Bridal Show Unlicensed?

Business By montanabaker Updated 13 Mar 2011 , 10:06pm by costumeczar

montanabaker Posted 20 Dec 2008 , 9:48pm
post #1 of 70

I just started selling cakes last spring, and did 3 wedding cakes. I was thinking about doing a bridal show this february, but I make cakes out of my home kitchen, and someone said they won't license my kitchen in montana, though I'm still unsure about my county. Would you enter? should I? I would love to do more wedding cakes, so that I can start saving up for my own cake shop...
Advice?

69 replies
indydebi Posted 20 Dec 2008 , 10:34pm
post #2 of 70

absolutely not .... no way, no time, no how do you enter a bridal show unlicensed! You are ASKING for trouble.

Many show organizers are required to submit a list of participants to their local health dept, who goes thru the list and investigates the names they don't recognize. My health dept told me they had to shut down 2 cake ladies at last year's big bridal show. These unlicensed ladies paid between $2000-$3000 for their booth and all it got them was a visit from the health dept shutting them down.

Other events that I've been in, the organizer has requested a copy of my license or the license number; and at one event, the health person was going booth to booth inspecting for food handling and license copy.

Do not even go near a bridal show unless you can show a copy of your license.

tarheelgirl Posted 20 Dec 2008 , 10:42pm
post #3 of 70

I totally agree with Indydebi! I was told by my inspector that anything public or any show for that matter they will always want/need to see my permit! It is just asking for trouble.

sugabear Posted 20 Dec 2008 , 10:56pm
post #4 of 70

I think it's definitely worth checking into the regulations for your county, you might just find out that you can get your home kitchen liscensed or don't even need to. If the answer is no then I wouldn't risk going to the fair. It's just not worth the risk. Good luck!

montanabaker Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 3:04am
post #5 of 70

well, bummer, but good to know. I guess i'd have to agree with you all...the last thing i want is to operate illegally. I love making cakes...
shucks! thanks for your comments

glendaleAZ Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 3:13am
post #6 of 70

Hi Montanabaker,

This may be off subject a little, but you may not know.

I also heard of a story here on CC where a gal made a wedding cake at home, and when she tried to deliver the cake to the reception site they asked her for insurance and business papers. Well, she didnt have any and was unable to deliver the cake for the bride talk about an unhappy bride.

Tammy

DesignerCakes Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 3:51am
post #7 of 70

I am in Maryland and we are required to get a special license for each and every event where we serve food to the public. This is in addition to the regular food license I am required to have to operate my business. The special event license is usually only valid for the day of the show and t runs from $8 to $75 depending on the county.

Additionally, some show promoters require a copy of my food license, in addition to the special event license, as well as a copy of my business' liability insurance certificate.

I wouldn't take the chance. I've seen people shut down at events because they didn't have their special event license. Imagine if they weren't licensed to begin with? The liability issue is huge. I wouldn't take that risk. You might be able to do it and get away with it, but why put yourself in that position?

Remember...the first people to report you are going to be your competitors. Believe me when I tell you they'll be the first to call your local health department to find out if you are legit or not!

One other thing to consider...doing a bridal show can bring you a great deal of business. If you haven't had experience doing multiple wedding cakes on the same day, or over the course of a weekend, think twice before you leap into doing a show. You'll soon find this business is not as much fun as you thought it would be when you are rushed to fill multiple orders (and then delivering them all) in a short period of time.

Sweetcakes23 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 4:18am
post #8 of 70

Indedebi,

So who would we contact to petitition about getting that law changed so that they might consider licensing "in home" kitchens in our particular states? Im from a state that does not license them. And I notice some states DO license "in homes" so how would one go about letting "people in the know" know that we want that to change?

Kitagrl Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 4:23am
post #9 of 70

Home cake baking in PA is legal with a license. I baked unlicensed for several years before getting licensed in January 08.

However that said I would have never done a bridal show, unlicensed. Most bridal shows require you to be licensed anyway...but if they don't say it up front, they usually assume you are. That could be asking for trouble.

If you are going to bake and sell unlicensed, you have to lie pretty low and just go word of mouth until you can get legal.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 4:25am
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by glendaleAZ

Hi Montanabaker,

This may be off subject a little, but you may not know.

I also heard of a story here on CC where a gal made a wedding cake at home, and when she tried to deliver the cake to the reception site they asked her for insurance and business papers. Well, she didnt have any and was unable to deliver the cake for the bride talk about an unhappy bride.

Tammy




The venue should have told the bride that a long time ago...I have papers but I certainly don't carry them with me....do you guys?

TheCornerBakery Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 5:01am
post #11 of 70

Hi to all,

Please read my entire post before someone sends me a pm. I am not against a person who bakes at home for friends or family, their church, women's groups etc. I don't even have problem with people trying to support their families in rural areas by what means they have to.

Here is my biggest pet peeve that just gets me extremely angry.
It is the at least 25 people in the Orlando area who have full business out of their homes without license. In Florida is is illegal to even store your cake supplies at home. so these 25+ people have full fledged websites, go to bridal shows, put ads in the Knot and Perfect Wedding Guide, go to the networking luncheons, and all without a license.

and let me guess for the few who rent out kitchen space to bake their cakes and then bring them home to decorate is it somehow making it legal? It is not and have you ever wondered the harm they cause to legit. shops in town? The lowballing on prices and the horror stories I hear every week from people who used unlicensed people so save a few dollars.

How stupid am I to have done the right thing and open a cake shop paying over $15,000 in rents, licenses, taxes, etc when I could of kept the money and done like these people do..

and don't get me started on the brides and planners who would use such people..

michael

PieceofCakeAZ Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 5:07am
post #12 of 70

It's funny this would come up... I was just looking at the online vendor list for the upcoming big bridal show and from the wedding cakes category there are 6 total. Of the 6, 4 are unlicensed and one is out of business due to health reasons. We did the same show in June and the health dept was present... so these companies may be in for a surprise. icon_surprised.gif

Kita- Like you, we don't carry our licensing info around either... but if we are ever questioned at the last minute like that, we can prove it online in a matter of seconds by going to our county web site and plugging in our biz name. I know you can't do that everywhere, but it's a nice safety net... just in case. icon_biggrin.gif If they don't have internet access I can use, they are going to be reading our licensing info on my phone browser. lol

indydebi Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 5:11am
post #13 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetcakes23

Indedebi,

So who would we contact to petitition about getting that law changed so that they might consider licensing "in home" kitchens in our particular states? Im from a state that does not license them. And I notice some states DO license "in homes" so how would one go about letting "people in the know" know that we want that to change?



contact your state legislature.... representative and senate.

Sweetcakes23 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 5:27am
post #14 of 70

Thanks.. thumbs_up.gif

shanasweets Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 6:06am
post #15 of 70

I wonder about areas that have cottage food laws. In kansas they said you did not have to have a license as long as food non perishable. Now I would register for a business licence, but don't have to have food licence. what are showing people at these shows? Anyone know.

Ps. I know I will need liablity insurance.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by sltoklahoma

I wonder about areas that have cottage food laws. In kansas they said you did not have to have a license as long as food non perishable. Now I would register for a business licence, but don't have to have food licence. what are showing people at these shows? Anyone know.

Ps. I know I will need liablity insurance.




That's what my license is here, non perishable....

Deb_ Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 1:57pm
post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelanthony

Hi to all,

Please read my entire post before someone sends me a pm. I am not against a person who bakes at home for friends or family, their church, women's groups etc. I don't even have problem with people trying to support their families in rural areas by what means they have to.

Here is my biggest pet peeve that just gets me extremely angry.
It is the at least 25 people in the Orlando area who have full business out of their homes without license. In Florida is is illegal to even store your cake supplies at home. so these 25+ people have full fledged websites, go to bridal shows, put ads in the Knot and Perfect Wedding Guide, go to the networking luncheons, and all without a license.

and let me guess for the few who rent out kitchen space to bake their cakes and then bring them home to decorate is it somehow making it legal? It is not and have you ever wondered the harm they cause to legit. shops in town? The lowballing on prices and the horror stories I hear every week from people who used unlicensed people so save a few dollars.

How stupid am I to have done the right thing and open a cake shop paying over $15,000 in rents, licenses, taxes, etc when I could of kept the money and done like these people do..

and don't get me started on the brides and planners who would use such people..

michael




Michael I couldn't agree with you more. I have a separate licensed kitchen in my home, even though in MA you can have your main kitchen licensed. We were building our house anyway and decided to add a 2nd.

Unfortunately, we are fighting a losing battle with the unlicensed ones. But, I do believe that they will be caught someday and the fines they will pay will make up for all the "lowballing". Even worse, if somebody gets ill from one of their improperly stored products, I shudder to think of what kind of lawsuit they will have against them.

The thing that "gets my goat" about these people you mention is, they have the audacity to advertise and go to shows with their illegal products. icon_mad.gif I don't wish them any bad luck but, it does make me very angry that some think that they're above the law. Laws are there to protect us all.

leah_s Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 2:08pm
post #18 of 70

Michael, I agree with you 100%. I started out licensed, well within the first month of selling cakes, and it's the only way to go. I also carry $2 million in liability insurance. I am appalled that food vendors would go to a wedding show and not be licensed. Selling food to the public is serious business and doing it illegally is just nuts. You'd be putting your family's house, car and savings in totally jeopardy every time you do it.

Carolynlovescake Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 3:30pm
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Quote:
Originally Posted by glendaleAZ

Hi Montanabaker,

This may be off subject a little, but you may not know.

I also heard of a story here on CC where a gal made a wedding cake at home, and when she tried to deliver the cake to the reception site they asked her for insurance and business papers. Well, she didnt have any and was unable to deliver the cake for the bride talk about an unhappy bride.

Tammy



The venue should have told the bride that a long time ago...I have papers but I certainly don't carry them with me....do you guys?




This was my story, let me fill in the blanks.

This cake baker whom I know via courses at my store called and asked if she could use my license and liability insurance since she was unlicensed which means if someone got sick from that cake any claim(s) would be filed against MY business name, and MY liability insurance because she didn't have any.

If I would have let her it would also have been a little known issue of fraud in the eyes of the law because I didn't bake it, I didn't decorate it. I would have not ony not been covered but lost any lawsuit as well and either jailed or fined for giving fraudlant info to the venue. It would have been my house and finances on the line because it would have been put down that cake came from me. If anything would have happened I'd have to come forward and state "X made it at X's location and I was letting her use my info." Yeah I feel ill from what the firestorm that would have caused.

The venue knows me well anyway and I told them if this gal tried to use my name in any way as being from my "shop" not to listen to it.

Also this venue did tell the bride.... 3 times! Once at the consultation, once at the booking, and once at the walk through of set up for her event. She figured that her cake lady who does such yummy nummy cakes was and never mentioned it. It was the first time this decorator used this event.

Brides don't normally know to ask that. I mean seriously who of us thought to ask when planning our own wedding? I only did because I was in the industry otherwise at such a young age I wouldn't have known what a legal vs. non legal home kitchen was.

As for carrying around proof of insurance or business license. I always do because I've been asked to see it at unexpected times and for them online didn't work the policy was to see a paper copy on site.

I have a photocopy of my business license(s) photocopied onto one page (they are small so I an fit them that way if scaled down just a bit) and on the other side a photo copy of my proof of insurance. I have then laminated it so it can be dropped in a puddle, I can stand in pouring rain, heavy snow etc and not be ruined. It lives on my clip board and on delivery days my orders sit above it.

montanabaker Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 4:42am
post #20 of 70

Wow. some of you people are really sort of, well, MEAN. I just took up this hobby, and wasn't really even aware of all of the rules about selling until I started reading around on cake central. Sorry to have pissed so many of you awesome experienced professionals. I am going to try to get licensed and all that jazz now. Buying my own shop is definitely out of the question for a few years...so pin a rose on your nose michael. I wish I could afford it, but with the economy and two kids at home, I don't have the luxury.
Sometimes I guess I don't like asking questions on the cc forums because there are so many people with superior attitudes that reply not to help, but to rant. Gee Wiz.

montanabaker Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 4:44am
post #21 of 70

Sometimes I guess that I don't like to post questions on cc forums because there are so many people who post to rant rather than help. I am going to try to make it legal.
Sorry to peev so many of you off. But maybe you shouldn't say anything if it isn't helpful.

montanabaker Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 4:46am
post #22 of 70

oops...2 posts, well 3 now. sorry. thought I had an error the first time. Maybe I should stay out of the forums all together.

Deb_ Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:00am
post #23 of 70

If your definition of "being mean" is giving you the honest truth, well than you have a distorted image of mean.

It cracks me up when people don't like the answers they receive to a question, so they complain something to the tune of "this is why I don't like to post questions....blah, blah, blah......."

First of all, every one of these "professionals" that answered here answered you with the TRUTH. We don't make the laws, we just follow them.

Right now you're not licensed so you can't legally be more than a "hobby" baker. You may not like that TRUTH, but you do have to accept it.

I'm not ranting or bragging or anything else you accused us of. Why don't you get over yourself and realize this site is a great resource to help you not to put you down.

indydebi Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 6:01am
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by montanabaker

I wish I could afford it, but with the economy and two kids at home, I don't have the luxury.




Did you really say "the LUXURY" of operating legal???? icon_confused.gif

I might be an odd man out, here, but every time I have to make my loan payments to the bank(s), it sure doesn't feel like a "luxury" to me. And since it took me 25 years to get to this point, having that kind of debt at my age doesnt' feel like a "luxury" either. And it's not a "luxurious" feeling knowing your house is mortgaged higher than current market value.

As far as I know, not one person who runs a licensed business got there by winning the lottery or being a Vanderbilt kid. It was a lot of hard work.

So I'll just close by saying: "what dkelley said"

Deb_ Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 1:30pm
post #25 of 70

[quote="indydebi"]
As far as I know, not one person who runs a licensed business got there by winning the lottery or being a Vanderbilt kid. It was a lot of hard work
/quote]


AMEN!!!! .......and still is a lot of hard work!

leah_s Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 2:48pm
post #26 of 70

::standing beside dkelly and Indydebi::

We're not being mean, we're providing you with the correct answers that we've learned through experience, education and the school of hard knocks. And yes, sometimes it costs some money to do things the legal, right way. It just about how you want to run your business and your life.

FlowerGirlMN Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 3:09pm
post #27 of 70

Ya know... and I'm not saying this to be mean...

If you can't look at the truth - and the law - and see it as BUSINESS... I mean, we are in business, and we have to run it as a business.. decorating cakes is the LEAST of it...

Then you really aren't prepared to run a business.

As people that have invested the time, research,money, and personal sanity to start (legally) and run our businesses.. yes, such things as running up against those running illegally is something of concern to us.

summernoelle Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 3:24pm
post #28 of 70

Whoa. I was about to give you some nice advice and then I read your snotty posts. You ask a question: toughen up enough to take the answer.

What I was going to say, in a nice, supportive way, was that no, you should not do the show. Competition around you who do have legal shops will be tempted to turn you in to the HD. Something similar happened in my area a couple of years ago to some awesome, talented home bakers. They were shut down. Just be careful.

ziggytarheel Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 3:32pm
post #29 of 70

I'm barely a hobby baker, but I can truthfully say that I saw nothing mean at all about what was said. It's just the truth. This isn't the only industry that has laws, rules and regulations. As always, if you don't follow the law, at some point there can be consequences, and sometimes pretty bad ones. And I surely wouldn't want the IRS to find out about an illegal business that hasn't been paying its taxes. They don't tend to have much sympathy.

Most business require start up capital, which is hard to come by. Most business have to abide by certain rules and regulations. Sometimes those rules and regulations have the health and welfare of the general public at heart. And, most businesses will fail. Those are just the facts.

I can't see how someone would have a problem with playing by the rules and not being appreciative of others trying to get ahead by not playing by the rules. I believe I have a higher standard than the law to answer to, so that alone would keep me from even thinking about trying to fly under the radar. And I have children and others who look up to me and I would never want to be responsible for letting them think that the rules only apply if you decide to play by them.

I appreciate ALL of you ladies who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much in this business. Thank you!

Wing-Ding Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 3:42pm
post #30 of 70

Never, never, never go to a bridal show unlicensed. Never. I just posted a topic where I asked about low-key advertising (I'm unlicensed as well) and I was given advice, legitimately, not to. A bridal show is a major form of advertising and you don't want to do it until you are licensed and ready for the business (meaning you have talented employees/partners to help you, if needed).

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