Should I Open A Bakery?

Business By ameliasam Updated 24 Jun 2010 , 7:55am by mrsc808

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:10am
post #1 of 69

I would like to know if my cake are good enough to open a bakery. And since their are alot of you that own your own bakery then who better to ask. All the people that I have done cake for love them and the taste of them but most of them are family and friend so you know they would lie to you LOL icon_smile.gif And everyone know strange will tell you the truth. thanks icon_redface.gif

68 replies
ninjacaker Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:21am
post #2 of 69

They are getting there, but need polishing. JMHO.

Joybeth Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:31am
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As long as you have good recipes, that's a start! But, unfortunately Bakeries take a lot of work. You've got some good ideas. So I would suggest lots of practice and keep your mind open. A hobby can be the love of your past time but when you turn it into a business there's always that posibility of it not being what you thought it would be. Make sure it's what you want to do. Follow the rules. Then you can have a ton of fun! (besides work...lol) For me the big thing is if you are sure you can handle the transition from hobbyist to business owner. But only you can answer that question.
Good luck!!!

leepat Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:34am
post #4 of 69

Opening a bakery is a fulllllllll time commitment. I opened my bakery in 2007 and I think we might even break even this year. So far it has been an expensive full time hobby. A little more polish on your cakes would not hurt.

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:47am
post #5 of 69

Thanks for the comments. I know I'm new at do cakes but what do you mean by polish them. If you are saying they need to be more smooth then I know I'm work on that. I have only been do cake for about 1 1/2 years and really not had anyone to show me how to make they smooth. thanks again icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

mamawrobin Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:49am
post #6 of 69

I agree with ninjacaker and leepat..cakes need more "polish". Keep working on improving your skills. There is way more to running a bakery than decorating cakes. I believe that someone said once that only 25% of their time was actually spent decorating cakes and like leepat said you will be open for awhile (more than likely) before actually "turning a profit". thumbs_up.gif

littlecake Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 6:40am
post #7 of 69

i don't know....cake love is doing great...and they don't have much skill in decorating.

i own a small bakery for going on 9 years...decorating is about 25% of it like mamarobin said...i don't do fancy stuff....the name of the game for me is speed...i made 25 cakes today, you have to make a lot to pay the overhead.

i worked in other bakeries for years before opening...i think i'd suggest trying that first to see if you'll even like it....decorating in a shop is light years from doing it at home.

if you wanted to do a search on here pieceofcakeaz did an excellent post about this a while back...

mamawrobin Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:26am
post #8 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameliasam

Thanks for the comments. I know I'm new at do cakes but what do you mean by polish them.
If you are saying they need to be more smooth then I know I'm work on that. I have only been do cake for about 1 1/2 years and really not had anyone to show me how to make they smooth. thanks again icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif




I'm self-taught and no one has ever "shown" me how to smooth icing. There are some great tutorials on youtube and here on cc that I learned from. Watching them will help you...it's how I learned to smooth icing, stack a cake, correctly apply fondant, etc.



By "polish" we mean smoother icing, level your cakes, trim for straight/square edges (or buy better pans with straight edges). The base structure of a cake is very important. You need to start with a clean, straight, level cake before adding any decoration. WHAT goes on a cake is only part of decorating a cake. No matter how well a cake is decorated if the structure isn't "clean/polished" it lacks that "professional" look.

minicuppie Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:15pm
post #9 of 69

I don't want to go there but since you asked... loose the Cinderella and duck from your website. Unless I am being forward by not asking if you have been given permission by Disney to reproduce their work.

tiggy2 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:38pm
post #10 of 69

Foil covered cake boards are not professional and character pans can be used for resale. If you want to perfect smooth BC I suggest sugarshacks DVD Perfect the Art of BC www.sugaredproductins.com She also has DVDs on stacking, baking, leveling, fondant, etc. They will make a world of difference in your skills.

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:43pm
post #11 of 69

I have the duck pan and all the disney pans and their are alot of people on CC and the internet that has done disney cake I didn't know you had to get permission if they sell the disney stuff in the store. But if I'm wrong please let me know icon_smile.gif I do know you I can buy the disney kits from decopac with out a license but get my from publix or off internet. thanks for your comment

minicuppie Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 3:06pm
post #12 of 69

You are welcome. There is a difference in displaying your work and selling it. Disney has a whole department that does nothing but troll the Internet looking for copyright infractions. Be safe.

cakelace Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 3:25pm
post #13 of 69

I would love to have my own business...so I've poked around on the net and read a few things. One thing said to build a professional portfolio. So you'll want to do several practice cakes that you can put in a album or website to show what you can do. Tiered cakes- anniversary, baby shower, wedding, birthday. 3D cakes. And take great pictures of these cakes and showcase those. Also think about what it is that you want to be the best at, what are you going to bring to the market that is going to make you stand out. My area has a lot of decorators. I would like to be in the market of offering 3D figures and sugar work- blown sugar. First I need to perfect my figures and learn and perfect blown sugar work and then I think I could step into the market with something unique to my area. And look into the business side of it. If you want to be a stand alone shop look into what it would cost to start up- spaces in your area, look into what your town requires, inspections, permits, taxes and then determine if your ready. Practice, practice, practice- and keep enjoying it. Your heading in the right direction. Read up about the Viva method- I tried it and loved it! it really made my apple cake look polished.

mamawrobin Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:08pm
post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameliasam

I have the duck pan and all the disney pans and their are alot of people on CC and the internet that has done disney cake I didn't know you had to get permission if they sell the disney stuff in the store. But if I'm wrong please let me know icon_smile.gif I do know you I can buy the disney kits from decopac with out a license but get my from publix or off internet. thanks for your comment





Having character cakes in your photos is completely different than having them on your website for sale. You can make them "for personal use only...not for resale" which is stated on the packaging. You can purchase the "Disney kits" from Decopac and BakeryCraft but you have to make the cake EXACTLY like it is on the card that comes with the kit. You're not even allowed to change the colors. I would suggest removing the list of "character pans" from your website as you cannot sell any of those cakes without permission from Disney and you're NOT going to get permission. Pigs will fly first LOL

I agree with Tiggy2...foil isn't "professional looking" and doesn't hold up to cake cutting. Wilton makes fanci foil which is designed for covering cakeboards. You can also use freezer paper (shiny side up) and it looks great and is very durable and inexpensive. I also hot glue a ribbon on the outer edge of my cakeboard to make it look pretty.

I think I mentioned this in my previous post but you need to level your cakes. This will improve the looks of your cakes very much. You can buy a cheap level at Wal-Mart for under $5.00. A level cake is a must in this profession, "rounded" tops just don't look professional.

tiggy2 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:15pm
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

Foil covered cake boards are not professional and character pans can be used for resale. If you want to perfect smooth BC I suggest sugarshacks DVD Perfect the Art of BC www.sugaredproductins.com She also has DVDs on stacking, baking, leveling, fondant, etc. They will make a world of difference in your skills.



That should have benn character pans Can't be used for resale.

Occther Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:35pm
post #16 of 69

Before you consider starting a bakery, why not trying working for someone else - maybe a small privately owned bakery or even a grocery store. That would give you lots of practice and a sample of what producing work for the public is like.

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 10:30pm
post #17 of 69

All the pictures on my website are the cake I have done. I doesn't say anywhere on my website that I'm sale or resale them. And all the cakes that I do from Decopac are like the picture on the card that I do. And I appreciate the comments but I know that I have away to go before I will have my own bakery since it will be about 3 or 4 years before I can and I know it a huge commitment. All I was wanting to know if I was on my way with my cakes. I do level my cakes if the person I'm doing them for wants them done some of my friend or family don't want them leveled they like it to have the round look unless they want something on top then I will level them. My website is not a advertisement or letting people make orders I'm not sale anything from my website I have the website to let my family and friends see want I have done and it easier to tell them to look at my website then carry a list of all my pans or all my picture around with me. All again I will say my not a professional so a lot of my cake are homemade. Thanks again for the comments icon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 10:40pm
post #18 of 69

IMO a professional cake is leveled. Cakes that have the rounded top really scream "homemade."

preppie523 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:23pm
post #19 of 69

Like you said, in 3-4 yrs you may be ready. You have now said much about the business side of things. I, too, agree that the cakes should be more "polished" and have a neater look. What about fondant coverings? I saw very little on your website in the way of fondant and most with a bakery would be expected to do fondant well. I think a good way to judge your skills is to look at the cakes saved in your favorites and see how many other people have saved those for inspiration and how many comments they have...then evaluate your as well. If many people of this cake community admire your work then you may have something. If not, continue to practice. I know for sure I am not where I would want to be compared to fellow decorators. And I haven't a clue about the business side, so I really enjoy the late nights at home but keep my day job! Hope that helps some!

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:35pm
post #20 of 69

A lot of my friends and family don't like fondant so when they find a cake they like they ask me to do it with out fondant and I do. I can do it in fondant but like I said they don't like it. I have a lot of comment in my photos that people on CC likes my cakes and some are put in their favorites. I do have a full-time job at a clinic I do they on side or when a friend is needing a cake. I do like to make stuff out of fondant or gumpaste they like that but to cover a hole cake with it they say no. thanks preppie523 for your comment icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

Occther Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:00am
post #21 of 69

If you ask for comments, accept the criticism. If you want to open a bakery and start selling your work, your customers won't be as kind as fellow decorators.

mamawrobin Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:11am
post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameliasam

I have a lot of comment in my photos that people on CC likes my cakes and some are put in their favorites.




I'm not trying to be mean but there really aren't "a lot of comments" in your photos. I took a look at your photos again just to see and I only see 1 comment on most of them that even have comments. "Some are put in their favorites" but only 1 favorite for most of them that DO have favorites. I see that you have a couple with 2 or 3 favorites. This really isn't "a lot of comments" considering that you have almost 100 cakes in your gallery.

About "leveling" your cakes. Why would someone ask for a cake to NOT be leveled? That's one purpose for wanting a someone else to make your cake. icon_confused.gif Anyone can make a cake that looks like that. (homeade..rounded top) I level every cake that I make whether it's going to leave my house or not. It's just part of the process when you are a "decorator". Like I said in my previous post the "basic structure" of a cake is essential for a well decorated cake. If you're serious about being a "decorator" you need to level every cake that you bake and be in the habit of doing things the correct way for practice. It doesn't matter how well a cake is decorated if it isn't level, straight and constructed properly... basically a good "canvas" for decorating it isn't going to look that good.
The first thing you should learn to do BEFORE even "decorating" a cake is how to properly construct the cake. Bake, level, tort, fill, crumbcoat, ice (SMOOTH) and apply fondant. These things are just as important as the decorations that you put on the cake if not more. I cannot tell you how many cakes I have made only to get the recipe right and learn how to level, crumbcoat and apply and smooth icing and how to cover a cake with fondant. Many, many of these cakes were never "decorated". I've give cakes away, thrown them away and we ate them until we were sick of them icon_lol.gif But it was important to me to learn how to "properly" make a cake for decorating purposes.

preppie523 Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:39am
post #23 of 69

I agree with mamawrobin...that's the point I was trying to make. I didn't observe from the photos what I would think meets "bakery criteria".

kkitchen Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:53am
post #24 of 69

I did not read all the replies. I opened a bakery using money from my pocket. Actually from my Hubby's pocket, after he got laid off. We did not have a huge budget - but, GOD sent people along our way to help us.
And, it has been 1 month about, and, I have no regrets. I am not from where I live, and, people have been very receptive.

All I have to say is if you love doing it, then go for it. I love it, it is very demanding, and, I seek a lot of knowledge from people who know better than me.

If you think it is your calling - then do it.

SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 2:42am
post #25 of 69

I don't know if it would help, but I'd like to give you advice from a fellow "non pro." There are several cakers just on this site with skills far better than you or I who have yet to jump into the business. Of course people have their reasons, but I think one of the reasons is because running a business is no "piece of cake." (pun intended lol) It is hard, meticulous and sometimes exhausting work. It requires you to give up not only your own hard earned money, but countless hours away from your family and endless hassles jumping through hoops with the legalities of the industry. Most of us would love to run a bakery. I sure do, not because of the t.v. shows or because I think it's easy. My reason is because I have a love for caking and business, which is what I am currently going to school for. So, for me, it just works out. I love both, so aspiring to one day own a cake business seems to be a good choice.

Not that long ago, I came on here asking the same questions: If I was good enough to run a business. And I got pretty much the same answers as you. I can definitely advise you to take what people say here to heart, and not get offended. This is probably the only place you can ask almost any question and get an honest straight forward answer. You can't just walk into your local bakery and get advice on starting your own cake business.

I saw your pictures. Personally, I think you are off to a good start. I really like your airbrushing skills. My best advice, which I learned here on CC is consistency and practice. There's always room for improvement. And every cake you do, no matter who it is for, you treat as if you WERE going to sell it to a customer. That means level it, torte it, smooth the icing and all that good stuff. Plus, it will be great for pictures and by the time you are ready, you will already have a huge portfolio to work with. When I make a cake for DH, he always tells me not to worry about the little details. But I tell him I have to because I need it to look good for pictures. Another thing is, its great your family and friends love your cakes. You have a great support system, which will definitely help you later on when you are ready to take it to the next level. My family is the same way. They insist that I go pro, because they think my cakes are worth it. I did for a while, b/c we lived on a military post and rules are different. But since then, we've moved and I have to follow state laws. One thing I always try to remember is that other customers, strangers, are not going to be as supportive as your family and friends. Family will accept imperfections, and praise you no matter what you do. But real customers expect the best, because they are paying for it.

Anyway. Sorry that was so long. i hope that helped a little. Good luck and welcome to CC!

Unlimited Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:31am
post #26 of 69

Since you asked, Ill make some suggestions of some things you could work on practicing:

Use more buttercream when icing your cakestoo many crumbs are mixed in. (If you cant cover them without getting crumbs in the buttercream, perhaps you should consider doing a crumb coat first and then apply the final coat.) Using more buttercream will also keep the cake from showing through the thin icing (bald spots).

Try making your shell borders faster, without thinking about ittoo many are uneven and look as though they are falling off, or about to fall off.

Try covering your base boards with white or colored florist foil/Fanci Foiltoo many are grease stained or uncovered with the corrugated lines and edges showing (never use aluminum foil from your box in the kitchen if youd like a professional presentation), or even betterpurchase cake drums in white, silver, or gold. (The nice foils and drums have an embossed pattern throughout, and wont be mistaken for plain kitchen foil.)

Practice making your leaves with a lot of pressure to start, gradually release the pressure as you pull the tip away to stopyour holly leaves are too long and straight.

Practice getting the right consistency of your icing before making rosesthey are too jagged with broken, rough edges. (It should be stiff enough that the petals dont fall over or melt, but it looks like yours is too stiff or dry, hence the jagged petals.)

Practice your writing skills, and what I mean by writingcursive handwriting, not printing in all caps and not using the tappits that are all caps. You can do it!!! Your printing isnt that bad... I can tell that you have the ability to control your piping well enough to easily achieve this (and, youll see that its easier and much quicker once you switch over to handwriting). It will look more professional when you can accomplish this without the aides... save the printed lettering only for very juvenile cakes, but use both upper and lower case. Its okay to lightly mark a line if you need to, so that your writing doesnt go uphill as you finish the text portions.

When using the star tip for filling in your character pan designs, try something elseits too basic. Fill in the areas however you choose, but try blending it smooth with a small angled spatula or hot spoon if you dont want to give the appearance that you are a beginner. (You wont want to lose the star tip for your 3-D character shapes, because smoothing those would be very difficult, but for the flat 2-D designs--blending would look better.

Shop for some new pans with square corners.

Look up words on an on-line dictionary or use spell check whenever you arent sure how to spell them... Congrads Ben should be Congrats Ben.

Keep learning... nobody started off knowing how to do it all, so keep taking your classes and practicing. One thing to consider before opening a bakery is to compare your cakes against what the competition has to offer. If you judge or evaluate your product and ask yourself Would I buy this? or Is it at least as good as what Id find to purchase at a professional place? Only when you are confident that you have the skills to compete within the industry, should you even consider making such a huge decision if you want to be profitable. (Nobody goes into business to lose money or to break even.)

If/when you are ready, most importantly... write a business plan.

SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:40am
post #27 of 69

Unlimited-

That's a lot of GREAT advice wrapped into one post! icon_smile.gif

As for the spelling thing, in OP's defense, I think it was spelled that way on purpose for "grad"uation. Maybe not, but that's how I took it.

mamawrobin Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:49am
post #28 of 69

Unlimited..great post thumbs_up.gif

crazyladybaker Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:02am
post #29 of 69

I am wondering something... Is opening a shop something "you" want to do or something that people say to you?
For instance I have lots of friends that say, "you should open a little shop for your cakes".
But, honestly they just don't understand how complicated that is and how much hard work. Sure it sounds fun when you say, "I make cakes" but heck, there is a lot of hard work that goes into that kind of thing. Not to mention LOTS of money.

I am by no means a professional and would never consider such a thing as a shop. The competition is steep out there and I know I don't have the skill to compete. So why not just keep it as a hobby kind of thing and maybe sell some here and there if your state allows such a thing from home.

Happy Baking icon_smile.gif

Unlimited Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:12am
post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarNSpiceDiva

Unlimited-

That's a lot of GREAT advice wrapped into one post! icon_smile.gif

As for the spelling thing, in OP's defense, I think it was spelled that way on purpose for "grad"uation. Maybe not, but that's how I took it.




Thanks SugarNSpiceDiva (& Mamawrobin). Just trying to keep it nice and say it in a positive way with a suggestion of how to fix or improve, rather than only pointing out what may not be flawless.

Oh, I never thought about the possibility that someone would spell something incorrectly on purpose! Whatever happened to spelling it out "Congratulations Graduate" so everyone gets it???? Just my luck, I'd try to do something catchy and have to scrape it off if it wasn't requested that way. I think it would be obvious if it was an intended pun by writing Con"grad"s Ben, Congrads Ben, or a similar way to emphasize the joke. That's just me!

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