It costs $1000 just for the booth rental. It's the biggest bridal show in town and I live in a big city so the exposure would be good. I'd have to spend another $500 at least for samples, brochures, signage.
I'm looking for input from those who were on the fence then did decide to go for it. Was it worth it for you? How much more business did you generate by being in the show?
I don't have experience with the bridal show so I can't truly help you there. But here are my thoughts:
Have you done several wedding cakes?
Did you make a good profit on them?
Do you have a portfolio you can show?
If you have a portfolio that will compete with other decorators and you get 4 or 5 brides out of the deal and each one has a $500 cake you would come out on top.
Motta: by samples do you mean that you would make up some samplings of the different cakes, fillings and icings and have them available? Here are a couple more ideas or questions? I have never done a show myself, but I am curious. Are you already in business for yourself or has it still been just a hobby for you so far? The reason I ask is this. If you are already in business for yourself and are legal and all then couldn't you ask your accountant if you could count the cost of doing the show as advertisement and if you did not do well could you count it as a loss? I would think that you could. Do you have that kind of money available that you can consider this possibility or are you going to have to borrow it from someone you know if you think that it would be worth it? I would certainly think that even if you had not done wedding cakes enough to have a portfolio that if you had some really nice and impressive cake pictures there and explained to those looking at your pictures that you had decided that you wanted to do wedding cakes also that you would have a very fair chance at making those costs work for you. let us all know if you decided to do it how it went. thank you.
Are wedding cakes your speciality? Do you have already an album full of examples as well as written testimonials from delighted brides? How many hours do you spend in your cake business - so how many cakes could you truly take on in 'wedding season'. If you know your outcome - and what you are trying to achieve with doing the show - it is easier to make a decision based on 'is it worth the financial outlay' and energy involved. Is there any other way to get people to know about your wedding cakes - rather than spending on a exhibition. Are you going to make dummy cakes as examples - do you have them already? Really work out the time it will take to put together and how many orders you need to cover the cost of the exhibition. Could you get as many orders by linking up with someone already in the wedding market (wedding planner, photographer, car hire) and pay them a referral commision? Could this volume of orders be achieved without all the expense and the effort involved? But you do need to have evidence already of delighted clients and photos of work achieved already and level of experience to show to potential customers if you are going to invest in this.
Wow, thank you all for such thoughtful responses! Great questions and insight from each of you.
I am a legal business and have been doing this for 9 months. Somehow the majority of my business is wedding cakes just because those are the calls I'm getting. I made a presentation for a group of wedding planners and it's created some great contacts for me in that field. I have a website and lots of testimonials. I have dummy cakes already and I have experience in making and delivering wedding cakes. Generally, maybe I don't have to go to the bridal show?!
Now I'm thinking I should wait and see how the wedding season shapes up for me starting in January (after Dec engagements). I would have to charge the bridal show costs on my credit card which is already near it's limit. I do believe I could write off the expenses of the show...I have an accountant I could ask. But I'm a full time mom and a part-time business owner. I don't know if I could handle an influx of business too fast....
I want to meet with the bridal show rep anyways because I think it'll still get my name out there to those in the industry. She may mention me to someone else some day! I have questions for her so it'll help me decide for sure.
Anyways, you have all helped me think this out in ways I wasn't considering. THANK YOU!!! I'll let you know what I end up doing.
If it was me - and I did not have the funds available - I personally (and this is only me) would not charge up the expense into a credit card. There are lots of ways to get people to know about you - which will not mean such a huge lump of money being spent in one go. Exhibiting is a lot of money for a stand and then lights and then a chair and it goes on. I feel by simply first visiting a getting a feel for the show and meeting a few friendly people within the industry by paying just for the cost of the entry - you can give a business card to any of the exhibitors there after a friendly chat. (Obviously not the cake makers) If you decide that you are willing to give referral commission on your wedding cakes - wouldn't it be brilliant to get just as many cakes - for a fraction of the price just by rewarding some people personally for finding you a new customer! There will be stationers, photographers, hand made shoes and the list will go on. There will always be someone willing to refer you onwards. K
Here are a couple of previous posts on this subject.
I would *STRONGLY* advise you NOT to do this one - especially since you really don't have the funds to afford it.