I am just starting my cake and cupcake business from home and I want to host a baking party sometime in the spring or summer to have friends and friends of friends come in to try samples of different flavoured cakes and cupcakes. This will give me an opportunity to showcase my decor for cakes and cupcakes as well as have them first hand try out the flavours. I was thinking of offering a discount to them if they book me for an event that day itself, or within the week of the event. I'll have my business card, brochures, maybe a laptop of my past work showing through a slideshow. I need more ideas to be more effective. Anything to do with decor? How to invite them? What can I give them to take home? Maybe individually wrapped cupcakes? Any ideas would be helpful to make this a success!
Hosting a sample party is an interesting idea. Showing off your work (slide show is a great idea!) and sending them home with a brochure is also good. But I suggest you limit the edible giveaways. One or two flavors is enough for them to taste the quality of your baking, so mini-cupcakes would be fine. They don't need to take more freebies home.
It's unfortunate that most people just look at samples as lucky us, free food as opposed to thinking about the concept of sampling a product to see if it's something they would purchase. So limit the amount of free food but be generous with your visual non-edible displays.
The above advice comes from more than thirty years in the food industry.
I had a "kind of" party when I first started baking for the same reason.
What I did was set up a table with samples on there (just 3 flavors and 2 frostings) I had a decorated cake on display and then I had a few undecorated cakes so people could request a cake and see how I decorate them then buy them (just quick simple cakes). Discounted of course. It went really well BUT I did have an issue with parents not controlling their children and the kids just ran riot, ate lots of samples and just made it difficult for people to sit down and relax.
I also had a friend set up a scently booth so she could sell her scentsy too. that way they got yummy treats and yummy scents all in one place.
Are your friends your target market?