Bozilla_Cakes Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 10:30pm
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I would like some advice on how/where to market yourself for wedding cakes. I had a vineyard down the road from me ask for a book of work to show their brides.

Would it be a good idea to make several other books and take them to various wedding event locations around me? I know of at least three within 10-15 miles of me.

I also have an ad on a big local wedding blog. Are there any other techniques y'all have used to get your name out there for wedding cake?

Any information is appreciated!!

36 replies
Janran Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 11:39pm
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Hi Bozilla_Cakes!

It is always a good idea to network with other wedding related companies, keep in mind most local cake decorators are NOT doing that and so it will definitely grow your business. My husband is very good with internet marketing and I will Private Message you some more information on that.

costumeczar Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 1:51am
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Definitely get to know the reception locations around you, personal referrals will always be the best advertising. You have to have a website, that's non-negotiable these days. I get most of my business through word-of-mouth and my website. The print ads that I do are limited to the local wedding guides that get handed out at bridal shows and bridal shops, since they get a lot of exposure and also have links to my site from theirs included in the cost of the ad.

leah_s Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 2:57am
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At your prices, I can't imagine you're not just swamped with orders!!

costumeczar Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 3:18am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

At your prices, I can't imagine you're not just swamped with orders!!




I went to see what Leah_s was talking about, and everything was okay until I got past the deposit and delivery fee amounts. Then I saw the price for butttercream and I said "What the He**" out loud! Waaaaay too low! icon_eek.gif

jenmat Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 5:16am
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OMG! Even "I" almost wet myself when I saw your pricing. How are you making money girl???

Mensch Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 5:17am
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She's not. She's actually paying people to take those cakes off her hands.

cakesdivine Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 12:45pm
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If you look at her site the cakes don't seem consistant. All the sheet cakes and some of the other occasion cakes look like an amature decorator did them, and then the wedding cakes are spectacular. Really odd.

minicuppie Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 1:58pm
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Spicewood! I have been camping there a few times. (the place with the HUGE wind chimes and spring fed swimming pool) You are just west of Austin, and Austin has lots of bakers and many talented decorators. Maybe you could work on updating your site pix. Your gallery is difficult to use, I also expect to see a section for just wedding cakes. BTB in your area are going to go straight for a web site and expect to see professional cakes on the lines of Boss, Weinstock, Confetti, you get the idea. Be sure to enter a cake (preferably wedding) in That Takes the Cake (Crockett Center, last weekend in Feb) as lots of BTB's attend functions of this sort as much as formal Bridal Shows.
* The OP's have a point...your prices are way too low. People will wonder what they are getting..
**CD...I didn't notice any pix that really blew me away, more like the normal skill improvement over time.

Niliquely Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 2:34pm

Yes, the comment about her skill level was kind of unncessary - I know I have progressed a lot from cakes I did two years ago. And the pricing comments? Maybe she's too low, maybe not. Its her business - if she asks for help with her pricing then help her, otherwise don't let it ruffle your feathers.

cakedecorating101 Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 2:35pm

Hi Bozilla_Cakes,

I've just joined up today and saw your post. Yes you're certainly on the right track and good to see you're being pro-active.

I'd recommend making contact with as many people in related wedding industry areas such as wedding venues, florists, photographers, bridal shops, jewellry stores.

You could offer them a voucher with a certain discount to give to their best clients. You could also offer to take their vouchers and to give them to your clients. That way everyone is helping everyone else with their marketing efforts.

Best of luck with your marketing.

Sigrid
http://cakedecoratingprofits.weebly.com

Bozilla_Cakes Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 2:52pm

Thank you to those of you with positive, constructive feedback. That is appreicated and I will make an effort to follow your advice.

To the rest.....The bakery is in a town with no other bakery, I am it. And the closest city only has two bakeries that advertise. My prices are the way they are because of the area I am in and my overhead (which is very low). When/if I move close to Austin at a later point, I will absolutely raise my prices to be more competitive with other bakeries. But I also don't have years of wedding decorating experience. So a bride that wants an outrageous cake that she is willing to spend $850 on for buttercream is not the business I am ready for right now. And I know I'm not. I would like to service brides that are on a budget and want a nice cake that tastes good for a decent price. Isn't it better for me to know my limits than try and do something that I am not completely confident about? If I don't start somewhere, how am I suppose to learn and get better?

Again, the few that did answer the question that I posed, I truly appreciate your info and advice. Thank you.

Niliquely Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 3:08pm

Bravo Bozilla!

costumeczar Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 3:25pm

Bozilla, I still think that you're WAY underselling yourself and underpricing yourself, but if that's what you want to do then go right ahead. I don't understand it, but that's totally up to you. You can always tell brides that you're not comfortable doing certain designs, if you don't think that you can do them, but I don't see why you wouldn't want to get paid a fair wage for your work. To each her own.

Bozilla_Cakes Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 5:32pm

It seems like this thread is becoming all about my prices instead of about my help with advertising......so I will address the price problem more to help clear that up....

From my understanding, prices vary from state to state and sometimes city to city. So when working on my prices, I looked at the closest bakery in the area to help guide me. I am very, very new to wedding cakes. I did research around the area (many bakeries are hesitant to give price information to another bakery unless you really are ordering a cake) and looked at prices of as many wedding cake places as I could that had information posted online. Then I took into account how long they had been in business and their skill level as no one can walk into this business being a perfect decorator. So based on that criteria and my location, I thought my prices were fair.
I would like to hear what y'all think my prices should be though

I am really surprised at some of the comments here. I am not years deep in this yet nor have I had a bunch of wedding cake orders. Is there another way I should be going about this? It seems that some people just want to criticize without providing me a better way of doing things. Which becomes hurtful and unproductive instead of helpful. I will be more careful next time I post a question here. Sorry none of my pics blew you away minicuppie....

Loucinda Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 7:15pm

Bozilla - You are the only one that can decide what your cakes should be sold at. If you are comfortable with your pricing, then don't fret! icon_wink.gif

One thing that I did when I first started out, was that if I took an order for something I had never done, I would tell them I was giving them a discount on that order for that reason. That way, after I DID the technique, I could then sell it for a higher price without folks complaining that I "raised" my prices.

Another thing I did was that I was always practicing. Get a couple of dummies and have at it! You can take pics of them for your portfolio and get some practice in at the same time!

I had a hard time with pricing at first too, you have to be able to price your goods to make a profit. You have done your homework on what others charge - just make sure you are adding up all it takes for you to make a cake and don't forget to pay yourself too!

cai0311 Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 8:00pm

Bozilla - I would recommend taking off all the pictures of sheet cakes on your website. Your wedding cakes look really nice, but the pictures of your sheet cakes are not quite at the same level. You want your best pictures on your website, because people will form opinions about your skill level based off the pictures.

I also noticed on the Wedding Cakes page, cupcakes start at $2.00/cupcake but on the Flavors/FAQ page cupcakes start at $1.75/cupcake. Maybe I read it wrong, but I don't think so.

Ask the local vineyard if they will keep brochures on hand/display of your cakes for potential brides. You can have them printed for free at Vistaprint.com. They are a nice quality brochure. Everytime you set up a cake at a venue ask the person in charge there if they will do the same. Sometimes I see the photographer taking pictures of the reception area before the guests arrive. Make sure to have a couple business cards (I get those from Vistaprint.com also) on hand to pass out/trade with them. Same with caterer setting up food, florist setting up center pieces, DJ setting up sound...

costumeczar Posted 16 Feb 2010 , 11:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda



One thing that I did when I first started out, was that if I took an order for something I had never done, I would tell them I was giving them a discount on that order for that reason. That way, after I DID the technique, I could then sell it for a higher price without folks complaining that I "raised" my prices.




That's a good idea, that way if you're not sure about something you can let them know, and if they get a discount they're not likely to protest!

I'd raise your prices to at least $2.50 a serving for buttercream and $3.50 for fondant, which I think is still too low, but might be on the high end of what you'd be comfortable with. Then if you want to add a discount for some reason you can without losing too much money overall. Maybe a teacher/police/firefighter/military discount, some people do that kind of thing.

I don't think that you should do your pricing based on how long you've been in business, you should base it on the quality of your final product. If you can do the cake, you should be paid for your work whether you've been in business for a week or two years. As long as the photos on your website represent what you can do, you'll be fine because people who see you photos will have an idea of the style of cakes that you do before they decide to hire you.

A lot of people think that they can't charge market prices because they've just started out, but that's a mistake because you'll have a lot of trouble raising your prices if your clients get used to rock bottom pricing. They'll also tend to spread the word that you're the "cheap" baker, and that's not necessarily a good reputation to have icon_rolleyes.gif

sari66 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:40am

Welcome Bozilla! A good way to get it out there is to sign up for every free site you can find. Google free wedding cakes sites and you should get plenty of listings then when btb in your area are looking they'll find you.
Good luck.

Janran Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:53am

You can also search on Google for local sites that you can put your company info on, this will help get local customers. Sometimes they are free but other times they want a yearly fee......not sure if it's worth the yearly fee though....

cakesdivine Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:21am

My point is that why would someone put on their website, which is your main advertising tool, cakes that don't show your best work? I have photos of the cakes I did when I first started 25 years ago, and I never would post those as representative works of my ability ESPECIALLY if my other work is distinctively stellar in comparison. It doesn't make sense.

jenmat Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:06am

hun, i learned this right away- you post in the business forum, you're gonna it all- good and bad, and TRUST me, even the bad will be good for you.
Its great that a vineyard wants your info. However, any venue who sees pricing that low will either do one of two things- scare the venues off, or help them take advantage of you.
HOWEVER, also speaking from experience, I too have done my research in pricing, and if you really feel comfortable where you're at, then great, good for you.
Do the dummies, get nice brochures and pass them out with cake samples.
Good luck to you!

kickasscakes Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:18am

it saddens me to see the low blow comment on here.

LaBellaFlor Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:51am

Welcome to the Business Forum. No low blows intended, but a lot of blunt honesty. And I agree, show case your best work only. Stellar weddings cakes, next to not so stellar sheet cakes can be confusing to a customer and may cause them to question your ability...which I am not doing. Just stating the obvious.

Bozilla_Cakes Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:05pm

Thanks to everyone for their great info. I took the advice and removed the sheet cake pics and a couple others that I thought weren't up to par. So the pics that are left are the wedding cakes, cupcakes, and some of the 2D/3D cakes.

Prices have been changed!!! I changed my buttercream price to start at 2.00 and fondant to start at 3.10. I am comfortable with those prices, and very much more in-line with other bakeries. And the 2.00 pricetag would only be for a plain buttercream cake with a ribbon accent. Any other piping or accents, the price goes up. And the 3.10 fondant pricetag would literally be a fondant covered cake and flowers if they provide them.

So, I was thinking about it last night, and I get why I need to raise my prices, not only for myself but for the entire wedding cake business. I don't want to be apart of cheapening it and I see now that having prices that low will do that. If people think they can pay that, they will begin to expect it and we need to keep them paying what the cakes are worth. I need to have a stronger view of what I'm worth...not just for me, but for everyone else.

Loucinda - that was great advice regarding a technique I havent done, give a discount for that time only so that way later I can charge more for it. I will keep that in mind. Thank you.

I have researched venues in the area and have a top five that I will make appts with in the next week or so to meet with and give my book to.

cakesdivine Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:40pm

Good for you Bozilla! icon_smile.gif Those are very positive steps in becoming successful in this business! Sometimes we need to be shaken to see what others see. I am pretty blunt at times, and here on CC we have had instances in the past with posers that come on here, basically to troll. They will post photos of mix matched ability work, only for us to find out later the low ability cakes were their personal work, and the stellar cakes in their photo galleries were taken from other people's websites or stock photos from online printing companies or print shop applications. Glad to see that you are on the up & up! Good Luck with your venture!

julzs71 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 3:31pm

I would bring a six inch cake, flyer, business cards and your book to show them.

Loucinda Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 3:39pm

Good luck Bozilla - you are on the right track! icon_smile.gif

ladybug76 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:00pm

I agree with julzs.... I bring cupcakes to all my vendors to help sweeten the deal!!! Not only are you showing them how yummy your cakes are when referring brides, but the office staff try them out as well - opportunity for more orders!! I can't tell you how many new customers I receive by dropping off cupcakes to the office staff, my children's daycare, etc.
You may also have these advertising tools... but my "mom-mobile" has a vinyl cling with my name and website. Advertising on wheels. Also, I have a FB fan page. You can look through the engagement announcement in your paper, search FB (or MySpace) for the brides and send them a recommendation to look over your page. FREE!!!
Best wishes!!
~Jaime

FromScratch Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:17pm

Wow... I must give you a round of applause. I saw things start to get defensive (and anyone would feel that way in your shoes... it's not easy to hear some of the things that have been thrown around... even if they were meant with the best of intentions) and then the light went off. You took constructive criticism and used it to better yourself. So many times it goes the other way with people getting offended and it is great to see people have that "wait a minute... I *am* worth more" moment.

I think you are on the right track. Vista print has free printing options, and if you can spare some money, you can have porfolio books made up at Snapfish or Blurb (my first choice) and they will look very professional. If you are worried about not having enough pictures get yourself some dummy cakes and make some new designs. You can make one up that is plain with just ribbon and take a picture and then add some flowers and take another picture and then add some scroll work and take another picture... before you know it you'll have a bunch of pictures ready to go.

It might sound corny, but I'm proud of you. Baby steps, and before you know it you'll be on the top of your game. icon_smile.gif

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