1. Does or have anyone sell baked goods at farmer's market? 2. If so, what are some pros and cons of doing so? I live in Alabama and I am thinking about doing so this spring/summer.
Before you sell, you need to look at your local health dept requirements as well as the requirements of the farmer's market, including whether or not there is space for baked goods at your local markets (around here the FMs have a small quota of non-produce stalls and are usually full).
You also need to look at your costs, including the cost of ingredients, packaging, table/tent rental, FM fees, liability insurance and other overhead, as well as the cost of your time (in terms of making the baked goods and staffing the table at the FM). Weigh that against the price you can sell your products for and your anticipated sales.
When I ran the numbers for the products that would sell at a FM (mostly low-margin items like muffins and cookies), in our optimistic forecast we would end up making less than minimum wage. Of course there are other intangible benefits like networking and advertising, but there are also other ways to get your name out there.
I was thinking about doing this also, thanks for the great information on what you need to look at and for before doing it. Now down to number crunching, ug!
I had a booth at my local farmers market a few times this past summer and fall. While it was a lot of work, it was fun and I meet a lot of people and spread the word about my business.
As I am a licensed residential baker, all I had to do was apply with the Farmers market director, get a health permit from the town and pay a fee each week that I exhibited. I did invest in an easy up canopy ($98 at Walmart) but I recouped these costs and made some profit.
As to what I sold, well, at first I had 4 or so 6"cakes all decorated with fondant, etc. They were sooo cute and a real eye catcher, but few sales.
I did sell many cupcakes (sold individually or in pkgs of 4), tarts (5 1/2"), cake squares, pies, cookies and such. Folks liked smaller sized/quanties rather than full sized cakes. At the later markets I had a couple of dummy cakes and I got a number of custom orders.
All in all I didn't make a big profit, but I didn't loose $$, had fun, got my name out there and can't wait for the market to start again in the spring.
This is all interesting info. My dad has been a farmer all of his life. So it is a family business. The canopy and market necessities (tables,etc.) won't be too much of an issue. Thank goodness...
A display of dummy cakes will be a good idea.... Of course covered in a way to not crack or melt the decoration.
So did I understand correctly that I will need to get a permit possibly for the town/city to which the baked goods would be sold? So the permit I have for my town won't possibly work?
All of the info has gotten my wheels and figure crunching to working. Thanks
I am a licensed baker and had a booth at the local farmers market. Can't say that I made any money. It was fun. It was a LOT of work.
The downside is having too much product that doesn't sell but then you don't want a table that looks empty either. I don't have a storefront so what didn't sell I ended up giving away or tossing.
Check with who ever runs the market you are considering...they will know what permits, etc. are required. I am sure it varies by state and by town.
Some markets only allow so many of a particular type of vendor, whether it be bakers or coffee sellers or candle makers or whatever. So do some research now, before the season gets going. You might need to reserve your space early.
I sell at Farmer's Markets all the time. It requires more physical energy than your average baker; however, you can really blow up one day and be humbled on the next.
Its dynamic. You can sell yourself and your product face to face. Bragging on your product and backing it up with a sample is cheap and very effective.
It also builds your business from the ground up (community based). Instead of top down like most.
Just like any other big event it is subject to weather fluctuations. Anything that keeps people from visiting can hurt you.
Your high end products may not yield what you expect. For whatever reason people think farmers markets are bargain basements when the total opposite is true.
I have been selling at the local farmers market in Alberta, Canada. I have to say that I have made very little. I didn't expect to make much, and wanted to go into the market to promote myself as a cake decorator in my community. I priced out each item I sell right down to the minutest ingredient and realized baked goods aren't as cheap to make, as I assumed. I sell individual cupcakes, packages of 2 large cookies, and 6" two layer cakes. I wanted to keep my product as affordable as possible to keep sales up. This has been difficult as I have a little competition from 2 senior ladies who freely admit that they sell their goods at the market as a hobby to keep busy. I'm sure they have not priced out what it costs to make their goods. I have a pretty good idea. I know they don't have a secret cheap grocery supplier. I am sure they a selling their stuff for under cost. This is really frustrating when you are sharing a market with venders who are not running their booth like a business and you are. You cannot compete with that. Hopefully, this will not be an issue for you. I have broke even plus less than minimum wage. I may go a couple more times with promotion in mind, and not expect too much of a profit. It has been a great way to get my name out there as a cake decorator and that is where the money really is.
ATo RY CAKES...I just read your post. Don't worry about those underselling you. I am one of those "older" ladies but I am also a small business owner and baker. I use my Farmer's Market to showcase my baked goods and price them in quantities fit for a market environment. I really want to gain catering customers or those who want volume baking for large parties, etc. I started at our market last fall trying to sell a pound of caramels or a dozen or even half dozen of bars, etc. Nope. Keep to smaller quantities and sell for a higher price than your dozen, ie. $7.00 for a 4-pack of bars when you offer a dozen for $18.00. I'm going to start offering half dozen of cupcakes with samples. I also take orders for larger quantities. Also, I am also told I just have a hobby business...maybe so, but the market is my advertising tool, I have a lot of fun and meet new people, and no, I do not "pay" myself. I am just starting to lose less, which means I am slowly getting into a profit mode. Don't be discouraged. Look me up on facebook if you'd like and maybe we can message ideas. My name is Patrice at Patrice's Cakes and Confections. All the best to you.