I'd love to hear the different ways you advertise your cookies. Do you have websites? Do you put an ad in the paper? Is it word of mouth? Do you send freebees around? Do you have mailers?
So far, all of my business is from word of mouth. I started making cookies for friends and family and it seems to be going from there.
So very much depends on how much of your neck you want to put in a sling! If you're a home baker in Texas, you'd be wise to limit your business to trusted family and friends, since that's not legal (YET). If you are licensed, and want to really go for it, there are several things you can do. One is to target offices with a few freebies - examples of your work that you want to do a lot of. Ask friends to spread the word.
I know others have better ideas - who else can suggest something?
My friends take them into their coworkers. I deliver them to businesses as free samples.
I won't be liscensed for a few more months so for now I'm keeping it to close family and friends. When I'm liscensed I will put a small ad in our local papers with just my logo and contact info, get the tri-fold flyers to distribute with pictures and little write ups of what I offer and a postcard with a few pictures and a coupon for a container of free cookies to send to the neighbors within a mile radius or so. I also plan to give away a TON of cookies to local businesses in whatever their speciality is....banks will get a dollar sign, schools will get a bus, apple, school or sports supplies, doctors offices will get bandaids and whatever else I can think of for them, not sure yet. Anyway, you get the picture.
I used to be the sample queen. I never went anywhere without samples. I use a website, business cards, and word of mouth to advertise. I am thinking of taking out a small ad in our local paper as well.
Out of curiosity, what do you need to do to get licensed? I'm nowhere near that stage as i'm just practicing with cookies right now, but it's good to know anyhow.
I forgot about business cards and internet too.
It depends on your state. In WI you need to have your water inspected and a grease trap put in, stainless equipment, certain lighting, nothing wood, no texture on the walls, coving where the floor and walls meet, floor drains, four compartment sink with non hand operated faucet for one fixture, doors open out from the inside, has to be separate from your home kitchen if it's in your house......the list goes on and on and on and on and on...........I think in the business forum there is a list of what state requires what things, or if your state even offers a "home bakery" liscense.
mine is pretty much all word of mouth - which is working amazingly well for me.
I would say that a good website is key - a neighbor may recomend me to a friend, but it's when they see the photos that they are hooked.
my additional recommendation is to get in with the soccer-mom crowd.
a lot of mom's here want that extra special team snack. (football, basketball, soccer, baseball - done them all now)
and when one mom brings them, the other mom's call....
besides my neighbor being great at adverstiing my cookies, donating to the school's silent auctions has gotten me good visability with the mom set (hope that doesn't sound derogatory - I'm a soccer mom too
I use word of mouth, business cards, website, local advertising (local papers are MUCH cheaper) and I always offer "trade offs" ~ meaning I'll bake a birthday cake or make cookies for a friend or family party, shower or event and use it as my gift. They get a great, unique addition to their party and I get my name out there!
Last week the lady at my hair salon and I bartered cookies for a hair appt.
Thank you so much for all your advice and info!!
Word of mouth for me. One of my daughters joined a nearby swim team and I donated items to their fall fundraising bake sale. That led to Dessert Banquets for schools and local charities. When my oldest daughter had her sweet sixteen, I went all out making her cake. That led to a lot of bookings that were so much fun. I am fully booked and have not advertised a lick. (...in the traditional sense that is.) Donating samples to the right people will connect you in ways you never imagined. It's a good feeling, doing what you love and people loving you for it.