Found A Kitchen To Rent!

Business By RebelsLGB Updated 6 Oct 2011 , 11:32am by RebelsLGB

RebelsLGB Posted 4 Oct 2011 , 12:02am
post #1 of 13

I don't post on here that often, but I lurk all the time icon_smile.gif Anyway...Ive been decorating cakes for 4 or 5 years now...I would be lying if I said I never got paid to make cakes, but they are always for family or friends...friends of friends etc, and they WANT to pay me, so who am I to say no?

Anyway, Everytime I make a cake for a friend's event I get asked non-stop about my business, am I a professional, can I do a cake for other people's events etc. I am always honest and say that it is just a hobby, that I wish I were a professional, but the laws make it dufficult for me to be legal (I'm in NJ). A lot of people don't care and want me to bake for them anyway, but it does make me uncomfortable, mostly because of food allergies and a fear of getting sued and loosing my house etc..

Anyway, I made some cupcakes for a Bridal Shower this weekend for my mother-in-law's godcild. They were just simple cupcakes with a flower on top (the purple & leopard ones in my profile). Not only were the guests wanting me to make cakes for them, but other vendors were wanting to now network with me. So this motivated me to try and find kitchen space to rent, and I found one that is right down the street from where I work full time and it's $20/hr., no minimum hours, just use it when I need it. I obviously have to get a license and insurance and LLC and all that too. I actualy already have a logo, name & website registered (nothing on the website though.)

I seriously love doing cakes, and my dream is to one day have a storefront, I'm pretty set on my pricing as well, people always seem to think I'm reasonable, I'd have to possibly raise them a little bit to cover the kitchen rent.


So I'm posting because I'm scared I'm not good enough. I know my cakes taste good enough, they are just as good or better than any bakery I've tried, and this includes The Pink Cake Box, as her shop is one town away from me, and I've actually ordered a cake from her when I got married, mine aren't better than hers but I think they are pretty equal taste wise....I am not nearly as good with the decorating obviously but I also don't charge $10 a slice as my base price, I'm much cheaper than that.

I don't have tons of pictures on here, but there is enough to show my skill level. I'm wondering if you guys think I'm ready, knowing that my market area has "The Cake Boss" and The Pink Cake Box on the very High end, and then there are the storefronts that pop up once in awhile that are a little closer to what I would charge and closer to the client I'd be going for as well.

To Give you an Idea of where I'm at pricing wise, the most popular thing people order from me are the cupcake towers with a 6 inch round cake topper. The picture in my profile, the the 2nd picture it has a broken image but if you click it it comes up wouldbe a basic topper cake and then they had 50 of the cupcakes and that was $250, the one with the dog was closer to $300 because of the dog & crib figures.

Just looking for honest opinions. All the feedback I get at events that have my cake are very possitive, and the fact that there are no minimum requirements to renting this kitchen is awesome because I don't have to worry about covering a monthly rent, I just pay per cake and can grow the business at my own pace.

Thanks for reading this super long post! icon_smile.gif

12 replies
MimiFix Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 11:41am
post #2 of 13

Regardless of your skill level, it takes strong business skills and the desire to work hard. It's always nice to get positive feedback from fellow CC posters, but only you know if it's right for you. It's possible to have a full-time job and a part-time business. And it's possible to grow a part time business into full-time.

Remember - only you can decide if you have the desire to start a business. Running a business is more than baking and more than cake decorating. I've seen excellent decorators who have closed up shop because they couldn't handle the business aspects. And I've seen decorators with an average skill level succeed because they had a knack for running a business (and hiring a decorator).

RebelsLGB Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 12:03pm
post #3 of 13

I understand that. I grew up in a house where my mother had her own Interior Decorating Business, my Husband has his own Successful Wedding Photography business that I help him run. I'm not worried about the business side, nor am I talking about quitting my job and jumping in with two feet and opening up a storefront etc... I'm talking about renting a kitchen on a per cake basis, which will allow me to sell to more than just my family and friends....after doing that for awhile if I have success, then i will think about taking the next step.

I wasn't asking for advise in starting a business, although I'm sure others will appreciate that information, and there is lots of helpful information on these boards for those types of questions. I was simply trying to get opinions on my skill level from people who do run a successful cake business which will help me determine pricing. I personally think my pricing is inline with the level of skill I have, but It would be nice to get opinions from other people who sell cakes.

I understand that you were trying to be helpful. I've spent days searching & reading past threads on this topic, and honestly the very first thing people seem to respond with when people start talking about starting a business, is pretty much a negative response. Sure some people probably don't know what it takes to run a business, but I think it's pretty insulting to assume EVERYONE who asks a question has no clue what they are doing on the business end.

tincanbaby Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 12:21pm
post #4 of 13

Yes, on the low price end is fine. It will give you time to perfect the problem areas you seem to have with fondant. But not everyone orders fondant, so your okay. Keep working on learning to be smoother with the fondant though. Your fondant cake coverings need to be smoother. Figurines looks good.

tincanbaby Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 12:21pm
post #5 of 13

Sorry, this was entered twice.

MimiFix Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 12:22pm
post #6 of 13

I sure hope I didn't offend you. Your post title seemed business-oriented and had business issues mixed in with your request for feedback. Sorry that I misunderstood. If others don't jump in, I suggest that you start a new thread, keep it brief(?), and maybe title it to let folks know you want cake-skill feedback. (And I think you have a great skill-level!)

knlcox Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 12:51pm
post #7 of 13

In looking at your cakes I find that you have a very "clean" style. I mean that your fondant is smooth with no knicks or flaws, your work is not full of powder sugar or corn starch, your cupcake swirls are perfect. I've seen "professionals" who have terrible cake decorating skills with knicked cakes, terrible fondant and their figures are not quite up to a pro level. The few cakes in your photos are nice! I know quite a few people would rather have a buttercream finish, this is where I've seen decorators not do so well. I didn't see any buttercream finished cakes in your photos but looking at your fondant I have a feeling your buttercream is flawless!

jamieq Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 6:07pm
post #8 of 13

I think that renting a temporary kitchen will be a good determining factor as to whether you "are good enough" to compete with the professionals in your area. You will find out quickly what customers you are attracting, the order load you are taking on, and where your pricing stands, if a storefront is where you would like to take your business. I can tell you all day long your cakes are wonderful, but essentially it will be the person shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for your work whose opinion matters. I say: GIve it a go!! The only way you can succeed is if you throw yourself out there, right? Like the Lotto: "You can't win if you don't play!"
I hope to be right behind you. I am hobby for now, but come next year, once i get my kitchen completed (need a separate commercial kitchen in NE to bake from home) i am going to throw myself to the wolves right along with you. If you have good business saavy, and you can pick up great decorating techniques along the way, I think you have an excellent shot of putting yourself in a lovely market. Good luck to you and best wishes for great success!!!

jmr531 Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 6:28pm
post #9 of 13

RebelsLGB, I'm also in NJ and I'm searching for a kitchen to rent. If you don't mind, would you please pm me the information on the kitchen you found so I can check it out? Thanks.

If you've got your recipes down, you are heading in a good direction. As for as design and skill, as long as you are honest with yourself and customers about what you feel comfortable committing to, then you should be fine. Make sure to keep practicing on a regular basis and soon enough you'll be able to offer more in terms of cake design. You can practice on dummy cakes and build your portfolio as you go along. Also, a very important step when starting any business is creating a business plan. This will help you figure out where you will source your materials, your expenses, your budget, your prices, etc.

RebelsLGB Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 7:38pm
post #10 of 13

Great feedback thank you!

I wasn't offended by the first post, just frustrated by it. I do tend to be long winded. I wasn't looking for the same "warning" about the business that everyone else seems to get on here.

I do know I still need more work on perfecting my skills & style, thank you for the honest feedback! I've recently swiched to using Ganache under my fondant which helps me a lot with the lumps, I like using SMBC, and found that difficult to put Fondant over.

After seeing the kitchen today and talking with the Landlord (for lack of a better word), I do think I will go for it, but not until the spring. It's $20/hr with a minimum of $250/mo, so it is more of a commitment than I had thought. Not that $250/mo a huge amount of money, but I am a little slow with decorating still and I can easily spend 10 hours doing a simple cake, which will then not make it cost effective for me yet. Between now and then I will be making LOTS of dummy cakes to help me get faster and improve on my problem areas. I even signed up for Cake Central's Fantasy Flowers class in Fort Lee, NJ this Saturday icon_smile.gif

I am a perfectionist which is what makes me uneasy, I do see flaws in my cakes which is why I'm never sure if I should be selling them. I think coming in at the low end of my local market is where I need to be for Custom Cakes, I charge $3 for cupcakes which is the high end, but I do feel I have those perfected at this point, making cupcakes for office birthdays has given me LOTS of practice. I can't compete with the $10+/Serving Bakeries, but $5/serving - ish, I think is good! I've tasted most of the local competition and my quality of baking is just as good if not better, but every decorating flaw I see in my cakes always has me second guessing.

Thanks again, you guys have helped me more than you probably realize.

This was really long again...sorry about that icon_smile.gif

diane Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 10:22pm
post #11 of 13

I say go for it! You obviously will have plenty of support and knowledge from your family members about running a business. I've seen your cakes...go for it! thumbs_up.gif

JaniceBest Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 11:07pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelsLGB

I don't post on here that often, but I lurk all the time icon_smile.gif Anyway...Ive been decorating cakes for 4 or 5 years now...I would be lying if I said I never got paid to make cakes, but they are always for family or friends...friends of friends etc, and they WANT to pay me, so who am I to say no?

Anyway, Everytime I make a cake for a friend's event I get asked non-stop about my business, am I a professional, can I do a cake for other people's events etc. I am always honest and say that it is just a hobby, that I wish I were a professional, but the laws make it dufficult for me to be legal (I'm in NJ). A lot of people don't care and want me to bake for them anyway, but it does make me uncomfortable, mostly because of food allergies and a fear of getting sued and loosing my house etc..

Anyway, I made some cupcakes for a Bridal Shower this weekend for my mother-in-law's godcild. They were just simple cupcakes with a flower on top (the purple & leopard ones in my profile). Not only were the guests wanting me to make cakes for them, but other vendors were wanting to now network with me. So this motivated me to try and find kitchen space to rent, and I found one that is right down the street from where I work full time and it's $20/hr., no minimum hours, just use it when I need it. I obviously have to get a license and insurance and LLC and all that too. I actualy already have a logo, name & website registered (nothing on the website though.)

I seriously love doing cakes, and my dream is to one day have a storefront, I'm pretty set on my pricing as well, people always seem to think I'm reasonable, I'd have to possibly raise them a little bit to cover the kitchen rent.


So I'm posting because I'm scared I'm not good enough. I know my cakes taste good enough, they are just as good or better than any bakery I've tried, and this includes The Pink Cake Box, as her shop is one town away from me, and I've actually ordered a cake from her when I got married, mine aren't better than hers but I think they are pretty equal taste wise....I am not nearly as good with the decorating obviously but I also don't charge $10 a slice as my base price, I'm much cheaper than that.

I don't have tons of pictures on here, but there is enough to show my skill level. I'm wondering if you guys think I'm ready, knowing that my market area has "The " and The Pink Cake Box on the very High end, and then there are the storefronts that pop up once in awhile that are a little closer to what I would charge and closer to the client I'd be going for as well.

To Give you an Idea of where I'm at pricing wise, the most popular thing people order from me are the cupcake towers with a 6 inch round cake topper. The picture in my profile, the the 2nd picture it has a broken image but if you click it it comes up wouldbe a basic topper cake and then they had 50 of the cupcakes and that was $250, the one with the dog was closer to $300 because of the dog & crib figures.

Just looking for honest opinions. All the feedback I get at events that have my cake are very possitive, and the fact that there are no minimum requirements to renting this kitchen is awesome because I don't have to worry about covering a monthly rent, I just pay per cake and can grow the business at my own pace.

Thanks for reading this super long post! icon_smile.gif




You are right, the above is a super long post. I can see that you are conflicted and need encouragement, and I hope you got what you're looking for. But it was hard for me to patiently read through it all and understand what you were asking of us. Just like mimifix, I thought you were asking for our help with the business more than our opinions about your cake decorating ability. So I also think that you were unfair to mimifix. Your post was ignored by everyone for well over one day until she took the time to answer. This woman has written two books to help us newbies and she responds to our posts with experience, and genuine thought and care.

RebelsLGB Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 11:32am
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaniceBest

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You are right, the above is a super long post. I can see that you are conflicted and need encouragement, and I hope you got what you're looking for. But it was hard for me to patiently read through it all and understand what you were asking of us. Just like mimifix, I thought you were asking for our help with the business more than our opinions about your cake decorating ability. So I also think that you were unfair to mimifix. Your post was ignored by everyone for well over one day until she took the time to answer. This woman has written two books to help us newbies and she responds to our posts with experience, and genuine thought and care.




Thank you for your input. I will refrain from posting long posts in the future.

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