I'm trying to figure out how to increase business, particularly wedding cake business, and was thinking of trying to contact caterers. Does anyone else work with or for caterers? What is the best approach? Are there other vendors to try to work with to increase wedding cake business like event planners? I've tried getting information out to receptions sites but that doesn't seem to be very effective. Any suggestions would great. I really want to get to a point where I'm doing cakes full time.
Maybe you could do a google search for caterers near you. Check out their sites and see if they do wedding cakes. If there are some that do not do cakes, only catering, speak with them. Perhaps you could make an appt to introduce yourself and share some samples of your cakes. Be prepared with your portfolio in hand.
I have recently started working with a wedding planner. She brings her brides to me for a consult & then I work with her & not the bride. Much less drama!!
Maybe your area has a group for wedding vendors, photographers, florists, cake designers etc. Good luck!!
Networking is great for business. You just have to put yourself in a position were you get to meet vendors, like a bridal show. Also things to think of when networking:
1) Get to know your vendors and really find info. about them. You do not want to reccomend someone to a client that may not be very good at what they do or are difficult to work with you. Want to be able to work with them, trust them, and have similiar work ethics.
2) NO ONE should want a kickback, PERIOD! Now, is it done sure. Is it the norm, not where I live it at. A planner should not want a percentage of your sales or charge you a fee for recommending a client to you. Nor should any reception hall. If a vendor wants to order a cake from you for resale, you charge your regular price. they will up the price to where they can make a profit. Don't take a cut.
Good luck and don't worry. You will get there.
You could also look for a networking group in your area. They are groups of professionals in different areas of business who work together for many different reasons including referring business to their group partners, charity work, etc. I belong to one that is category exclusive meaning that only one business from any business category can belong. I work for my family's restaurant and it has gotten us quite a bit of catering business as well as customers coming in to the restaurant. Most of them charge a small fee to join that is charged yearly. If you find one that has business partners in your similar areas of interest it could really be beneficial.
Occasionally I'll do a big google search of all the planners in my are and send them a note inviting them to a tasting.. I've also recently started contacting bridal shops and favor suppliers and offering to do cakes/cupcakes free of charge for thier big events like trunk shows etc. That gets my name out there directly to brides and they can see my work and taste it before they contact me. This has been a really good thing for me.... Also, I joined a group on m e e t u p . c o m to network with other wedding vendors... whenever I deliver a cake I try to meet all the other vendors like dj, florist, decor etc... and exchange cards or offer to link them on my site....
Bring samples and business cards to venues, planners, florists, caterers who don't offer a cake, etc. Brides often ask for a referral from other vendors. Do you have a website or somewhere they can view photos online? That helps alot. Also, look into any bridal shows that may be taking place in your area. Jan/Feb tends to have bridal shows along with Aug/Sept.