Marketing To The Higher End, Living Outside The Major Cities

Business By Larkin121 Updated 17 Jul 2009 , 8:28pm by CanadianCakin

Larkin121 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 10:45pm
post #1 of 21

Slowly making plans for a business (and I do mean slow... a lot of kinks to work out first and practice to go). One thing I know for sure having read all that I have on here is that I want to market to a higher end. I love baking gourmet flavors all from scratch, and I want to be known for that as much as for decorating. I also know I don't want to start realy low and raise prices every 6 months or something, and that I don't really want to work with the budget bride or party planner.

I've checked pricing around here and it really varies. I've seen everything from $2.75 (buttercream) to $6 for a starting price - but again, i do know that some people price low at first and tag a lot of extras later.

I know, I'm long winded, I promise I have a point. icon_smile.gif So, I live about 45 min south of the biggest city, 25 min east of the second biggest city, and about 1 hour from the richest city (Microsoft land, ooo la la, lol). But the town I live in is primarily young families starting out (like me!) and, in general, don't spend on the extras. I've seen others say, do they drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, etc etc and for the most part, right around here, they don't. So if I market to a higher end, my customers are not often going to be in town.... is that a problem?

Is it reasonable to think that I can market primarily to areas 45 min - 1 hr from me on a regular basis, or are they just going to go with someone close to them? There is no shortage of cake decorators in those two cities. When I search online, almost all of them are there. I wonder if this will harm me, like with delivery, since if I charge for the distance and their local places don't, would they really want to pay the difference? Or, in the higher market, is money no object once they find the cake of their dreams?

I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions as I start exploring more into becoming legal and making a go of this!

20 replies
crystalina1977 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 10:54pm
post #2 of 21

would it be possible to offer a wider variety of cakes, some lower end and some higher end? it would scare me, like you mentioned, that the cake decorators are in that area and you would have to charge for transportation. i do agree however, that people with more money to spend want what they want no matter what...i just think it might be more beneficial to your business to cater to a more diverse clientele.

all4cake Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 11:30pm
post #3 of 21

I would definitely consider offering a lower end selection...possibly without the gourmet fillings/flavors.

The majority of my business comes from the "big city". This happens even though there are a multitude of decorators less expensive and with far more talent than I have in their area. I've never asked them why they don't choose so-and-so or what'stheirname....I just think to myself(and putting it out now)....DAAAAAAAAAAYUM.

sweet-thing Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:24am
post #4 of 21

Although I'm not as experienced as some others here, I have to agree with offering a lower end selection.

all4cake-you are way too modest! I looked at your pics and I can tell you why your customers choose you!

icon_biggrin.gif

Larkin121 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:13am
post #5 of 21

I understand the idea behind lower end cakes. I've kinda watched what some others on this site do with their business and asked a few questions here and there and I think there are people here who successfully offer only higher end cakes. Even if I do "low end" flavors, they're gonna be out o the price range of the young local families anyway. I mean, whether I charge $5 a slice or $3 a slice, my neighbors are still not interested in a birthday cake for more than grocery store prices. I mean, they're interested, they just won't pay it. I know that doesn't mean there are others out there who do want it.

I'm not looking for quantity... I want to do this part time anyway right with how small my kids are. So if I get 4 big orders a month instead of 8 smaller ones, I'm great with that.

In any case, it's good to hear someone say that they can compete with the inner city bakers!

Is there a marketing strategy that works well for this?

Larkin121 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:14am
post #6 of 21

I understand the idea behind lower end cakes. I've kinda watched what some others on this site do with their business and asked a few questions here and there and I think there are people here who successfully offer only higher end cakes. Even if I do "low end" flavors, they're gonna be out o the price range of the young local families anyway. I mean, whether I charge $5 a slice or $3 a slice, my neighbors are still not interested in a birthday cake for more than grocery store prices. I mean, they're interested, they just won't pay it. I know that doesn't mean there are others out there who do want it.

I'm not looking for quantity... I want to do this part time anyway right with how small my kids are. So if I get 4 big orders a month instead of 8 smaller ones, I'm great with that.

In any case, it's good to hear someone say that they can compete with the inner city bakers!

Is there a marketing strategy that works well for this?

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:23am
post #7 of 21

Ah...you answered my question. Not looking for volume production. Stay small, stay exclusive, take orders that make you happy, don't market to the masses. That's my mantra!

CakeForte Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:29am
post #8 of 21

Margaret Braun is small and exclusive, and still does everything herself, I believe. At least that last time that I heard about her. It really is all about how you market and who you market to.

CanadianCakin Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:35am
post #9 of 21

I don't mean to stir up trouble, drama, or a debate but this is kinda bugging me...what exactly do you mean by low end cake?? Honestly curious....

Larkin121 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:46am
post #10 of 21

hmmm, dunno, i don't think i said low end cake in my first post, just high end cake? I just followed the other posts in their use of low end.

I guess low end in my mind would be lower priced, less ingredient cost required. Like.... hmm.... a butter cake with buttercream filling.... that would cost me less and take less time than flavors that include good white chocolate, fruit purees, ganache icings, liquors, etc etc.

I hope no one thought I was looking down on "low end." I have no problem with eating basic cake flavors and my husband loves them. I just don't have much fun making them, and I also want to offer something different.

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:47am
post #11 of 21

I don't think I personally would use the term low end, but what I consider "not something I would be interested in making" is anything that can be found at a grocery store or large bakery. There. Shouldn't be any problem with that comment!

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:48am
post #12 of 21

Oh that's wasn't right either. Ok, anything that looks mass produced and/or typical bakery stuff.

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:55am
post #13 of 21

Larkin, my feelings exactly. And you keep on with that attitude. The last time I saw a sheetcake come out of Sylvia Weinstock's bakery was, ummmm, never! Doesn't mean there's annnnnything wrong with sheetcake. I admire nicely done one's all the time, and would give anything to pipe like ThanThan. Just not something I'm willing to take on. Because I would get laughed under a bus for what I would charge for them. So I am more than willing and happy to let other places fill that corner of the market for me in my little neck of the woods. icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:57am
post #14 of 21

I don't know about the others but, when I refer to low end I mean with basic flavors and fillings that generally cost less to produce.

I market the cake more than the decorating....I'm a baker who happens to decorate not a decorator who happens to bake.

sweet-thing, thank you very much for the compliment! (I wasn't fishin', I swear! I know the reality of what I'm up against)

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:58am
post #15 of 21

Gotta do what makes you happy and benefits your family. Take care of that first. Ok, done, I promise. icon_biggrin.gif

Larkin121 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 5:06am
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

I'm a baker who happens to decorate not a decorator who happens to bake.




Exactly! Same here. Again, not that there's anything wrong with the flip side. It's just that I get a lot of joy in the baking process and the most joy in people enjoying the taste of my cakes. I certainly love decorating, too, but it came second.

all4cake Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 5:17am
post #17 of 21

I get the same giddy feeling when I look at a slice of cake that has interesting layers of SHTUFF as I get when I see an incredibly decorated cake. I love it when a cake gets oohs and aaahs over its' looks but, when it gets ooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaahs, mmmmmmmmms, and OMGs when they're eating it is when I feel the best about a cake I've made.

madgeowens Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 5:40am
post #18 of 21

Really, if the cake does not taste wonderful, then I would get a new hobby....and thats what it is for me....I am not a professional.

Nchanted1 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 12:52pm
post #19 of 21

The important thng is to differentiate yourself from what's available now. Chances are, your high end competition are commercial with staffs. So, market yourself as a boutique bakery with lots of individual attention to clients. Make your own fondant and vanilla, and tell people about it! Become an expert gumpaste figure artist, and do dummies with Bridal couples, elves, sleeping babies. Create an expensive niche, so when people see you cake at a party, they know it's from you.

Take a look at this site Wildflowersbylori.com. She is near NYC, with allit's talent. Her cakes start at $500! She is my role model and hero.

Sorry i can't seem to get the link active, you'll have to paste it.

There's plenty of room at the top if you are willing to put in the work!

Mylittleflutterby Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 7:51pm
post #20 of 21

Wow this thread has some great advice. I too am looking at getting into business from my house and have been thinking the exact same things. I can't wait to read more great advice!

CanadianCakin Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 8:28pm
post #21 of 21

Ok Thanks for clarifying....I get it.....it's like Prada VS Levi!!

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