Have You Ever Done A Public Demo Of Your Work?

Business By Dreme Updated 21 Jan 2011 , 6:32am by cake-angel

Dreme Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 4:07pm
post #1 of 12

I have been asked to do a demo in a local shop as a way to promote myself and the shop before valentines day. I have never done anything like this. The closest I have ever gotten to showing someone how to do something is by training them at places I have worked in the past. I have no idea what to demonstrate or what will be simple to do. What normally happens during the demo? Does the audience get involved?

11 replies
Annabakescakes Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:59pm
post #2 of 12

I have never done it the way you are going to do it, but I had to at a LARGE grocery store chain I worked at in Cincinnati. Basically, we had a kosher bakery and the dairy cakes were done in a separate area right out in the aisle between the deli and produce section, in front of all the bread. My area looked like a salad bar, type area, but it was flat counters all boxed in, with sneeze guards on two sides. I had to keep the freezers stocked and do "custom" orders while putting on a show for customers. I FREAKING hated it!!!

My problem was I wanted to do 1 or the other, not both, and there was no room to do it in. I couldn't even use the flat counters to put my cakes on because there was no sneeze guard. And I was out in the middle for everyone to bother. I was also asked where other products were, like I was an information booth. I HAD NO CLUE! I never shopped there, I lived 30 miles away. I drove there to make $14 an hour making cakes.

I think what you will be doing is kinda cool! thumbs_up.gif One thing that awes EVERYBODY are buttercream roses. If you are good at them and can make them fast, then make a hundred! People will watch that all day long. I would be icing cakes and people would walk up and ask me to make a rose. Make one really slow so people can see how they are made, then whip 3 or 4 out fast and let people eat them! I could have done that all day, but I couldn't do my cakes at the same time. I quit the place!

Unlimited Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:28pm
post #3 of 12

I'd just do what the shop wants you to do for the promotion. It's an opportunity to show off your skills and entertain the crowd. If your audience has questions, I'm sure they'll ask.

It is annoying when customers bang on the glass to interrupt your production schedule, but this sounds more like for fun rather than real workso shine and have fun!

sweetflowers Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:48pm
post #4 of 12

I've done this quite a few times. If you are a teacher at the shop, do a sampling of what you teach. Any buttercream decorations is always a great idea, borders, roses, flowers, figure piping, anything. The audience will almost always ask questions. It's a lot of fun I think!

bobwonderbuns Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:01pm
post #5 of 12

I've done that lots of times! It's a lot of fun. Pick something easy and fabulous to do (showing them -- see how easy this is and grocery stores won't do that for you!) Just make sure you're relaxed. It's like a demonstration speech -- focus on what you are doing, make eye contact, smile and answer questions. (Oh and it helps if your friends are there to heckle you!) icon_biggrin.gif

Dreme Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:46pm
post #6 of 12

Thanks for the replies.

Exactly what did you do during your demo? Cake, cupcakes, cookies? The shop owner doesn't have any specific type of demo they would like me to do. It could be whatever I wanted to do. I do feel like that because I'm a cake decorator people are going to want to see something cake related. I thought about showing how to ice a cake smoothly, maybe some minor decorating, and then serving the cake(s) at the end. Thing is I have no idea how to make this run smoothly. I like to refrigerate my cakes between each coat of icing until it looks flawless. So i'm thinking I may need multiple cakes to show the process. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Another thing I think would be easy to do (as far as cleanup, transports, etc) are cupcakes. I like the idea of giving out decorated cupcakes at the end. Thing is what exactly do I show with the cupcakes. The point of the demo is to help expose both our business for future clients, so I don't want to show them the same type of thing that I sell. How would this work? Same thing goes for cookies. Easy to hand out and clean up at the end, but I don't want to show anyone my techniques for how I do them as they are my signature product.

I feel like this would be easier if it was a hands on/class type of thing. I don't know how to show someone how to do something if they are not doing it as well.

bobwonderbuns Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 8:20pm
post #7 of 12

I've done cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and in April I'll be doing specialty cookie decorating techniques. I guess it's all in what you want to do and what the venue calls for.

sweetflowers Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 8:55pm
post #8 of 12

Either works well. One thing I did was a cupcake cake (pull apart cake). Just do basic border and flowers or something extremely easy and fairly fast. I'm confused as to what this is for. If it is exposure for you to sell items or teach classes? Do some of your easy but eye catching stuff, I kept it to Wilton type course 1 type stuff. If it's to promote the store to sell equipment that should cover it. You can always whip out one of your signature type things quick, not 'teaching' how to do it, but just demonstrating you ability at the end if you want.

mommachris Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 2:34am
post #9 of 12

I'm with sweetflowers, if they want to learn HOW to do it, let them take classes.
If this is to advertise your product then show them something different than what they will see in the bakery at the local grocery store.
Show a woman cute cupcakes and you have a customer...teach her how to make them and you'll be out of business. icon_wink.gif


cake-angel Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 2:47am
post #10 of 12

I have to say I agree with the last two posters. To me the point of a demo is to show people what can be done without really "teaching" them how to do it. One of the most popular demos I did was when I piped basketweave on a cake. When I was talking to the people I wasn't telling them directions on how to pipe basket weave - I would say this is one of the techniques I teach in my classes. It is a great technique to add elegance etc etc etc. and then go into more about the courses or product I was wanting to sell.
If you are promoting the shop and your products you can talk about those during your demo. If you are actually teaching the techniques then people should have to pay an admission fee in my opinion.

Dreme Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 5:44am
post #11 of 12

The demo is just for exposure and to gain future clients. I really do not want to teach anything. I rather just make something and have people watch me. I don't want to explain beyond what something is or how to use it. I rather just keep it to a "This is a piping bag. The icing is called buttercream. This is fondant; here try some." type of thing. Nothing about my technique. I'm very protective about showing the artistry of my work.

I think I would like to do something with cupcakes. We both would like me to try and get clients for Valentines Day so maybe something with that theme. I also like the idea of doing different piping techniques by making flowers on each cupcake. Im not sure on what im going to do yet.

Also how should I go about promoting my own valentines designs without showing how to do them? I liked the idea of doing the piped flowers cause they normally aren't my style as far as what I would actually be selling. Although i would be open to selling them to a client if they wanted them. Is it better to show something that is or that isn't my style of artwork?

How would you, or did you do a cupcake demo? Any ideas on how to make this work? I'm also not much of a talker, and I tend to have moments of silence or stumbling over words. What should I talk about as far as the cupcakes? How do I divert being asked how I did something as far as my technique?

cake-angel Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 6:32am
post #12 of 12

If you want to showcase some of your own designs nut not actually make them during the demo - make them in advance and have them handy on a nice display on or near your demo table. You can refer to them from time to time to say hey - look at what I can make for you. Another thing you can do is have a digital photo frame running a slide show of a variety of your work to showcase it - even better if the photos are watermarked or have your company name somewhere in the photo.

When I do a cupcake demo I generally have a display of already completed designs and then I continue to decorate cupcakes throughout the demo - all different than the ones displayed already. While I am doing it I talk about what I am doing. When someone comes to ask questions, I say that I am demonstrating some of the techniques that I teach in my cake decorating courses. In your case you could say I am demonstrating some of the amazing designs I can make for clients from my custom Bakery(name of your business) and also for "the shop you are demoing in" etc. etc. I do often say things about the icing (names of types used) I make a big deal of coloring the icing but I just say look how easily I can get these great colors for decorating, this is fondant I am going to use it to make a little dog on this cupcake... That is the extent of detail I do during a Demo. Just look like you are having fun and keep things simple so you won't feel like you are being interrupted and get annoyed - with demos your goal is to get interrupted a lot so you can sell your bussiness.
As far as diverting questions about how you did something, youcan either choose vague answers like: Oh I just used some buttercream and piped it on with a/this piping bag or Due to the time frame of this demo I am unable to teach the techniques I am using today. or something to that nature. I haven't actually had someone ask me how to make any of my designs before but I have had questions like - wow is that hard to do? Is that stuff called fondant? Is that a real cake? LOL.

Good luck and I am sure it will go very well for you.

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