pattycakes55d Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 1:38am

would love to hear your opinions and advice. This is my first Valentines so I don't know what to expect and want to have time to prepare. I'm a home baker and not a store front.

1. I'm going to put together a small cookie/cake ball pics flyer and go to different businesses, etc. Was thinking to take maybe 1/2 dozen cakeballs and some small sample cookies too. What do you think?
2. I would like to market to the men as well - any ideas?
3. What kind of timelines do you have?
4. Generally, do customers want the cookies for the 14th or a few days beforehand as well?
5. Do you have all the cookies made for the 12th, get your customers to pick up on the 13th and stay at home and wait for pick ups on the 14th too?
6. Do customers pay in advance?
7. When do you usually start to advertise?
8. What other things do you do?

thank you so very much for your help.

27 replies
HeidiCrumbs Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 6:26pm

OMG, I could have written your exact post! I have been thinking the same things for the last week, actually, since the day after x-mas, lol. This is my first v-day too.

I am really curious how to get more men into my store - a tiny in-home bakery - for my dozen roses bouqets, without spending a bunch on $$ on newspaper advertising.

I hope some people reply to your post! Or we could just bounce ideas off of each other too.

Good luck to you!

indydebi Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 6:52pm

If you market to businesses, you are pretty much leaving a flyer for the secretary in charge of putting together office parties. Many businesses have a policy against posting ads on the break room bulletin board (a number of places I worked at had such policies) so the majority of the employees wouldn't know about your flyer that you left with the front desk person.

An angle to achieve that might be to offer a discount to "The Employees of XYZ Company". Some companies market those kinds of discounts as a benefit to their employees and would post that info on the breakroom bulletin board or company newsletter. I would suggest calling to see what their posting policy is w/ or w/o a discount. I've worked at companies where I got a discount at Pizza Hut, pharmacies, and other places just because I worked at my company.

This would cost a little more, but you might look into direct mail marketing. And don't just buy some random mailing list ... work with a direct mail marketer who can narrow down the mailing list to the demographics you're looking for. You'll find it's chepaer than you think.

Now is the time. It's only 6 weeks away. We all complain when Christmas stuff is out before Thanksgiving, but a lot of folks I know are thinking about and buying Christmas way before Thanksgiving anyway.

And on Feb 15th, this site will be buried in posts that are laughing about all of the people who waited until Feb 13th to try to order cookie bouquets! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif So get them to think about it early and order early.

I would encourage "pay at time of order" as a benefit to the customer. You know they will be busy on this very special day and when the order is paid in advance, ti's one less thing the customer has to think about. Just breeze in and pick it up! thumbs_up.gif

KHalstead Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 7:31pm

In my experience cookie bouqets are a hot seller!

Here are a few that I've done in the past........Generally I start getting the flyers out right after the new year and make sure they know they have to order and be paid in full by FEb. 1st (or whatever date works for you) to receive their bouquets on the 14th. Also, if you can deliver...let them know that this is an option, a lot of people love the idea of surprising their sweetheart at work with an edible bouquet!
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Lenette Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 8:13pm

I was just looking for a thread like this a couple days ago. It would be nice to get some orders since the first part of the year is so slow.

Uniqueask Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 8:32pm

Those cookie bouquets are beautiful, and this thread is a great idea, as it is my first Valentine's also, KHalstead, are your vases cake or are they real, and if you don't mind what will something like this go for,
Price wise.

CookieMeister Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 9:22pm

I've already got orders for Valentine's Day, and as hectic as Christmas was for me (my first time, and I still work a full time day job), I'm planning and doing as much as I can in advance!

KHalstead - are those just terra cotta pots that you've painted? I love the versatility! And terra cotta pots are inexpensive. What kind of paint do you use on them?

I'm going to estimate sales (which will really be a shot in the dark), but I plan on making as many "bases" for cookie bouquets as possible by January 31st, as well as bags with sticks. They'll be all over my spare room. icon_biggrin.gif

Starting February 1, will begin making and covering with fondant my cookies and freezing them. That way, I'll just be able to pull them out, put the royal icing details on them and they'll be ready to go.

CookieMeister Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 9:23pm

Oh, and a reminder - Valentine's is actually on Sunday this year, so expect a lot of requests for cookie bouquets to workplaces on the Friday before.

indydebi Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 9:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieMeister

Oh, and a reminder - Valentine's is actually on Sunday this year, so expect a lot of requests for cookie bouquets to workplaces on the Friday before.


Oh, that's an excellent point!

greengyrl26 Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 9:54pm

This is my first Valentine's Day too, and I really have no idea what to expect!!! I don't really specialize in cookies (yet). Do you get many cake orders?

pattycakes55d Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 11:37pm

somehow I didn't even get notification anyone replied - I am so relieved.

Good point about Valentines being on Sunday. I think there will be a mix of orders for both Fri/Sat.

The terra cotta planter is a super idea and it has a double purpose afterwards. I'd like to know more about the containers too.

Indydebi, you are a smart businesswoman!! What's in it for them is exactly it. My concern was not getting past the receptionist as well, that's why the samples with business cards attached. The discount idea is great.

When I worked in offices, we used to have salespeople selling cookbooks and others selling almond bark and they went to all the offices in a bldg, left the product and flyer and kept in contact for orders. Go where the people have money to spend.

Get the company business card and contact person's name and follow up. I think it's important to develop rapport in that short time as well.

Wear something professional and wear an apron if we have one. It creates curiosity and interest. If we can wear a heart too. This is more of an indirect way of selling, so percentages would be only 1-2%. Remember though, we now have contacts that we can use for other occasions too.

It's of course better if it can be one to one contact. For instance, people will notice us in elevators or walking down the street and be curious. that's when we talk it up, hand them a flyer and those around them. I'm kind of bold so I would also go to the food courts at lunch time and stop people and give them one. Have flyers with us at all times and wherever we go, hand them out - grocery stores, people in the mall (have to be careful about that one I think), etc. What about nurses, our fav dentist/dr's offices? Bring some order forms cause we never know.

If we have clients that we're friendly with, ask them to take it around to others in their office and the client would get a discount if people order. There are lots of ideas.

I used to work in the English as a Second language industry and there are all those international students, some of which have never experienced Valentines before. They always stand outside the school, so there's another idea. Make sure you give a couple of those who speak good English lol.

Like the idea of discount to office - what about a free bouquet to the contact person. Their bouquet becomes larger as sales do. Have a cut off point though. Good motivation. good idea or not?

I still want to focus on the men - there are no rules about handing out flyers in front of the office bldg at lunchtime, so maybe that's an option. Also how about places men go like Office Depot, Staples, computer stores, real estate offices - the list is endless. Need to keep track of time management though.

Sorry to be so longwinded. This might get us thinking of other places to go and if we can think of others, let's post them here and help each other, yes?

pattycakes55d Posted 29 Dec 2009 , 11:59pm

forgot to ask something - KHalstead, those are great pics and I'd love to know the size of the pots and how you made them too and what we could charge for them. Do you mind sharing your experience with flyers, ie. where did you distribute your flyers, how you got to the people directly and what we might expect about sales volumes.

CookieMeister = I like your timeline. I saw a thread somewhere about putting sticks on the outside of the bag. If you have time, would you mind sharing how to do it? Also, would you mind sharing your experience with flyers, etc.

I'd also love to know what others think = to deliver (and if so, how you do it) or not.

It seems that you are helping a lot of us who have never done this before and I'm extremely grateful for your generosity and support.

CookieMeister Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakes55d

CookieMeister = I like your timeline. I saw a thread somewhere about putting sticks on the outside of the bag. If you have time, would you mind sharing how to do it? Also, would you mind sharing your experience with flyers, etc.




Check out this post:
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-619564.html

I don't have a lot of flyer experience; I made one that was on my facebook page and website for Christmas in PDF format, but I'm very new to this; I just started in October.

KHalstead Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 9:51pm

sorry guys, didn't get a thingy saying anyone responded.

The pots are just terra cotta pots from the craft store, they were under $1.00 each and I just used some masking tape and taped off stripes, painted the lighter color...then peeled it off and painted in the brown stripes. The pink and black ones were free form painted and the one with flowers was sold as is at the Dollar Tree (love that place)

I never pay more than $1.00 for my containers!

my prices are as follows

The number of cookies in each arrangement will vary with the size of the cookie, a couple small cookies may replace one reg. sized cookie in order to complete a specific design.

*note-number of cookies in each arrangement is approximate.

small cookie bouquet (3 cookies) $15.00
medium cookie bouquet (5 cookies) $25.00
large cookie bouquet (10 cookies) $40.00
x-large cookie bouquet (15 cookies) $50.00

KHalstead Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 9:57pm

as for flyers, I email one to every person that has registered on my website, along with every past customer I've ever had lol I also can get a flyer into my local paper for a weekend run for $30.00 if I supply the flyers. They stick it in Fri, Sat, and Sun. paper along with all the "junk" that goes in the center (store ads, etc.) I will also hang them up on local bulletin boards where allowed (community center, etc.) HTH

Those containers were 6" wide at the top pots for the big ones
The smaller ones were 4" pots. The 6" ones were tall though. You can get shorter 6" pots. Also, you can't really tell in the photo, but as a filler around the sticks I used Valentine's M&M's......everyone LOVED that!

HeidiCrumbs Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 11:19pm

I love all of the replies!

I "glue" my sticks onto the back of the cookie with a super thick RI. That way they are flat for decorating but I don't have the movement that comes with taping the stick to the bag. That method never worked for me.

Also, these are my prices, just for an FYI:

7 cookie boquet = $40
9 cookie boquet = $50
12 cookie boquet = $65

What shapes are you all planning on doing? I never know what to do with a heart with the RI, but I have a "love" cutter, some flowers, roses of course, what am I missing?

How do you thing something like tools or beer mug cookies would be for a woman to get a man? Would that even sell?

sadsmile Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 11:47pm

I would think a couple hearts and a beer mug with an I Love You Beery Much! would be pretty punny. Look at the trendy stuff with swirls and designs. Dollar store for containers. Hard foam inside for the sticks to stick into. Sounds like you are off to a great start.

CookieMeister Posted 31 Dec 2009 , 2:28am

Question on the bouquets everyone - what type of foam are you using in the containers? I'm not having the best results with floral foam.

pattycakes55d Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 10:47am

sorry, didn't get a note saying anyone replied.

I'm just thinking what kind of cookies/bouquets I want too. I thought a mix of styles would appeal to more people. I'm hitting some of the young business crowds so maybe a sexy his or hers bouquet with lingerie made with the heart cutter, bras/panties, lips, some boxers for the guys. Maybe another one with a couple lips and heart saying sealed with a kiss.

Maybe another one with conversation hearts with luv, cutie pie, be true, etc. Then I saw two bouquets, one with two chili peppers and a heart saying ur hot and the other one with a martini glass and two hearts, one saying the perfect mix and the other you & me. Not sure about those yet.

I like the one with the envelope with a heart/hearts coming out, a couple of lips, and two hearts with the two people's names.

I want to maximize sales, so I was thinking of one large and two small cookies in a package and maybe some hershey kisses. I'm going to sell cake balls/truffles too.

What do you think of those ideas?

pattycakes55d Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 10:49am

about the foam - just using the cheap grainy one and wrapping it in plastic or saran.

FleurDeCake Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 11:04am

i love you people i can always come here and learn . Thank you all so much

Mensch Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 11:23am

Honestly, Khalstead, those are some of the best-looking cookie bouquets I have ever seen. I think, for all the work you do with painting your pots, etc, that your prices are way too low.

pattycakes55d Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 5:23am

I am wondering whether everyone sells only cookie bouquets or individuals as well?

haileysmommy Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 5:28am

i was thinking that also tonight. i had some extra cookies tonight so i will make a bouquet over the weekend and start showing it to everyone.

CookieMeister Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 5:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakes55d

I am wondering whether everyone sells only cookie bouquets or individuals as well?



I don't sell individual cookies per se; my minimum is one dozen. I individually wrap them, or basket them, for an upcharge from my normal prices.

sugarspice Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 7:10pm

Khalstead-The boquets are lovely!! Very polished. I think your prices need a bump up. It must be time consuming to paint the pots-very clever idea! thumbs_up.gif

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