How Long Did You Practice Before You Started A Business?

Business By Larkin121 Updated 7 Aug 2009 , 1:03am by sugarcheryl

Larkin121 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 9:11pm
post #1 of 22

I see so many amazing, amazing cakes here, and think "Wow, I can't do anything close to that." But I also know everyone starts somewhere, and I've just started and have confidence that I can learn it all in time.

On the other hand, I also see cakes that I think... "I can do that...I can maybe even do that better..." and I see that the cake is made by someone in business. (I am NOT trying to put anybody down, not at all!!)

So how long did you practice your skills before you felt that you were good enough to start selling decorated cakes? What is a good indicator if your cakes are good enough to sell?

21 replies
QueenOfSweets Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 9:14pm
post #2 of 22

I did cakes exclusively for family and very close friends only for practice for about 8 years before I started my business. I'm the same as you - I see cakes and think I could never do anything like them. I also am very rarely ever completely happy with a cake once it's done. I think we're all our own biggest critics!

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:05pm
post #3 of 22

I've been doing fondant cakes for friends and family for a few years but I'm not great with buttercream so I wouldn't feel comfortable starting my own business yet. I also don't have the business skills which is why CC is so valuable.

Having said that, a couple of my husband's co-workers did the Wilton courses, set up websites and are open for business. One does wedding cakes and posts cringe worthy bad ones on her website all the time. I can't believe people order from her but she is now renting a licensed kitchen so she must be getting the orders. Shrug.

kelleym Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:25pm
post #4 of 22

Sometimes people with 3 months experience can look like they've been doing it for 30 years (and unfortunately, the opposite can also be true). Practice as much as you can and get your cakes out where people can see them. You'll know you're ready when people want to buy them from you. icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:33pm
post #5 of 22

30 years! I catch myself comparing my work to those I aspire to be like and when I do I still don't think mine are good enough to sell but I ain't the one buyin' 'em. Those that do buy them think they are great. I think mine are, at best, adequate in workmanship and are top notch in taste.

You're ready to go into business when you're ready to have your work critiqued by anyone and everyone, have your motives(for pricing) questioned, miss an order, drop an order, upset a customer, lose sleep...for DAYS, miss family functions(not all of them but you will have to make that call more than once, lose money, wonder why the hell you didn't just take that job at the bakery and make it easier on everyone....and there's sooooooooo many other things to consider besides if your cakes look good enough to sell....

indydebi Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:43pm
post #6 of 22

I'd been making cakes for over 25 years when I found CC and I said, "Wow, I can't do anything close to that." icon_biggrin.gif It's a constant learning process.

Quote:
Quote:

What is a good indicator if your cakes are good enough to sell?


When someone offers to give you real money to make their cake.

Larkin121 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:45pm
post #7 of 22

Oh yes, I know there is much more to it. I've been working through all those ideas as I work towards planning a (part time) business.

I get people asking me for cakes... of course, that's without them knowing how much I'd charge if I was in business, lol!

LucianaW01 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:00pm
post #8 of 22

I took a course under Colette Peters, then came home and practiced for a year. I now own a cake shop and every day is still a learning process. I will say that I had NO idea how expensive it was going to be to start a cake shop. I've been open since April of this year and so far so good but it like to have killed me getting it open and now it's 24-7

Larkin121 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:03pm
post #9 of 22

Oh yeah, I don't want to run a cake shop full time right now, as I've got two little ones at home. I'm just wanting to rent hours as needed in a kitchen to get a small part time business going.

Wow, a course with Colette Peters? That is SO cool.

CALI_GIRL_CAKES Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:05pm
post #10 of 22

I am on the five year plan....Hubby said he will retire in five years. So I am practicing on family and friends to get experience on all aspects of cake decorating. I will be taking a 16 week class to improve and learn new skills. So when he is ready to retire, I will be ready to do this with a LEGAL BAKERY with my name on it and years of practice behind me...COUNTING the days.... icon_rolleyes.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:20pm
post #11 of 22

A smart decorator will never stop practicing, they will just move on to different skills, learn them and practice them, before offering them to clients. Too many people these days are jumping onto jobs that require skills that they do not have, and are near impossible to teach via asking on a forum.

No reflection on the OP, just an honest opinion that fits into the subject at hand.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Larkin121 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:52pm
post #12 of 22

Theresa, I get what you are saying. I also, think, though, that some people (and I don't mean me!) are gifted from the start and can teach themselves amazing amounts of things. Some amazing artists, bakers, actors, etc are never formally trained. But I'd agree with you that most people require training of some form.

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 12:05am
post #13 of 22

I know a lot of people who practiced for a couple of years before opening their shop, and I know some decorators who just took the Wilton courses and decided they could open a shop. I have to say - it shows in the work of those who did the latter. Of course, it doesn't apply to everyone, some decorators are total savants, and pick up the skill on the first try.

My forte is fondant/gumpaste work. My piping skills suck, even after all this time. I know that I will still have to work very, very hard, and get those skills down to perfection, before I would be comfortable opening a shop.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

littlecake Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 3:43am
post #14 of 22

i worked at several bakeries for a few years before opening the shop...the first 6 weeks at the first shop all i did was ice cakes...8 hours a day...for 6 weeks...where you gonna get that much practice icing than at a bakery.

CALI_GIRL_CAKES Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 3:11pm
post #15 of 22

I am sorry. I did not mean to say I would stop practicing....I just ment I would stop practicing and offering FREE cakes to people. You can never stop learning....EVER. There is alway something new and exciting to learn around every single corner. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. There is no such thing as not learning a new skill. I am sorry I did not phrase that right in my first post.... icon_redface.gif

dsilvest Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 4:54pm
post #16 of 22

I made one fondant wedding cake (first time working with fondant) for my daughter's wedding and immediately got two orders for the next summer. I decided to start a business. It is about 1 year old now and I have been kept busy.

No-goodLazyBum Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:28pm
post #17 of 22

Like a lot of others I started with just playing around, then moved on to family and friends. And like others alluded to earlier, people started asking how much would I charge. That's when I started to consider a business. Prior to that I only took one Wilton class and everything else came from forums, tv, and experimentation. I think you can start your business whenever you have a customer that wants to buy. If you are not the best, no problem, focus on what you do well and start there. There is no set time or mark of experience for when you can start YOUR business as long as you have a customer that completely understands what your product offers including its limitations.
icon_wink.gif After all this is baking not medicine, finance, or security. icon_smile.gif

Musings9 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:43pm
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by No-goodLazyBum

Like a lot of others I started with just playing around, then moved on to family and friends. And like others alluded to earlier, people started asking how much would I charge. That's when I started to consider a business. Prior to that I only took one Wilton class and everything else came from forums, tv, and experimentation. I think you can start your business whenever you have a customer that wants to buy. If you are not the best, no problem, focus on what you do well and start there. There is no set time or mark of experience for when you can start YOUR business as long as you have a customer that completely understands what your product offers including its limitations.
icon_wink.gif After all this is baking not medicine, finance, or security. icon_smile.gif




Very well put, I could not agree more. thumbs_up.gif

ButtercupMama Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 9:26pm
post #19 of 22

I was decorating for 7 years before I started charging people for cakes; and nine years after that, I opened a legal business....so 16 years in all before I became a real business!

Crikey, am I old?!?? icon_confused.gif

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 9:34pm
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtercupMama

Crikey, am I old?!?? icon_confused.gif


Nah! You're "seasoned!" icon_biggrin.gif

Doug Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 9:42pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtercupMama

I was decorating for 7 years before I started charging people for cakes; and nine years after that, I opened a legal business....so 16 years in all before I became a real business!

Crikey, am I old?!?? icon_confused.gif




and you started when you were 14 right?! icon_rolleyes.gificon_wink.gif

so that makes you young 30! thumbs_up.gif

sugarcheryl Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:03am
post #22 of 22

I've been at this for 9 yrs and it a work in progress. You never stop learning. Besides if your cakes taste good that's half the battle and do what you can do well and then build.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%