I live in california, and i'm very much so interested in opening my own bakery. The only thing is that i don't have the first idea where to start. I've made cake's and cupcake's for my friend's and family, and having my own bakery is something that i'd like to do. I'm not sure if i need some kind of culinary license or what...all i know is that i love baking, and im pretty good at it. Does anyone have any advice for me?\\
Check with your agricultural dept to see what you need for licensing. Decorate a lot of cakes for practice and even working for someone else in their bakery would give you a really good idea of what it takes. Take classes, check into the closest ICES chapter. You should meet lots of wonderful people there and some might be willing to mentor.
write a business plan. run the numbers. it will probably cost way more than you think. Your local SBA or SBDC (Sm. Biz Devlp Ctr) can help you get started on the plan.
Yes, definitely write a detailed biz plan. You might scroll around here on the Biz Forum. There have been a few of these these lately and they're full of good info. And not to sound mean or cranky, but if you're asking whether or not you need a license of some sort, then you haven't even begun to do research in your local area. There's business licenses, tax registration, zoning, insurance, and food service licensing, classes to take, etc, etc. We're from all over the world on here. It's up to you to find out your local regulations.
How long have you been doing cakes? Something to consider is that running a bakery is no where near anything like enjoying to bake for friends and family.
With a bakery you are up early, up late, and working every weekend on cakes. You also have to make sure you do enough cakes to pay the bills and put money back into the business.
Owning a bakery isn't a 9-5 Monday-Friday job. You may find yourself working double the hours that you would if you had a regular 40 hour a week job.
There are so many things to consider and Debi and Leah gave you some good places to start.
Listen to the pros!
familiarize yourself with the search function in these forums
I can't tell you how many times various topis have been covered. You could probably find just about everything you need already in here.
A few search suggestions:
bridezillas (some are pretty funny)
customer complaints (good what to do/not to do)
I'd also suggest contacting your local health dept and asking some questions. Do it multiple times to get the variety of answers you can expect.
I applaude your enthusiasm and can appreicate your excitement to move forward. The reality is that there are tons of things to start working on, location, insurance, staffing, developing your skill, developing your reportoire of product, marketing, etc. Like someone else posted, running a bakery sometimes is less about the creation of cakes as it is the running of all these details so take a step back and think about what you love to do, working for someone else may give you the creative outlet you need without all the responsibility of owning your own business
Frequent successful bakeries in your area. Be honest about what you want to do and you may be surprised how much of a "feel" for the business these bakers will share. That said, if you walk in and the place is full of customers and the employees are wicked busy, just smile, purchase something and come back later. OP had good advice also, join a cake club in your area, take lessons...these are good places to "pick" someone's brain.
I suggest getting a job working in a bakery, even if it's just part-time so that you can experience what it's really like to work in the industry before sinking your money into a place. Enjoying making cakes for friends and family is an entirely different experience from working in a bakery, like comparing apples to toothpicks.