Starting A Cake Business

Business By Melissa_B_Cakes Updated 1 Jun 2010 , 11:32pm by Melissa_B_Cakes

Melissa_B_Cakes Posted 24 May 2010 , 8:37pm
post #1 of 19

So I started out going to culinary school and graduating with a certificate in Pastry and Baking. I immediately knew I wanted to make cakes as a career.

I made cakes in local grocery/retail bakeries, it was fun but I wanted to have more freedom. So I gave up cakes for about 3 years, went to a community college to 'try' college. Well I find myself 3 yrs later with my heart telling me to go back to cakes! I have recently completed the 'small business management' program at my local community college where I learned Financing, business law, management, marketing and advertising.

And now I have so many questions!

1.How long did it take you to get your business started?

2.How long did it take for people to catch on that you were a new decorator in town ready to offer your services?

3.About how many hours do you put in a week?

4.About how many cakes can you make in a week?

5. Did you start off with help or was it just you?

6.Did you start off at home, renting out a kitchen, or did you get a loan to help get a store front? ( I am aware that in some states it is legal to operate from home and some it is not)

7. And when you were ready, did you JUST DO IT and say "ok, lets start a business!" or did you take a lot of time to prep recipes/menus etc?

Any feed back would be awesome! The more feedback the better!

Thanks thumbs_up.gif

18 replies
julitre1 Posted 25 May 2010 , 4:04am
post #2 of 19

Here's mine; (you're probably going to laugh and think I'm crazy, but that's okay) : )

1. I originally started in 2006, however, I didn't really know what to do and wasn't confident enough to advertise myself, so my business is just now getting a start.

2. same answer as 1-they are just now really noticing me

3. i can't put in as many hours as I would like to, b/c of a part-time job, but i do approx 2-6 hours/day depending on my other work schedule and demand for cakes

4. I haven't had that many orders, this week I'm doing 4 orders and they are all needed for Saturday, but I feel I could do 3-4 cakes/day with proper planning

5. it's just me

6. I am at home, and working on getting a location. I checked with the proper people to find out if I could have a home bakery and since I'm not in city limits, I can. This is the kind of crazy part, we are really-really trying to stay out of debt, so I'm just saving every penny of cake income to get a store-front.

7. I would say that I just said "let's start a business" but it's taken me almost 4 years to get my name out there, so by now, I have a menu and recipes.

Hope that helps. I'm in a small town, so your results could be different. I'm not going as fast as I would like to, but at least it's a start.

Melissa_B_Cakes Posted 25 May 2010 , 12:14pm
post #3 of 19

I completely understand about not feeling confident enough to advertise! I've gotten so many compliments and people telling me that my talent is there, I've had a lot of encouragement from family and friends....

And like you, I don't want to get into debt either! I was thinking about renting out a commericial kitchen. We have several in Austin. I think that would be the fastest/cheapest way to get into business without breaking my wallet icon_sad.gif

I work a full time job now and then take requests from family and friends weekly...and its just me baking and decorating. Lately I have been spreading the word through Facebook and posting pics and I have gotten several orders outside of my immediate friends and family.

Thanks for your sharing your story! Anyone else care to share their story?

dare2bloved Posted 27 May 2010 , 7:50pm
post #4 of 19

Hey B-Cake, I was wondering where did you go to get a certifcate in pastery and baking? I have taken all the Wilton classes and do not feel confident and would like to learn as much as I can before I jump out there.
Thanks

beautifulcakes2007 Posted 27 May 2010 , 9:04pm
post #5 of 19

see I was planning on doing the samething.... I have cards with my name and info for my cakes, but im not sure how to go about starting a business..I dont have any real "lessons" from a school yet but Im really good at baking and Decorating cakes..I've heard from my customers that its the Best they ever Had in there life...Im gonna start school to get mt degree and a licence for baking but I have pretty good people buying from me. Is that Bad?I have the name to open a business, but dont know how to get it started, anyone one know how?

leah_s Posted 27 May 2010 , 10:10pm
post #6 of 19

I don't know what state you're in beautifulcakes, but if you have people buying from you you are currently in business, and if you need a license to sell, then you'd better get one ASAP before someone turns you in.

It happened to me.

FleurDeCake Posted 27 May 2010 , 10:22pm
post #7 of 19

great information .. cant wait to read more

Melissa_B_Cakes Posted 28 May 2010 , 2:22am
post #8 of 19

dare2bloved-

I actually went to Texas Culinary Academy right out of high school in 2004. I have worked for major grocery store bakeries for the first 2 1/2 yrs out of school, got bored, then decided to go back to school to pursue another career. I just started making cakes again in the last 1 1/2 years. Since I live in Austin (which is a MAJOR small business community) at my local community college they offer a certificate for "Small Business Management". I have been taking classes like financing, management, business law, marketing etc.

The question is do I go for it now? Or wait a little longer? icon_redface.gif I think its a question of when will I get over the initial fear/risk?

We have commercial kitchen space available to rent by the hour. Depending on how many hours you work, the rate is anywhere from $7/hr (if you work 8 pm-8am) to $25/hr (during 'peak' hours) Instead of taking out loans, I thought I would start off by renting space...the thing is time, cakes take a lot of time and how could I gauge how many hours to rent out a kitchen when I know sometimes things won't go right and I'll need MORE time. In order to rent, you have to get all your licenses etc and sign contracts with them.

beautifulcakes2007 Posted 28 May 2010 , 2:33am
post #9 of 19

Thank you leah_s
I will do that... how do I get a licence to sell? do i just go to the court house

leily Posted 28 May 2010 , 3:26am
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulcakes2007

Thank you leah_s
I will do that... how do I get a licence to sell? do i just go to the court house




What state are you in? That will even determine if you can sell out of your home.

The first place to start though is a call to your local Health Department or Dept of Ag (it seems to differ state to state)

mamawrobin Posted 28 May 2010 , 4:17am
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa_B_Cakes

I completely understand about not feeling confident enough to advertise! I've gotten so many compliments and people telling me that my talent is there, I've had a lot of encouragement from family and friends....

And like you, I don't want to get into debt either! I was thinking about renting out a commericial kitchen. We have several in Austin. I think that would be the fastest/cheapest way to get into business without breaking my wallet icon_sad.gif

I work a full time job now and then take requests from family and friends weekly...and its just me baking and decorating. Lately I have been spreading the word through Facebook and posting pics and I have gotten several orders outside of my immediate friends and family.

Thanks for your sharing your story! Anyone else care to share their story?



Be careful "spreading the work through Facebook". I noticed that you live in Texas and they don't allow you to sell cakes baked in your home. If you're advertising it's a good chance that the Health Dept. could find out.

beautifulcakes2007 Posted 28 May 2010 , 2:01pm
post #12 of 19

Well Forum SuperStar, I live in Fort Campbell,KY

leily Posted 28 May 2010 , 2:55pm
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulcakes2007

Well Forum SuperStar, I live in Fort Campbell,KY




Hmm... not sure on KY. Check out this thread which is a sticky at the top of the Business Forum. There is a link in the attachment to the first post for KY.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-586218.html

Looks like it may be possible, depending on what county/city you're in.

melmar02 Posted 28 May 2010 , 3:14pm
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dare2bloved

Hey B-Cake, I was wondering where did you go to get a certifcate in pastery and baking? I have taken all the Wilton classes and do not feel confident and would like to learn as much as I can before I jump out there.
Thanks




I see you are in Dallas - I know Collin County Community College offers both a pastry certificate and an Associates in Pastry Arts. They have night classes as well, however, all of their cullinary classes are at the Frisco campus. I'm not sure about Dallas County Community College, but you could probably find the info on their website. Le Cordon Bleu and the Art Institute also both have Dallas locations.

dare2bloved Posted 29 May 2010 , 3:23am
post #15 of 19

Thanks melmar02

needy2 Posted 29 May 2010 , 1:47pm
post #16 of 19

Here's mine:

.How long did it take you to get your business started? We opened our shop in Feb 09, but used rented space for 2008 to build clientele and get started while we were building/financing.

2.How long did it take for people to catch on that you were a new decorator in town ready to offer your services? Not long for me, which I attribute to my website. probably 90% of my clients find me through our website.

3.About how many hours do you put in a week? 3-basquillion. It seems like I'm always doing something for the shop, even if I'm not AT the shop. If I'm not working, I'm thinking about what I need to do. That said, my shop is closed on Mondays, so I try to take that day off if/when I can.

4.About how many cakes can you make in a week? Our max is 6 wedding and 10-15 occasions, depending on the size/complexity. We may only be able to to 3 weddings and 1 or 2 occassions if they are really time consuming.

5. Did you start off with help or was it just you? Started off just me and my mom, we now have 3 additional employees and my niece will be our resident grunt this summer (she's 14)

6.Did you start off at home, renting out a kitchen, or did you get a loan to help get a store front? ( I am aware that in some states it is legal to operate from home and some it is not) Rented space, moved to store front, loans and credit for buildout. I think it is highly unlikely that you can start a new business without some sort of det. Yes, it's been done, but it is difficult.

7. And when you were ready, did you JUST DO IT and say "ok, lets start a business!" or did you take a lot of time to prep recipes/menus etc? We talked, planned, researched then found a great deal on an oven and said"if we buy the oven, we're committed, if we don't buy it, this won't happen. we bought it (duh icon_biggrin.gif

carlee521 Posted 30 May 2010 , 7:36am
post #17 of 19

Dare2bloved,

Since you are in Dallas look into Cake Carousel
http://www.cakecarousel.com/

They offer a great deal of everything! The have PME professional courses as well as basic, cookie, fondant, etc. They often have food network chefs/stars come in for demos and classes!

I'm in their basic class right now and LOVE it!!! (testing the waters before going head first into the PME classes) I'm glad I chose their classes even if it's a good drive there.

julitre1 Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 1:13am
post #18 of 19

I started by calling my chamber of Commerce and they pointed me in the right direction.

On when to start...I think it's just a matter of jumping in the pool, so to speak. I wish I could do more, but I'm taking my down time to just learn what I can. I average about 4 cakes a weekend now, which doesn't sound like a lot, but with my other job and all the cakes needed the same day, I stay busy. : )

Melissa_B_Cakes Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 11:32pm
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by julitre1

I started by calling my chamber of Commerce and they pointed me in the right direction.

On when to start...I think it's just a matter of jumping in the pool, so to speak. I wish I could do more, but I'm taking my down time to just learn what I can. I average about 4 cakes a weekend now, which doesn't sound like a lot, but with my other job and all the cakes needed the same day, I stay busy. : )





I agree....a job and then trying to make cakes on the side is draining. I guess it is just a matter of jumping in when you're ready!

Thanks everyone for your input!

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