Hi! My name is Dustin and I live in SC. I love baking/cake decorating and would like my own bakery some day but until then I would be making cakes from home with is not a problem for me. I have a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales(yay) Well anyways to the point.
I have my first order cake in October, its a grooms cake but I just have this strong appetite to really do more cake, but where do I start with market?
how did anyone of you get started and got more client? I'm also working with a shoestring budget so any suggestions would help.
Welcome... I don't have a business myself yet, but I do know that there are some funky laws about baking for profit without a professional kitchen. You may want to look into that a bit before you take on too much out of your home. It is frustrating though- I have a degree myself, but can not presently take on a business outside of my home.
At any rate, my uncle (the best chef in the world, in my opinion) would probably say to find something that nobody else in your area is doing, and do it well. This will give you a 'one-up' on the market. If your product is better than that of your competition, people will come to you. Along this line, this is probably a good time to be developing a selection of recipes that work for what you are going to do and taste really good too, if you don't have this already. Not all fillings and buttercreams act the same, I have discovered.
Thirdly, word of mouth is your friend, as are good photos of all the cakes that you do, which you don't necessarily have to have clients for as long as you have hungry friends to invite over for dessert... which also helps get the word of mouth going, if they or any of their friends have birthdays or weddings or anniversaries or parties in general. Sorry for that run-on sentence...
To come full circle, just be careful about the laws in your state, it only takes one person whom you might not suspect, (guest at a wedding?) to report you to the health dept. for making cakes from your home. You may have to gift some cakes in the beginning, or look into renting professional kitchens in your area (churches, public buildings, etc.) to get started. Wish you the best and welcome to CC!
Welcome to CC, Dustin, What eccl1-12 is talking about is called "Branding" Its the edge on the business for your industry by which you are known, labeled or stand out. Most people who are in the food business start off slow and work their way up and what eccl1-12 are just a few pointers.
You will find yourself giving away a few more cakes in the beginning than you probably care to. But stick to it and it will pay off. Its like anything else shake a lot of hands, introduce yourself everywhere you go. High dollar advertising is not always the proven method. Although we would love to be able to spend the money on it. Gorrilla marketing works just great too.
This is a great place to get lots of help. Consider us your marking team. We will be here for you.
Do some cakes and take pictures. Showing your work is really important. And as was stated above, do cakes for parties, etc, and take them along with you. Sadly I don't have many parties to get exposure at.
and to learn much, much more......check out the Cake Decorating Business forum....much wisdom to be found there....
First you will need to find out if you can even bake and sell cakes from home. Check out this topic. In the first post there is an attachment that has most states listed and whether or not you can bake out of your home kitchen. It also provides a link or department to contact to get more information on what you need to do (some states do allow you to bake on your property but it has to be a completely seperate kitchen from your home kitchen, sometimes this just means another kitchen in your house, and sometimes it means a seperate building from your home)
oh and the best advice i can give (think someone else mentioned this) is read through the Business Forum, a lot of great information there.
Hey!! Thanks everyone for your info!!!
@eccl1-12: Thanks! Yeah I've been working/testing recipes and have to found that not all act the same. There isn't any cake bakeries were I live (fort mill). Everyone drives 20 min to charlotte. I'd love to be the first one to open a bakery here. Everyone says word of mouth is the key. I have been taking pictures of cakes that I've made and I have made a couple of cakes for friends a coworker as gifts. I've never thought about renting a commerical kitchen but that's a great idea I'm going to look more into it.
I live in SC too and you cannot bake from home. You have to have a commercial kitchen. I am looking into renting a commercial kitchen myself. Definitely work on a portfolio though, so that once you have the kitchen, you can start right away! Read , read, read the cake central forums, there are so many that have been there before us and have a lot of great advice! And, of course you can give cakes to people to get word of mouth going too- just look at it as an investment in your future!!
There isn't any cake bakeries were I live (fort mill). Everyone drives 20 min to charlotte. I'd love to be the first one to open a bakery here.
Hey blueboy! I used to work in Fort Mill and Charlotte is my "second home" - such a beautiful area and so many amazing people there!
I know it's fairly easy to get licensed out of your home just a few minutes north across the state line. North Carolina is quite a bit more welcoming to the home caking business. I don't know if it's a feasible thought, but as you move forward in your dream, it might be worth consideration to relocate to the very south end of Charlotte, near Carrowinds and such; you'd still be 15 minutes south of the uptown area but you may be able to to capture the same market you're dealing with now.