Hi Everyone! My name is Alison and I am a stay at home mom to two wonderful little girls. I have always made desserts, cakes and cupcakes for friends and family etc and upon suggestion I have decided to take the leap and try to start a small business from my home. I know I will need to check the laws and regulations in my area, but I am just wondering if any of you have suggestions on how to get my name out there and start bringing in some business. I will mostly be focusing on cupcakes that are both decorated and with edible icing pictures and once I complete the Wilton cake decorating courses I think I may venture into cakes.
My ultimate dream would be to be able to make enough money to either be able to stay home once my girls are in school (so I can be there when they get home and for summers) or even perhaps start my own commercial business so I can control my hours etc
Thanks so much and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated![/center]
Welcome to CC!
I can't offer a lot of advice since I am just got started myself as a licensed home baker, but definitely check the laws and get licensed if you havent already before you advertise.
I rely totally on word of mouth right now, and my website. But I had learned alot about what to do from browsing the business forum here.
Maybe some pros will come along and offer advice, but if you search a specific topic, I am sure there are a thousand threads here to give you advice.
Hello! Welcome to CC....You are going to love it here!
The best adivce I can give is one: Check with the City you're living in. You have to know for sure if your home is in an area where it can be zoned for business. If it is, fill out the application, and follow the directions they give you for getting your zoning permit.
Two: Contact your Health Department, and tell them you want to start a baking business from your home. I don't know where you're from, but you would most likely start out as a "Cottage Food Production" That means you can bake from your home, as long as you do not make anything the HD would consider "hazardous" such as pumpkin pies or cheesecake. Once you grow, you may consider doing a "Home Bakery". That has to be licensed, you can't have pet in your home, and there are certain requirements for equipment, and the space you use for it.
As a Cottage Food Production, nothing can go out of your home unless it is packaged, and labeled. The only that goes out of here for me not packaged or labeled are the wedding cakes...How could you do that with them?
Look into all the forums on here, as there is so much excellant adivce from many people. Feel free to PM me with any questions. I have been in business for six years, so I would be happy to help!
Thanks so much forthe replies! This place is sooo addicting
I called my local bylaw office (I am located in Ontario Canada btw) and there is no restriction on me starting a baking business in my home. The guy I spoke to was super nice and explained everything and told me where I had to go to register everything. So I am going to get the forms and start getting things rolling! I am super excited....
Now are there any promotion ideas or pieces of advice that anyone can offer?
Hi...I meant to touch base on how to get your name out there. I suggest that once you have checked things out, and know you are allowed to do this from your home, samples are an excellant way of advertising. I can't tell you how many times I made a batch of small cakes or whatever, and took them with brochures to different places. I have walked into businesses without an appointment, and gotten dirty looks until they found out I had cake or chocolates, and boy, was I welcome then! Make sure you keep track of how many samples you make, and take out. Track your mileage too!
Word of mouth has been the best advertisement I've used. I have taken out ads in the paper, and netted nothing from them, however, I sitll put an ad in occasionally, so it can be seen. To this day, when I can, and it's appropriate, I tell people about my business. Brochures/Business cards....Hand them out even when you don't have samples. I have other suggestions, but I will PM you later...We are getting ready to BBQ so I am going to go help!
Welcome to CC !!!
Like you've already said, make sure you're in compliance with health department regulations and state licensing as required. Then brochures with pictures of some of your work along with samples in high-traffic situations (don't forget hair and nail salons!) are the best ways to get going. Would a caterer in your area be interested in your help with some events? And take advantage of the not so far away!! holidays, to include Halloween with your advertising!
Best wishes to you and your precious family!
Before you get too busy, sit down and estimate your costs of everything...ingredients, etc so you can have a firm idea of what you want to charge. If doing cupcakes, cinsider the liners, boxes, everything it takes for you to get that order out the door. I have not seen your work but I did not promote myself at all. I did something for one person, and then word spread. You might also contact a local party venue that holds lots of birthday parties for kids and see if you can work some deal with them that might get you exposure as well!
Good luck on your adventure!
Great tips! Thanks again everyone! I have worked out my costs for the ingredients, but silly me forgot about packaging.. I will have to work all of that out. My first order is for my bff and I am making some cupcakes for her sister's bachlorette party so I can't post a finished pic here , but I will be sure to post it in the appropriate forum. I am doing them at a super promo price because of who is ordering and in hopes it drums up more business later.