Newbie- Help/ Tips For Getting Started

Business By Keylarg Updated 24 Sep 2009 , 5:09pm by Keylarg

Keylarg Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 2:03pm
post #1 of 13

Hello, I'm new to the forum and cake decorating. I've just finished my first course of decorating and have 2 more courses to go (each 4 weeks long). I attended cullinary school in my younger years but never finished as children became my priority. Anyway, I just purchased a home that has a WONDERFUL space for a commercial kitchen. My questoins are:


Apparently in Maine you can use your home kitchen to bake for public...should I start there and wait for some customer base before finishing the "commercial" kitchen?

Should I go full steam ahead and set up the commercial kitchen and start advertising? Which would require a loan to get equipment...

Where do I start?? Confused on WHEN I should get licenses...how I should advertise...what equipment I need to get started...
Any advice would be appreciated!! I did try looking through the other threads on here before posting my questions and none seem to answer all my questions. icon_smile.gif

12 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:12pm
post #2 of 13

So your thinking of possibly going straight into building a commercial kitchen...and your cake decorating expierence will consist of Wilton's Courses? I think you should take some time to build up your skill and research business rules and regulations in your area first.

Loucinda Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:37pm
post #3 of 13

First call your local health dept. and see what is involved in baking from your home.
Most of us started somewhere!

Motta Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:27pm
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

First call your local health dept. and see what is involved in baking from your home.
Most of us started somewhere!




Yes, that would be the starting point. I think you'll rest easier knowing that you are legally qualified to sell your product. You'll probably need a license as soon as possible since it sounds like you want to go into business right away, may as well get it now.

If you are able to bake and sell from your existing kitchen, that would be great and so much cheaper. Try it from there and see if you like it. You can always spend more money later on a commercial kitchen.

Hope that helps somewhat. Good luck!

kelleym Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 10:14pm
post #5 of 13

Since you are lucky to live in a state which will license your home kitchen, that is a very smart way to start. The costs are low, and you can build your skill level and customer base without a monumental investment.

Here's the form you need to submit for your license - it looks like the fee is only $20. icon_smile.gif

http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/qarforms/FoodandFuel-licenseapplication-2008.pdf

Keylarg Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 1:36pm
post #6 of 13

Thanks for the replies. As far as the first reply...I don't think that was a fair assumption but I won't let the negative comments turn me away from doing what I desire.
Geesh...some welcoming... thumbsdown.gif

-K8memphis Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:20pm
post #7 of 13

Keylarg-- to me, the pay dirt in baking is the wedding cake--but since it looks like you can have a low overhead--you could just start by baking some gourmet cakes & goodies & market with those.

I'd market specifically to other wedding vendors, florists, venues, dress shops etc.

Another important aspect is focus. Determine your own direction & neither waiver nor look back.

Be careful of people wanting to get your services for 'free advertising'. If you don't put the value in your work, nobody else will.

(I'm not licensed--but to illustrate value) I got to do my son's gf's bd cake and people were asking for bs cards--I said, sorry, money can't buy a cake like that, I gotta love yah. Priceless. Goes both ways huh. icon_biggrin.gif

leah_s Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:44pm
post #8 of 13

In some fairness to LaBella, you can't imagine how many posts the "old timers" on here read where yet another person has just discovered cake decorating. IMO Wilton barely teaches you the basics, and absolutely nothing about the business end of the business.
And in reality the business end is probably 80% of what you will be doing.

Most of us who are in the professional end of this biz also understand that Wilton is geared toward the homemaker market. Their products are generally (not all, but generally) inferior in one way or another. It's a place to start, but it's a better place to be from.

If you're serious about staring your own biz, then I'd advise, after you've checked out *all* the legalities (more than just the local Health dept) to take some classes at a Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, or community college on business, accounting and taxes, marketing including internet marketing and of course sanitation.

You'll find a wealth of info here on CC, but be advised the Cake Decorating BUSINESS Forum is somewhat different than the other Forums. No sugar coating over here.

-Tubbs Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:54pm
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

...you can't imagine how many posts the "old timers" on here read where yet another person has just discovered cake decorating.



And I am continually impressed by the generosity with which you and many of the other 'old timers' trot out your useful and wise advice. thumbs_up.gif

Keylarg Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:35pm
post #10 of 13

Thanks K8...some good advice.
Let me clear a few things up here....
I didn't one day a month ago just start taking Wilton decorating classes and decide to start a business. As I mentioned in my first post, I attended culinary school and did get a lot of credits via baking, sanitization, cooking, prep etc. just didn't finish to get the degree.
The Wilton instructor I have, is a professional. Has a degree in Pastry, has had her own baking biz doing wedding cakes etc. I understand some instructors may not be that talented but mine is. I also have a background in art. Painting and drawing. So my creative abilities and talent are at least slightly above the average. I feel like the responses on this topic have been made from assumptions that are not accurate. As far as "old timers" being offended or tired of reading the "newbies" desire to start the business....well everyone started somewhere and it's a shame to think you "old timers" aren't more supportive and encouraging...rather you assume it's some home maker who is bored and just started in decorating.
Maybe this forum should be re-titled.... "For Experienced Cake Decorating Business Owners Only"..I don't know...maybe I'm being slightly sensative but I feel like some of you are trying to discourage rather than help...or maybe your concerned I'll tap into your market?! HAHAHAHAHA
Just kidding... icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 3:52pm
post #11 of 13

There's definitely a balance in responding to any topic. I always wanna be nice for the most part--I really screwed up once (that I know of) and I apologized.

I thought that you had been to culinary school counted some points.

But never do I want to ever be less than I should be--sometimes you gotta shoot straight ("You are standing where I'm about to shoot" said the recently converted Quaker) ~~~

There's a customer service principle we need to consider here.

It's called, 'checking your understanding'. Ask a question to offset the possibility of a) being wrong b) being wrong c) being wrong.
'To assume' makes an assout ofuandme. Old expression I learned in nurse's aid training like forever ago--was I ever 21? 37 years ago. icon_rolleyes.gif

mightydragon663 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:58pm
post #12 of 13

Jeeze-o-pete keylarg, don't get your panties in a wad. icon_biggrin.gif The folks here at CC are some of the nicest you'll ever talk to online. They have a lot of valuable advice and don't hesitate to share it with anyone who asks, regardless of experience.
We don't always like the answers to our questions, but it is still an opportunity to learn. icon_smile.gif
Welcome to CC. Glad to have you aboard thumbs_up.gif

Keylarg Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 5:09pm
post #13 of 13

Thanks mighty dragon! Appreciate the welcome! thumbs_up.gif

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