Wedding Shows-Samples Or Not ?

Business By sugarsugargal Updated 22 Apr 2010 , 2:03pm by tarheelgirl

sugarsugargal Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 8:47am
post #1 of 24

Hello lovely cakers !
I am doing my first show in a couple of weeks, its quite a big one and I have been working like a trojan to get ready for it !

I am really undecided on the whole sample thing tho and would love some feedback from you guys....here are my thoughts . . .

Initially i as going to provide cake samples of some description, now I am not so sure, the amout of work I would go to, to make enough samples for the 2 day event, would be quite immense . .. and i am thinking that with my display cakes, people will know if they like my work and would a small cake sample really seal the deal ?
Would it really make that much of a difference ? I am going to suggest to any "serious" enquirers that they book a tasting with me one to one and then we can go from there . . .i just envisage lots of work baking beforehand and people eating my cake that really have no intention of taking it any further . . .just out for some freebies . . . am I too cynical, do I have this all wrong ?

Your thoughts please ?

x

23 replies
PieceofCakeAZ Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 10:00am
post #2 of 24

IMO samples are a must if you are doing a show. Yes it's a lot of work and yes you will get brides that have already booked cakes elsewhere just wanting to eat free cake.

The alternative is that the 6 other cake companies (just a guess) that are exhibiting all do nice work and have samples. If you were a bride and you found 3 places that did nice work and all had tasty samples, would you even call a 4th person that did nice work but had nothing for you to try?

We're living in a age where people are used to getting information immediately and it is in your best interest to give the each bride everything they need to know to draw the immediate conclusion that they would have to be an absolute fool to get their wedding cake from anyone but you.

In general when purchasing a cake there are 3 basic things that people want to know: How does it look? How does it taste? How much does it cost? If they can find out that info from all the cake shops at the show except for you, I would anticipate that you won't be pleased with the post show response.

Best of luck!

sugarsugargal Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 10:18am
post #3 of 24

interesting food for thought (!) thanks for replyling in detail appreciate it !

dess1023 Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 10:33am
post #4 of 24

I don't have a cake business so this is a custumer opinion.
As a custumer I would be there with my note pad and make a list of 3 things
1. Do I like her/him
2. Do I like the design
3. Do I like the taste

if I can't answer #3 then you are not going to be on my list at all.
But that's just me.

Himee Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 11:13am
post #5 of 24

I agree with everyone so far but my list is a little different

1. Do they have their act together? ( harsh but if it looks like you are not taking it serious Im not taking you serious)
2. How do their cakes look?
3. Do they seem like a person who will for the most part give me a cake I want or not?
4. Taste taste taste, it has to taste good and for me booking a tasting is not gonna help me when I can get samples there and if not I dont wanna wait a week and forget what others I liked or didnt, does that make sense?

Customers are pretty much spoiled these days and want instant gratification, so why hurt yourself in the long run. It will def be worth all that work. thumbs_up.gif

susiekoos Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 11:16am
post #6 of 24

I always serve cake samples at bridal shows. Brides expect it and it's a perfect way to get them to remember you and your yummy cake. I have used small 6oz containers that I prepared before hand to give out samples. It's super easy to hand out and they can eat it right then or take it home for later to share with the groom. I wish you good luck at your show !

dalis4joe Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 11:36am
post #7 of 24

I just did one yesterday in and there were only 3 cake vendors (me and 2 others)... I spent hours/days working on this show.... baking sheets of cakes (3 flavors) packing in lidded little containers, icing...labeling.... everything.... we took 5 dummy cakes plus all these gumpaste flowers to display... and literature... bus. cards.. hand sanitizer.... etc..

When we got there... one of the vendors had a full size baking sheet with just pieces of 1/2x1/2x1/2 of cake... no icing... the cake wasn't even covered so everyone was breathing in all the cake pieces... 1 dummy cake

the other one had cupcakes... not the regular size or the mini cupcakes (which I think are more appropiate) but the jumbo cupcakes... no dummy cakes

You saw the cupcakes all througout the venue left half eaten or just with a bite... not sure if 'cause of the flavor, i think it was cause it was too big...

PS.... dress proffesional... always stand...always smile...

well... everyone told us that we had the best presentation and quite a few liked our product best (I know that the fact that we do everything from scratch, even bc and fondant, cake, etc, had to do with the statement made y most) but I feel that the one with the baking sheet with cake pieces... well when cake is exposed to air without any bc or fondant, u know it gets hard on top, so thats one factor... no icing on a tasting for your wedding... no good... a cake without icing is like a PB&J without Jelly... and the jumbo cupcakes had no dummy cakes...

So... tedious work... sleepless nights.... going the extra mile... preparing for a bridal show even though it will be a very long process... is all worth it... we got great reviews... even from the staff... the other vendors... and mostly the brides...

We spent hoursand days... but it was all worth it... the reaction we got was overwhelming!

So, I say to you my fellow CC'er... GET TO CAKIN!!! icon_smile.gif

Auntie_RaRa Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 11:37am
post #8 of 24

I've always provided samples at the shows I've done. I 110% agree with other posters regarding brides making some initial decisions at these shows..fair or not they do. I've actually had brides tell me they have some type of system at these shows to filter out vendors. There is a "not" bag and "definitely follow up" bag. Because they are getting so much literature from vendors, they place you info in one of the bags. For the amount of time, money and preparation you are doing, you want to do all you can to get your information in the "follow up bag". Good luck!

KHalstead Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:15pm
post #9 of 24

I would have to say YES to the samples.
I had 2 tasting/consultations last week from 2 separate brides who attended a "wedding show" that they paid $100/each to attend. They tasted samples and they said EVERY single persons cake was terrible!

The one girl said that she had already written a check out for the full amount of her wedding cake for one baker after seeing photos online of her work, and knowing she'd be at the wedding show, she was prepared to book with her on the spot, but she said her cake samples were aweful!!

Taste is VERY important when paying hundreds or even thousands for a cake!

Amber0508 Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:23pm
post #10 of 24

This is such helpful advice, thanks! I'm new to the business, haven't done a show yet, but will tuck this away for the future!

Jenn2179 Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:30pm
post #11 of 24

My samples given out at shows have been one of the most important things. I packaged mine in the little cups with labels so the brides could take them home if they wanted. I think the samples are JUST as important as the display.

Amber0508 Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:44pm
post #12 of 24

What kinds of cups are you guys using? And where do you get them?

Auntie_RaRa Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:50pm
post #13 of 24

I use 2 oz cups that I get from GFS (Gordon Food Service). I'm sure there are other places that carry them. I also, add my contact info with cake flavor on top a label I put on the cups.

Something else to think about, you might have brides coming from out of town attending your show. I've had a few brides who were from out of town visiting and book with me based on the cake samples at the show. We got the detail done via email and didn't need to have a consultation!

indydebi Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 12:58pm
post #14 of 24

definitely yes on the samples. And check the show rules. I've seen shows that REQUIRE any caterers and cake people to provide samples. This actually ticks me off because if a caterer HAS to provide free food, then why do I, as a caterer, HAVE to pay the same booth price as the tux folks who just plop a dummy with a suit of clothes on a table and they're done? Or the same price as the photog who lays out a photo album and he's done?

But I digress... icon_rolleyes.gif

yes, on the samples. Just a bite is sufficient. I, too, was at a show when another baker gave out regular cupcakes and most of them were in the trash due to size.

cylstrial Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 1:02pm
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

I just did one yesterday in and there were only 3 cake vendors (me and 2 others)... I spent hours/days working on this show.... baking sheets of cakes (3 flavors) packing in lidded little containers, icing...labeling.... everything.... we took 5 dummy cakes plus all these gumpaste flowers to display... and literature... bus. cards.. hand sanitizer.... etc..

When we got there... one of the vendors had a full size baking sheet with just pieces of 1/2x1/2x1/2 of cake... no icing... the cake wasn't even covered so everyone was breathing in all the cake pieces... 1 dummy cake

the other one had cupcakes... not the regular size or the mini cupcakes (which I think are more appropiate) but the jumbo cupcakes... no dummy cakes

You saw the cupcakes all througout the venue left half eaten or just with a bite... not sure if 'cause of the flavor, i think it was cause it was too big...

PS.... dress proffesional... always stand...always smile...

well... everyone told us that we had the best presentation and quite a few liked our product best (I know that the fact that we do everything from scratch, even bc and fondant, cake, etc, had to do with the statement made y most) but I feel that the one with the baking sheet with cake pieces... well when cake is exposed to air without any bc or fondant, u know it gets hard on top, so thats one factor... no icing on a tasting for your wedding... no good... a cake without icing is like a PB&J without Jelly... and the jumbo cupcakes had no dummy cakes...

So... tedious work... sleepless nights.... going the extra mile... preparing for a bridal show even though it will be a very long process... is all worth it... we got great reviews... even from the staff... the other vendors... and mostly the brides...

We spent hoursand days... but it was all worth it... the reaction we got was overwhelming!

So, I say to you my fellow CC'er... GET TO CAKIN!!! icon_smile.gif





To the OP - after hearing this, there is no doubt that you should make some mini cupcaks for the brides to be!

rowingmom Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 1:12pm
post #16 of 24

I just recently did my first bridal show and I provided cake samples in the plastic cups with lids. It was a lot of work,but it sold my cakes. People remembered me because my samples tasted better that all the rest of the of the cake exhibiters. I booked jobs because of it. Yes it is necessary. Having samples ready and labeled before hand also gave me more time to talk to the brides and not be worrying about serving. Good luck

bobwonderbuns Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 1:17pm
post #17 of 24

Definitely go with samples.

sugarsugargal Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 1:24pm
post #18 of 24

This is all really helpful-and unanimous icon_wink.gif thanks all so much for your detailed replies . . .best get bakin icon_wink.gif

cai0311 Posted 19 Apr 2010 , 2:05pm
post #19 of 24

I participated in my first bridal show 2 months ago. I didn't want to bother with little cups and lids. Instead, I made 3 11 x 15 sheet cakes. One was yellow cake with buttercream filling, the second was strawberry cake with pineapple filling and the third was chocolate cake with mocha buttercream filling and toffee bits mixed in the filling. I then covered half the cakes with fondant (I use Fondarific fondant and it tastes great) and left half iced in buttercream. This way the brides could choose the cake flavor and type of icing. I cut the cakes into 1 x 1 slices and put a tooth pick through each sample. I also didn't put a sign up and had the favor combos on it. This forced the brides to talk to me - which means they are more likely to remember you.

Plus, fondant has gotten a bad reputation over the years for tasting bad. But there are so many different brands or ways to make your own that taste good. About 60% of the people that stopped at my table said "oh, I don't like fondant" but after trying the sample all of them said "wow, that is actually good". There was one other cake vendor there and he did not use fondant at all. In fact, he had a sign up saying he didn't use fondant becuase it tasted bad. I felt like I had a "one up" on him because I could prove him wrong right then and there.

I booked my first bride from the show yesterday. She is having cupcakes and wants them covered in fondant. She specifically said "I liked the taste of your fondant at the show". It will be my biggest order to date - 300 guests.

There will be other cake vendors at the show. You will lose brides to them if you do not have samples. When it comes to cake, there are two main factors - appearance and TASTE. I doubt I would even a book a consultation with a bakery that didn't have samples at a show. Why waste my time and their time when I tried and liked a different bakeries cake at the show.

ladyonzlake Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 4:03am
post #20 of 24

I too was wondering this only because I've been to the shows and there is one cake decorator who has been at the Expo for several years who does not provide samples and she seems to do okay.

We have a large cake business in town and they always have a huge booth at the door and the provide about 20 different flavors samples...Brides can have a sample of each flavor and there is always a line for their samples.

By the time brides got to my booth they were "caked out" and didn't want anymore samples....so...I'm not sure I want to go through all the effort again with samples...at least at this particular show.

indydebi Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 4:38am
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyonzlake

By the time brides got to my booth they were "caked out" and didn't want anymore samples....so...I'm not sure I want to go through all the effort again with samples...at least at this particular show.


Next time get a booth closer to the entrance so you're the first cake booth they come to! icon_biggrin.gif

Auntie_RaRa Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 11:30am
post #22 of 24

I to hear the "caked out" statement from brides. That is why I put them in cups. I tell them how they can have some cake for dessert later in that evening. They say...yeah, that is a good idea. Any samples I have left over, I go to a local business, leave them in a basket along with business cards. Picked up some orders from doing this.

ladyonzlake Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 1:41pm
post #23 of 24

Oh...now that's a good idea...leaving the remainder at a business...like a bridal shop : )

tarheelgirl Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 2:03pm
post #24 of 24

I once made too many samples for a bridal expo and took the rest around to a couple wedding vendors. They were in those little souffle cups with the lids. My husband took some to work and the guys called them "cake shots"! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

I definitely suggest having something for the bride to taste! How will they remember you other then having your card? thumbs_up.gif

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