Hi all! I have a couple of questions for European cakers, specifically Italy if there are any (If I sound ignorant about my knowledge of the area, its because I am. lol my apologies)
So my husband is in the army, and we have been considering getting stationed overseas. If I'm right, I believe the area is Naples. I'm super excited, cuz I absolutely LOVE Italy......and it probably helps that I'm half Italian myself. lol. I still want to pursue my cake career no matter where we go. So here goes......
First, I am about a year from finishing my associate's degrees in business and accounting. Do they hold the same credibility in Europe as in America?
Also, how is the cake market in Europe? Is the "cake trend" as popular as it is here?
How would I go about attempting to start a business in Europe? I know Euros are worth more thank USD, but is everything as expensive as they are here? Are the laws similar? I've tried to look on the web, but a lot of stuff I can't really understand, because I don't know the language.
And lastly, do you have any advice at all for me moving from America to Europe? Like I said, I'm super excited, but overwhelmed all at the same time. I've never lived in another country much less one off the continent. But still, I really hope we do go, and I can't wait!
Sorry this is so long with so many questions. My mind is racing with so many more. LOL.
TIA for any help or advice!!
I don't live in Europe myself, but I've visited a few times and I mainly focus on making European-style baked goods,myself. I can't answer most of your questions, but I can tell you that European cakes are not the same kind as we have here in the US. You might find other ex-pats who would be very happy to find American-style cakes, but I honestly cannot see American style cakes being able to really compete with an Italian pasticceria.
I worked on a military base for 4.5 years (1+ in Naples! LOVED IT!! and the rest in Germany). There will be a market for cakes from other Americans. I had a bunch of friends who decorated cakes, and they were always selling them. (That's where I got into decorating!) I don't know that you could compete with off-base places, but if you stick to the Americans, you'll probably do well once you get your name out there. If you are are Army and going to Naples, that means you'll probably be on the NATO base, so you'll have a lot of different nationalities there. There is a Navy base there too, so you could get your name out there too.
I don't have any advice for starting the business off base, but you'll want to check with the base once you get there to see what the legalities are. You won't be able to ship stuff to your American APO box and then use it for a business, if you follow the rules. (The APO is a benefit, and it is not supposed to be used for profit. Same rules goes for pampered chef and other home-based business consultants. You could lose your box privileges, which you DO not want to do, as Italian mail is not the most reliable!)
Advice for moving overseas- find another military family who has done it and ask, ask, ask! They'll LOVE sharing, I'm sure! I wasn't military, so I didn't have the benefit of getting my house moved, but you should be assigned a sponsor who will help you too.
I hope you get to go!! Living in Europe was amazing, and I would love to do it again! Most of my friends felt the same way. The closest friends I've ever had, I made when I was in Naples. We were only there for 1 year together, but even now, 5 years later, we're very close. Feel free to ask any more questions!
Thank you so much for your replies!
I wonder what kind of baking do they do in Europe? I'd love to try some new stuff. I don't only love cakes, I love all baking. Of course, I doubt mine would compare to theirs, since theirs is authentic. But it probably would be fun.
shannon100- Wow! If it's even possible, I want to go so much more now! lol. I'm not in the military myself. I got out almost 2 years ago. DH is still in, and he's thinking about reenlisting to go over there. Where we are at now is definitely NOT the place to be. lol. Thanks so much for the advice! I definitely will be printing this thread out to remember. I don't think I'll have a problem selling only to Americans, even though having a place off base would be nice. The move is still in the brainstorming stage. We are still trying to wrap our minds around being so far from family. Plus we have 4 kids that live with us. I just looked up the tickets for all of us today, and it's over $1000 per person for a round trip ! lol. But we really want to go, and been saying it'd be a great vacation for family.
P.S. I told DH about what you said, and he's even more excited to go now too!! I guess whatever we do, I will find a way (legal of course) to make it work. Cake desiging is my dream and I really can't think of anything else I want to do.
Thanks so much again!
If you love making cakes and you're willing to learn new stuff I'm sure you can make it work. Italian baked goods and also their taste is different but think about what wonderful new recipes and cakes you can make up by combining old and new knowledge!
The itialians are very social and friendly people so don't limit you self to hanging out with only Americans and baking only for them.
There's a few italians here on CC so create a thread and ask for Italian cakers and their advice
Some links in english to cake sites:
Best of luck!
egensinnig- OMG I cannot thank you enough for those sites! Everytime I think about the possibility of us MOVING there, I get all giddy like a little girl. I've been askin DH if we can go there for a honeymoon (didn't have one the first time) for a renewal wedding. Maybe we will already be there!
I think it would be AWESOME to market to Italians. And I will DEFINITELY be hanging out with them. Like I said, I'm half Italian (other half is German and Indian is it weird I know that? lol) and I'd love to know more about that side of my heritage. My Italian side comes from my father's side. We don't know much about them except for they are WACKO (she said in a creepy singsongy voice lol). I've been beggin DH for the Rosetta Stone Italian thing, but he said now I probably won't need it.
I've been DYIN to get my hands on a good cannoli recipe! I think I'm going to have to try the ones on the website. And I'm a SUCKER for tiramisu! Hey, maybe I'll be a natural ! DH says I'm a natural Italian, cuz I can't stay away from the pasta. I LOVE LOVE LOVE chicken fettucine alfredo. One of the reasons losing weight is so difficult for me. lol. I have to cut out my pasta. lol. OK, I'm sorry. Now I'm just rambling.
Thanks SO much again! I get more and more excited by the minute. I don't think DH is going to be able to say no now with me getting my hopes up so high.
You could definitely live off base and still sell to Americans. If I remember correctly, European sweets in general aren't as sweet as ours, so you may have to try some different recipes to sell to non-Americans. (Again, though, you want to be really careful with the laws over there, especially selling to Italians. You don't want to get in trouble or get kicked out of the country. Not to scare you, but they can and will send a spouse home and leave the military member there to finish the assignment.) I highly recommend getting to know some Italians, especially some who can teach you some Italian recipes! I wish I would have met more. Living off base in Naples can be difficult though, so make sure you talk to your sponsor to get a good picture of what life is like there. (Lots of crime, Mafia landlords (not kidding!), trash strikes, lost electric payments, etc.) But you will experience more culture living off base. I always loved it when my landlord would drop by with fresh peaches or cherries he had grown.
They do have space-available flights that you and your family could try to get on. The rules are more inclusive for overseas-based families than state-side families, I think. you can fly without the military person, but it can be difficult to get on, especially with a large family. The COLA payments you receive will help with the money, too. We knew several people who moved over there to help them get ahead financially. You'll get a paycheck, Cost-of-living-allowance, housing, etc. You might even qualify for WIC, depending on how old the children are.
Keep us posted and let us know if you get to move there!! I'm starting to get jealous just thinking about Naples! haha
About Rosetta Stone, I think I've heard that military get a discount on it. (Don't know if that's correct, but worth looking into!) The library on base will probably have it too, or some state-side libraries offer it online, I've heard.
And here's some more sites regarding being an expa tin Italy:
I really hope you get to move there! I'm not italian and have not lived there but I have been travelling a lot all over the globe beause of my work. My DH grew up in different countries and his parents still work abroad and has done so for 30 years in different locations.
I LOVE Italy and hope to go there for a few months next year