I have leased a space for my biz, the kitchen will remain at home this is just a small retail outlet for me. I was originally thinking of limited retail hours to sell cupcakes, cookies etc but now I am thinking of keeping it orders only and just having the space for consults/pick ups.
The difference is in the HD requirements (hand sink, cleanable surfaces,etc) and additional permits.
I just can't seem to make up my mind which way to go. Rent is about $500 a month plus electric. Improvements for retail are going to run about $1500 plus I gotta outfit the place, I figure another $1000 for that. If I just do consults/pick ups all I gotta do it clean up the floor and paint, $500 bucks max then figure out display space but I have a lot more leeway.
I am trying to think this through and make the best decision. I'm basically starting over since I cut back the biz to return to school. I don't know if it is worth investing the money to sell items that are a couple bucks each or taking the time and energy to produce them (plus be at the shop albeit limited hours) and invest it in custom work that would bring in more $$$ overall and extensive marketing.
I can see the benefits either way. BTW, I can sell out of there without the additional requirements as long as it is all pkg-ed at the kitchen but that's a whole 'nuther issue.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I need to make a decision and go with it, right now I have paralysis of analysis and could use a fresh perspective. Thanks
I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I have all of my equipment, fixtures, displays, etc., bought. Now I am starting to look for a tiny retail space. I will hire someone to sell the items, so it won't cut in on my time except for the additional baking. I plan to have the items unpackages just like a bakery, so I will have the additional expense. I already have the commercial kitchen at my home.
I want the walk-in traffic and I want my clients to be able to buy without ordering. I plan for the shop to be open later to cater to people who get those night cravings, and I am also planning to do deliveries with stock on hand in the evening. I have done extensive research and a business plan (less the actual space cost, since I don't have one in mind yet).
That makes me feel a little better, I am not totally out in left field with this!
I am concerned abou trying to hire someone right off so that's why I was thinking of having limited hours so I could be there and do the production. I am hoping the walk in traffic will boost orders to some extent as people are free to just spend a few dollars and taste what I have to offer. I also think that around here they want a place to come to and see my work. Since I started I have held consultations and people have picked up orders at my home which is an inconvenience to say the least. It would also eliminate that issue.
Anywhoo, thanks for responding. I wish you the best on finding a place to suit your needs.
Interesting topic, as I'm wrestling with a similar change in direction for my biz. I think though, that for the third time, I've talked myself out of a retail shop. There's one space left in a new retail development in my city that's going to be THE hot place to be. I've made some preliminary inquiries, but i just don't think I want to be that tied down, and from having had employees previously, I know I don't want them. The record keeping and tax reporting on just me -- my one employee -- is more than I can keep up with. My monthly taxes are late again this month. ::sigh::
While I often think that having a studio just for consultations rather than doing them at home would be cool, I'd have to haul stuff or have duplicates, and there is always something extra that I need during a consultation. I'm forever in the closet or running down to the basement to get something to show a client.
Soo . . . I'm looking at a different option. (Not willing to disclose yet.)
For me, having employees plus paying the extra rent would not be something that added to my bottom line. It would seem to be only a suck on the bottom line.
How will this change increase your business volume/make your own life easier/let you work fewer hours/increase your profit margins?
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
I am not wanting to hire anyone right off. Like you, I can barely keep up on the paperwork for myself, LOL. Also, I don't want to take on too much at the beginning when I struggle at times to pay myself a little something.
Having consults away from home is a little different for me as we have 3 children. My house tends to be a little hectic and I am always scrambling to pick up before people come. This is even more of an issue if they need to meet in the evening when we are trying to get the kids out to activities or they need to have dinner, etc.
Having some limited retail hours will allow folks to try my cake/cookies and just buy a few without committing to a large cake. Some people are reluctant to order cake because they have not tasted it. So, I am hoping that by selling smaller things it will boost the larger sales. Plus, it gives me added exposure and visibility.
I'm still wavering on having open hours or focusing on the custom orders and keep the space for consult/pick ups only. I know it will be all that more of a drain on the finances but I can't back out at this point.
I don't know, I probably went about this all wrong but here I am!
It seems like you'd have to hire someone to help. What happens if you run out of stuff people want? Do you just say "Sorry, I'm out right now, come back later?" If that happens, I think people might stay away. This is something I've been thinking about as well.
A lot of cupcake places state their hours and then say "or until sell out". I've been told there are places out east that sell out almost every day.
Ido see your point but selling out (or mostly out) could be a good thing. People always want what they can't have. Of course, the product has to be something of good quality but I would put my baked goods up against anybody here locally. If people know that sell out is likely they will plan ahead and it let's them know there is a demand for your product.
I just cannot see taking on an employee at this point. Honestly, I don't play well with others in a sense LOL. More importantly, it is an expense and a risk I am not prepared to deal with at this time.
Another way to approach this would be to partner with an existing business, like a coffee shop or local restaurant. This could provide you with a place to conduct tastings as well as a potential wholesale market so people could try out your products.
That would be great! I looked into that but no dice. So, I will have to wait and see if another opportunity presents itself.