. (You cannot cut & serve). They must be in lidded containers as others said. Also *all* food *must* be kept 6"(?) off the floor which means you must put them on boxes or something. I had those 'busboy' trays.
I know what you are thinking.....I too liked serving the cake myself but this isn't bad - handing out containers. You can get some of those return address things w/your business info (& add cake flavor) & put it on every cup. Some people like to take them home & eat later. You won't believe how many said they had just come from brunch and were too stuffed to eat it now (especially in the early hrs of the show). Many of the brides take their bridal party (women) out for bkfst/brunch then come to the show. Make sure you have forks and napkins for those who do eat right awayicon_smile.gif Oh and trash container! Don't rely on the site to provide those.....they never have enough and never close to your boothicon_sad.gif
Lastly: don't stuff the cups. As I remember the cups I used were 4 oz. Most people only need a piece about 1x1x2. After all you are not feeding them.....just giving them a sample of how good your cakes are. Some will take several flavors others come back several times for another taste. Don't hesitate to give samples to all the other vendorsicon_smile.gif They will talk - amoung themselves and to their customers!

sweetstuffcakelady Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:39pm
post #6 of 26

I do them 3 times a year & bake approx 10-15 9x13's cause they are easier to carry - store - handle...you are not juggling this large box to put out on a table then I precut my slices at my shop (60 pieces each)so that I only have to place them on a napkin (cheaper than ramekins) a few at a time when a bride walks by. You are doing great by the size of slice - so many bakeries try to make it a meal & not only is it expensive but there are others that have samples too & if it's small they are more likely to take a piece then pass cause they have already eaten ALOT of cake! Doing your plain white w/buttercream is also a good idea since if that's good you can always add that personal flavor to it & that's also another mistake that other do loading it up with funky flavors that everyone likes! By cutting them before you get there you don't have to deal with the health dept issues of your utensils there at the show...............I also have flyers in my color (salmon) to hand out & pens there so they can write their answers to questions you have...keeps them there longer too - also display your books & have dummy cakes - make sure you have a "simple" cake & one that is very intricate & know the sizes they serve - you will be asked! GOOD LUCK!

kakeladi Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:42pm
post #7 of 26

........By cutting them before you get there you don't have to deal with the health dept issues of your utensils there at the show....

In both CA and IN even pre slicing them to handout on a napkin or whatever is not enough according the the HD. They *must* be in a lidded/sealed container.

butterfly831915 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:43pm
post #8 of 26

Just my experience from bridal shows I have gone to, many are so crowded that it is best to have it already in containers. May I sugest a digital photo frame with pictures of your cakes. It is more likely to catch the brides eyes than photo album etc. Just a thought or two for you. Good luck and hope you get lots of orders.

Jenn2179 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 5:06pm
post #9 of 26

I always bake mini cupcakes. No need to cute. No need for plates and forks. Have many brides tell me they love that. Also buy little frames and put the serving and price for display cakes.

SweetVictoria Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 5:35pm
post #10 of 26

Fantastic! What a wonderful group of ladies. I appreciate each and every suggestion. Some/most of which I would not have thought of. Thanks again for your help.

sweetstuffcakelady Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 6:04pm
post #11 of 26

I live in Texas & as long as they are cut in your facility that is health inspected then they allow it! Don't really know the other states - but it sure saved me time ....I also had a dolly under the table to put my boxes on so that they are off of the floor. Make sure they do put a trash can near or beside your booth so that your guests can throw away the trash or you'll become a trash collector yourself!

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 1:17am
post #12 of 26

15 cakes ... 12 x18 ... cut in 1x1x2 pieces ..... that's over 3200 pieces of cake. How big is this show? icon_eek.gif

I second the "put it in a (tartar sauce) cup with a lid at your shop" idea. I can maintain eye contact with Bride A, while reaching over and picking up a piece of cake and a fork to hand to Bride B ... giving Bride B something to do while she's waiting to talk to me. I can NOT imagine cutting cake and passing it out at a show. I have about 30 seconds to talk to a bride ... this is about me selling me and my business, not about demonstrating my cake cutting skills.

Spend your time doing what is most profitable ... talk to that bride in the short time you have with her. Have those cakes precut and prepackaged. The bussing tubs are great for this. Space is usually pretty limited in a show-booth. You want as much space as possible to display your dummies and have space for yoru cards and brochures. Taking up that valuable space for a work area ..... I wouldn't.

sweetstuffcakelady Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 1:56am
post #13 of 26

First of all I said 9x13's not 12x18 in my post - that's 600-900 peices NOT 3200 & again I said I precut them at my shop never said I cut them there - it only takes me a a few seconds to pick it up on a napkin (i said that earlier too) It gives you a chance to say your "spiel" while you hand them a piece. Those little cups do cost money - so it's totally a "preference" thing

Also, the lady asked for some ideas & so I thought after doing this for 9 years I'd share what I did = there is no wrong way just simply ideas of how each person that responds has done it - it's up to her how she would like to try it....guess my successful 9year cake business shouldn't be doing well - but IT IS! I must be doing something write

Please read everyones ideas & decipher whats right for you because they are all good ideas to run with.....

stephaniescakenj Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 2:32am
post #14 of 26

sweetstuffcakelady ... OP said 15 cakes... icon_confused.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 2:40am
post #15 of 26

sweetstuff, I wasn't responding directly to your post, but I can see how you may have thought that since mine came in right under yours. I ran the numbers from the orig. post because when I saw 15 cakes, that just overwhelmed me in itself (and y'all know how I like to run numbers! icon_redface.gif ), then just offered some of my personal experiences at shows.

I'm sorry if there was some misunderstanding between posts. Still friends, right? thumbs_up.gif

Doug Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 2:56am
post #16 of 26

and for those wanting a more high-end presentation:

Boxes:

http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=11&productId=IN-3/1482&mode=Browsing&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&xsaleSku=3/626&sku=3/1482&cm_sp=Cross%20Sell-_-Product%20Detail-_-Product%20Detail

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-----

Labels and things

http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=12/2900&prodCatId=377982&mode=Browsing&erec=11&Ne=90000&sp=true&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&cm_re=TOP-_-HD-_-HD&N=377982&tabId=Holidays&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&sd=Wedding+Address+Labels

http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=12/2903&prodCatId=377982&mode=Browsing&erec=8&Ne=90000&sp=true&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&cm_re=TOP-_-HD-_-HD&N=377982&tabId=Holidays&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&sd=Two+Hearts+Wedding+Favor+Tags

http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=OTCG1742&prodCatId=377982&mode=Browsing&erec=25&Ne=90000&sp=true&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&cm_re=TOP-_-HD-_-HD&N=377982&tabId=Holidays&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&sd=Wedding+Bell+Stickers

DesignerCakes Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:01am
post #17 of 26

My local health department as well as a few of the companies that put on the larger shows in my area, require that samples be distributed in 2oz cups with ilds. These are easy to find and are rather inexpensive. They are condiment cups.

I always get positive feedback from brides as well as other vendors who say they like the cups. You can cut 1x1" cubes and place them into the cups, then place dabs of icing on them with a piping bag, and seal with a lid. You can do this the night before, too, then stack in half or full sheet boxes. For a show with 1500 attendees, you will only need three half sheets of cake, 2" high. Level them, then cut them into strips and then squares. You will be amazed at how much cake you will have. It is enough to let people sample more than one flavor, too. The cost of the cups and the lids are about $40 for 1000 cups, if I remember correctly.

I stack my cups on a four tier cake stand on the center table, sorted by flavors, and hand them out personally. I prefer to hand them out rather than let people grab them willy nilly. This allows for great conversation with your brides as you describe the different flavors.

When doing higher end shows, especially if a competitor has packaged their samples the same as me, I put labels on the lids with my business logo and website address.

Also, get additional help. I have two additional people helping me, handing out samples and talking about the cakes. Make sure to have plenty of cards available and know how many servings your dummy cakes provide as this is a big question. Brides will also ask about pricing. I always say that the price depends on the design. I ask them to call me and I will be happy to give them a quote on a specific cake. If they press me for a price, I tell them that the average wedding cake is approximately XXX per serving, but can be higher or lower depending on how simple or elaborate the design.

Get there early so you can set up your tables, and make sure your linens are pressed. Don't worry about having pretty napkins set up in a a particular way, or anything like that. Save the space for your dummy cakes and put out as many of them as you can possibly fit in your booth. Some brides may want to book tastings on the spot, so you may want to have your calendar handy. I have pretty card holders for my business cards and always spread fresh rose petals on the table around my cakes.

I also have postcards with lots of photos of my cakes on them - front and back. Napkins and forks should be easily accessible by the public, too, as well as a garbage can nearby otherwise the empty cups and dirty forks and napkins will end up on your table or the floor. Make sure to check with the health department in the city/county where the show is taking place as they often require special licenses for one day events. Yes, it may be required, even if you are giving the samples away for free. They have been known to show up and shut vendors down who don't have this special license on the day of the show. In my area, they range from $8 to $70 per event, depending on the county.

Hope all this helps you. Good luck with the show!

travelingcakeplate Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:08am
post #18 of 26

Wow this is great info. I plan on going down this road at least once in 2009.

Question--

On average, how many clients do you typically book from a trade show?

I once read that you should take a credit card machine for on the spot payments and bookings. Does this reign true for wedding cake designers as well?
icon_smile.gif

stephaniescakenj Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:16am
post #19 of 26

Now Doug... why did you have to point out this website?!? there are just too many cute things that I must have icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:26am
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelingcakeplate

I once read that you should take a credit card machine for on the spot payments and bookings. Does this reign true for wedding cake designers as well? icon_smile.gif



I would say only if you plan to sell cakes or pieces of cake. I think this advice rings true for trade show type of environments, where the objective is to sell product, i.e. customer hands you money and you hand them a packaged "something". I don't think a bridal show is the same type of environment. In my limited show experience, I never had a bride walk up and say "I need a wedding cake and want to buy it from you today ... here's my credit card/check/cash payment."

travelingcakeplate Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:45am
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelingcakeplate

I once read that you should take a credit card machine for on the spot payments and bookings. Does this reign true for wedding cake designers as well? icon_smile.gif


I would say only if you plan to sell cakes or pieces of cake. I think this advice rings true for trade show type of environments, where the objective is to sell product, i.e. customer hands you money and you hand them a packaged "something". I don't think a bridal show is the same type of environment. In my limited show experience, I never had a bride walk up and say "I need a wedding cake and want to buy it from you today ... here's my credit card/check/cash payment."




Thanks!

DesignerCakes Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 3:47am
post #22 of 26

Here are some pics from last January's show. You can see the cake stand, although it was empty in this pic. Below is a pic where you can see some of the stand with the sample cups in place.
LL
LL

kakeladi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 4:54am
post #23 of 26

.........read that you should take a credit card machine for on the spot payments and bookings. Does this reign true .........

I never had to do that. As I remember in the 5 or 6 shows I have done only *one* bride give me a deposit on the spot.
Mostly I encourage people to call for tasting appointment. You want to get them into your shop.

DesignerCakes Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 12:28pm
post #24 of 26

I've never had anyone ask me to purchase anything or put a deposit down, so I have never needed a credit card machine or anything of that kind. They may want to book a tasting on the spot, however. During most bridal shows, there is barely enough time to hold much of a real conversation. There are hundreds of people there, and when they see free samples and pretty cakes, they'll just swarm your booth.

You'll have to be prepared to keep your eyes on your dummies and talk to various people all at the same time. People love to touch cake dummies. I've found nail marks in my fondant dummies. They want to touch the flowers, the surface of the cakes, etc. I have a cake dummy that is a stack of suitcases with a purse on top. People have tried to lift the purse up off the cake by the handle!!! I have managed to stop them numerous times. They are fascinated by the cakes and want to know if they are real or not. Make sure to have extra people to help you in order to keep a close watch on prying hands, especially curious children. And yes, some people will actually bring kids along!

leah_s Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 1:31pm
post #25 of 26

Yes, there will definitely be kids at a bridal show.At the big show in my city, there are normaly 1200 brides in attendance. Over the years I learned to make a total of about 600 samples and that always works out to plenty. Some will take one or two flavors, some won't take any. Girls, especially brides, are all on a diet, so don;t expect everyone to take a sample. Your goal for the day is to get your info (biz card) into their hands.

SweetVictoria Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 7:49pm
post #26 of 26

I just can't thank y'all enough for helping me. I am overwhelmed with your concern for others to succeed! That ranks high in my book. I am going forward now with greater confidence!
Victoria

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